Bill to Law

Cassie Gaskins & Rachel Fylstra

How Laws Are Made

Before a law is passed it goes through a series of events.


  • First, an idea is formed. Anyone can have an idea for a bill but only a member of congress can propose it.



There are two places the Bill can go from here. It can go to the House of Representatives or to the Senate.


House of Representatives:

  • Bill is introduced and assigned to a Committee which refers to a Subcommittee. Only members can introduce bills.
  • It then goes to a subcommittee. Members study the bill, hold hearings, and debate provisions. If it passes the subcommittee it goes to Committee.
  • The standing committee considers the bill and if they accept it in some form it goes to the Rules committee
  • Rules committee sets rules for debate and amendments.
  • House debates, votes on passage
  • Bill passes; goes to senate for approval
  • OR a different version passes; goes to conference committee


At the Senate

  • Bill is introduced and assigned to a Committee which refers to a standing committee.
  • Referred to senate subcommittee.
  • Reported by standing committee.
  • Senate debates, votes on passage.
  • Bill passes; goes to House for approval.
  • OR a different version passes; goes to conference committee.

After it has gotten passed in both houses it goes to the president for approval.

The President can sign the bill or allow the bill to become law without signing. He can also vetoes the bill.


  • The President can keep bill for 10 days and bill becomes law (Without him signing). If congress adjourns before the 10 days (Sundays excluded), the bill becomes law.
  • Congress can override a veto by a 2/3 majority in moth chambers. If either fails to override, the bill dies.

Who is Involved

About 10,000 bills are

introduced per year. Each

is given a number and

assigned to a committee.

There are 22 committees in

the House of Representatives

and 15 committees in the Senate.

What happens at Committee Action?


  • Bill is placed on committee calender
  • Bill is sent to subcommittee for hearing and revisions
  • Standing committee may recommend passage or kill the bill



What is Conference Action?


  • Conference committee works out differences and sends identical compromise bill to both chambers for final approval.
I'm Just a Bill (Schoolhouse Rock!)