Passing a Law

Kayla Haugen

How can a Law get passed if it is vetoed by the President?

    This veto can be overridden only by a two-thirds vote in both the Senate and the House. If this occurs, the bill becomes law over the President's objections. A pocket veto occurs when Congress adjourns during the ten-day period. The President cannot return the bill to Congress.

Role of Committees

  • When bills are first introduced to the floor, they are immediately sent to the relevant committee; the Chair then decides if any action will be taken
  • The Chair makes the call on bringing up a bill within committee; the first time a bill is brought up, it is immediately sent to the relevant subcommittee
  • The Chair schedules hearings with the Ranking Member on bills that have been voted out of subcommittee
  • The Chair chooses which bills will have no action taken on them, which will cause all progress to revert back to nothing if the bill doesn't become law by the end of the current two-year Congress

Types of Committees

Standing: In the United States Congress, standing committees are permanent legislative panels established by the United States House of Representatives and United States Senate rules.


Select or Speacial: A select or special committee of the United States Congress is a congressional committee appointed to perform a special function that is beyond the authority or capacity of a standing committee.


Joint: a committeewith members from more than one organization.

How Committe members are chosen

Each party assigns its own members to committees, and each committee distributes its members among subcommittees. The Senate places limits on the amount of committees a senator can be placed on. Members of select or Speacial committees are appointed by the Senates President.

Why do we have Committees?

    Committees help to organize the most important work of Congress — considering, shaping, and passing laws to govern the nation. 8,000 or so bills go to committeeannually. Fewer than 10% of those bills make it out for consideration on the floor.

Voting in the House and the Senate

When a Bill is introduced to the House they place a very structured debate. Each member has a few minutes to speak and the number and kinds of amendments are usually limited.


In the Senate, the time to debate on a bill is unlimited. Senators can use filibusters (refusing to drop current debate on bill) to procrastinate the voting process. 60 senators an break a filibuster by invoking a cloture forcing the vote.


A bill must pass through both houses before it can be passed to the president for consideration.


If the Senate changes the language of the measure, it must return to the House for additional changes. This back-and-forth negotiation may occur on the House floor, with the House accepting or rejecting Senate amendments or complete Senate text.

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Over View

A Bill is introduced to the three committees (Joint, Standing, Select) these committees hold hearings and meetings to decide what bills are passed to congress. These bills are then debated in the House and the Senate. If both floors agree on the bill it is then sent to a conference committee for further adjustments then on to the president to become a law.