- How a Bill Becomes a Law: 8 Steps
- Step 1: The Bill is Introduced
- Step 2: The Bill is Referred to a Committee
- Step 3: The Committee Holds Hearings on the Bill
- Step 4: The Committee Votes on the Bill
- Step 5: The Bill is Reported to the House
- Step 6: The House Debates and Votes on the Bill
- Step 7: The Bill is Sent to the Senate
- Step 8: The Senate Debates and Votes on the Bill
Have you ever wondered how a bill becomes a law? Well, here are the 8 steps that it takes in the United States!
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How a Bill Becomes a Law: 8 Steps
#1. A bill is introduced in either the House of Representatives or the Senate by a member of Congress.
#2. The bill is then assigned to a committee for further study and debate.
#3. If the committee approves the bill, it is then sent to the full House or Senate for debate.
#4. If both the House and Senate approve the bill, it is then sent to the President for signature.
#5. If the President signs the bill, it becomes a law.
#6. If the President vetoes the bill, it is sent back to Congress with his/her objections.
7. If 2/3rds of both Houses of Congress override the veto, then `the bill becomes a law over the President’s veto
Fewer than half of Americans can name more than one branch of government, according to a recent poll by the Annenberg Public Policy Center. And even fewer know how a bill becomes a law.
The process is actually quite simple: A bill starts in either the House of Representatives or the Senate, where it is debated and voted on. If it passes, it goes to the other chamber, where it is also debated and voted on. If it passes there, too, it goes to the president. If the president signs it, the bill becomes a law.
There are, of course, a few more steps along the way — eight, to be exact. Here’s a breakdown of how a bill becomes a law:
1. A bill is introduced in either the House or the Senate by a member of Congress.
2. The bill is assigned to a committee for further study. The majority party in each chamber decides which bills will go to which committees.
3. The committee holds hearings on the bill during which experts and interested parties testify about its merits or drawbacks. The committee may also make changes to the bill at this point.
4. After hearings have concluded, the committee votes on whether or not to send the bill to the full chamber for debate. This vote is called a “markup” and usually takes place behind closed doors.
5. If the bill passes out of committee, it goes to the floor of its chamber (either the House or Senate) for debate by all members of Congress. Members may offer amendments to change the bill at this point.
6.” Once debate has concluded, both chambers vote on whether or not to pass the bill into law.” If both chambers pass identical versions of the bill, it goes straight to the president’s desk for signing.” If there are differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill,” they must be ironed out by a conference committee made up of members from both chambers before being sent to I President’s desk.” Otherwise,”the”bill dies and must be reintroduced in”the next session”of”Congress.” ” “7.””The””president””then””signs””or””vetoes””the””bill.”” ” “8.””If””the””president””signs””the””bill,”it becomes law.”” ” “If he vetoes it,”it”returns”to”Congress,”where”it”can”be”overridden”with two-thirds majorities in both chambers.”
Step 1: The Bill is Introduced
The bill is usually introduced by a member of the House of Representatives, although occasionally a bill will be introduced by a member of the Senate. If the bill pertains to a particular area, it will likely be assigned to a relevant committee for further discussion. For example, if the bill deals with taxes, it would be assigned to the House Ways and Means Committee. Each chamber has similar committees that focus on particular areas.
Step 2: The Bill is Referred to a Committee
After a bill is introduced in the House or Senate, the next step is for it to be referred to a committee. The committees are where bills go to be studied in more detail by legislators. Each committee is made up of a smaller group of legislators who have expertise in the subject matter of the bill.
The chair of the committee decides which bills will be assigned to the committee and whether or not those bills will move on for further consideration. In some cases, a bill might be sent to multiple committees before it finally reaches the floor of the House or Senate for a vote.
Step 3: The Committee Holds Hearings on the Bill
After a bill is introduced in either the House of Representatives or the Senate (or both), it is assigned to a committee. The bill might go to a House committee, such as the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, or a Senate committee, such as the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.
The committee then holds hearings on the bill. These hearings give experts and interested citizens a chance to testify about the bill. The members of Congress on the committee can also ask questions about the bill.
After the hearings are completed, the committee votes on whether to send the bill to the full House or Senate. If a majority of the committee members vote in favor of sending the bill to their chamber, it is then placed on that chamber’s calendar.
Step 4: The Committee Votes on the Bill
After a bill has been read and debated in the House and Senate, it is sent to a committee for further analysis. The committee will review the bill and make any necessary changes before sending it back to the House or Senate for a vote.
The committee vote is an important step in the process of making a bill into law. If the bill passes through committee with a majority vote, it will move on to the next step. If it fails to pass, the bill will not become a law.
Step 5: The Bill is Reported to the House
The House Committee on Rules reports the bill to the House. The report includes “the rule” which is a resolution that sets the terms for debate on the House floor. The rule may limit debate, may provide for amendments to the bill, or both. The Rules Committee is controlled by the majority party. If a bill is reported out favorably, it is placed on the Calendar of Business.
Step 6: The House Debates and Votes on the Bill
After the committee reports the bill to the full House, it is “calendared” by the Speaker of the House. This means that it is placed on the schedule to be debated. The bill may not come up for debate right away, however, because there may be other bills ahead of it on the calendar. When the time comes for debate, the bill is brought to the “floor” of the House, where it is debated by all members of Congress.
floor debate is often limited to one hour, with each member being given five minutes to speak. During this time, members may offer “amendments” to the bill. These are changes that they think should be made to it. If an amendment is approved by a majority vote of those present, it becomes part of the bill.
After debate on the bill and any amendments has ended, the House votes on whether or not to pass it. If a majority of those voting approve it, the bill “passes” and is sent to the Senate.
Step 7: The Bill is Sent to the Senate
After a bill is passed by the House of Representatives, it is then sent to the Senate for consideration. The Senate may approve the bill as is, or they may make changes to it and pass it back to the House. If the House approves of the Senate’s changes, the bill then goes to the President for signing. If both houses pass identical versions of the bill, it goes directly to the President.
Step 8: The Senate Debates and Votes on the Bill
After the bill has been assigned to a committee in the Senate, the committee will review the bill. If the committee decides that the bill should move forward, they will “mark up” the bill. This means that they will make changes to thebill before it is sent to the full Senate.
Once the committee has marked up the bill, it will go to the full Senate for debate. Senators can offer amendments to the bill during this debate. Once all of the amendments have been debated and voted on, the Senate will vote on whether or not to pass the bill. If a majority of Senators vote in favor of the bill, it will move on to Step 9.