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How a Bill Becomes a Law

The Legislative process

Danny Miller

on 30 October 2014

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Transcript of How a Bill Becomes a Law

How a Bill Becomes a Law
Danny Miller
Submitted to Congress
If a person feels that a new law should be made, they can try to make it happen by submitting a bill
The bill goes through Congress and may be voted out at any point
If it reaches the President, he may sign or veto it
For the sake of this presentation, this bill will get as far as the President
However, only a handful of bills reach the President
The whole process is like a series of filters; only a few bills reach their full potential
The full Senate then debates on the law, and they may change or vote on the bill, just like the Committee
If the bill passes the full Senate, it goes to the House of Representatives
Assigned to a Committee
A committee in the Senate is given the bill to debate
The committee may shelve the bill, which delays action, or they can change and/or vote on the bill
If it passes, the bill goes to the full Senate
The full House now does exactly what the Senate does; either changes or votes on the bill
If the bill passes both houses, but different versions are submitted, it is sent to the House-Senate conference committee to make a compromise
Now, a committee in the House of Representatives is given the same bill
The process is repeated: they can delay, change and/or vote on the bill
If it is passed, the bill goes to the full House
Assigned to a Committee
President Receives Bill
When the president receives a bill, he can sign it, and then the bill becomes a law
However, if he thinks that the bill should not be passed, he can veto it, and then the bill goes back to Congress
So, basically, if the President and a majority of the House and Senate agree on a bill, it becomes a law
If a Vetoed bill manages to reach a 2/3 majority vote in Congress, it becomes a law
Remember the filter series analogy: each stage - your local congressman/senator, both committees, both houses and the president - filter out some bills so only the appropriate ones reach the next stage
Back to Congress
This majority vote is not easily reached, however, considering that Congress is roughly half Democratic and half Republican, and they usually have opposing ideas
Congress can override a Veto with a 2/3 vote
If they do, the President is out of the question, and the bill becomes a law
Conference Committee
Conference committee submits a single version of the bill that combines the two different versions from the House and Senate
Both houses vote on the final passage, and if the compromise is successful, the bill goes to the President
If you call your local Senator or Congressman, and propose a law that sounds good, they may submit a bill to Congress
The President can also submit a bill and urge Congress to pass it
The bill can be sent to either the House or Representatives or the Senate
To give an example, this bill goes to the Senate
Thanks for
Full transcript