How a bill becomes a law

Close up of a lot of law reports in library

What is a bill? A bill is a proposed law. It’s like an idea that someone wants to make into a law, and it has to go through many steps before it can become one. The first step in the process of becoming a law is for the person who proposed the idea (called an “author”) to introduce their proposal in writing. This written proposal then goes through several rounds of review by committees within Congress or sometimes outside experts appointed by Congress. After these reviews, amendments might be made, and if there are enough changes, the new version must be introduced again as another bill. At any point during this process, other members of Congress may offer their own versions of the same bill with different provisions than those in the original.

Once all of this is done, the bill must be voted on by both houses (or parts) of Congress, and then it can go to the President. The President may sign it into law or veto it (rejecting the measure). If he vetoes it, Congress can override his veto by passing a new version with two-thirds majorities in both houses. After one house passes its own version of a bill without any changes, or after overriding a presidential veto, that bill becomes law three days later if the president does not return it for reconsideration.

If both houses pass the same version of a bill before Congress adjourns for more than 30 days , then that same bill cannot be considered again that session—it becomes a law without the President’s signature.

How does a bill become law? The process of making a proposed law into an official one that Congress passes and the President signs includes many steps, including:

1) First Draft – The person who wrote the bill first introduces it in writing to Congress. This is called “introducing” or “filing” a bill.

2) Review by Committees – Most bills are sent to committees before going to the floor for debate and possible amendment. These committees will review the bill and may make changes before sending it back to be debated on the floor of either house of Congress. In some cases, House and Senate committees write their own versions from scratch, which are then combined into a final version later.

3) Floor Debate – After all amendments have been made, if any were proposed, the full House or Senate debates and votes on the bill. If both houses pass the same version of a bill before Congress adjourns for more than 30 days, that same bill cannot be considered again that session—it becomes a law without the President’s signature.

4) Vote Aversion by Senate – In recent years, it has become increasingly common for members of the House to decline voting yea or nay on bills coming from their committee because they might anger one faction of their constituency or another if they vote against it. Therefore, many bills will pass “voice vote” in the committee rather than actual up-or-down vote. But in Senate, voice votes are not allowed. The Senate must go through the whole procedure of roll call vote even on minor bills to make sure every Senator is on record for or against the bill.

5) Transmission to President – Once both houses have passed a bill with an acceptable number of changes, it goes to the President who may veto it or sign it into law. If he vetoes it, Congress can override his veto by passing a new version with two thirds majorities in both houses. After one house passes its own version without any changes, that same bill becomes law after three days if the president does not return it for reconsideration.

Likes:
0 0
Views:
166
Article Categories:
Politics

Comments are closed.