How a Bill Becomes a Law
About 25,000 bills are introduced in each term of Congress,
but only 10 percent become law. These are the steps
law-making process. A bill may begin in either the House
Senate except for money bills, which must be introduced
1. Bill is Drafted:
2. Introduced in House:
3. Sent to Committee:
4. Committee Action:
5, Rules Committee:
6. Floor Action:
7. Introduced in Senate:
8. Committee Action:
9. Bill Called Up:
10. Floor Action:
11. Conference Committee:
12. Vote on Compromise:
13. Presidential Action:
14. Vote to Override:
1. Bill is Drafted:Members of Congress, the Executive Branch, and even outside groups can draft (write or draw up) bills.
2. Introduced in House:Representative introduces the bill in the House. Only members can introduce bills.
3. Sent to Committee:The Speaker of the House sends the bill to a committee.
4. Committee Action:Most bills die here. The committee may pigeonhole, table, amend, or vote on the bill. If bill passes, it goes to Rules Committee.
5, Rules Committee:It decides the rules for debate, and when the bill will come up for debate.
6. Floor Action:House debates the bill, and may add amendments. If a majority votes in favor of the bill, it goes to the Senate.
7. Introduced in Senate:A Senator introduces the bill, which is sent to a committee.
8. Committee Action:Same procedure as in the House. If the committee majority votes for the bill, it goes to the whole Senate.
9. Bill Called Up:Majority floor leader decides when the whole Senate will consider the bill.
10. Floor Action:The Bill is debated, and amendments may be added. If a majority votes in favor of the bill, it is returned to the House.
11. Conference Committee:If the House rejects any of the changes, the bill goes to a conference committee of members from both houses. It works out a compromise.
12. Vote on Compromise:Both houses must approve changes made by the conference committee. If approved, the bill goes to the president.
13. Presidential Action:The president may sign (approve) the bill or veto (reject) it. If approved, it becomes law.
14. Vote to Override:If the president vetoes the bill, it can still become law if two thirds of both houses vote to override the veto.
Adapted from Junior Scholastic.