Understanding the Legislative Process in the United States


A bill is a proposal for a new law, or an amendment to an existing law. Bills can be introduced in either house of Congress (the House of Representatives or the Senate). If it’s approved by both houses, then it goes to the President for his signature. If he signs it into law, then we say that “it becomes law.”

If you want more information about how bills become laws, keep reading!

Steps of a Bill Becoming a Law

A bill must go through several steps before it becomes a law. The first step is introduction, which happens when the sponsor of the bill introduces it in either house of Congress. After introduction, the bill goes through committee review and floor debate in both houses. If passed by both houses with identical language, it will be sent to conference committee where members from each chamber work together to resolve differences between their versions of the legislation before sending it back for final votes in each chamber (House then Senate).
If approved by both chambers with identical language again during this process, then President Barack Obama has 10 days after receiving either version of this legislation signed into law by him or her; otherwise known as “pocket vetoes”–which means no action taken whatsoever! Once signed into law by our president then judicial review begins where courts decide whether federal laws are constitutional under our Constitution’s separation-of-powers doctrine.”

The Role of the President

The president has the power to veto any bill passed by Congress. The president may also issue executive orders, which are directives that have the force of law but do not require congressional approval.

Legislative Process in the House of Representatives

  • Submitting the bill: The first step in the legislative process is for a member of Congress to submit a bill. This can be done by any member, but typically it’s done by committee chairmen or other senior members who have been appointed to lead committees on specific issues.
  • Committee review: Once a bill has been submitted, it goes through several reviews by committees before reaching the floor of either house (the Senate or House). In both houses, bills are reviewed by standing committees made up of members who have expertise in certain areas–for example, if you wanted to pass legislation about education policy, your bill would go through an education committee before being considered by other members of Congress. These committees also hold hearings where experts testify about proposed legislation and provide testimony as witnesses at these hearings.
  • Floor debate: When both houses agree on versions of legislation that differ significantly from each other (as they often do), they must reconcile their differences before sending them back out again for further review or voting on them directly–this is called conference committee meetings where representatives from each chamber meet together behind closed doors with staff members from both sides trying reach consensus on what should appear in final versions sent back out again after having been amended multiple times already!
Thomas Elliott

Education: Brooklyn Law School, Brooklyn, New York. Pace University, White Plains, New York.
Professional Associations and Memberships: American Bar Association, New York State Bar, The Association of the Bar of the City of New York, Brooklyn Bar Association, National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA).

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