2 How a Bill Becomes a LawThere are two kinds of bills;Public- apply to the whole nation and involve general matters like taxation, civil rights, terrorism, etc.Private- concern individual people or places, and usually involve people’s claims against the government
3 How a Bill Becomes a Law Where does a bill start? With an idea from: A Congressman or SenatorThe White HouseA special-interest group- an organization made up of people with some common interest who try to influence government decisionsThey usually have lobbyists, who are people hired by private groups to influence government decision makers
4 How a Bill Becomes a LawAfter the idea is written into a bill, it is introduced by a Representative or Senator. Thousands and thousands of bills are introduced every year in Congress.
5 How a Bill Becomes a LawAfter they are introduced, bills are assigned to a standing committee (whether in the House or the Senate). The standing committee assigns them to a subcommittee, which has meetings and hearings to figure out if the bill is a good idea. They can approve it, change it, or kill it.Most bills never make it out of their committee or subcommittee.
6 How a Bill Becomes a LawIf the committee approves the bill, it “goes to the floor”, meaning the whole House or Senate will debate it. These debates are long discussions about the bill. This is where the floor leaders of each party do their work. The Senate usually debates the bills in order. The House has a “Rules Committee”, which decides when a bill goes to the floor and how much time the House will have to talk about it.
7 How a Bill Becomes a LawWhile the bill is being debated in the House, members can add amendments to the bill, as long as the amendment is relevant to it. The Senate allows riders, which are amendments which may have nothing to do with the bill. Senators like to add riders they want to bills that have a good chance of passing. The Senate also allows a filibuster, where Senators can hold up a bill by continuing debate indefinitely, unless 60 senators vote for cloture, or an end to debate.
8 How a Bill Becomes a LawAfter debate, it is time for a vote. The whips of each party round up their members and try to make sure that they vote for (or against) the bill when it comes up. If both houses pass identical versions of the bill, then the legislature is finished and the bill goes to the President. If there are any differences between the House and Senate versions, a conference committee tries to find a compromise that both the House and Senate can pass.
9 Committee (subcommittee) How a Bill Becomes a LawIntroductionCommittee (subcommittee)FloorConference*Passage*The “Conference” step will note happen, if the House and Senate both pass identical versions of the same bill.
10 How a Bill Becomes a LawOnce the bill has passed both the House and the Senate, it goes to the president. He can:Sign it, and the bill becomes a law.Veto, or reject, the bill.Congress can override the veto with a2/3 vote in both housesDo nothing for 10 days, in which case:It becomes a law, if Congress is in sessionIt dies, if Congress is adjournedThis is called a “pocket veto”