1. The bill is introduced by a member of Congress.
2. The bill is given a number (starting with HR in the House or S in the Senate).
3. The bill is assigned to a standing committee within whichever house it originated.
4. The committee that is assigned the bill then assigns it to the appropriate subcommittee. Hearings are held and revisions are made as necessary in the subcommittee.
5. The bill goes back to the standing committee, which may recommend passage or kill the bill. If the committee recommends passage, the bill moves on.
6. In the House of Representatives only, the bill then moves to the Rules Committee which decides if the bill will move on to the floor of the entire House. They also set rules for the debate on the bill.
7. The bill is brought to the full House or Senate for debate and a vote. If the bill is passed by that house of Congress, it must then go to the other house for their approval.
8.If the other house passes the bill, it moves on to the president's desk for his or her approval.
9. If the other house passes a different version of the bill, it must go to a conference committee. This is a committee made up of members from both houses of Congress. They must develop a version of the bill that both houses can agree on. Each house then must vote to pass the compromise version of the bill for it to move on to the president.
10. Once the bill reaches the president, he or she can sign it into law, ignore it, or veto (or reject) it. If the president vetoes the bill, Congress can override that veto with a 2/3 majority vote thus making the bill a law. If the bill is ignored and the president takes no action, it automatically becomes law after 10 days, assuming that Congress does not adjourn during this time. If the president ignores bills passed at the end of a legislative session, and Congress then adjourns, the bill fails. This is known as a pocket veto.