A bill is introduced. It must originate in the House of Representatives, a bill can be first introduced into either the Senate or the House. Although the idea of bills come from a variety of sources. Many come from the president or someone in the president's office or excutive branch of government. Or lobbyists, business leaders, educators, journalists, & regular constituents. The next step for those with a suggestion for a new law is to find a sponsor in the House or Senate to introduce the idea in the form of a bill
2. Standing Committee for Action (Committee action)
The next step in the process requires the bill to be assigned to the standing committee that has policy jurisdiction over the topic the bill addresses. If they give the bill serious consideration, the committee chair usually assigns it to a subcommittee. The subcommittee may hold hearings, conduct investigations, and deliberate on the merits of the bll. When a bill is back in full committee, the commendations of the subcommitttee maybe accepted, rejected or further revised. The full committee may conduct additional hearings, call more experts to testify & debate the bill. At the end of this process, a "markup" or final version of the bill is prepared. The markup is the proposed legislation on which the full committee will vote, if majority votes against the bill it goes no further. If majority vote in favor, it moves forward in process
3. Bill goes to the full House and Senate for Consideration (Floor action)
The full House or Senate debates the bill and proposes amendments. The process differs between the House & Senate.
In the House: a bill that makes it through the committee is immediately assigned to the House Rules Committee. The Rules Committee decides when the bill will be debated, the amount of time for debate, and the extent to which amendments may be added from the floor of the House. The ability to control timing is significant. If the Rules Committee issues a closed rule, House members are limited in their ability to amend the bill. An open rule, permits amendments to the bill.
In Senate: there are no rules set up ahead of time for debate. The Senate majority leader decides when to bring a bill to the floor, but there are no limits on the amount of time the bill will be debated. With no rules on how long a senator might speak, there is a possibility that a minority of senators or even one senator might try to block a bill from passed by refusing to end discussion, a process known as a filibuster.
4. Conference Committee Action (when the version of a bill that passes Senate differs from the House one, to iron out differences, they select a confernce committee to work out the kink)
The conference committee consists of House and Senate members, usually drawn from the standing committees that worked on the bills (Pg. 159)
5. President Action
The president plays an informal and formal role in the passage of new laws.
Informal role: to develop new ideas for laws & urge members of Congress to introduce them. Also lobbies Congress attempting to persuade members to support or oppose certain bills.
Formal role: is the fifth step in the process by which a bill becomes a law. Once both chambers of Congress have agreed to a bill, the bill is sent to the president for action. The president has three options,
1st, the president can sign the bill, which officially makes it new law
2nd, the president can veto (or refuse assent to) the bill, which stops the bill from becoming law. If bill is vetoed, Congress has one more opportunity to pass the bill by overriding the president veto, which requires a two-thirds vote in favor of passage in both Senate & the House.
3rd, the president can decide not to act on a bill (neither sign it nor veto it) in which case the bill automatically becomes law after it has sat on the president's desk for 10 days. If Congress passes a bill and sends it to the president within 10 days of the end of a congressional session and the president does not act on the bill, the bill does NOT become law, a process known as pock veto (Pg. 160)