Bill to Law
- The person presenting the bill is called the bill sponsor.
- It goes to a joint committee. A joint committee has members from both the House and the Senate. They work on hammering out the details.
- Then, it is presented to the originating body. The originating body is the part of Congress the sponsor belongs to (Senate or House).
- During the presentation, the bill is debated and sometimes further refined.
- Then, a vote takes place in the originating body. If passed, it goes to the other half of Congress.
- Rinse and repeat on the discussion and vote.
- If the vote is affirmative, it goes to the President.
- The President has ten days to do something with the bill. If he signs it, the bill becomes law on the date chosen by Congress. I’m sure you’ve seen statutes that say, “Effective (insert date here).” If he does not sign it and Congress IS in session, it automatically becomes law. If he does not sign it and Congress IS NOT in session, it becomes a pocket veto.
- If the President vetoes a bill out right, it is returned to Congress. If Congress can overturn the veto with a majority vote, the bill still becomes law.
This differs a little bit from enacting a new Constitutional Amendment. Not only would adding a new Amendment require a majority vote by our federal Congress, 3/4 of the state governments would also have to approve of the addition.