[2016] Rachel Harvey: How a Bill Become a Law

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[2016] Rachel Harvey: How a Bill Become a Law

How a Bill Becomes a Law

The Process Begins

Laws begin as ideas. These ideas may come from a Representative—or from a citizen. If the Representatives are willing to move forward with it, they research the ideas and write them into bills, which are then to be proposed. The Representative talks with other Representatives about the bill to gain support for it. Once a bill has a sponsor and the support of some of the Representatives, it is ready to be introduced to the House.


A bill is introduced when it is placed in the hopper—a special box on the side of the clerk’s desk. After it is read to all Representatives by a clerk, the Speaker of the House sends the bill to one of the House committees. The committee will review, research, and revise the bill before voting on whether or not to send it back to the House floor. If the members want more information before sending the bill forward, it is sent to a subcommittee, where it is closely examined and expert opinions are gathered before it is sent back to the committee for approval.


When the committee has approved a bill, it is reported to the House floor and is ready to be debated by the House. Representatives discuss the bill and make changes if necessary. Afterwards, the bill is ready to be voted on and referred to the Senate. If a majority of Senators agree with the bill is ready to go to the President, which he can either approve it—making it law, veto it—sending it back to the House, or pocket veto it— making it law after 10 days.

If a bill has passed in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate and has been approved by the President, or if a presidential veto has been overridden, the bill becomes a law and is enforced by the government.

Rachel Harvey

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The Bill Is Law


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