How a Bill Becomes a Law

Topics: United States Congress, United States House of Representatives, Bill Clinton Pages: 3 (1118 words) Published: October 8, 1999
The road a bill takes to becoming a law is a long and tedious process. First, the proposed bill goes through the House of representatives. Once the bill has been approved by the House, it is then begins its journey through the Senate. After the bill has been endorsed by the Senate, the houses of congress then meet in conference committees to prepare the bill to be sent to the White House. To summarize, the path the bill takes to become a law is a fairly complex impediment.

Now to begin, the bill must primarily go through the obstacles of the House. First, a sponsor introduces the bill by giving it to the clerk of the House or placing the bill in a box called the "hopper". The clerk numbers and gives a title to the bill and is then entered in the House journal and in the Congressional Record in a procedure called the first reading. Immediately following the first reading, the Speaker of the house assigns the bill to a certain committee. The House has about twenty standing or permanent committees of which each has jurisdiction over bills in a specific area. The committee then studies the bill by hearing the testimony of experts or other interested people. In some cases, a subcommittee (140 in the House) conducts the study. The committee may revise and release the bill by reporting it out, or lay it aside so that the house cannot vote on it by tabling. Because the standing committee only chooses what they think is worthwhile, most bills die in committee, this is called "pigeon-holed". Before the bill goes to the floor for consideration, a bill reported by a standing committee is placed on one of five specific calendars: union calendar, house calendar for public bills, private calendar, consent calendar (no opposition), or a discharge calendar. The Rules Committee may call for quick action on the bill, limit debate, and limit or prohibit amendments. otherwise, a bill might never reach the house floor. The consideration of the house begins with the second...
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