How a Bill Becomes a Law

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How a Bill Becomes a Law
Part 2: How It Ends Up

Now, let's say that your bill has passed the House. It now goes to the Senate, first to the right committee. In the Senate, this is the Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee. Then, the process repeats. This committee discusses it, then votes on it. If they approve of the bill, then it goes to the full Senate. All 100 Senators discuss it, debate it, then vote on it. If 51 Senators vote in favor of the bill, then it passes and goes to the President to sign.

If the President signs the bill, it becomes a law. If he doesn't like it, he can veto it and send it back to Congress. Both houses of Congress then have three choices:

  • They can change the bill so it is more to the President's liking;
  • They can agree that the bill will never be passed and let it go;
  • They can vote to override the President's veto.

For this last thing to happen, they need to have two-thirds of the members of both houses vote to override. In the Senate, this is 67. In the House, this is 290. If either house fails to get to that number, then the President's veto stands and the bill will not become a law.

Good news for you: The Senate passed your bill, and the President has signed it. Your bill is now a law.



First page > How It Starts > Page 1, 2

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David White