How a Bill Becomes Law Including the Presidential Actions
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”.
When the House or the Senate passes a bill, the bill is referred to the other chamber, where it usually follows the same route through committee and floor action. That chamber may approve the bill as received, reject it, ignore it, or amend it before passing it. If only minor changes are made to a bill by the other chamber, the legislation usually goes back to the originating chamber for a concurring vote. However, when the House and Senate versions of the bill contain significant and/or numerous differences, a conference committee is officially appointed to reconcile the differences between the two versions in a single bill. If the conferees are unable to reach agreement, the legislation dies. If agreement is reached, a conference report is prepared describing the committee members’ recommendations for changes. Both the House and the Senate must approve the conference report. If either chamber rejects the conference report, the bill dies. After the conference report has been approved by both the House and the Senate, the final bill is sent to the President. If the President approves the legislation, he signs it and it becomes law. If the President does not take action for 10 days while Congress is in session, the bill automatically becomes law. If the President opposes the bill, he can veto it; or if the President takes no action and Congress adjourns its session, it is a "pocket veto" and the legislation dies.
In some cases, bills are subjected to a conference committee that is constituted by members from both the house and the senate. This is done in order to reconcile any issues that may be covered by two such bills that may be in both chambers. After careful deliberation, a compromise is then normally reached and a conference report submitted to both chambers on the same (DeDecker, 2008). Upon the president signing, the bill then immediately becomes law; but if the president decides to veto it, the bill is taken back to congress where it is drafted again or his decision can be overturned by a two thirds majority in both houses. The head of state is allowed a period of ten days to carefully look at the bill and raise any concerns. Once this period expires, the bill becomes law without further delay.(DeDecker, 2008). The new laws are then published and given numbers. Drafts on how they will be executed are drawn and incorporated in the US code.
In the end, if the President vetoes a bill, Congress may attempt to override the veto. If both the Senate and the House pass the bill by a two-thirds majority, the President's veto is overruled, and the bill becomes a law.
DeDecker, S. (2008). How a Bill Becomes a Law. UCSB Libraries.
Sullivan, V. (2007). How our laws are made. The library of congress.