There are ten major steps followed for a bill to become a law, the steps are as discussed below:
Step 1. Birth
Any person may draft a bill, but the sate allows the congressional representatives to introduce legislations and become sponsors. The president can also propose legislation; even so, a member of the congress must introduce it.
Step 2. Committee Action
After giving a number and title to the bill, it is referred to a committee, which examines it carefully and determines its first chances of passage. A “ dead” bill is that, which the committee fails to act on it.
Step 3. Subcommittee Review
At this stage, the bill is referred to subcommittees for study and hearings (Egan p. 12 – 23). These hearings are meant to provide opportunities for putting on record the views of experts, the executive branch, opponents of the legislation and other public officials and supporters.
Step 4. Mark Up
After the subcommittee hearings, members of the subcommittee meet to make appropriate amendments before recommending the bill to the full committee. If the subcommittee votes in favor of the bill, it is sent to the floor.
Step 5. Ordering a Bill Reported
Upon receiving a subcommittee’s report, the full committee votes on its recommendations to the house or senate (Donovan p. 19 – 28).
Step 6. Voting
House or senate members vote on the bill after the debate and approval of the amendments. Most bills are usually shot down at this stage.
Step 7, Referral to Other Chamber
This other chamber receives the bill from the house or senate where the bill goes through the same procedure of the committee and floor action. The chamber might decide to reject the bill, approve it as it received it, change it or simply ignore the bill.
Step 8, Conference Committee Action
A conference committee is usually created to harmonize the differences between the house and senate. Both the house and senate must approve of the conference report.
Step 9: Final Action
At this stage, the bill is sent to the president, who signs it in case he approves it, thereby making it a law. However, if the president does not take any action within ten days, while the congress is in session, the bill becomes a law. The president can also veto the bill if he opposes it, or if he fails to take any action after the adjournment of the Congress (NHGRI 2012).
Step 10: Overriding a Veto
The Congress may attempt to override a veto if both the senate and the house pass the bill by 2/3 majority thereby making the bill a law.
National Human Genome Research Institute. How a Bill Becomes Law, web March 12, 2012
Egan Tracie. How a Bill Becomes a Law: A primary source library of American citizenship. New York: The Rosen Publishing Group, 2003. Print.
Donovan Sandra. Making Laws: A Look at how a Bill Becomes a Law: How government works. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Lerner Publications, 2003. Print.