We have all seen that Schoolhouse Rock Episode before, right? “I’m just a Bill / I’m only a Bill / I’m sitting here on Capitol Hill.” It sure was a catchy tune, but do you remember any of the other specifics of the song? Do you have any recollection of how a bill becomes a law? If not, we are here to help by providing a quick less on how bills become laws.
Bills are born in the minds of the citizens of the United States. They are then given life in Congress. More specifically, they start off in the House of Representatives.
It works like this – a citizen or a representative comes up with an idea for a law. They do some research to find out if this is really going to be a good idea. If they still believe in their bill after doing their research, the next job is to find a sponsor.
A sponsor is another member of the House of Representatives who stands by the bill and believes it would make for a good law. The bill is then written out of a piece of paper and placed inside a special wooden box called ‘the hopper.’
Next, the bill is shared with the House of Representatives and more research is done. After this research, the bill is brought back in front of the House and it is debated. The pros and cons of the bill are discussed.
Once the debate session has ended, the House votes on the bill. If the bill passes with a majority vote, it is next sent on to the Senate, where this entire process is repeated.
If the Senate passes the bill, it is next sent to the President of the United States. This could be the final step. If the President approves the bill, he signs it, and it becomes a law. If he does not approve, he has the ability to veto the bill. If a bill is vetoed, it is returned to the House of Representatives.