How a Bill Becomes a Law

1. A senator or representative introduces a bill by sending it to. the clerk of the House or_the Senate, who assigns . it a number and tide. This procedure is termed Ac first readings Ths_ clerks then .refers the bill to the - appropriate Senate or House committee.

2. If the committee opposes the bill, it will table, or kill, it Otherwise, the committee holds hearings to listen to opinions and facts offered by members and other interested people, the committee then debates the bill and , possibly offers amendments. A vote is taken, and if favorable, the bill is sent back to the clerk of the House or Senate.

3. The clerk reads the bill to the house—the second reading. Members may then debate the bill and suggest amendments.                              

4. After debate and possibly amendment, the bill is given a third reading, simply of the title, and put to a voice or roll-call vote.

5. If passed, the bill goes to the other house, where it may be defeated or passed, with or without amendments - If defeated, the bill dies. If passed with amendments, a conference committee mades up of members of both houses works out the differences and arrives at a compromise.

6. After passage of the final version by both houses, the bill is sent to the president. If the president signs it, the bill becomes a law. The president may, however, veto the bill by refusing to sign it and sending it back to the house where it originated, with reasons for the veto.

7. The president's objections are then read and debated, and a roll-call vote is taken. Other bill receives less than a two-thirds majority, it is defeated. If it receives at least two-thirds, it is sent to the other house. If that house also passes it by at least a two-thirds majority; the veto is overridden, and the bill becomes a law.

8. If the president neither signs nor vetoes the bill within 10 days — not including Sundays—it automaticaliy becomes a law even without ths president's signature. However, if Congress has adjourned within those 10 days, the bill is automatically killed; this indirect rejection is termed a pocket veto.

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