What is the Last Step in the Lawmaking Process

What is the Last Step in the Lawmaking Process.

“All Legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and Business firm of Representatives.”

Article I, Department 1, of the United States Constitution

The chief function of Congress is the making of laws.  The legislative procedure comprises a number of steps, and this folio provides information concerning legislation introduced and considered in Congress.

A much more in-depth discussion and presentation of the overall legislative process are available in the Library of Congress’s How Our Laws are Made and Enactment of a Police.

The legislative process in a nutshell:

  • First, a Representative sponsors a bill.
  • The bill is then assigned to a committee for written report.
  • If released by the committee, the beak is put on a calendar to be voted on, debated or amended.
  • If the bill passes by elementary bulk (218 of 435), the bill moves to the Senate.
  • In the Senate, the pecker is assigned to another committee and, if released, debated and voted on.
  • If the Senate makes changes, the pecker must return to the House for concurrence.
  • The resulting bill returns to the House and Senate for final approval.
  • The President and then has ten days to veto the last bill or sign it into law.


Any Fellow member in the Firm of Representatives may introduce a bill at whatsoever time while the House is in session by merely placing it in the “hopper” at the side of the Clerk’s desk in the House Sleeping room. The sponsor’due south signature must appear on the bill, which may accept an unlimited number of cosponsoring Members. The bill is assigned its legislative number by the Clerk and referred to the committee of jurisdiction, which is the commission charged with review of the beak.

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The Business firm of Representatives divides its work amid over xx permanent committees.  Subsequently a neb is introduced and referred to the committee of jurisdiction, the commission will frequently send the measure out to its specialized subcommittee(south) for study, hearings, revisions, and approval.

Usually, the outset step in this process is a public hearing where the commission or subcommittee members hear witnesses representing various viewpoints on the measure.  After hearings are completed, the bill is considered in a session that is popularly known as the “mark-upwardly” session.  At this indicate, amendments may exist offered to the bill, and the committee or subcommittee Members vote to accept or pass up these changes.  At the decision of deliberation, a vote of committee or subcommittee Members is taken to determine what action to take on the mensurate. It tin be reported, with or without amendment, or tabled, which means no further action on it will occur.  Tabling effectively “kills” the measure.  If the committee has approved extensive amendments, they may decide to report a new bill incorporating all the amendments. This is known equally a “clean bill,” which will have a new number.

A measure is fix for consideration by the full House later on information technology has been reported by a committee.


Consideration of a measure by the full House can be a uncomplicated or very complex performance.  Sometimes, consideration may be governed by a “rule.”  A rule is itself a elementary resolution, which must exist passed by the Firm and that sets out the particular rules of debate for a specific bill (i.due east. how much time will be allowed for debate, whether amendments tin exist offered, and other matters).

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Fence time for a measure is normally divided betwixt proponents and opponents. Each side yields time to those Members who wish to speak on the bill.  When amendments are offered, these are also debated and voted upon.  After all debate is ended and amendments decided upon, the Business firm votes on final passage.

In some cases, a vote to “recommit” the bill to commission is requested. This is normally an effort by opponents to alter some portion or table the mensurate. If the effort to recommit fails, a vote on final passage is ordered.

Votes may be taken by the electronic voting system, which registers each individual Member’southward response. These are referred to equally recorded votes, and are bachelor in the record of roll call votes.  Votes in the House may besides be past voice vote; in that instance, no record of individual responses is available.

SENATE Activity

Later a measure passes in the Business firm, it goes to the Senate for consideration.  This includes consideration by a Senate committee or subcommittee, similar to the path of a bill in the Business firm.  A nib must pass both bodies in the same form before it can be presented to the President for signature into police.


If the Senate changes the linguistic communication of the mensurate, it must render to the Business firm for concurrence or additional changes.  This back-and-forth negotiation may occur on the House floor, with the House accepting or rejecting Senate amendments or complete Senate text.

Often, a briefing committee will be appointed with both House and Senate Members.  This grouping will resolve the differences in committee and report the identical measure dorsum to both bodies for a vote. Conference committees as well outcome reports outlining the final version of the measure out.

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After a measure has been passed in identical form by both the Business firm and Senate, it is considered “enrolled.”  The enrolled nib is sent to the President who may sign the measure into law, veto it and return it to Congress, allow it become law without signature, or at the stop of a session, pocket-veto it.

OTHER Resource

Additional textile explaining the rules and precedents of the House are available through the Democratic Office of the House Rules Commission.

On the Floor

Find a Bill

Guide to Legislative Votes

What is the Last Step in the Lawmaking Process

Source: https://keating.house.gov/policy-work/legislative-process

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