Describe in detail the steps of a bill becoming a law.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In the United States, according to the Constitution, there are several steps in a bill becoming a law.  These are extensions to the principles and ideas that are found within the Constitution.  A bill starts out as an idea that is motivated from particular constituents of a member of Congress.  There is some need that needs to be addressed and this need is what forms legislation.  A bill can start in either the House of Representatives or the Senate, although the Constitution states that all revenue bills must start in the House.  The bill is refined and developed in committee action, where a select group of expert Congressional members debate and discuss different aspects of the topic area and form the actual language of the bill. Once submitted and passed through committee, the bill goes to the floor of the particular chamber of Congress (House or Senate) for floor action, where members have their particular say on the bill in terms of discussion and discourse.  Once a form of the bill has been agreed upon, the chamber votes.  If there is a majority, then it goes on to the next portion of Congress for further debate and refining.  If the bill is voted in approval, it goes to the President's desk, who can choose to sign the bill or send it back to Congress for further changes.  Once signed, the bill becomes a law.  If the Congress can muster up a 2/3 vote in each portion to override the Presidential veto, the bill can become law in this manner, as well.

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