A bill becomes a law by going through the following steps (this is an overview, not a detailed account of every step of the process).
- Introduction. The bill must be submitted by a member of Congress in his or her house of Congress.
- Committee Referral and Markup. The bill is then sent to the committee that is in charge of that particular area of policy. The committee (and its subcommittees) may revise the bill before sending it on.
- Floor Debate and Vote. If the committee passes the bill, it goes to the full house for debate and to, eventually, be voted upon.
- Conference. If the two houses of Congress pass different versions of the bill, a conference committee must meet to iron out the differences so there will be only one bill.
- President’s Signature. The president must sign the bill (or let it become law without his, or someday her, signature). It then becomes law.