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How do congressional bills become laws?

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Quick Answer

When members of Congress introduce a bill for legislation, it goes through committee and subcommittee reviews, amendments, subcommittee reporting, and voting to approve the proposed amendments. The Senate or House passes the bill to the other chamber to undergo a similar process, after which a joint committee reconciles the differences. When both chambers approve the bill, they send it to the president who signs it to become law, states the National Human Genome Research Institute.

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Full Answer

Although any person can draft a bill, only members of Congress can introduce and sponsor a bill, claims the National Human Genome Research Institute. When a member of Congress introduces the bill, it is referred to a committee that examines its contents. A subcommittee is usually formed to incorporate views of experts, opponents of the legislation, members of the executive branch and other officials. The subcommittee amends the bill and recommends it to the committee, which approves and sends it to the floor.

The committee reports and recommends the bill to the House or Senate, which votes to approve or disapprove the amendments, notes the National Human Genome Research Institute. The House or Senate passes the bill to the other chamber which forms its committee to review and amend the bill. Both chambers form a conference committee which reconciles the amendments and reports the bill to both chambers for approval. When both chambers approve the bill, they pass it to the president who may veto it or sign it to law.

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