How Federal Laws Made
Congress is the administrative part of the central government and makes laws for the country. Congress has two authoritative bodies or chambers: the U.S. Senate and the U.S. Place of Representatives. Anybody who chose either body can propose another law. A bill is a proposition for another law.
legislation: an overview
The legislation refers to the preparation and enactment of laws by a legislative body through its law-making process. The legislative process includes evaluating, amending, and voting on proposed laws and concerned with the words used in the bill to communicate the values, judgments, and purposes of the proposal. An idea becomes an item of legislative business when it written as a bill. A bill is a draft, or tentative version, of what might become part of the written law. A bill that enacted called an act or statute.
The general procedure of enactment of legislation governed the relevant constitution. When a bill first introduced a sponsor it referred to a committee. If the bill must go through more than one committee, the first committee must refer it to the second. To accommodate interested and affected groups and to eliminate technical defects a bill can amended.
If the committee recommends that the bill passed, the bill placed on the agenda for action the full legislative body, or floor action. After a lengthy and complex procedure of deliberation and debates, legislators vote on the final passage of the bill.
In bicameral legislatures (legislatures that divided into two bodies as Senate and House in the United States government) the bill must passed through both houses in exactly the same form to become the law. When the two houses cannot agree on a final form for the bill, a complex procedure of compromise attempted. Once the bill approved by both houses and put into final form, it must signed by the executive. An executive can refuse to sign a bill and can return it to the legislature with a veto message explaining why. If the executive signs the bill, it filed and becomes law.
SOURCES OF LEGISLATION
Sources of ideas for legislation are unlimited and proposed drafts of bills originate in many diverse quarters. Primary among these is the idea and draft conceived by a Member. This may emanate from the election campaign during which the Member had promised, if elected, to introduce legislation on a particular subject. The Member may have also become aware after taking office of the need for amendment to or repeal of an existing law or the enactment of a statute in an entirely new field.
In addition, the Member’s constituents, either as individuals or through citizen groups, may avail themselves of the right to petition and transmit their proposals to the Member. The right to petition guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution. Similarly, state legislatures may ‘‘memorialize’’ Congress to enact specified federal laws passing resolutions to transmitted to the House and Senate as memorials. If favorably impressed the idea, a Member may introduce the proposal in the form in which it submitted or may redraft it. In any event, a Member may consult with the Legislative Counsel of the House or the Senate to frame the ideas in suitable legislative language and form.
In modern times, the ‘‘executive communication’’ has become a prolific source of legislative proposals. The communication is usually in the form of a message or letter from a member of the President’s Cabinet, the head of an independent agency, or the President himself, transmitting a draft of a proposed bill to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate.
What are the steps in the lawmaking process?
- A bill can introduced in either chamber of Congress a senator or representative who sponsors it.
- Once a bill introduced, it assigned to a committee whose members will research, discuss, and make changes to the bill.
- The bill then put before that chamber to voted on.
- If the bill passes one body of Congress. It goes to the other body to go through a similar process of research, discussion, changes, and voting.
- Once both bodies vote to accept a bill, they must work out any differences between the two versions. Then both chambers vote on the same exact bill and, if it passes, they present it to the president.
- The president then considers the bill. The president can approve the bill and sign it into law or not approve (veto) a bill.
- If the president chooses to veto a bill, in most cases Congress can vote to override that veto and the bill becomes a law. But, if the president pocket vetoes a bill after Congress has adjourned, the veto cannot be overridden.
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