Having a clear understanding of the basic workings of government should be every citizen’s duty. This is because governmental power and its particular policies seep into our lives whether we like it or not.
Federal laws probably serve as the best example of how government exercises its authority over us. We follow these laws every day, and we know that there are dire consequences if we break them. In that regard, we at least have to know how federal laws are made.
Who is in charge of making Federal Laws?
While anyone can draft a bill, only a member of Congress is constitutionally mandated to bring it to the congressional floor as a piece of legislation. This is because Congress serves as the government’s legislative branch, hence lawmaking is their primary job. In fact, Congress not only has the power to make new laws, it is also endowed with the power to amend or change any existing laws as it sees fit.
How can a bill be passed into a Federal Law?
In order for a bill to be passed into a law, it has to overcome all the obstacles that come its way. Keep in mind that the bill initially passed to Congress may not come out the same once becomes a law. This is the legislative process is complex. In fact, there are countless bills that just end up on the cutting room floor after failing.
As mentioned before, anyone can write a bill themselves. However, most people do it in close coordination with a representative. After all, you will need a member of Congress to sponsor the bill. As the process starts, the bill’s sponsor and its supporters should best be prepared. It is highly unlikely that their draft will get through the process unscathed.
This is because the next step entails it being sent to a subcommittee, and then later to a full committee once the former is satisfied. Keep in mind that these groups are tasked with reviewing the bill. This means they are charged with looking over the different provisions and looking for any potential problems.
Compromises are often made during this part. This is This is where a bill can change, or it can also be where it dies. Oftentimes, committee members ask to make amendments to the bill, and this is completely within their mandate. Of course, there are also cases wherein bills are rejected by their respective committees.
Only after passing the full committee will the bill be sent to the floor for voting. Once the bill wins in its respective congressional house, it will be then sent to the other for another round of voting. Only bills that get through both houses will be sent to the President who has the choice to veto or sign it into law.
This article provided a quick overview of the legislative process so that we can have a better understanding of how federal laws become set in stone.