For the most part, when people think about who is responsible for making the laws in the United States government, they generally think about the three branches of government, which are the judicial, legislative, and executive branches. One of the biggest misconceptions that the general population has about the American system of government is that political figures are the only ones with ideas for how to make the United States stronger. In reality, when it comes to lawmaking in the USA, it is often the every day person that is actually at the core of many of the laws that have been passed in the United States.
There are ten steps, give or take, that potential legislation must go through. Step number one often starts with a common every day person that has an issue that they believe needs a legislative remedy. That person can speak with his or her neighbors and friends about their idea, and as a group they can draft a proclamation, or a rough draft of a bill, and then lobby and garner support from their legislator, who can then, review and advise the proposed legislation to introduce it to his or her legislative committee. Both the United States House of Representatives, and the United States Senate have committees that revise bills.
If a bill makes it out of a committee, it is then reviewed by a subcommittee to be examined and hearings are conducted so that the opinions of the bill’s supporters, opponents, and the executive branch can be recorded. Once the bill has gone through the hearing process the subcommittee may then choose to make changes and or amendments to the bill, and then make a recommendation to either send the bill to the full committee or not. If it gets a yes vote, the bill then moves on to the floor to be voted on. The bill then goes through a process called “ordering a bill reported”, where a vote is taken on whether a recommendation should be made to the House or the Senate.
Once a bill has been ordered on the floor of the House or the Senate, it is then voted on. If it is passed by the Senate or the House it is then sent to the other chamber to be argued. The bill can be ignored, rejected, amended, or approved. If there are significant changes to the bill by one of the chambers, the bill is then sent to a conference committee to see if an agreement can be made between the two chambers.
Once the House and the Senate come to a consensus and a bill is approved, it is then sent to the president for review. The president may choose to sign the bill, thus making it law, take no action on the bill, which would mean that if congress is in session it will automatically become law in ten days, or the president can choose to veto the bill. Congress does have the power to override the president’s veto if a two-thirds majority of both the House and the Senate pass the bill.