is introduced when a member of Congress decides to create a new
law. Any member of Congress can introduce a bill. Only members of
the House may introduce bills that deal with taxes or spending.
Before a bill can become a law, both houses of Congress must pass
identical versions of the bill.
Once a bill
is introduced in either house, it goes through almost the same process.
Each bill is first assigned to a committee for review. The bill
is tabled, or set aside, if the committee decides the bill is not
worthy. The bill is sent to the entire house for debate if the committee
decides the bill is worthy of further action.
If the bill
passes, it is sent to the other house. A joint committee works out
any differences the two houses of Congress have concerning a bill.
When both houses agree on a bill, the Speaker of the House and the
vice president sign it. The bill must be signed before being sent
to the president.
In each two-year
session, thousands of bills come before Congress. Almost twelve
thousand bills were introduced in Congress in one recent session.
Less than five hundred were enacted into law.