STAGE 1: HOUSE COMMITTEE
The bill is assigned to a SPECIFIC STANDING COMMITTEE with authority and expertise in the area addressed in the bill.
I. HOUSE COMMITTEE
The committee will hold hearings, debate, and amend bills. After debate, the committee will vote on whether the bill will go to the Full House (all members of the House) for consideration. Some bills will be assigned to a temporary subcommittee for more in-depth review.
A subcommittee may or may not be needed. It is used when the bill addresses a subset of a broader subject area.
Example: Agriculture is a large division, and Forestry is a subdivision within it.
III. FULL COMMITTEE
The subcommittee reports back to the original House committee to determine whether to send the bill to the Full House. The subcommittee can "recommend" or do nothing with it. To do nothing with it is to "table" it.
STAGE 2: HOUSE ACTION
I. RULES COMMITTEE
The committee sets up conditions for debate on the floor and chooses bills that need to be debated.
II. FLOOR ACTION
On the floor a bill is debated, amended, defeated or passed with a vote.
III. If a version of the passed bill has not been introduced in the Senate, it is done so at this time. It will be subjected to a similar process and voted on by the Senate.
IV. CONFERENCE COMMITTEE
If the Senate also passes the bill, two versions of the bill exist. If the versions are the same, they go to the President, but if a bill needs revision, the House and Senate come together in the Conference Committee and decide on the wording for a final version of the bill that addresses all concerns. The final version is given to the President for approval.
STAGE 3: PRESIDENTIAL DECISION
The president can sign the bill or veto it. If it is vetoed, the bill goes back to Congress for a vote.
If two-thirds of the majority vote yes, the bill becomes law without Presidential approval.