STAGE 1: SENATE COMMITTEE
The bill goes through Senate committees for study and revisions.
I. SENATE COMMITTEE
The committee holds hearings, debates, and amends the bill. The committee votes sending a bill to the Full Senate (all members of the Senate) or to a subcommittee.
A subcommittee may or may not be needed. It is used when a large area has a smaller subdivision within it that needs study, or when more specific expertise is needed. After hearings, debate, and amendment, it is sent back to the originating committee. Example: Justice is a large division, and Forensics is a subdivision within it.
III. FULL COMMITTEE
The Full Committee reports on findings. It votes on whether to send the bill to the house if it has not been introduced there, or to the Conference committee. It can recommend, approve, or do nothing, which is called: "table" the bill
STAGE 2: SENATE ACTION
Senate leaders rule the action.
Similar action occurs in the Senate with one exception: THE SENATE DOES NOT HAVE A RULES COMMITTEE to set conditions for debate on the floor of the Senate. Instead:
SENATE LEADERS SCHEDULE THE INTRODUCTION OF THE BILL AND DEBATE ON THE FLOOR
II FLOOR ACTION
On the floor, a bill is debated, amended, defeated or passed.
III. If a version of the passed bill has not been sent to the House, it is done so at this time. It will go through a similar process and a vote by the House.
IV. CONFERENCE ACTION
If the House passes the bill, two versions of the bill are scrutinized for differences. Both sides need to agree on any changes before it can go to the President. Both chambers will get 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.