How Our Laws Are Made
This brochure is intended to provide a basic outline of the numerous
steps of our federal lawmaking process from the source of an idea for a
legislative proposal through its publication as a statute. The legislative
process is a matter about which every citizen should be well informed in
order to understand and appreciate the work of Congress.
It is hoped that this guide will enable every citizen to gain a greater
understanding of the federal legislative process and its role as one of
the foundations of our representative system. One of the most practical
safeguards of the American democratic way of life is this legislative process
with its emphasis on the protection of the minority, allowing ample opportunity
to all sides to be heard and make their views known. The fact that a proposal
cannot become a law without consideration and approval by both Houses of
Congress is an outstanding virtue of our bicameral legislative system.
The open and full discussion provided for under the Constitution often
results in the notable improvement of a bill by amendment before it becomes
law, or it may result in the defeat of an inadvisable proposal.
As the majority of laws originate in the House of Representatives,
this discussion will focus principally on the procedure in that body.
Previous Section | Next Section
How Our Laws are Made | Educational Stuff Main | Home