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An Act of Congress How does a bill become a law There are two houses in Congress The House of Representatives and the Senate Both of which may introduce a new piece of legislation But each has different guidelines that they must follow to do this The guideline in the house is a new Piece of legislation is handed to the clerk of the House who then places it in a hopper which is a box on the Clerks desk In the Senate the member gains the recognition of the presiding officer and is then given a time slot in that day when he or she may present the new bill Once this is done it then becomes known as a bill and is assigned a number Something like HR 3 for House of Representatives or S2 for Senate They put the persons name on it and he becomes known as the sponsor as he is the person originating the bill Bills may be jointly sponsored or members may co-sponsor the piece of legislation Co-sponsors are nothing more than additional members that join in or support that bill Referral to Committee The new bill is now referred to a committee or a subcommittee which are just groups of Congressmen who have jurisdiction over the area affected by this measure A very important phase of the legislative process is the action taken by committees It is during committee action that the most intense consideration is given to the proposed measures This is also the time when people are given the opportunity to be heard Usually the first step once assigned to a committee is a public hearing Here committee members hear witnesses representing various viewpoints on the measure Each committee makes public the date place and subject of any hearing it conducts A transcript of all the testimony is made available of these proceedings After the hearing is completed the bill is considered in
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