U.S. Government Lawmaking Glossary

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  • House of Representatives: House of Congress made up of 435 representatives elected by the 50 states of America. Each state has a certain number of Representatives based on that state's population. California, the largest state, has the most. Some states have just one. Official House site
  • Senate: House of Congress made up of 100 Senators, 2 from each of the 50 states of America. Official Senate site
  • Committee: Select group of members of one house of Congress that specializes in one issue. Bills comes to them first. If approved by a committee, a bill can then be voted on by the full House or Senate. Examples include Agriculture, Energy, and Banking.
    House Committees
    Senate Committees
  • Veto: The President's official No vote on a bill.
  • Override of the Veto: Both the Senate and the House of Representatives may vote Yes again on a bill that the President has vetoed. In order for the override to succeed, the vote must be two-thirds in favor.
  • Introducing a bill: A member of Congress stands up on the floor of his or her house (Senate or House of Representatives) and announces a bill.
  • Sponsor of a bill: The member of Congress who agrees to introduce it and support it throughout the lawmaking process.

How a Bill Becomes a Law
The Presidential Veto

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David White