Today, we’ll look at Section 7 of Article I of the Constitution. This section spells out the procedures for creating a new law.
This post is part of a series that will make more sense if it is read in order. If you haven’t read the earlier posts in this series, please click here to start with the first one. One reason I’ve broken this series into fairly small parts is that we have a tendency to rush through reading the Constitution and miss a lot of it. I hope the readers of this series will ponder the points in each session. I also hope you will comment on each post as we go along.
Throughout this series on the Constitution, my comments will be in black normal font, and the text of the document will be in this color and italicized.
SECTION 7. 1 All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.
The Senate does not have the authority to originate a tax bill—only the House. Once the house passes such a bill, however, the Senate must also pass it before it becomes law, and in that process the Senate’s may attach amendments, which must then be agreed to by the House before it becomes law.
2 Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the United States; If he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his Objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the Objections at large on their Journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such Reconsideration two thirds of that House shall agree to pass the Bill, it shall be sent, together with the Objections, to the other House, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds of that House, it shall become a Law. But in all such Cases the Votes of both Houses shall be determined by Yeas and Nays, and the Names of the Persons voting for and against the Bill shall be entered on the Journal of each House respectively. If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten Days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the Same shall be a Law, in like Manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its Return, in which Case it shall not be a Law.
Bills passed by Congress must be submitted to the President for his approval before they become law. If he disapproves, he must return the bill, along with a written statement of his objections, to whichever house originated the bill. If a two-thirds majority of the members present approves the bill, it is sent to the other house, along with the objections, and if a two-thirds majority of that house also approves, then it will become law without the President’s approval. In such cases, the votes of each member must be recorded in writing.
If the President fails to return the bill to Congress within ten days, it becomes law anyhow, unless Congress has adjourned in the meantime. In that case, the bill dies.
3 Every Order, Resolution, or Vote to which the Concurrence of the Senate and House of Representatives may be necessary (except on a question of Adjournment) shall be presented to the President of the United States; and before the Same shall take Effect, shall be approved by him, or being disapproved by him, shall be repassed by two thirds of the Senate and House of Representatives, according to the Rules and Limitations prescribed in the Case of a Bill.
This paragraph simply applies the rules for passing bills to the passing of other orders or resolutions which require the concurrence of both houses.
“We’ve given you a republic, if you can keep it.”
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