How a Bill Becomes a Federal Law

Summary

The process of how a bill becomes a federal law is more than a series of linked steps. It is the fundamental way people in a democracy get involved and work through their elected officials to meet needs and solve problems to benefit themselves and other Americans. Through this lesson, students will learn about the dynamic process of federal lawmaking and how it relates to them.

In the Annenberg Classroom video “How a Bill Becomes a Federal Law,” Rep. Pete Sessions (R) of Texas meets with a class of high school students to talk about the lawmaking process from his experience in the House of Representatives. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) of California is interviewed and provides additional insights and information about how decisions are made. Throughout the video, both members of the 110th Congress respond to questions from the students.

The narrator describes a bridge-repair scenario that leads to a bill for the viewer/listeners to follow and relate to what Rep. Sessions and Sen. Feinstein have to say bout the process of a bill becoming a law.

The estimated time for the lesson is three to five class periods. It is aligned to the National Standards for Civics and Government.

Download the lesson plan