Federal Legislative Process*
Any member of the House or Senate may introduce a bill.
Bills are referred to the appropriate committee based on the subject.
Once a committee approves a bill, it is sent to the floor of each chamber for a vote. A bill must pass in both houses of Congress before it can become law.
House Floor Vote:
Senate Floor Vote:
If there are differences in the bills passed by the House and Senate, the bills move to a Conference Committee so that the differences between the two bills can be reconciled.
President Signs into Law:
If a bill passes, the President has 10 days to sign a bill into law or veto it (if the President does nothing, the bill becomes law).
Federal Regulatory Process
Regulations, also known as rules, are issued by agencies to implement new, or modify existing, programs authorized by Congress.
Agencies may issue regulations in response to:
Agencies issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to add, change, or delete regulatory text.
1. Agency Review Process: Multiple offices review based on subject matter; may be reviewed by the General Counsel and Office of the Actuary; agency may seek clarification from Congress and get stakeholder input.
2. Department Review Process: Typically reviewed by multiple agencies within a department.
3. Office of Management & Budget (OMB) Review Process: OMB only reviews “significant” rules (i.e., budget impact >$100 million or novel policy issue); may halt rules that counter Presidential policy priorities, legislative intent, or severely impact affected industries.
4. Public Comment Period: NPRM must be published in Federal Register; required 60-day public comment period (unless under expedited review); in some cases, the agency may hold a public hearing if needed, generally at the agency’s discretion.
Final rule may be revised from NPRM based on public comments; must allow 60 days before rule takes effect.
*Note: State legislative processes function similarly to the federal process. However details and timelines may vary among states. For example, many states are on a two-year legislative and budget cycle.