The Legislative Process
All appropriations bills must originate in the House — other legislation can originate in either the House or Senate. This example has the bill originating in the House.
Bill is introduced.
Bill is assigned to a committee for consideration.
A sub-committee of the full committee considers the bill, marks it up (e.g. considers amendments) and reports it out, by majority vote of the subcommittee members. (In some cases a bill skips this step and is considered directly by the full committee.)
The full committee considers the bill, marks it up and reports it out, by majority vote of the full committee members.
Bill goes to the House Floor for a vote by all members. Members can offer amendments on the Floor to change the bill. A majority vote passes or rejects the amendments. Any amendments that pass become part of the bill. A final majority vote passes or fails to pass the bill.
The bill is sent to the Senate, where it must go through steps 2 through 5 as outlined above, in the Senate.
After both houses of Congress pass their versions of the bill, a Conference Committee is appointed (made up of members of the House and Senate Committees that considered the bill) to resolve the differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill.
The Conference Committee reports out a compromise bill which goes back to the Floors of both the House and the Senate for consideration.