The Constitution gives Congress the power to create laws. After the House of Representatives and the Senate, the two houses of Congress, sign a bill, they send it to the White House. The president then decides the best course of action depending on a number of political factors.

Bill Becomes Law

A bill becomes a law in one of two ways. First, the president can take no action on the bill. As a co-equal, Congress cannot compel the president to respond. However, after the passing of ten days, upon no further response from the president, the bill becomes effective. Congress must be in session for a bill to become law in this way. Second, the president can always sign the bill, making it effective.

Bill Vetoed

Presidents reject, or veto, bills in two ways. First, the president can enact a pocket veto. A bill dies after ten days if the president ignores it while Congress is not in session. Congress cannot override a pocket veto. Second, the president can issue a regular veto, sending a message to Congress that the bill is unacceptable. Congress can override a presidential veto when at least two-thirds of both the House of Representatives and Senate vote to do so. The bill becomes law after a Congressional override.