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Congressional Publications

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Bills and Resolutions

Introduction and guide to publications and records of the U.S. Congress, including legislation, Congressional Record, Committee Hearings and Reports and more.

Definitions: Legislation

Bills

  • Most legislation is introduced in the form of a bill
  • Public bills affect everyone
  • Private bills apply to a particular individual or group
  • To become law, must be passed in identical form by both houses of Congress and signed into law by the President
  • Senate designation "S"
  • House designation "H.R."

Joint Resolutions

  • For the most part virtually the same as bills
  • Exception to the above: Constitutional amendments are introduced as joint resolutions; if passed in identical form by both houses of Congress, these go to the head of the National Archives and Records Administration for distribution to the states for ratification
  • Senate designation "S.J. Res."
  • House designation "H.J. Res."

Simple Resolutions

  • Apply to only the rules, the operation, or the opinion of either house alone
  • Not signed by the President
  • Senate designation "S. Res."
  • House designation "H. Res."

Concurrent Resolutions

  • Apply to the rules, the operation, or the opinion of both houses
  • Not signed by the President
  • Senate designation "S. Con. Res."
  • House designation "H. Con. Res."

Source: Johnson, Charles W. "How Our Laws Are Made." Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2003.

Finding Bills/Resolutions

Congress.gov

  • Search by Legislation, Number, Words or Phrases back to the 93rd Congress (1973)
  • Options provided to refine by Congress, Sponsor, Committee or Legislative Action
  • The Advanced Search offers more tools to refine your search

govinfo

  • Full text of all published bills, 103rd Congress (1993-1994) to present

ProQuest Congressional (BC Community Only)

  • Full text searching back to 1789

Gov Docs Fiche

  • All 4 types of legislation can be found on gov docs fiche from 96th Congress (1979-1980) - present
  • Su Doc #s Senate:
    • Senate Bills Y1.4/1:
    • Senate Resolutions Y1.4/2:
    • Senate Joint Resolutions Y1.4/3:
    • Senate Concurrent Resolutions Y1.4/4:
  • Su Doc #s House of Representatives:
    • House Bills Y1.4/6:
    • House Resolutions Y1.4/7:
    • House Joint Resolutions Y1.4/8:
    • House Concurrent Resolutions Y1.4/9: