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Legislation, Laws, and Acts

There are four types of legislation: bills, joint resolutions, concurrent resolutions, and simple resolutions. Each are described in detail here

Chapter 1:Bills
Chapter 2:Joint Resolutions
Chapter 3:Concurrent Resolutions
Chapter 4:Simple Resolutions

Laws and Acts

When a bill is passed in identical form by both the Senate and the House, it is sent to the president for his signature.  If the president signs the bill, it becomes a law.  Laws are also known as Acts of Congress. Statute is another word that is used interchangeably with law.


The United States Code

The United States Code is a compilation of most public laws currently in force, organized by subject matter. When a law has been amended by another law, the U.S. Code reflects this change.  The U.S. Code collates the original law with subsequent amendments, and it deletes language that has later been repealed or superseded.



You can access legislative information, by bill number or key words, from the THOMAS Web site.  Information from the present back to the 93rd Congress (1973) is available on THOMAS.

Find out what issues are actively being discussed in the United States Senate.

See scanned images of bills and resolutions from the 16th Congress (1819 - 1820) to the 42nd Congress (1871 - 1873) and other other Congressional documents.

There are several ways to read the text of bills, including Web and print resources. Use this guide to learn how to find copies of bills.