The legislation process beings with the filling of a proposal in either the House of Representatives or Senate and can be in one of four forms: the bill, the joint resolution, the concurrent resolution, and the simple resolution. The bill is the most prevalent form of these four types of proposals. There are two types of bills, public and private. A public bill affects the public in general, such as creating a law while a private bill affects a specified individual or entity.
Bills are identified by which house they were introduced. A bill that originated in the House is designated by "H.R.”, while bills introduced in the Senate are given an "S." a number is given to the bill that is retained throughout the legislative process. An example would be H.R. 257 or S. 720. Companion bill is the term given to a bill that is introduced in the House and Senate at the same time and are almost identical to each other.
A bill needs to be agreed to, or passed, in both the House and Senate before it can be given to the President for his signature to order the for bill to become law.
The President has 10 days to approve the bill. If he does not return it to the house where it originated, with objections, within 10 days while Congress is in session, it can become law.
The Congress can override the Presidential veto by a two-thirds vote in each house.
You can locate a bill by using the resoruces listed below. Please see the box below for information in locating bills before 1970.
For earlier bills not available in electonic format, you need to use a printed indexes listed below: