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Federal Government Documents and Information: Congress

This guide introduces patrons to government information sources available to members of the Morgan Community

Current Pending Legislation

House of Representatives

Introduced in the House


Introduced in the Senate





Introduction & Referral
In Committee
House Floor
To the Senate
To the President

Find more detailed information HERE.

Legislative Process

Laws begin as either Bills or Resolutions.  The difference lays mainly in the purpose of the legislation.  Bills are introduced by one or more members of congress in either the House of Representatives or in the Senate.

Bills are typically introduced for:

  • Authorization or reauthorization of federal policies, programs, and activities
  • Amendment of existing law (sometimes also by joint resolution)
  • Establishment of federal departments and agencies, or alteration of their structure
  • Revenue (tax) legislation (originates in House only)
  • Regular annual general appropriations
  • Supplemental appropriations (sometimes also by joint resolution)
  • Reconciliation bill (alters spending authority pursuant to instructions in a congressional budget resolution)
  • Private bill (provides specified benefits to named individuals)

Resolutions on the other hand come in three types: Joint, Concurrent or Simple, each with certain purposes:  

Joint Resolutions are used for:

  • “Incidental, inferior, or unusual purposes of legislation” (House Manual, section 397)
  • Declaration of war
  • Continuing resolution (extends appropriations for specified purposes until regular appropriations are enacted)
  • Transfer of appropriations
  • Adjustment of debt limit
  • Altering date for convening of Congress
  • Resolution of disapproval or approval (of specified executive action pursuant to a statute making a contingent delegation of authority)
  • Extension of expiration or reporting dates under existing law (e.g., date for President to submit budget)
  • Abrogation of treaty
  • Congratulations, condolences, welcomes, thanks, etc. (also by simple or concurrent resolution)
  • Proposed constitutional amendment (requires two-thirds vote in each house)

Concurrent Resolutions are used for:

  • Congressional budget resolution
  • Sense of Congress resolution (expresses “fact, principles, opinions, or purposes of the two houses,” House Manual, section 396. “Sense of Congress” provisions may also appear in lawmaking measures)
  • Adjournment sine die
  • Recess of either or both houses of more than three days
  • Correction of conference reports or enrolled bills
  • Request for return of measures presented to the President
  • Creation of a joint committee
  • Providing for a joint session of Congress

Simple Resolutions are used for:

  • Adoption or amendment of chamber rules
  • Special rule (for considering a measure) or “order of business resolution” (House)
  • Establishment of a standing order (principally Senate)
  • Privileges of the House resolution (principally House; to secure a chamber’s rights, safety, dignity, or integrity of proceedings, House Rule IX);
  • “Blue slip resolution” (House; returns a Senate tax measure as violating House privilege to originate revenue measures)
  • Personal privilege of individual Member
  • Election of committee members or chamber officers
  • Expulsion (requires two-thirds vote), censure, or other discipline of a Member
  • Disposition of contest to a Member’s election
  • Committee funding
  • Expenditures from chamber’s contingent fund (e.g., printing House and
  • Senate documents, also by concurrent resolution)
  • Creation of a special or select committee (e.g., investigating committee)
  • Resolution of ratification (advice and consent to treaty; Senate)
  • Resolution of inquiry (request factual information from executive branch; principally House)

Congressional Resources The home page for the U. S. Congress.  From this page you can access

  • Current Legislation contains bills and laws submitted during the current session of congress.
  • All Legislation contains bills and laws submitted during in all sessions fo congress from 1973 to present
  • Congressional Record a daily journal of speeches and other activity in the House of Representatives and the Senate (1995 to present)
  • Committee Reports Report findings of investigations and research on legislation (1995 to present)
  • Members a directory of current and former Congress people (1973 to present)
  • Nominations a list of military, judicial, executive and diplomatic nominations submitted to the Senate by the President  (1981 to present)
  • House Communications a compendium of communications between the House and other governmental agencies (2015 to present)
  • Senate Communications a compendium of communications between the House and other governmental agencies (1979 to present)

Historical and Other Resources

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