Order Code 98-728 GOV Updated February 2, 2001 CRS Report for Congress BiIIs, Resolutions, Nominations, and Treaties : Origins, Deadlines, Requirements, and Uses Richard S. Beth Specialist in the Legislative Process Government and Finance Division In each chamber of Congress, four forms of legislative measure may be introduced (or, for resolutions, submitted) and acted on: (1) bills, (2) joint resolutions,(3)concurrent resolutions,and (4) resolutionsof one house("simple resolutions"). The rules of the two houses include referencesto these four types of measures, and generally take for granted the distinctionsamong them, which have developed in the course of congressional history. Today, a bill or joint resolution is used when the purpose is to make law; a joint resolution is also used for the purposeof proposingan amendment to the Constitution. The other two forms of resolutions are used for internal business of Congress itself. Inaddition,under the Constitutionthe Senate acts on two forms of executive business: (1) nominations and (2) treaties. Executive business is so called because it is transmitted by the President, who must obtain the advice and consent of the Senate before the nomination or treaty becomes effective The table on the following page compares the formal characteristics and uses of these six different kinds of business before Congress: Form of Business: bill, joint resolution, concurrent resolution, simple resolution, nomination, or treaty. Designation: series inwhich the measure or executive business is numbered. Origin: who may formally introduce, submit, or transmit to Congress the measure or executive business. Deadline for action: point at which the measure or executive business ceases to be available for action (unless earlier disposed of). Requirements for approval: institutions required to act for the measure or executive business to be approved. Use: purpose or product that results from successful action on the measure or executive business. Congressional Research Service Preparedfor Members and Committees of Congress CRS-2 Table 1. Forms of Business Before Congress Form of Business Designation a Origin Deadline for action Requirements for approval Use Leqislative Business (Measures) Bill S. H.R. Member of chamber of introduction Final adjournment of a Congress Both chambers and President Law (statute) Joint Resolution (except to amend Constitution) S.J.Res. H.J.Res. Member of chamber of submission Final adjournment of a Congress Both chambers and President Law (statute) Joint Resolution (to amend Constitution) S.J.Res. H.J.Res. Member of chamber of submission Final adjournment of a Congress Both chambers (by two-thirds' vote) Constitutional amendment Concurrent Resolution S.Con.Res. H.Con.Res. Member of chamber of submission Final adjournment of a Congress Both chambers Regulation of Congress as a whole Resolution ("simple resolution") S.Res. H.Res. Member of chamber of submission Final adjournment of a Congress Chamber of origin Regulation of chamber of origin Executive Business Nomination [by name] President Adjournment of a session of the Senate, or a Senate recess of over 30 days Senate Confirmation (advice and consent to appointment) Treaty Treaty Doc. President Indefinite Senate Advice and consent Designations beginning with 3."are used for Senate measures:those beginningwith "H."for House measures. For each form of measure,the designation is followed by a sequence number (e.g., "H.R. I"). Deadline unless the business is earlier disposed of, or (for nominations and treaties) unless withdrawn by the President. For legislative measures, the maximum is the two-year life span of a Congress. Afler action by Congress, the amendment must also be ratified by three-fourths of the states, usually within a time period specified in the joint resolution. Deadline unless, when the Senate recesses or adjourns its session, it orders that nominations not be returned to the President. Otherwise, the maximum is the one-year life span of a session. This designation is followed by the number of the Congress and a sequence number (e.g., "Treaty Doc. 105-1"). Before the 97'h Congress, the form used was "Ex." followed by a sequence letter and the number of the Congress and session (e.g., 'Ex. A, 96-1").