Bills and Resolutions: Examples of How Each Kind Is Used

December 2, 2010 (98-706)

When Congress seeks to pass a law, it uses a bill or joint resolution, which must be passed by both houses in identical form, then presented to the President for his approval or disapproval. To regulate its own internal affairs, or for other purposes where authority of law is not necessary, Congress uses a concurrent resolution (requiring adoption by both houses) or a simple resolution (requiring action only in the house of origin). Characteristics of each kind of measure are described in CRS Report 98-728, Bills, Resolutions, Nominations, and Treaties: Characteristics, Requirements, and Uses, by [author name scrubbed].

Congress may use each of the four forms of measure it employs for a variety of purposes. The following lists identify the most prevalent uses of each and, as appropriate, give brief explanations of these uses.

Bills (H.R. or S.)

Joint Resolutions (S.J.Res. or H.J.Res.)

Concurrent Resolutions (S.Con.Res. or H.Con.Res.)

Simple Resolutions (H.Res. or S.Res.)