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Congressional Help: Bill Text & Bill Profile

Contents

Please note: the content viewed in ProQuest® Congressional varies according to the subscriptions/purchases of individual institutions.

About Bills  

A bill is a legislative proposal before Congress. It may also be known as a "measure", "proposal", or "legislation".    Bill Text provides the full text of the bill, and Bill Amendments provide the full text of amendments to the bill.  Note that Bill Amendments are available through 1991 as a separate document type.

About Bill Profiles

Bill Profiles describe a specific legislative proposal and provide:

  • an overview of its progression through Congress. 
  • information on bill sponsors
  • links to the complete text of different versions of the bill

Collections that include Bills  

 

The ProQuest Digital Complete Prospective subscription contains bills as well as other content types.

Accessing Bills  

Use the Basic Search Form, Advanced Search Form, or Search By Number Form

These forms are found under the Congressional or the Legislative & Executive Publications links in the menu bar across the top of the interface.

 

 

From the Advanced Search Form, the following fields may be used:

  • Anywhere except full text
  • Anywhere (including full text)

Additionally, the Bills panel can be used to search for special fields, such as Bill Sponsor.

From the Search by Number pages, the following search options may be used to retrieve bill information:

  • Bill number
  • Public Law number
  • Statute at Large citation

Types of Bills  

What is a bill?

Abbreviation Name
H.R. House Bill
S. Senate Bill

A bill is a legislative proposal brought before Congress in either the House or the Senate. Bills introduced in the House are assigned sequential numbers in the order in which they are introduced and are preceded by "H.R.". Bills introduced in the Senate are assigned sequential numbers preceded by "S.".

  • The House adopted a sequential numbering system in which bills were numbered consecutively for an entire Congress in the 15th Congress (1817), and the Senate began using the same numbering system in the 30th Congress (1847). Prior to that time, the Senate numbering system provided that sequential numbering started anew at the beginning of each congressional session.
  • Bills within a single numbering sequence may be either public or private. Public bills pertain to matters that affect the general public or classes of citizens and become public laws if enacted. Private bills are concerned with relief or related actions with limited applicability and, if enacted, become private laws. The distinction between public and private bills has not always been clear, especially in bills from the earlier Congresses.

 

What is a Concurrent Resolution?

Abbreviation Name
H. Con. Res. House Concurrent Resolution
S. Con. Res. Senate  Concurrent Resolution

A concurrent resolution, H. Con. Res. or S. Con. Res., is a proposal that requires the approval of both Chambers, but does not have the force of law and does not require the signature of the President.

Concurrent resolutions may be introduced in either the House or the Senate and, upon approval by both, are signed by the Clerk of the House and the Secretary of the Senate. Generally, concurrent resolutions are introduced to make or amend rules that affect the operations of both Chambers or to express the sentiment of both Chambers. For example, a concurrent resolution may be introduced to set the time of Congress' adjournment or to convey the congratulations of Congress to another country on the anniversary of its independence.

Note: Beginning in the 55th Congress (1897), the concurrent resolutions passed by both Chambers have been printed as separate lists within the Statutes at Large.

 

What is a Joint Resolution?

Abbreviation Name
H.J. Res. House Joint Resolution
S.J. Res. Senate Joint Resolution

A joint resolution, H.J. Res. or S.J. Res., is a legislative proposal that requires the approval of both Chambers and the signature of the President, just as a bill does, in order to have the force of law.

  • Joint resolutions from each House are assigned a number in the order in which they are introduced. Joint resolutions may be introduced in either Chamber and generally are used for limited matters such as continuing or emergency appropriations or the designation of a commemorative holiday.
  • There is little practical difference between bills and joint resolutions, although only a joint resolution may be used to propose amendments to the Constitution. In the case of a Constitutional amendment, the signature of the President is not required, but three-quarters of the states must ratify the proposed amendment before it can become part of the Constitution.
  • Prior to the 77th Congress (1941), laws enacted by joint resolutions were numbered separately from bills in the Statutes at Large, but since that time there has been no distinction made between laws that were introduced as bills and laws that were introduced as joint resolutions.

 

What is a Simple Resolution?

Abbreviation Name
H.Res. House Simple Resolution
S.Res. Senate Simple Resolution

A simple resolution, H. Res. or S. Res., is a proposal that addresses matters entirely within the prerogative of one Chamber or the other. It requires neither the approval of the other Chamber nor the signature of the President, and it does not have the force of law. Simple resolutions concern the rules of one Chamber or express the sentiments of a single Chamber.

For example, a simple resolution may offer condolences to the family of a deceased Member of Congress, or it may express the opinion of one Chamber or the other on foreign policy or other executive business.

 

Bill Versions  

Each time a bill goes through a stage in the legislative process, it is printed by the GPO as a new version and made available on ProQuest® Congressional.

One specific example, S. 2712 from the 108th Congress, has 3 versions, including:  Introduced in the Senate, Engrossed in Senate, and Enrolled.  Often the bill itself contains the version name or abbreviation, however sometimes it doesn't appear.

Version Version
Abbreviation
Definition Chamber
Amendment Ordered to be Printed Senate as An alternate name for this version is Senate Amendment Ordered to be Printed. This version contains an amendment that has been ordered to be printed. Senate
Additional Sponsors House ash An alternate name for this version is House Sponsors or Cosponsors Added or Withdrawn. This version is used to add or delete cosponsor names. When used, it most often shows numerous cosponsors being added. House
Agreed to House ath An alternate name for this version is Agreed to by House. This version is a simple or concurrent resolution as agreed to in the House of Representatives. House
Agreed to Senate ats An alternate name for this version is Agreed to by Senate. This version is a simple or concurrent resolution as agreed to in the Senate. Senate
Committee Discharged House cdh An alternate name for this version is House Committee Discharged from Further Consideration. This version is a bill or resolution as it was when the committee to which the bill or resolution has been referred has been discharged from its consideration to make it available for floor consideration. House
Senate
Committee Discharged Senate cds An alternate name for this version is Senate Committee Discharged from Further Consideration. This version is a bill or resolution as it was when the committee to which the bill or resolution has been referred has been discharged from its consideration to make it available for floor consideration. Senate
House
Considered and Passed House cph Considered and Passed House – An alternate name for this version is Considered and Passed by House. This version is a bill or joint resolution as considered and passed. House
Considered and Passed Senate cps An alternate name for this version is Considered and Passed by Senate. This version is a bill or joint resolution as considered and passed. Senate
House
Engrossed Amendment House eah An alternate name for this version is Engrossed Amendment as Agreed to by House. This version is the official copy of a bill or joint resolution as passed, including the text as amended by floor action, and certified by the Clerk of the House before it is sent to the Senate. Often this is the engrossment of an amendment in the nature of a substitute, an amendment which replaces the entire text of a measure. It strikes out everything after the enacting or resolving clause and inserts a version which may be somewhat, substantially, or entirely different. House
Senate
Engrossed Amendment Senate eas An alternate name for this version is Engrossed Amendment as Agreed to by Senate. This version is the official copy of the amendment to a bill or joint resolution as passed, including the text as amended by floor action, and certified by the Secretary of the Senate before it is sent to the House. Often this is the engrossment of an amendment in the nature of a substitute, an amendment which replaces the entire text of a measure. It strikes out everything after the enacting or resolving clause and inserts a version which may be somewhat, substantially, or entirely different. House
Senate
Engrossed in House eh An alternate name for this version is Engrossed as Agreed to or Passed by House. This version is the official copy of the bill or joint resolution as passed, including the text as amended by floor action, and certified by the Clerk of the House before it is sent to the Senate. House
Engrossed and Deemed Passed by House eph This version is the official copy of the bill or joint resolution as passed and certified by the Clerk of the House before it is sent to the Senate. See H. J. RES. 280 from the 101st Congress for an example of this bill version. House
Enrolled Bill enr An alternate name for this version is Enrolled as Agreed to or Passed by Both House and Senate. This version is the final official copy of the bill or joint resolution which both the House and the Senate have passed in identical form. After it is certified by the chief officer of the house in which it originated (the Clerk of the House or the Secretary of the Senate), then signed by the House Speaker and the Senate President Pro Tempore, the measure is sent to the President for signature. Joint
Senate
House
Engrossed in Senate es An alternate name for this version is Engrossed as Agreed to or Passed by Senate. This version is the official copy of the bill or joint resolution as passed, including the text as amended by floor action, and certified by the Secretary of the Senate before it is sent to the House. Senate
Failed Amendment House fah This amendment has failed in the House. House
Failed Passage House fph Bill or resolution that failed to pass the House. House
Failed Passage Senate fps Bill or resolution that failed to pass the Senate. Senate
Held at Desk House hdh   An alternate name for this bill version is Ordered Held at House Desk after being Received from House. This version has been held at the desk in the House. House
Held at Desk Senate hds An alternate name for this bill version is Ordered Held at Senate Desk after being Received from House. This version is a bill or resolution as received in the Senate from the House which has been ordered to be held at the desk, sometimes in preparation for going to conference. It is available to be called up for consideration by unanimous consent. Senate
Introduced in House ih This version is a bill or resolution as formally presented by a member of Congress to a clerk when the House is in session. House
Indefinitely Postponed  House iph This version is a bill or resolution as it was when consideration was suspended with no date specified for continuing its consideration. House
Indefinitely Postponed Senate ips This version is a bill or resolution as it was when consideration was suspended with no date specified for continuing its consideration. Senate
House
Introduced in Senate is This version is a bill or resolution as formally presented by a member of Congress to a clerk when the Senate is in session. Senate
Laid on Table in House lth This version is a bill or resolution as laid on the table which disposes of it immediately, finally, and adversely via a motion without a direct vote on its substance. House
Senate
Laid on Table in Senate lts This version was laid on the table in the Senate. See also Laid on Table in House. Senate
House
Ordered to be Printed House oph This version was ordered to be printed by the House.  See also Ordered to be Printed Senate. House
Ordered to be Printed Senate ops This version was ordered to be printed by the Senate. For example, in the 105th Congress S. 1173 was considered at length by the Senate, returned to the Senate calendar, ordered to be printed. Then its text was inserted into its companion House bill which was passed by the Senate. Senate
Previous Action Vitiated pav This version is a bill or resolution as it was when an action previously taken on it was undone or invalidated. For example in the 102nd Congress for H.R. 2321 the Senate action discharging the Energy Committee and amending and passing the bill was vitiated by unanimous consent. The bill was amended, reported, and passed anew. Senate
House
Placed on Calendar House pch This version is a bill or resolution as placed on one of the five House calendars. It is eligible for floor consideration, but a place on a calendar does not guarantee consideration. House
Senate
Placed on Calendar Senate pcs This version is a bill or resolution as placed on one of the two Senate calendars. It is eligible for floor consideration, but a place on a calendar does not guarantee consideration. Senate
House
Public Print pp Any bill from the House or Senate may be issued as a public print. If a bill is issued as a Public Print more copies will be printed than are printed for an engrossed version. Public prints also number the amendments made by the last chamber to pass it. Public Prints are typically published by the Senate to show Senate amendments to House bills. They typically contain the text of a House bill, indicating portions struck, plus Senate amendments in italics. They are routinely ordered for appropriations bills, but the Senate occasionally by unanimous consent orders public prints of other significant bills. Senate
House
Printed as Passed pap This version is a public print of a bill as passed. Generally, appropriation bills receive a PP designation while non-appropriation bills receive a PAP designation. See also Public Print. Senate
House
Ordered to be Printed with House Amendment pwah This version shows Senate amendments to a House bill. It is similar to a Public Print from the Senate, except that it does not include portions struck, only the Senate amendment in the nature of a substitute in italics. See S. 1059 from the 106th Congress for an example of this bill version on a Senate bill. House
Senate
Referred with Amendments House rah This version was referred with amendments to the House. House
Referred with Amendments Senate ras This version was referred with amendments to the Senate. Senate
Reference Change House rch An alternate name for this bill version is Referred to Different or Additional House Committee. This version is a bill or resolution as re-referred to a different or additional House committee. It may have been discharged from the committee to which it was originally referred then referred to a different committee, referred to an additional committee sequentially, or reported by the original committee then referred to an additional committee. See S. 1016 for an example of this bill version on a Senate bill. House
Senate
Reference Change Senate rcs An alternate name for this version is Referred to Different or Additional Senate Committee. This version is a  bill or resolution as it was re-referred to a different or additional Senate committee. It may have been discharged from the committee to which it was originally referred then referred to a different committee, referred to an additional committee sequentially, or reported by the original committee then referred to an additional committee. See H.R. 1502 from the 105th Congress for an example of this bill version on a House bill. Senate
House
Received in House rdh An alternate name for this bill version is Received in House from Senate. This version is a bill or resolution as passed or agreed to in the Senate which has been sent to and received in the House. See the 105th Congress for an example of this bill version. House
Received in Senate rds An alternate name for this bill version is Received in Senate from House. This version is a bill or resolution as it was passed or agreed to in the House which has been sent to and received in the Senate. Senate
Re-engrossed Amendment House reah This version is a re-engrossed amendment in the House. House
Senate
Re-engrossed Amendment Senate res This version is a re-engrossed amendment in the Senate. See also Engrossed Amendment Senate. Senate
House
Re-enrolled Bill renr This version has been re-enrolled. Joint
House
Senate
Referred in House rfh An alternate name for this bill version is Referred to House Committee after being Received from Senate. This version is a bill or resolution as passed or agreed to in the Senate which has been sent to, received in the House, and referred to House committee or committees. Senate
House
Referred in Senate rfs An alternate name for this bill version is Referred to Senate Committee after being Received from House. This version is a bill or resolution as passed or agreed to in the House which has been sent to, received in the Senate, and referred to Senate committee or committees. House
Senate
Reported in House rh This version is a bill or resolution as reported by the committee or one of the committees to which it was referred, including changes, if any, made in committee. The bill or resolution is usually accompanied by a committee report which describes the measure, the committee's views on it, its costs, and the changes it proposes to make in existing law. The bill or resolution is then available for floor consideration. This version occurs to both House and Senate bills. House
Senate
Referral Instructions House rih An alternate name for this bill version is Referred to House Committee with Instructions. This version is a bill or resolution as referred or re-referred to committee with instructions to take some action on it. Invariably in the House the instructions require the committee to report the measure forthwith with specified amendments. House
Senate
Referral Instructions Senate ris An alternate name for this bill version is Referred to Senate Committee with Instructions. This version is a bill or resolution as referred or re-referred to committee with instructions to take some action on it. Often in the Senate the instructions require the committee to report the measure forth with specified amendments. Senate
House
Reported in Senate rs This version is a bill or resolution as reported by the committee or one of the committees to which it was referred, including changes, if any, made in committee. The bill or resolution is usually accompanied by a committee report which describes the measure, the committee's views on it, its costs, and the changes it proposes to make in existing law. The bill or resolution is then available for floor consideration. Senate
House
Referred to Committee House rth Bill or resolution as referred or re-referred to a House committee or committees. See 104th Congress for an example of this bill version. House
Referred to Committee Senate rts Bill or resolution as referred or re-referred to a Senate committee or committees. Senate
Additional Sponsors Senate sas Additional sponsors have been added to this version. Senate
Sponsor Change sc This version is used to change sponsors. House