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United States Government Information

U.S. Senate

U.S. House of Representatives

U.S. House of Representatives view the congressional schedule, search House Votes, and find summaries of debates on the House floor through the Office of the Clerk.

Leadership Information of the U.S. House of Representatives includes Speakers of the House, Majority and Mintority Leaders, Democratic Whips, Republican Whips, and includes historical data.

How to Contact U.S. Representatives

Congressional Indexes

CIS Index and CIS Annual (Congressional Information Service)
Catalogs, abstracts, and indexes all publications of Congress, except bills and the Congressional Record. Covers reports, documents, committee prints, and hearings. Includes legislative histories of public laws. Indexes by subject, name (author, witness), bill, report, and document number from 1970-current. Request from Five College Depository or visit UMass Amherst Call Number: KF49.C62

Find Bills

Congressional Bills (1993-Present) from the U.S. Government Printing Office, FDsys.

THOMAS (Full Text of Bills from 1989-Present and Bill Summary & Status available from 1973-Present) from the Library of Congress.  Additional features include browse bills by sponsor, search bill text from multiple congresses, and view all bills presented to the President during the current Congress.  Tip: Use the CRS Summary featured in the bill text to get an overview of the proposed legislation.

History of Bills (1983-Present) lists legislative actions on bills that are reported in the Congressional Record Index, which is a biweekly publication from the Joint Committee on Printing.  Each volume of the Congressional Record Index is cumulative from the beginning of each congressional session.  A typical entry includes a bill number, title, summary, names of sponsors and cosponsors, and a chronological list of actions on the bill.  Each action references a Congressional Record page number and the date when the action was reported in the format "S5798 [9JN]" (page 5798 in the Senate section from the June 9 issue for that year.) 

* Find Public & Private Laws using the drop-down menu under the Legislative tab.

Guide to Bills

Congressional bills are legislative proposals from the House of Representatives and Senate within the United States Congress. There are six different types of bills.

Definitions of Types of Legislation



House Bill


Senate Bill

Bills from each house are assigned a number in the order in which they are introduced, starting at the beginning of each Congress (first and second sessions). Public bills pertain to matters that affect the general public or classes of citizens, while private bills pertain to individual matters that affect individuals and organizations, such as claims against the Government.  House bills (H.R.) and Senate bills (S.) require the approval of both chambers (ie House and Senate) and the signature of the President to become law.

Joint Resolutions

H.J. Res.

House Joint Resolution

S.J. Res.

Senate Joint Resolution

A joint resolution is a legislative proposal that requires the approval of both houses and the signature of the President, just as a bill does. Resolutions from each house are assigned a number in the order in which they are introduced, starting at the beginning of each Congress (first and second sessions). There is no real difference between a bill and a joint resolution. Joint resolutions generally are used for limited matters, such as a single appropriation for a specific purpose. They are also used to propose amendments to the Constitution. A joint resolution has the force of law, if approved. Joint resolutions become a part of the Constitution when three-quarters of the states have ratified them; they do not require the President's signature.

Concurrent Resolutions

H. Con. Res.

House Concurrent Resolution

S. Con. Res.

Senate Concurrent Resolution

A concurrent resolution is a legislative proposal that requires the approval of both houses but does not require the signature of the President and does not have the force of law. Concurrent resolutions generally are used to make or amend rules that apply to both houses. They are also used to express the sentiments of both of the houses. For example, a concurrent resolution is used to set the time of Congress' adjournment. It may also be used by Congress to convey congratulations to another country on the anniversary of its independence.

Simple Resolutions

H. Res.

House Simple Resolution

S. Res.

Senate Simple Resolution

A simple resolution is a legislative proposal that addresses matters entirely within the prerogative of one house or the other. It requires neither the approval of the other house nor the signature of the President, and it does not have the force of law. Most simple resolutions concern the rules of one house. They are also used to express the sentiments of a single house. For example, a simple resolution may offer condolences to the family of a deceased member of Congress, or it may give "advice" on foreign policy or other executive business.

(Source: U.S. Government Printing Office)

Congressional Votes

Congressional Votes Database (Washington Post) contains information on every vote in the United States Congress since the 102nd Congress (1991).

Recent Votes in Congress

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