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United States Government Documents & Publications: Congressional Materials

A guide to locating U.S. government documents at the NYU School of Law Library and on the internet.

Congressional Record

Online
Print

BILL TEXTS

If you do not locate your bill at one of the websites listed below, you can also search to see if it was printed in the Congressional Record when introduced or after passage in one chamber (search in the Cong. Rec. Index), in a House or Senate report, in a House or Senate hearing, or in a compiled legislative history. 

NOTE: 
An enrolled bill 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.

An engrossed bill is the official copy of the bill or joint resolution as passed by one chamber, including the text as amended by floor action, and certified before it is sent to the other chamber.

GAO Reports and Comptroller General Decisions

Legislative Process - How a Bill Becomes a Law

How does a Bill become a Law? 

"Laws begin as ideas. First, a representative sponsors a bill. The bill is then assigned to a committee for study. If released by the committee, the bill is put on a calendar to be voted on, debated or amended. If the bill passes by simple majority (218 of 435), the bill moves to the Senate. In the Senate, the bill is assigned to another committee and, if released, debated and voted on. Again, a simple majority (51 of 100) passes the bill. Finally, a conference committee made of House and Senate members works out any differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill. The resulting bill returns to the House and Senate for final approval. The Government Printing Office prints the revised bill in a process called enrolling. The President has 10 days to sign or veto the enrolled bill." --- House of Representatives [n.d.]. The Legislative Process

For more information:

Hearings & transcripts, reports, documents, prints

Free Resources

Tracking bills, appropriations & congressional activity

VOTES

Legislative history