A bill is drafted and introduced in one chamber of Congress by a legislator; it is assigned a bill number, and referred to a committee. House bills are usually abbreviated “H.R. 2315”; Senate bills, “S. 425.” The bill may be amended at any stage of the legislative process an unlimited number of times. Changes in bill language as the bill is amended may be useful for inferring legislative intent, since they imply legislative choices. If a bill has not yet been enacted into law by the end of the two-year session, it is dropped.
Terms to Know
Engrossed Bill: Once a bill passes in its originating house, it is called an engrossed bill.
Act: Once a bill passes in its originating house and It is sent to the other house, it is called an act.
Enrolled Act: Once the bill passes both houses, it is called an enrolled act.
Enacted: Made into law.
Bluebook Rule 13.2 (b)
"Enacted federal bills and resolutions. Enacted bills and joint resolutions are statutes (rule 12). they are cited as statutes except when used to document legislative history, in which case they are cited as unenacted bills."
Sources for the Text of Congressional Bills and Resolutions
In the Library:
NOTE: Beginning with the 96th Congress it is necessary to consult a Finding Aid located on top of the microfiche cabinets.
1789-1933................................ Center for Research Libraries (microform - request through interlibrary loan)
1789-1921................................. The University of Washington has an incomplete set of this time period. This set is microform - request through interlibrary loan. For interlibrary loan purposes the official title is Congressional bills, resolutions, and laws.
See also guide to bill versions