Bills: The principal vehicle employed by lawmakers for introducing their proposals (enacting or repealing laws, for example) in the Senate. Bills are designated S. 1, S. 2, and so on depending on the order in which they are introduced. They address either matters of general interest ("public bills") or narrow interest ("private bills").
Joint Resolution: Designated "S. J. Res." and numbered consecutively upon introduction, with one exception itrequires the approval of both chambers and is submitted (just as a bill) to the president for possible signature into law. The one exception is that joint resolutions are used to propose constitutional amendments. These resolutions require a two-thirds affirmative vote in each house but are not submitted to the president; they become effective when ratified by three-quarters of the States.
Concurrent Resolution: Designated "S. Con. Res." and numbered consecutively upon introduction is generally employed to address the sentiments of both chambers, to deal with issues or matters affecting both houses, or to create a temporary joint committee. Concurrent resolutions are not submitted to the president and thus do not have the force of law.
Simple Resolution: Designated "S. Res.," simple resolutions are used to express nonbinding positions of the Senate or to deal with the Senate's internal affairs, such as the creation of a special committee. They do not require action by the House of Representatives.
Laws and Acts
When a bill is passed in identical form by both the Senate and the House, it is sent to the president for his signature. If the president signs the bill, it becomes a law. Laws are also known as Acts of Congress. Statute is another word that is used interchangeably with law.
The United States Code is a compilation of most public laws currently in force, organized by subject matter. When a law has been amended by another law, the U.S. Code reflects this change. The U.S. Code collates the original law with subsequent amendments, and it deletes language that has later been repealed or superseded.