Congressional bills are legislative proposals from either the House of Representatives or the Senate. There are four types of bills proposed by Congress. All of them are identified by the chamber of their origin. Citations to legislative proposals are governed by Bluebook Rule 13.2.
1) Bills are proposed by a chamber in Congress, but they must be approved by both chambers and signed by the President of the United States. The bills are numbered sequentially in the order in which they are introduced and designated by the house of Congress in which they originated, either House Bills (H.R.) or Senate Bills (S.).
Although many bills are introduced, very few become laws, and during the legislative process a bill may be amended or changed many times. Comparing the language of the different versions of the bill and sometimes provide insight into the legislators intent Additionally, it can be helpful to review any bills related to the bill in question that may have died in Congress. As bills travel through the legislative process, different terms are used to describe the different versions of the bill. Terms you may come across in your research are:
2) Joint Resolutions are used for limited matters, like a single appropriation or specific purpose, like a Constitutional amendment. Like bills, joint resolutions also originate in one chamber of Congress and must be approved by both chambers of the Congress and the President. Joint resolutions are abbreviated as H.J. Res. for a House Joint Resolution or S.J. Res. for a Senate Joint Resolution.
3) Concurrent Resolutions originate in either the House or Senate and are used to make or amend rules that apply to both houses of Congress. They require the approval of both chambers, but do not need to be approved by the President, so they do not have the force of law. House Concurrent Resolutions are abbreviated H. Con. Res. and Senate Concurrent Resolutions are abbreviated S. Con. Res.
4) Simple Resolutions originate either in the House (H. Res.) or Senate (S. Res.), and require the approval of neither the President nor the other chamber of Congress. They are used to address matters that rest within one chamber and do not carry the force of law.