CRS report via LC: Bills, Resolutions, Nominations,and Treaties: Characteristics and Examples of Use – November 16, 2020. “In each chamber of Congress, four forms of legislative measures may be introduced (or, in the case of resolutions, submitted) and acted on: bills, joint resolutions, concurrent resolutions, and resolutions of one house (“simple resolutions”). In addition, under the U.S. Constitution,the Senate acts on two forms of executive business: nominations and treaties.This report provides a comparison of the formal characteristics and uses of these six different types of business. When Congress seeks to pass a law, it uses a bill or joint resolution, which must be passed by both houses in identical form and then presented to the President for the executive’s approval or disapproval. To regulate its own internal affairs, or for other purposes where authority of law is not necessary, Congress uses a concurrent resolution (requiring adoption by both houses) or a simple resolution (requiring action only in the house of origin). Bills are commonly used for lawmaking purposes such as authorizing programs, appropriating funds, raising or lowering revenues, and other major policy enactments. Joint resolutions are used chiefly for secondary, symbolic, or declaratory legislation but also for such matters as continuing appropriations, declarations of war, and proposing constitutional amendments. Concurrent resolutions are used for matters affecting both chambers, such as recesses, adjournments, and the congressional budget resolution. Simple resolutions are used for adopting chamber rules, committee assignments, discipline of Members, expressions of sentiment, and other housekeeping purposes in each chamber. The Senate also considers nominations and treaties. This “executive business” is so called because it is transmitted by the President, who must obtain the advice and consent of the Senate before the nomination or treaty becomes effective…”
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