Glossary of Legislative Terms

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Concurrent Resolutions (H. Con. Res. or S. Con. Res.) - Measures concerning the affairs of both houses, such as an expression of mutual sentiment of budget limits, the creation of a joint committee, agreement on a joint session or joint meeting, or agreement on the time of final adjournment of the whole Congress. A concurrent resolution must be adopted by both houses, but is not sent to the President for his signature and therefore does not have the force of law.

Simple Resolutions (H. Res. or S. Res.) - Measures that are formal expressions of opinion or proposal for action. A simple resolution deals with matters entirely within the prerogative of one chamber or the other. It requires neither passage by the other chamber, nor approval of the President and it does not have the force of law.

Joint Resolutions (H. J. Res. or S. J. Res.) - Joint resolutions require the approval of both houses and the signature of the President, just as a bill does, and has the force of law, if approved. Proposed amendments to the Constitution and continuing and supplemental appropriations are usually drafted as joint resolutions.

Continuing Resolutions - Stopgap measures that keep all un-funded government operations running beyond the end of a fiscal year when any of the 13 annual spending bills have not been enacted. Continuing resolutions are also joint resolutions.

Suspension of the Rules - A procedure used to pass bills in the House. On Monday and Tuesday of each week and during the last six days of a session, the Speaker may entertain a motion to suspend the rules of the House and pass a public bill or resolution. The motion to suspend the rules and pass a bill is debatable for 40 minutes, one half of the time in favor of the proposition and one half in opposition. The motion may not be separately amended but may be amended in the form of a manager's amendment included in the motion when it is offered. Because the rules may be suspended and the bill passed only by affirmative vote of the two thirds of the Members voting, a quorum being present, this procedure is usually used only for expedited consideration of relatively non-controversial public measures.

Companion Bill - A bill introduced in one chamber that is similar or identical to a bill introduced in the other chamber.

  • Posted: February 16, 2016