Skip to content

ACT OF CONGRESS

act  of  Congress.A  law  that  is  formally  enacted  in  accordance  with  the  legislative  power

granted to Congress by the U.S. Constitution. • To become a law, or an act of Congress, a bill or

resolution must be passed by a majority of the members of both the House of Representatives and

the Senate. Bills or resolutions may generally be introduced in either chamber, except that bills for

generating revenue must be introduced in the House of Representatives. When a bill or resolution

is introduced in a chamber, it is usu. assigned to a committee. If it is passed by the committee, it is

reported to the full chamber. If it passes in the full chamber, it is reported to the  other chamber,

which  then  usu.  assigns it to  a  committee  in  that  chamber.  If  it  passes by  majority  votes  of  the

committee and full body in that chamber, it is reported back to the originating chamber. If its terms

have  changed  in  the  second  chamber,  it  is  submitted  to  a  conference  committee,  consisting  of

members from both chambers, to work  out a compromise. When the bill or resolution is passed,

with the same terms, by both chambers, it is signed by the Speaker of the House and the President

of  the  Senate (usu.  the  President  Pro  Tempore),  and  is  presented  to  the  President  of  the  United

States for signature. If the President signs it or fails to return it to Congress within ten  days, the

bill or resolution becomes law. But if the President vetoes the bill or resolution, it must be passed

by  a  two-thirds  majority  of  the  House  of  Representatives  and  the  Senate  to  become  law.  U.S.

Const. art. I, § 7; 3 The Guide to American Law 165–66 (West 1983). [Blacks Law 8th]