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From the Congressional Glossary – Including Legislative and Budget Terms


My Twin Dolls
Creative Commons License photo credit: Ruth L

An Act of Congress (also called Act) is legislation (a bill or joint resolution) that has passed both chambers of Congress in identical form, been signed into law by the president, or passed over his veto, thus becoming law. A bill also becomes an act without the president’s signature if he does not return it to Congress within ten days, Sundays excepted, while Congress is in session. Technically, this term also refers to a bill that has been passed by one chamber and engrossed (prepared as an official copy).

Since the Continental Congress, commemorative legislation has been used to express public gratitude for distinguished contributions to American history and society; extol the virtues of individuals, groups, and causes; and perpetuate the remembrance of significant events. Today, commemorative legislation continues to serve as a formal mechanism to record recognition for posterity and a way for Members of Congress to connect with constituent groups.

Congress generally uses one of six types of legislation to commemorate individuals, groups, and events: postage stamps; commemorative coins; congressional Gold Medals; commemorative observances, including federal holidays; memorials; and building naming, including post offices.


George Washington’s Copy of The Acts of Congress


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Legislative Drafter's Deskbook: A Practical Guide

Legislative Drafter’s Deskbook: A Practical Guide

Pocket Constitution

Pocket Constitution

Citizen's Handbook to Influencing Elected Officials

Citizen’s Handbook to Influencing Elected Officials: A Guide for Citizen Lobbyists and Grassroots Advocates

Congressional Procedure

Congressional Procedure, from TheCapitol.Net

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