Congress introduces legislation in four different forms: bills, joint resolutions, concurrent resolutions, and simple resolutions. The bills, designated as "H.R." or "S.", and the joint resolutions, known as "H.J. Res." or "S.J. Res.", may be enacted into statutes.
Bills and resolutions are found on microfiche filed in cabinets in the Microform Room. The microfiche are assigned the Library of Congress classification number Z1223 .A3. Within this classification number the fiche are organized numerically by the Superintendent of Documents classification number. Senate bills are filed under the number Y 1.4/1:, and House bills are filed under the number Y 1.4/6:. Senate joint resolutions are filed under Y1.4/3:; House joint resolutions, under Y 1.4/8:.
Bills and resolutions are numbered consecutively at the time they are introduced into Congress. Because bill numbers repeat themselves each Congress, the year or Congressional session is critical to finding the bill. To find all versions of a bill or joint resolution and track its progress, printed and online resources are readily available.
Visit Thomas or congress.gov for bill status and summary information from 1973 to the present. The full text of bills and resolutions beginning in 1989 (101st Congress) is also provided. FDsys has the full text of bills from 1993 (103rd Congress) to date. Two additional noteworthy bill tracking sites, each with unique features, are GovTrack and OpenCongress.
To track the status of bills, use the status tables in the CCH Congressional Index, the "History of Bills and Resolutions" section in the index to the Congressional Record, or the House and Senate calendars. LexisNexis and Westlaw supply files that contain the text of proposed federal legislation and files that track the legislation. On LexisNexis use the legis, genfed, or codes libraries and the bltext or bills files to find the texts; use the bltrck or bills files to trace the history of the legislation. On Lexis Advance begin typing ‘bill tracking report’ or ‘congressional full text bills’ in the search box and select the desired congress from the drop down menu. On Westlaw use the bc or bc-old databases for the texts of proposed bills and the billtrk and billtrk-old files for determining the progress of the legislation. On Bloomberg Law select the ‘Legislative & Regulatory’ tab, then ‘Search Congressional Bills’ for current bill text and tracking.