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In the United States Congress, a joint resolution is a legislative measure that requires approval by the Senate and the House and is presented to the President for his/her approval or disapproval, in exactly the same case as a bill.

Generally, there is no legal difference between a joint resolution and a bill. Both must be passed, in exactly the same form, by both Houses of Congress, and both must, with one exception, be presented to the President and signed by him, repassed over his veto, or remain unsigned for ten days while Congress is in session to become a law. Laws enacted by virtue of a joint resolution are not distinguished from laws enacted by a bill. Constitutional amendments are passed by joint resolutions, which are not presented to the President. Instead, they sent to the states for ratification pursuant to Article Five of the Constitution.

While either a bill or joint resolution can be used to create a law, they are used differently in current usage. Bills are generally used to add, repeal, or amend laws codified in the United States Code and twelve annual appropriations laws. Joint resolutions are generally used for, among other things, the following:
  • To authorize small appropriations;
  • For continuing resolutions, which extend appropriation levels adopted in one fiscal year when one or more of the twelve annual appropriations acts have not yet become law;
  • To create temporary commissions or other bodies, such as the 9/11 Commission;
  • To create temporary or one-off exceptions to existing law, such as joint resolutions providing a day other than January 6 for counting electoral votes or providing for a Saxbe fix reducing the pay of an office so that a member of Congress may avoid the Ineligibility Clause and
  • To declare war.
  • To annex independent nations, (such as the case with Texasmarker and Hawaiimarker), without a treaty.


See also



References

  1. CRS Report 98-706: Bills and Resolutions: Examples of How Each Is Used



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