The chief function of Congress is the making of laws. The legislative process comprises a number of steps and, on this page, you can find links to resources and information concerning legislation introduced and considered in Congress.
For an in-depth description of the legislative process in the House of Representatives, you can visit How Our Laws are Made and Enactment of a Law on the Clerk of the House's website. Abridged versions of how laws are made are also available for young learners, grade schoolers, middle schoolers and high school students.
The House of Representatives divides its work among twenty permanent and standing committees, each of which issues regular reports on its activities. Normally, before a piece of legislation is considered by the House, it is reviewed by at least one of the committees and a report is issued by that committee describing the legislation and indicating – on section-by-section basis – how the proposed statute changes existing statutes.
After a bill is introduced on the House or Senate floor, it is referred to the committee of jurisdiction (i.e., the committee charged with reviewing measures in the area of law or policy with which the bill is concerned). The committee of referral most often sends the measure to its specialized subcommittee(s) for study, hearings, revisions and approval.
If the bill passes the subcommittee with a favorable vote, it is sent back to the full committee for further consideration, hearings, amendment and vote.
- List of Today's Hearings Compiled by the House Radio-Television Correspondents' Gallery
- Congressional Committee Materials Online via GPO FDsys
The U.S. Code is the official compilation of current Federal statutes. The Code is arranged according to subject matter under 50 subject headings ('titles'). The Code sets out the current status of the laws, incorporating all amendments into the text. Prior to being added to the U.S. Code, individual laws are published in pamphlet form as "slip laws" which are later collected together in chronological order – not in subject order – as the Statutes at Large.
Proceedings of the House
The Congressional Record is the official transcript of the proceedings and debates of the U.S. Congress. A searchable version of the full text of the Congressional Record is published the day after each meeting of the House or Senate. To learn more about the Congressional record, visit: https://www.congress.gov/congressional-record/about.
Roll Call Votes
A roll call vote records how each Member of the House voted, but only a small number of the total bills introduced in the House of Representatives receive a roll call vote. Learn more about compiling a Member voting record and how to read the roll call information.
Rules and Precedents of the House
The House Rules and Precedents are the official documents that spell out the process by which legislation is considered by the House and its committees; as well as specifying the authority of the officers and committees of the House. Several collections of material explaining the rules and precedents are available through the House Rules Committee in their "Rules & Manuals" section.
Schedules of the House
Various schedules of upcoming House activities are available. House Floor Proceedings are prepared by the Clerk of the House and there is a House of Representatives Schedule listed on House.gov. The Democratic Whip's office also compiles a Daily Whip, Nightly Whip and Weekly Whip, as well as an annual House Calendar. The House Majority Leader's office also compiles a Daily Schedule and Weekly Schedule for the House floor, as well as regularly updated PDF versions of the annual House Calendar.
Sponsored and Co-sponsored Legislation
Before a proposed piece of legislation can be considered by the House of Representatives, it must first be sponsored by a Member of Congress (either a Member of the House or a Member of the Senate). Members of Congress who are not the primary sponsor of a piece of legislation may express their strong support for the legislation by becoming a co-sponsor of that legislation. Learn more about the legislation that Congressman Sarbanes sponsored or co-sponsored.