What is the difference between a congressional resolution and a bill?

Congressional resolutions and bills are both types of legislative proposals, but they serve different purposes and have distinct characteristics.

Here are the key differences between a congressional resolution and a bill:

Congressional Resolution:

  1. Purpose and Scope:
    • Resolutions are used by Congress to express opinions, sentiments, or decisions on matters within its own authority. They are often used for internal housekeeping, commemorating events, honoring individuals, or stating the position of Congress on a particular issue.
  2. Types of Resolutions:
    • There are different types of resolutions, including:
      • Simple Resolutions: Address matters affecting only one chamber of Congress.
      • Concurrent Resolutions: Address matters requiring the action of both the House and the Senate, but they are not sent to the President for approval.
      • Joint Resolutions: Similar to bills, require approval by both houses and can be sent to the President for approval or veto.
  3. Effect on Law:
    • Most resolutions do not have the force of law. They are statements or expressions of intent, and they do not go through the formal legislative process that leads to the President’s signature.


  1. Purpose and Scope:
    • Bills are proposed laws that, if enacted, will have the force of law. They can address a wide range of issues, including policy changes, appropriations, and amendments to existing laws.
  2. Legislative Process:
    • Bills must go through a formal legislative process, including introduction, committee consideration, floor debate, and votes in both chambers of Congress. If a bill is approved by both the House and the Senate, it is sent to the President for approval or veto.
  3. Types of Bills:
    • There are different types of bills, including:
      • Public Bills: Apply to the general public and can become law.
      • Private Bills: Apply to specific individuals or entities and often involve claims against the government.
      • Appropriations Bills: Authorize government spending.
      • Authorization Bills: Establish or continue federal programs and agencies.
  4. Enforcement and Law:
    • If a bill is signed by the President or if a presidential veto is overridden by a two-thirds majority in both houses, it becomes law and is enforced by the executive branch.


In conclusion, resolutions are primarily used for expressing opinions or making decisions within Congress, while bills are legislative proposals with the potential to become law.

The distinction lies in their purpose, scope, legislative process, and the legal impact they have once enacted or adopted.

To amply information:

Bills & Resolutions