Joint Resolution

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Joint Resolution

A type of measure that Congress may consider and act upon, the other types being bills, concurrent resolutions, and simple resolutions, in addition to treaties in the Senate.

Like a bill, a joint resolution must be approved, in identical form, by both the House and the Senate, and signed by the president. Like a bill, it has the force of law if approved.

A joint resolution is distinguished from a bill by the circumstances in which it is generally used. Although no rules stipulate whether a proposed law must be drafted as a bill or a joint resolution, certain traditions are generally followed. A joint resolution is often used when Congress needs to pass legislation to solve a limited or temporary problem. For example, it is used as a temporary measure to provide continuing appropriations for government programs when annual appropriations bills have not yet been enacted. This type of joint resolution is called a continuing resolution.

Joint resolutions are also often used to address a single important issue. For example, between 1955 and January 1991, on six occasions Congress passed joint resolutions authorizing or approving presidential requests to use armed forces to defend specific foreign countries, such as Taiwan, or to protect U.S. interests in specific regions, such as the Middle East. Two of these resolutions—the Tonkin Gulf Resolution of 1964 (78 Stat. 384) and the Persian Gulf Resolution of 1991 (105 Stat. 3)—were used, in part, to justify U.S. participation in a full-scale war.

Another use of joint resolutions is to propose amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Resolutions proposing constitutional amendments must be approved by two-thirds of both houses. They do not require the president's signature, but instead become law when they are ratified by three-fourths of the states.

Finally, joint resolutions are commonly used to establish commemorative days. Of the ninety-nine joint resolutions that became law in the 103d Congress, for example, eighty-three were items of commemorative legislation.

Further readings

Bacon, Donald C., Roger H. Davidson, and Morton Keller, eds. 1995. The Encyclopedia of the United States Congress. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Congressional Quarterly. 1991. Congressional Quarterly's Guide to Congress. 4th ed. Washington, D.C.: Congressional Quarterly.

——. 1983. Congress A to Z. 2d ed. Washington, D.C.: Congressional Quarterly.

Dickson, Paul, and Paul Clancy, eds. 1993. The Congress Dictionary: The Ways and Meanings of Capitol Hill. New York: Wiley.

"Only Bills and Joint Resolutions Can Become Law." 1994. Congressional Quarterly News (December 19).


Congress of the United States.

References in periodicals archive ?
The bill still faces a major hurdle - when it faces third reading, the bill needs 100 votes because joint resolutions requires two-thirds of the body to be approved.
The House Committee on Appropriations has already approved and recommended the plenary consideration and passage of House Joint Resolution No.
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The Joint Resolution states that the repository is “renowned as an appropriate venue for citizens of the State with Tourette Syndrome to contribute valuable data, genetic samples, and material to help researchers worldwide to study causes and to work toward better treatment and a cure for this neurological disorder that affects thousands of State residents, as well as more than one million people across the nation.
A statement issued by the chamber said that the Senate passed a joint resolution annulling the current book of voters of the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and directing the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to conduct a new registration of voters in the region.
He told Mullen about Pakistan's reservations on the raid and a joint resolution passed in Parliament against the US-led drone strikes.
introduced a joint resolution of disapproval today in an attempt to overturn the NMB rule.
The first is, of course, the 2002 Joint Resolution in which Congress approved military action against Iraq.
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They also announced that Foreign Secretary David Miliband and his French counterpart Bernard Kouchner will go to the United Nations in New York where the countries will table a joint resolution setting out a framework to end the conflict.

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