Encl. (1) to COMDTINST 5860.2A
consent procedures that limit debate. However, a single objection prevents a bill from being
considered by unanimous consent. Any Senator may place a hold on a bill by giving notice that he
or she intends to object to a request to consider the bill by unanimous consent.
Engrossed Bill: A bill is called an engrossed bill after it passes either the House or the Senate.
After passage in one chamber, the engrossed bill is transmitted to the other chamber. A bill usually
retains the number assigned in the chamber that passes it first. For example, H.R. 450 passes the
House and is then transmitted to the Senate as an engrossed bill. H.R. 450 is then referred to the
appropriate Senate committees for review. After committee action, H.R. 450 may then be
considered on the Senate floor. The Senate may pass H.R. 450 as passed by the House, it may
amend the House version, or it may substitute its version of a similar bill for H.R. 450. If the
Senate makes any changes, it then returns its engrossed bill to the House as H.R. 450. The House
may adopt the Senate's changes, make more changes and send the bill back to the Senate for action,
or either chamber may request a conference.
Conference Committee: If a conference is requested, each chamber appoints members to a
conference committee. The conference committee attempts to resolve the differences between the
two engrossed bills, and it may adopt a compromise position between conflicting provisions. If it
reaches agreement, the conference committee prepares a conference report. Each chamber may
accept or reject the conference report. If both the House and Senate vote to accept the conference
report, then the conference committee's version of the bill is transmitted to the President for action.
As with committee reports, the conference report is not binding law but it is a strong indication of
Enrolled Bill: If both the Senate and House pass an identical bill or accept a conference report, the
bill is called an enrolled bill and is sent to the President for signature. The President may sign the
bill into law or veto it and return it to Congress, but may not change the bill. OMB may ask for
input for an enrolled bill letter to recommend whether or not the President sign a bill. Under the
Constitution, a bill becomes law unless the President vetoes it within 10 days, not counting
Sundays. Congress may override a presidential veto by a 2/3 vote.
Public Law: A bill is given a sequential Public Law Number after it becomes law (e.g., Public
Law 108-005 was the fifth law enacted by the 108th Congress). Public Laws are normally available
on-line at http://www.gpoaccess.gov/plaws/index.htm within several days after enactment. Many
laws are also codified by subject in different Titles of the United States Code. For example, many
of the laws governing the Coast Guard are codified at Title 14, United States Code. A law may also
be known by its popular name, such as the Coast Guard Hurricane Relief Act of 2005.
End of Congress: No pending bill may be considered after Congress adjourns at the end of its
second session, known as adjourning sine die. The bill must start at the beginning if it is
introduced in the next Congress.