An Act of Congress is a statute enacted by the United States Congress. It can either be a Public Law, relating to the general public, or a Private Law, relating to specific institutions or individuals.
In the United States, Acts of Congress are designated as either public laws, relating to the general public, or private laws, relating to specific institutions or individuals. Since 1957, all Acts of Congress have been designated as "Public Law X-Y" or "Private Law X-Y", where X is the number of the Congress and Y refers to the sequential order of the bill (when it was enacted). For example, P. L. 111-5 (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009) was the fifth enacted public law of the 111th United States Congress. Public laws are also often abbreviated as Pub. L. No. X-Y.
The word "act", as used in the term "Act of Congress", is a common, not a proper noun. The capitalization of the word "act" is deprecated by some dictionaries and usage authorities. Some writers, in particular the U.S. Code, capitalize "Act". This is likely a result of the more liberal use of capital letters in legal contexts, which has its roots in the 18th century capitalization of all nouns as is seen in the United States Constitution.
"Act of Congress" is sometimes used in informal speech to indicate something for which getting permission is burdensome. For example, "It takes an Act of Congress to get a building permit in this town."
An Act adopted by simple majorities in both houses of Congress is promulgated, or given the force of law, in one of the following ways:
The President promulgates Acts of Congress made by the first two methods. If an Act is made by the third method, the presiding officer of the house that last reconsidered the act promulgates it.
Under the United States Constitution, if the President does not return a bill or resolution to Congress with objections before the time limit expires, then the bill automatically becomes an Act; however, if the Congress is adjourned at the end of this period, then the bill dies and cannot be reconsidered (see pocket veto). In addition, if the President rejects a bill or resolution while the Congress is in session, a two-thirds vote of both houses of the Congress is needed for reconsideration to be successful.
Promulgation in the sense of publishing and proclaiming the law is accomplished by the President, or the relevant presiding officer in the case of an overridden veto, delivering the act to the Archivist of the United States. After the Archivist receives the Act, he or she provides for its publication as a slip law and in the United States Statutes at Large. Thereafter, the changes are published in the United States Code.
An Act of Congress that violates the Constitution may be declared unconstitutional by the courts. The judicial declaration of an Act's unconstitutionality does not remove the law from the statute books; rather, it prevents the law from being enforced. However, future publications of the Act are generally annotated with warnings indicating that the statute is no longer valid law.
About Public Laws
An act of parliament, also called primary legislation, are statutes passed by a parliament (legislature). Act of the Oireachtas is an equivalent term used in the Republic of Ireland where the legislature is commonly known by its Irish name, Oireachtas. It is also comparable to an Act of Congress in the United States.Coinage Act of 1864
The Coinage Act of 1864 was passed on April 22, 1864. The United States federal law changed the composition of the one-cent coin and authorized the minting of the two-cent coin. The Director of the United States Mint developed the designs for these coins for final approval of the Secretary of the Treasury. As a result of this law, the phrase "In God We Trust" first appeared, on the 1864 two-cent coin. An Act of Congress, passed on March 3, 1865, allowed the Mint Director, with the Secretary's approval, to place the phrase on all gold and silver coins that "shall admit the inscription thereon." In 1956, "In God We Trust" replaced "E Pluribus Unum" as the national motto. All currency was printed and minted with the new motto.Denver Mint
The Denver Mint is a branch of the United States Mint that struck its first coins on February 1, 1906. The mint is still operating and producing coins for circulation, as well as mint sets and commemorative coins. Coins produced at the Denver Mint bear a D mint mark (not to be confused with the mark of the Dahlonega Mint). The Denver Mint is the single largest producer of coins in the world..Distinguished Flying Cross (United States)
The Distinguished Flying Cross is a military decoration awarded to any officer or enlisted member of the United States Armed Forces who distinguishes himself in support of operations by "heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in an aerial flight, subsequent to November 11, 1918."District of Columbia Organic Act of 1871
The District of Columbia Organic Act of 1871 is an Act of Congress that repealed the individual charters of the cities of Washington and Georgetown and established a new territorial government for the whole District of Columbia. Though Congress repealed the territorial government in 1874, the legislation was the first to create a single municipal government for the federal district.List of United States treaties
This is a list of treaties to which the United States has been a party or which have had direct relevance to U.S. history.
It is a very incomplete list. For an official list, updated at least annually, of U.S. treaties and international agreements currently in force (i.e., excluding those, some of which are included on this page, that are no longer in force, and that are signed but not ratified or otherwise have not yet entered into force), divided between (1) bilateral treaties organized by state and then by topic, and (2) multilateral treaties organized by topic, see the annual State Department publication Treaties in Force.List of sculptures in the National Statuary Hall Collection
The National Statuary Hall Collection holds statues donated by each of the United States, depicting notable persons in the histories of the respective states. Displayed in the National Statuary Hall and other parts of the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C., the collection includes two statues from each state, plus one from the District of Columbia, plus Rosa Parks, making a total of 102.
By act of Congress, which commissioned the statue in 2005, Rosa Parks is also there, though not representing a state. The year was 2013, the centenary of her birth. Hers is the only statue in the Hall not linked with a state, and the first full-length statue of an African American in the Capitol. Later that year (on Juneteenth, 2013), by act of Congress (P.L. 112-174), a statue of Frederick Douglass was added as a choice of the District of Columbia.Navy and Marine Corps Medal
The Navy and Marine Corps Medal is the highest non-combat decoration awarded for heroism by the United States Department of the Navy to the members of the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps. The medal was established by an act of Congress on 7 August 1942, and is authorized under 10 U.S.C. § 6246.
The Navy and Marine Corps Medal is the equivalent of the Army's Soldier's Medal, Air Force's Airman's Medal, and Coast Guard's Coast Guard Medal.Office of the Law Revision Counsel
The Office of the Law Revision Counsel of the United States House of Representatives prepares and publishes the United States Code, which is a consolidation and codification by subject matter of the general and permanent laws of the United States. The Office was created in 1974 when the provisions of Title II, sec. 205, of H. Res. 988, 93rd United States Congress, were enacted by Public Law 93-554, 88 Stat. 1777.
The counsel is appointed by the Speaker of the House and must
prepare, and submit to the Committee on the Judiciary one title at a time, a complete compilation, restatement, and revision of the general and permanent laws of the United States which conforms to the understood policy, intent, and purpose of the Congress in the original enactments, with such amendments and corrections as will remove ambiguities, contradictions, and other imperfections both of substance and of form, separately stated, with a view to the enactment of each title as positive law."
The counsel takes each Act of Congress that covers more than one subject, and makes the revisions indicated to each title of the United States Code. The counsel also regularly reviews the United States Code and proposes new titles to be enacted as positive law (meaning that they would displace all prior statutes on the same subject and become the law itself). Some proposed titles are simply updates of U.S.C. titles that were previously codified as prima facie evidence of the statutory law but have not yet been enacted as positive law. Other proposed titles collect the substance of all existing statutes on a particular subject from across the U.S.C. and the Statutes at Large into a new title.
The current counsel, Ralph V. Seep, was appointed by Speaker John Boehner, effective June 2, 2011.Specie Circular
The Specie Circular is a United States presidential executive order issued by President Andrew Jackson in 1836 pursuant to the Coinage Act and carried out by his successor, President Martin Van Buren. It required payment for government land to be in gold and silver.Taxpayer Bill of Rights 2
The Taxpayer Bill of Rights 2 (Pub.L. 104–168, 110 Stat. 1452, enacted July 30, 1996) is an Act of Congress. Among other things, it created the Office of the Taxpayer Advocate.Title 10 of the United States Code
Title 10 of the United States Code outlines the role of armed forces in the United States Code.
It provides the legal basis for the roles, missions and organization of each of the services as well as the United States Department of Defense. Each of the five subtitles deals with a separate aspect or component of the armed services.
Subtitle A—General Military Law, including Uniform Code of Military Justice
Subtitle C—Navy and Marine Corps
Subtitle D—Air Force
Subtitle E—Reserve ComponentsThe current Title 10 was the result of an overhaul and renumbering of the former Title 10 and Title 34 into one title by an act of Congress on 10 August 1956.
Title 32 outlines the related but different legal basis for the roles, missions and organization of the United States National Guard in the United States Code.United States Department of Transportation
The United States Department of Transportation (USDOT or DOT) is a federal Cabinet department of the U.S. government concerned with transportation. It was established by an act of Congress on October 15, 1966, and began operation on April 1, 1967. It is governed by the United States Secretary of Transportation.United States Department of the Navy
The United States Department of the Navy (DoN) was established by an Act of Congress on April 30, 1798 (initiated by the recommendation of James McHenry), to provide a government organizational structure to the United States Navy, the United States Marine Corps (from 1834 onward) and, when directed by the President (or Congress during time of war), the United States Coast Guard, as a service within the Department of the Navy, though each remain independent service branches. The Department of the Navy was an Executive Department and the Secretary of the Navy was a member of the President's cabinet until 1949, when amendments to the National Security Act of 1947 changed the name of the National Military Establishment to the Department of Defense and made it an Executive Department. The Department of the Navy then became, along with the Department of the Army and Department of the Air Force, a Military Department within the Department of Defense: subject to the authority, direction and control of the Secretary of Defense.United States Revenue Cutter Service
The United States Revenue Cutter Service was established by an act of Congress (1 Stat. 175) on 4 August 1790 as the Revenue-Marine upon the recommendation of Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton to serve as an armed customs enforcement service. As time passed, the service gradually gained missions either voluntarily or by legislation, including those of a military nature. It was generally referred to as the Revenue-Marine until 31 July 1894, when it was officially renamed the Revenue Cutter Service.
The Revenue Cutter Service operated under the authority of the U.S. Department of the Treasury. On 28 January 1915, the service was merged by an act of Congress with the United States Life-Saving Service to form the United States Coast Guard.Utah Territory
The Territory of Utah was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from September 9, 1850, until January 4, 1896, when the final extent of the territory was admitted to the Union as the State of Utah, the 45th state.
The territory was organized by an Organic Act of Congress in 1850, on the same day that the State of California was admitted to the Union and the New Mexico Territory was added for the southern portion of the former Mexican land. The creation of the territory was part of the Compromise of 1850 that sought to preserve the balance of power between slave and free states. With the exception of a small area around the headwaters of the Colorado River in present-day Colorado, the United States had acquired all the land of the territory from Mexico with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo of 1848.
The creation of the Utah Territory was partially the result of the petition sent by the Mormon pioneers who had settled in the valley of the Great Salt Lake starting in 1847. The Mormons, under the leadership of Brigham Young, had petitioned Congress for entry into the Union as the State of Deseret, with its capital as Salt Lake City and with proposed borders that encompassed the entire Great Basin and the watershed of the Colorado River, including all or part of nine current U.S. states. The Mormon settlers had drafted a state constitution in 1849 and Deseret had become the de facto government in the Great Basin by the time of the creation of the Utah Territory.
Following the organization of the territory, Young was inaugurated as its first governor on February 3, 1851. In the first session of the territorial legislature in September, the legislature adopted all the laws and ordinances previously enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Deseret.
Mormon governance in the territory was regarded as controversial by much of the rest of the nation, partly fed by continuing lurid newspaper depictions of the polygamy practiced by the settlers, which itself had been part of the cause of their flight from the United States to the Great Salt Lake basin after being forcibly removed from their settlements farther east.
Although the Mormons were the majority in the Great Salt Lake basin, the western area of the territory began to attract many non-Mormon settlers, especially after the discovery of silver at the Comstock Lode in 1858. In 1861, partly as a result of this, the Nevada Territory was created out of the western part of the territory. Non-Mormons also entered the easternmost part of the territory during the Pikes Peak Gold Rush, resulting in the discovery of gold at Breckenridge in Utah Territory in 1859. In 1861 a large portion of the eastern area of the territory was reorganized as part of the newly created Colorado Territory.
The controversies stirred by the Mormon religion's dominance of the territory are regarded as the primary reason behind the long delay of 46 years between the organization of the territory and its admission to the Union in 1896 as the State of Utah, long after the admission of territories created after it. In contrast, the Nevada Territory, although more sparsely populated, was admitted to the Union in 1864, only three years after its formation, largely as a consequence of the Union's desire to consolidate its hold on the silver mines in the territory. Colorado was admitted in 1876.Utah Territory's at-large congressional district
Utah Territory's At-large congressional district is an obsolete congressional district that encompassed the area of the Utah Territory. After Utah's admission to the Union as the 45th state by act of Congress on January 4, 1896, this district was dissolved and replaced by Utah's At-large congressional district.Veterinary Corps (United States Army)
The U.S. Army Veterinary Corps is a staff corps (non-combat specialty branch) of the U.S. Army Medical Department (AMEDD) consisting of commissioned veterinary officers and Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP) veterinary students. It was established by an Act of Congress on 3 June 1916. Recognition of the need for veterinary expertise had been evolving since 1776 when General Washington directed that a "regiment of horse with a farrier" be raised. It has evolved to include sanitary food inspectors and animal healthcare specialists.
The Veterinary Corps is supported by warrant officer and enlisted AMEDD personnel. Warrant officers are the core of its Food Inspection service. Enlisted personnel can serve as Food Inspection Specialists and Animal Care Technicians; enlisted collar insignia lacks the 'V' and is the same as that worn by medics.The U.S. Army Veterinary Service is currently composed of more than 700 veterinarians, 80 warrant officers, and 1800 enlisted soldiers in both the active duty and in the Army Reserves. The Chief of the Veterinary Corps is a Brigadier General. The Veterinary Service employs an additional 400 civilians.World War II Victory Medal (United States)
The World War II Victory Medal is a service medal of the United States military which was established by an Act of Congress on 6 July 1945 (Public Law 135, 79th Congress) and promulgated by Section V, War Department Bulletin 12, 1945.The corresponding medal from World War I is the World War I Victory Medal.