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Legislative Research - Federal: Enrollment & Signing

Becoming a Law


The final steps of a bill's passage into law involve enrollment, and signing.  Enrolled bills are the final version of a bill that has been pased by both the House and the Senate. After being certified by the Clerk of the House or the Secretary of the Senate and signed by the Speaker of the House or the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, the enrolled bill is sent to the President to be signed.

After the bill is sent to the President, the President has 10 days to sign the bill, making it a law or to veto it.  A vetoed bill may sill become law with 2/3 majority support in Congress.  If the President does not sign or veto the bill within 10 days, the bill will be come law by default.  However, if Congress adjourns before the 10 day period expires with the bill unsigned, the bill will also expire.  This situation is known as a  pocket veto.

If the bill becomes law, it will be published as a slip law.  At the end of the congressional session, all slip laws will be incorporated into the United States Statutes at Large. The law will also be incorporated into the U.S. Code.

Slip Laws (P.L. or Pvt.L.)

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Statutes at Large

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Signing Statements

"Signing statements have been used since the early 19th century by Presidents to comment on the law being signed. Such comments can include giving the President's interpretation of the meaning of the law's language; asserting objections to certain provisions of the law on constitutional grounds; and stating the President's intent regarding how the President intends to execute, or carry out, the law, including giving guidance to executive branch personnel."  (Library of Congress:  Presidential Signing Statements)

Signing statements are published in the Compilation of Presidential Documents.

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