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Federal Congressional Procedure & Legislative History : Code & Session Laws

A guide to researching the procedure of the United State Congress and the legislative history of federal laws.

United States Code (code)

Codes contain all statutes currently in force in a jurisdiction at the time of publication and are arranged topically.  In the United States, the official code is the United States Code.  The United States Code Annotated and the United States Code Service are unofficial codes.

Statutes at Large (session laws)

When a law is enacted, it is assigned a sequential act number and printed in slip form (called a slip law).  Laws may be public or private. 

After the legislative session ends, public and private laws passed during that session are printed chronologically in the session laws.  In the United States, the session laws are called the Statutes at Large.