There are two types of bills--public and private. A public bill is one that affects the public generally. A bill that affects a specified individual or a private entity rather than the population at large is called a private bill. A typical private bill is used for relief in matters such as immigration and naturalization and claims against the United States.
A bill originating in the House of Representatives is designated by the letters "H.R." followed by a number that it retains throughout all its parliamentary stages. The letters signify "House of Representatives" and not, as is sometimes incorrectly assumed, "House resolution". A Senate bill is designated by the letter "S." followed by its number. The term "companion bill" is used to describe a bill introduced in one chamber of Congress that is similar or identical to a bill introduced in the other chamber of Congress.
A bill that has been agreed to in identical form by both the House and Senate becomes the law of the land only after:
- The President of the United States signs it; or
- The president fails to return it, with objections, to the chamber of Congress in which it originated, within 10 days (Sundays excepted) while Congress is in session; or
- The president's veto is overridden by a 2/3 vote in each chamber of Congress.