US Code

The United States Code is the system of general and permanent laws, more commonly discussed as bills, of the United States of America. The US Code spans all sectors of US society from Congressional and Presidential authority to domestic security, armed forces to agriculture, commerce, and trade.

US Code is generated and passed in the US Congress with approval required from both the US House of Representatives and the US Senate. First published in 1926 and most recently updated in 2018, the US Code is the culmination of 200 years of legislating. Given the historic nature of the legislation, editorial consistency changes throughout the entire code with many laws pre-dating the first publication.

US Codes are divided into 54 broad subject titles, split between positive and non-positive titles, and published by the Office of Law Revision Counsel of the House of the US Representatives. Each title is subdivided into chapters, subchapters, parts, subparts and sections with further subdivisions including clauses, paragraphs and more.

It is worth noting that US Code does not include regulations issued by the executive branch (The US Presidential Office), US Federal Case Law, treaties or laws enacted by State or local governments. While the search for appropriate establishing law will most often begin with the US code, it does not cover all bases.

US Code Procedure

Both chambers of Congress have the power and authority to propose US Code but must seek the approval of both legislative bodies before any law can be passed.

During the proposition of a bill, a Senator or House Representative will introduce the bill on the House or Senate floor. It will then be referred to at least one specially consigned sitting committee for debate. Sitting committees will discuss and amend the bill as needed in line with the best service before taking a vote. Where a bill is passed in the sitting committees, it is referred back to the original chamber for discussion. Here the House or Senate will discuss the validity and requirement for the bill and make amendments where required before voting on whether to pass or not.

When a bill is passed in the original body, it is sent to the other chamber, be it the Senate or House for discussion and vote. Where a proposed bill is amended, it must re-enter the same procedure until both Chambers of Congress vote to pass identical bills.

Where a bill is passed by both chambers of the US Congress, it is sent to the office of the Executive Legislature, the President. Upon reviewing proposed US Codes, the President has three courses of action. They may choose to sign, which passes the bill into law. They may choose to not sign it which typically allows the bill to pass into law anyway or they may choose to veto the bill which sends the bill back to Congress.

If a bill is vetoed, the Chambers of Congress can decide to reopen the discussion and make suggested amendments or override the presidential veto. Overriding the presidential veto requires two-thirds majority approval in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Upon achieving the two-thirds majority in the US Congress, US Code is passed into law.

For more information, Lawcator offers a breakdown for matters of US Constitution, US Case Law, and US Regulations.