United States of America Law Code

USA laws generally apply to people living in the United States and its territories abroad.

The US Congress creates and passes bills that the President then signs into law. Federal judges review the laws and can veto them if they break from the U.S. Constitution.

The United States Code contains the general and permanent laws of the United States. It does not include regulations issued by executive branch agencies, decisions of federal courts, treaties, or laws enacted by state or local governments.

Federal Laws and the United States Code

Picture of the USA CodeThe United States Code is prepared and published by the Office of the Law Revision Counsel (“OLRC”) of the U.S. House of Representatives pursuant to 2 U.S.C. 285b.

The Code contains the general and permanent laws of the United States, organized into titles based on subject matter. The Code currently consists of 54 titles and five appendices.

A complete new edition of the Code (“main edition”) is printed by the Government Publishing Office (“GPO”) every six years, and five annual cumulative supplements (designated as Supplements I through V) are printed in intervening years. Each main edition and annual cumulative supplement is current through the laws enacted as of a particular session of Congress, as explained more fully on the title page of each volume.

The printed version is prepared and printed sequentially on a title-by-title basis. The printing of a new main edition or supplement cannot begin until after the corresponding congressional session ends because laws enacted at the end of the session may affect titles at the beginning of the Code. As a result, there is necessarily a lag between the date a law is enacted and the date on which it appears in the printed version of the Code. It can take as long as a year to prepare and print all the titles in a new main edition or annual supplement.

Under 1 U.S.C. 204, the matter set forth in a main edition of the Code (together with its current supplement) establishes the law prima facie, except that the text of titles enacted into positive law is legal evidence of the law.

The Code only includes the general and permanent laws of the United States. Temporary laws, such as appropriations acts, and special laws, such as one naming a post office, are not included in the Code.

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