ABOUT THE UNITED STATES CODE AND THIS WEBSITE

ABOUT THE UNITED STATES CODE AND THIS WEBSITE


In General

The 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 51 titles and five appendices. More information on the content of the Code can be found in the Detailed Guide to the Code.

Printed Version

A complete new edition of the Code (“main edition”) is printed by the Government Printing 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.

Online Versions

The online versions of the Code on this website are produced using the same database that is maintained by the Office of the Law Revision Counsel and from which the Government Printing Office (GPO) prints volumes of the United States Code.

The default version of the Code available for searching and browsing on the United States Code website is the most current of the online versions. The OLRC staff updates this version throughout a congressional session on an ongoing basis. Currency information with respect to this most recent version is maintained on the Currency and Updating page.

The other versions of the online Code are related to how the Code is produced for print: namely, new main editions every six years and cumulative annual supplements that reflect changes from each congressional session until the publication of the next main edition. Accordingly, the online versions for each year of coverage on the website (from 1994 forward) contain a merged version of the data from the last main edition published and the latest cumulative supplement, if any (no supplements are published in the year that a main edition is published). Given the additional processing time required by the GPO, updated titles are available online before they are available in print volumes.