Non-binding resolution

A non-binding resolution is a written motion adopted by a deliberative body that cannot progress into a law. The substance of the resolution can be anything that can normally be proposed as a motion.

This type of resolution is often used to express the body's approval or disapproval of something that they cannot otherwise vote on,[1] due to the matter being handled by another jurisdiction, or being protected by a constitution. An example would be a resolution of support for a nation's troops in battle, which carries no legal weight, but is adopted for moral support.


Non-binding resolutions are usually specific simple or concurrent resolutions that are not passed on to the executive branch to be signed into the law.[2] These resolutions differ from pure concurrent resolutions (that are used for various procedural requests such as adjourning sessions) in that they are designed to express formally, document opinions and not initiate a process.

These resolutions offer a means for elected officials to publicly air the concerns of their constituents[3] and are closely followed by major media outlets. Additionally, these resolutions can be used to state the position of the legislature, showing a preview of how they will vote on future legislation and budget allocations.

Notable historic usesEdit


  • Private Members Motion 296 in support of Jordan's Principle was passed unanimously in the House of Commons of Canada on December 12, 2007

United NationsEdit

United StatesEdit

In the United States Congress, non-binding resolutions are frequently titled as a "Sense of Congress" resolution, if both houses pass the measure (a concurrent resolution), or as a "Sense of the Senate" or "Sense of the House" resolution, if the measure is passed by only one house (a simple resolution).[5][6]

  • The House of Representatives chose its Speaker using a non-binding resolution in 1936 (H.Res. 543, 74th Congress) and again in 1940 (H.Res. 602, 76th Congress).[7]
  • On June 22, 1971, the Senate passed a non-binding resolution in support of withdrawing troops from Vietnam.[8]
  • In July 1998, the Senate passed a non-binding resolution[9] affirming their commitment to a democratic Taiwan.
  • In February 2007, the House of Representatives passed a non-binding resolution,[10] House Concurrent resolution 63,[11] to formally express its disapproval of President Bush's troop buildup in Iraq.[12]
  • House of Representatives passed a non-binding resolution (HRES 224),[13] recognizing March 14, 2009, as National Pi Day.[14]

A "sense of Congress" clause may also be used within legislation to direct the actions which Congress wishes the executive to undertake, for example:

"It is the sense of Congress that the Secretary of Defense should take appropriate steps to provide for upgrading information technology systems for the reserve contingents ..."[15]

The legislatures of the 50 U.S. states also frequently adopt non-binding resolutions. For example:

  • In February 2007, the Vermont State House of Representatives[16] and Senate[17] passed non-binding resolutions calling for the orderly withdrawal of American military forces from Iraq to commence immediately.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Holland, Joshua (2007-02-15). "It's Way Too Late for Nonbinding Resolutions on Iraq". AlterNet. Retrieved 2007-02-17.
  2. ^ The Associated Press (2007-02-03). "What's a nonbinding resolution?". Retrieved 2007-02-17.[dead link]
  3. ^ Profita, Hillary (2006-06-16). "Why A Non-Binding Resolution Gets A Lot of Attention". Retrieved 2007-02-17.
  4. ^ "Vote No. 466". House of Commons Chamber Business. Parliament of Canada. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 11 November 2012.
  5. ^ McCormick, James M. (2014). American Foreign Policy and Process. Wadsworth. p. 322. ISBN 978-1-4354-6272-4. LCCN 2012955710.
  6. ^ Serafino, Nina M.; Ekmektsioglou, Eleni G. (2018). "Congress and National Security". In Reveron, Derek S.; Gvosdev, Nikolas K.; Cloud, John A. (eds.). The Oxford Handbook of U.S. National Security. Oxford University Press. p. 161. ISBN 9780190680015. LCCN 2017043933.
  7. ^ Heitshusen, Valerie; Beth, Richard S. (January 4, 2019). "Speakers of the House: Elections, 1913–2019" (PDF). CRS Report for Congress. Washington, D.C.: Congressional Research Service, the Library of Congress. Retrieved March 18, 2019.
  8. ^ "Vietnam War 1969–1975". The History Place. Retrieved 2007-10-11.
  9. ^ Moore, Janet (1998-07-01). "Senate Passes Non-Binding Resolution To Reassure Taiwan". Retrieved 2007-02-15.
  10. ^ "110th Congress, 1st Session H. CON. RES" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-02-15.
  11. ^ "U.S. House of Representatives Roll Call Votes 110th Congress, 1st Session". 2007. Retrieved 2007-02-17.
  12. ^ Toner, Robin; Michael Luo (2007-02-13). "House Democrats Unveil Measure Denouncing Iraq Buildup". Retrieved 2007-02-15.
  13. ^ "H. Res. 224". 2009-03-12. Archived from the original on 2014-12-10. Retrieved 2009-03-14.
  14. ^ McCullagh, Declan (March 11, 2009). "National Pi Day? Congress makes it official". Politics and Law. CNET News. Retrieved 2009-03-14.
  15. ^ Floyd D. Spence National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2001, Public Law 106-398, section 815
  16. ^ "Legislative Documents".
  17. ^ "Legislative Documents".