You might remember hearing about an “amendment in the nature of a substitute,” sometimes referred to as a “vehicle bill,” during the passing of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (H.R. 3590). An amendment in the nature of a substitute is an amendment that would strike out the entire text of a bill after the enacting clause or other measure and insert a different full text of a bill. This usually happens when a piece of legislation moves from one chamber to the other. For example, you can see that the Official Title As Introduced in the House of H.R. 3590 was
To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to modify the first-time homebuyers credit in the case of members of the Armed Forces and certain other Federal employees, and for other purposes.
However, that language was later removed from H.R. 3590 and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act language inserted instead.
Another vehicle bill was in the news this summer. H.R. 1586 was introduced as the FAA Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act. However, after a different FAA bill passed, H.R. 1586 was stripped and new language was inserted funding education and Medicaid. The new bill was commonly referred to as the $29 billion state aid bill. Usually, when Acts are renamed, the short title changes. However, it seems that never happened for this Act as there are only blank lines where the title should be.
So if you’re confused about the title of a bill or finding the legislation text seems difficult, remember that it is possible what you’re looking for could be an amendment in the nature of a substitute.