Answered By: Kate Britt
Last Updated: Mar 03, 2022     Views: 10

​Congressional documents can be found using the following resources:

  • CIS Annual Index (REF COLL KF49 C.62).
    • This is the single most effective research tool for finding post-1970 legislative materials.
    • Indexes and abstracts congressional documents, including hearings, committee prints, House and Senate reports, executive reports, treaty documents, and special congressional publications.
    • Access is by subject, committee, title, bill number, and names of witnesses. 
  • ProQuest Congressional
    • Full-text Congressional information, including bills, committee reports, hearings, public laws, floor debates, congressional member profiles, the Congressional Record, CRS Reports, and news from the National Journal and Congress Daily. Contains the U.S. Congressional Serial Set which complements print CIS Index (above).
    • Access is available to MLaw students and patrons on the U-M campus.
  • HeinOnline U.S. Congressional Documents Library
    • Includes complete coverage of many historical and current Congressional publications.
    • Access is available to MLaw students and patrons on the U-M campus.
  • U.S. Government Publishing Office Federal Digital System
    • Provides free online access to official publications from all three branches of the Federal Government.
    • FDsys site resources currently in transition to govinfo site.
  • Official Site
    • Coverage generally starts ~1995
    • Freely available
  • Clark Library Government Information Collection
    • Includes United States Congressional publications since 1789
    • Located within the Hatcher Graduate Library
    • Search U-M Library Search for complete holdings

Congressional research often requires investigating the following publications:

  • Congressional Record 
    • The Congressional Record is the name of two different publications:
      • A daily publication constituting the official record of the proceedings and debates of the U.S. Congress.
      • A bound volume compiling the daily editions of a particular session of Congress.
    • Considerations
      • There is a time lag of about four years before the contents of the daily edition are compiled into the permanent edition.
      • The two editions have different pagination, and there is no way to translate a citation from the daily edition directly into a citation to the permanent edition.
      • Daily edition citations have a prefix of H or S or E before the page number and look like this:
        • 149 CONG. REC. S11,465-66 (Daily ed. Sept. 25, 1999) (Statement of Mr. Mapes) 
      • Permanent edition citations look like this: 
        • 140 CONG. REC. 17,147 (1994) (Statement of Sen. Dodd) 
  • Congressional Reports
    • The reports of Congressional committees are the most important source for determining legislative intent.
      • Committee reports typically include the text of the bill, describe its purposes, and present the reasons for the committee's recommendations.
      • Conference reports are issued at the end of the legislative process and report on the compromise bill accepted by both the House and Senate.
    • Consult the Research Guide on US Legislative Materials & Histories on how to access Committee Reports on campus.

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