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Government Documents: Legislative

Typical government documents you may encounter in the course of legal research.

Legislative Documents Table of Contents

Detail, West Front, Central Section, Dome.  HABS Collection, Library of Congress

Thomas Bills Presented to the President

List of bills that have passed both chambers and sent to the President for his signature.

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Thomas - Daily Digest

Summary of floor and committee activity from the most recent Congressional Record.

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Congress generates much more information than the ingredients that make up legislative history.  The Congressional Record and Congressional journals and other publications document statistics on activity as well as document floor debate.  Congress can publish reports for its own use, such as committee prints, and has its own agencies that inform the body on important issues of the day.  Directories of current and past Congresses help provide a context for past legislative actions.

House & Senate Web Sites

Records of Congressional Activity

The publication of debate on the floor of both chambers of Congress is the Congressional Record, which was first published in 1873.  Prior to the Congressional Record, Congressional debate was published in the Congressional Globe (1833-73), the Register of Debates (1824-37) and the Annals of Congress (1789 - 1824).

Congressional Documents

Congressional Agencies

Congressional agencies provide support to the chambers to assist in their decision making through analysis and reports.  Such reports may be helpful in interpreting legislation or other forms of Congressional activity.  One of the most prolific of such agencies is the Congressional Research Service (CRS).  While CRS reports are not made public, numerous sites do post their reports online and these are listed separately below.

Congressional Directories