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Last Updated: Jul 21, 2014 URL: http://guides.lib.washington.edu/federal Print Guide

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Congress

This page contains key online congressional resources, links to highly relevant topics in the Government Publications Sources by Subject guide, and background information about congress.  More in depth information and sources can be found on the following pages:

  • All Things Congressional
    A congressional resources and topics A-Z "site map" indicating the location of a topic in the Government Publications subject guides.
  • Legislative Branch Overview
    History and information on the legislative branch and the legislative process.
  • U.S. Laws
    An introduction to U.S. Laws and sources for the text of bills, laws, and U.S. Code.

Congress: House and Senate Starting Points

  • FDsys - GPO's Federal Digital System
    FDsys provides free online access to official Federal Government publications.
  • CQ.com  Icon
    Legislative tracking and Capitol Hill news service from Congressional Quarterly, Inc., with plenty of unique content to explore.
  • ProQuest Congressional Publications  Icon
    Provides daily updated information, including full text of bills starting in 1989, public laws starting in 1988, and much more. Enter search terms, then narrow results using the filters that appear in a box on the right.
  • U.S. Congressional serial set  Icon
    This set contains all the reports, documents, and journals of the chambers of congress, constituting a rich source of primary material, 1789-1980.
  • HEIN Online  Icon
    Full text searchable database of legal periodicals and historic documents; U.S. Congressional Documents library linked here.
  • CQ Almanac  Icon
    Plain English reporting and analysis of legislation by year back to 1945.
  • THOMAS
    Library of Congress portal to Congressional information; includes Bills, Resolutions, Congressional Record, and more.
  • American Memory - Century of Lawmaking
    Historical (1774-1875) U.S. Congressional Documents and Debates including Statutes, Letters, House and Senate Journal.

Major Congressional Resources

The following resources are Sources by Subject pages which contain a variety of methods to access the respective documents.  Basic information about the resources is also included.

  • American State Papers
    The American State Papers are comprised of Legislative and Executive documents from the 1st – 25th sessions of the U.S. Congress (1789 – 1838).
  • Bills - U.S. Congress
    A bill is a proposed law brought before the House and/or Senate for consideration.
  • Congressional Floor and Committee Schedules
    Discover when and where debates, hearings, and votes are scheduled for or did occur.
  • Congressional Papers
    Congressional papers housed in the University of Washington Libraries as well as where to find congressional papers for any state.
  • Congressional Record
    The Congressional Record (CR) is the official record of proceedings and debates of the United States Congress.
  • Congressional Voting Records
    Discover how members of congress have voted, either by member name or legislation.
  • Indexes
    Indexes to government publications, including sources for Congressional documents.
  • U.S. Congressional Serial Set
    The U.S. Serial Set is a specially bound, consecutively numbered version of all House and Senate reports and documents.

Background Information

 

Senate Chamber

Senate chamber c. 1952, accessed from the digital collections at the Library of Congress.

 

House and Senate - Introduction

The United States Congress is the "collective identity of the Senate and House of Representatives." The House and the Senate have equal status; since 1913, all bills must pass in both chambers in the process of becoming laws. However, the House and the Senate are different institutions. There are 100 senators, two from every state, and 435 representatives, with at least one from every state and apportioned otherwise according to population.

To find the year that corresponds to a session of Congress, see: Guide: Congressional Session Chart, Indiana University, Bloomington.

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