Skip to main content

Skip navigation

Government Publications: Legislative Branch

We are the main source to help you find government information in print and online

Legislative Branch - Core Resources

ProQuest Congressional [NIU subscription] — Formerly Lexis-Nexis Congressional, this database indexes publications of Congress from 1789 to the present. Included are: leglislative histories for laws from 1970 to the present, bill-tracking for current legislation, and full-text for most current material such as hearings and committee reports on a given bill. This site also covers individual members of Congress through their voting records, financial disclosures as well as campaign contributions from individuals and political action committees.

Congress.gov — is the official source for following congressional activity. Here you can follow legislation as it moves through the House and Senate, lookup committee and member profiles, watch video from the House and Senate floor, as well as video of committee hearings. This site links to authenticated versions of bills, committee reports, and the Congressional Record, which are available from Govinfo .

Congressional Record — the official record of the proceedings and debates on the floor of Congress for 1994 to the present can be found here. The Government Publishing Office has teamed up with the Library of Congress to make available digitized editions of all volumes of the Bound (final edition) Congressional Record. At present, volumes for 1873 through 2001, and 2005 through 2013 can be found here.

Congressional Reports — reports dealing with committee views on proposed legislation (supporting or opposing) and issues being investigated. The help link from this section of FDSys includes information about the Congressional Serial Set.

Congressional Documents — reports from the office of the President, independent agencies, international agreements, submitted to committees of Congress.

Congressional Hearings including House and Senate Appropriations Hearings — good for browsing all committees. Arrangement is hierarchical, by Congress, Chamber and then by committee. For instance, the 111th Congress covers the years 2009-2010, this includes House hearings and Senate hearings, then each chamber has various committees each holding their own hearings.

Congressional Committee Prints — Prints are “non-hearings”, including committee rules, research by committee staff on a given topic, or statistical reports.

Statutes at Large (1951-2011) — These are the laws and resolutions enacted during each session of Congress. They are presented in order of the date they were enacted. There is normally a delay of several years before the Statutes are published. The Law Library of Congress has the rest of the series back to the first Congress. View volumes for 1789-1950 here. For current laws (1995—the present) see the Public and Private Laws collection.

 

United States Code — “The United States Code is the codification by subject matter of the general and permanent laws of the United States. It is divided by broad subjects into 50 titles.” The Office of Law Revision Counsel hosts a website offering volumes of the US Code that can be browsed or downloaded. The downloadable code volumes are available in ASCII text, PDF, or XHTML format.

United States House of Representatives — includes links to Representatives websites, and Committee websites, Congressional schedule information, vote information and information on legislation before the House on the legislative activities page.

United States Senate — links to Senators and Committee websites, and information on Legislation and Records, nominations and treaties. Other resources include the Virtual Reference Desk, and a guide on how to find the Congressional Record either in print, or online.

Legislative Branch - Related Resources

Biographical Directory of the United States Congress — Database of biographical information on every member of Congress (senator, representative) from 1774 to the present. Searchable by first name, last name, party, position, state and year or congress. The Government Publishing Office also offers a static version of the 2005 edition presented as a set of pdf documents.

Clerk of the House - Legislative Activities — Central page for summaries of daily action on the House floor, live video, and House votes. Also links to essential sources such as the U.S. Code, the federal budget, and provides helpful information about the legislative process.

Congressional Directory — the official directory of the US Congress, includes short biographical information on each member, as well as committee memberships, staff, and contact information. For representatives, the directory includes a listing of counties, cities and towns in their elected district, along with ZIP codes. This looks like the best place to get address, phone number, FAX number for members of Congress, which is not always easy to find on their homepages.

Congressional District Wall Maps — These maps provide high resolution detailed outlines of each congressional district, and district locator maps for each state. A small preview is provided in .gif format, but each full-size wall map image is provided in .pdf format. Some of the files are larger than 5MB depending on the detail needed to graphically describe the district. Print versions of the maps can also be ordered from the Census Bureau.

Congressional Pictorial Directory — Includes a color photograph of each member of the House and Senate. The site has editions of the Pictorial Directory from the 105th Congress (1997) forward.

Election Statistics — hosts reports of the official vote totals by state for Congressional and Presidential elections from 1920 to the present.

The House Explained — Brief plain-language explanations of the U.S. Government with a focus on the House of Representatives. This site covers the branches of government, the legislative process, history of the House, officers and organizations that support the operation of Congress, and related agencies such as the U.S. Capitol Police and the Government Publishing Office.

Learn about the Legislative Process — offers detailed descriptions of steps in the legislative process, and definitions of documents that arise from it, such as bills and resolutions, enrollment, slip laws and the United States Code.

Legislative History: a basic guide for constituents [PDF] — This brief guide is an introduction to the lawmaking process, with a focus on legislative history. Describes each type of document created along the way and the sources that can be used.

The Legislative Process — a series of nine brief videos (the longest is just over five minutes) describes the most common steps that take place in the enactment of law, from the introduction of a bill until the point where the president signs or vetoes the final enrolled version. Each video page includes a transcript.

LLSCD's Legislative Source Book — at the top of the list is a status table on selected current legislation and listings of the final status of legislation from recent Congresses. The sourcebook also provides a wealth of legislative-related information not found elsewhere, such as a guide to Federal Legislative History Research.

Statute Compilations — From the Office of the House Legislative Counsel, this page includes PDF format compilations of popular and historic statutes.

U.S. Congressional Documents & Debates 1774-1875 — Continental Congress and Constitutional Convention, Statutes, Journals and early volumes of the Congressional Record and its predecessors.

U.S. Congressional Serial Set, 1817-1994 (with) American State Papers 1789-1838 [NIU subscription]The Serial Set “offers an unparalleled view of the activities of the United States federal government from the founding of the Republic through most of the twentieth century”[NIU description]. This series provides an in-depth record of US history from the government's perspective, covering a broad range of topics. This electronic version of the Serial Set also includes a browseable map collection. The American State Papers cover the period from the Revolutionary War to the 1830's.

United States Government Manual — is the official handbook of the federal government. This version is continuously updated, so that the information is current. The Manual provides an organizational chart of the U.S. government and for each agency, it includes a description, lists the personnel and cites the legislation that initially created the agency. For cabinet level departments, the manual includes an organizational chart for that department. For members of Congress only their name, State/Territory/District that they represent, and their room number, are given. Includes links to the House and Senate websites.