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Congressional Publications: Home

The various U.S. Congressional publications defined, with finding aids and locations at SCU.

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The Basics




Congressional Record

 The verbatim record of daily proceedings of the House and Senate, along with  related  unspoken materials submitted by Members for  insertion.  The official records, however, are found in the journals, below.  Continues Register of Debates,  and Congressional Globe. 

Calendars and Journals

 The House and Senate calendars and journals contain tables of actions completed and under consideration, dates of meetings, lists of members and committee assignments, voting information, communications from the President, lists of enacted laws, and histories and status of bills and resolutions.  The Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate is the official record of Senate actions on nominations and treaties.

Bills and Resolutions and Laws

 Bills are proposals for enacting new or amending previous legislation.  When a bill is passed by both houses and signed by the President, it becomes a Public Law.  Resolutions are generally for procedural matters, though joint resolutions are signed by the President and have the force of law. 


 The Statutes at Large is the permanent bound collection of all laws and resolutions enacted during each session of Congress.  This provides the text of laws as they were originally passed.

U.S. Code

 The United States Code is the codification by subject matter of the general and  permanent laws of the United States.  This provides the text of laws as currently amended and in force, with reference to the statutes.




 House and Senate committees and subcommittees hold hearings to gather information on the effect of proposed legislation, oversight of existing law, investigations, or to inform budget appropriations decisions.  Members of the public, ‘expert witnesses’, and government officials appear to present testimony.

Committee Prints

 Prints are similar to hearings in that they provide information for committee decisions.  The difference is that whereas hearings present information from interested parties, prints are reports or studies done at the request of the committee, often by the Congressional Research Service, or committee staff.



 Material for the first 14 congresses is found in the American State Papers.  The terms ‘reports’ and ‘documents’ are not generic but records officially designated in either category.


 House or Senate reports record the committee recommendations to the full chamber regarding their findings on proposed legislation(bills), though committees may issue reports on other matters as well.  Reports are used by researchers to determine the purpose and scope of legislation (legislative intent) as well as budget implications and rationale for approval.


 House and Senate documents are varied groups of publications which include presidential messages, annual and special reports of government and non- government agencies, audits of government corporations, and reference works, such as directories and histories.

Senate Treaty Documents

These contain the text of treaties sent by the President to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for approval.

Senate Executive Reports

These are sent by committees to the full Senate to recommend: 1) confirmation of presidential appointments, or 2) passage of proposed treaties.


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