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Federal Legislative History Research Guide: Congressional Record

Resources and process for locating the legislative history of a federal law.

Congressional Record

The Congressional Record is the primary source for floor debates in Congress. However, it is important to note that this is not a verbatim transcript of congressional debates, because legislators frequently add to, delete from, and revise their statements. The Congressional Record is published daily when either house is in session.

Congressional Record Online

ProQuest Congressional (access: restricted to Hastings students, faculty, and staff) : This database includes the Congressional Record from the 99th Congress (1985) to the most recent Congress.

Lexis
The Congressional Record file (LEGIS;RECORD) contains the Congressional Record from the 99th Congress (1985) to date.

Westlaw
The Congressional Record is available in the CR database from the 99th Congress (1985) to date.

Thomas
  - includes the Congressional Record from the 101st Congress (1989) to present.

GPO Fdsys

- includes the Congressional Record from the 104th Congress (1994) to present.

Congressional Record in Print

The print version of the Congressional Record is in the 4th Floor Stacks (KF 35.R5).

- The Congressional Record is originally published as a softbound daily version, and then repaginated and bound as a hardcover version. There are some differences in the two versions, but probably the most important difference is that the two versions do not use the same system of pagination.

- The Bound Daily Digest volumes for the 80th Congress (1947-2006) give a history of bills enacted into public law in table form. This table lists the public law number, the bill number, committees to which referred, dates and numbers of committee reports, and the date of passage by each house with a citation to the appropriate pages.

- The Index volumes contain a section on the history of bills and resolutions. It is arranged by bill number, and gives report numbers and pages on which the measures were debated.

Congressional Record on Microfiche

The Library has the Congressional Record on microfiche from 1987 to 2006 in the Micrographics Room (cabinet 14).

Finding Congressional Debates Prior to 1873


Prior to the first publication of the Congressional Record in 1873, congressional debates were reported in the Annals of Congress [1st Congress (1789)-18th Congress (1824)], the Register of Debates [18th Congress (1824)-25th Congress (1834)], and the Congressional Globe [23rd Congress (1833)-42nd Congress (1873)].

The Annals of Congress, Register of Debates and the Congressional Globe are available online at the Library of Congress's American Memory Project  and on HeinOnline's U.S. Congressional Documents Library