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Federal (U.S.) Legislation Research

This guide focuses on locating sources for United States legislative history.

Overview of Congressional Publications

Bills and Resolutions

According to Govinfo, Bills and joint resolutions are proposals that must pass in both the House and Senate and be signed by the president to become law.  Concurrent resolutions, Senate Resolutions, and House Resolutions do not require the president’s signature, and they “do not have the force of law.”  A cumulative finding aid was received with the microfiche version.  It is located on top of the microform cabinets.

  • Digitally signed PDF and text versions from the 103rd to current Congress are available on Govinfo.
  • Library of Congress’s offers bill tracking and links to the PDF bills on Govinfo.
  • Microfiche from 98th to 108th (partial) Congresses are in the microform area at Y 1.4/

House and Senate Committee Reports and Documents (Serial Set)

House and Senate Documents can include committee reports and reports of executive departments and agencies.  The Senate treaty and executive documents contain the text of treaties as “submitted to the U.S. Senate for ratification by the President of the United States.”  Periodically, the House and Senate Reports are compiled into the “Serial Set.”  The published version is sent to a small number of libraries.  Most libraries receive title pages and instructions for reorganizing their documents into volumes they can then have bound.  Libraries that receive the documents in microfiche receive microfiche title pages and divider cards for turning their documents into the Serial Set.

  • Digitally signed PDF versions of “selected House, Senate, and treaty documents” from the 94th to current Congress are available on Govinfo. "Additional documents from previous congresses are also available."
  • ProQuest Congressional includes the Serial Set  from 1789 to 1969.  This resource is only available on campus (or via Case VPN).
  • The Law Library has purchased additional electronic Serial Set volumes.  Stay tuned for further information!
  • The Law Library has House and Senate Reports and Documents from the 96th to current Congresses.
  • Microfiche Senate Documents are in the Richey Reading Room at Y 1.1/3:
  • Microfiche Senate Treaties are in the Richey Reading Room at Y 1.1/4:
  • Microfiche Senate Reports are in the Richey Reading Room at Y 1.1/5:
  • Microfiche Senate Executive Reports are in the Richey Reading Room at Y 1.1/6:
  • Microfiche House Documents are in the Richey Reading Room at Y 1.1/7:
  • Microfiche House Reports are in the Richey Reading Room at Y 1.1/8:
  • Microfiche for Congresses that have been compiled into the Serial Set are organized by Serial Set volume number with the prefix Y 1.1/2:
  • Paper Serial Set volumes are available at Kelvin Smith Library.

Committee Hearings and Prints

“Congressional Committee Prints are publications issued by Congressional Committees that include topics related to their legislative or research activities, as well as other matters such as memorial tributes.”  They are indexed in the CIS Index to Congressional Publications, which comes out a calendar year after its cover date.  The library has the 1970 through 2011 index in the Richey Reading Room at  KF 49 .C62.

  • Prints: PDF and text versions from the select Committee Prints from the 104th Congress (1995-96) to Present, plus select prints from prior Congress are available on Govinfo. The more recent PDFs are digitally signed.
  • Hearings: Digitally signed PDF and text versions from the 106th to current Congress are available on Govinfo.
  • Microfiche hearings and prints from the 101st to current Congress are in the Richey Reading Room.  Each hearing is cataloged as a separate title, so one may find them using the catalog.  They are classified in the SuDoc classification system and their classification numbers begin with Y 4.