Legislative Branch Resources

This is a selective guide to resources at Columbia University Libraries and on the Internet, for conducting research on the U.S. legislative branch and Congress. Most of the items included are available in Lehman Library. For other locations and titles, check CLIO. Government documents published prior to 1976 are mostly located in Butler Library and can be located through CLIO or the Butler Card Catalog.

Related guides

Guides & Archival Resources

Background Sources

  • Almanac of American Politics Annual.
    Washington, D.C. : Barone & Co, 1974-
    Call Number: JK 271 .A43
    Provides detailed information about each State and Congressional District, their Senators and Representatives, their backgrounds, records, voting records, and election results.
  • Asian Pacific Americans in the United States Congress, Congressional Research Service, May 2011
  • The Avalon Project at Yale Law School: Documents in Law, History and Diplomacy
    The Avalon Project will mount digital documents relevant to the fields of Law, History, Economics, Politics, Diplomacy and Government. It includes many of the documents which record the founding of the United States, as well as others which reflect U.S. expansion and activities.
  • Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774-present.
    Washington, D.C. : U.S. G.P.O., 2005.
    Call Number: JK 1010 .A5 2005
  • Byrd, Robert C.
    The Senate, 1789-1989 : Addresses on the History of the United States Senate. 4 vols.
    Washington : U.S. G.P.O., 1988-1994.
    Call Number: JK 1158 .B97 1988
    An extremely valuable set that details the development of the U.S. Senate from its earliest beginnings. The first volume covers the Senate's chronological development, 1789-present. The second volume is organized topically, covering the Senate's powers, leadership, organization, and setting. The third volume contains the full text of important speeches delivered by U.S. senators since 1830. The fourth volume contains a wealth of statistical data on Congress.
  • Committees in the U.S. Congress, 1789-1946. 4 vols.
    Washington, D.C. : CQ Press, c2002.
    Call Number: JK 1029 .C64 2002
  • Committees in the U.S. Congress, 1947-1992. 2 vols.
    Washington, D.C. : Congressional Quarterly, c1993-2002.
    Call Number: JK 1029 .N45 1993
    Also, Committee Histories is a bibliography of official histories of Senate and House committees, with links to the full text of some of the histories.
  • Congressional Districts in the 1970s.
    Washington, D.C. : Congressional Quarterly, 1974.
    Call Number: JK 1341 .C6 1974
  • Congressional Districts in the 1980s.
    Washington, D.C. : Congressional Quarterly, c1983.
    Call Number: JK 1341 .C63 1983
  • Congressional Districts in the 1990s: a Portrait of America.
    Washington, D.C. : Congressional Quarterly Inc., c1993.
    Call Number: JK 1341 .C64 1993
  • Congressional Districts in the 2000s: a Portrait of America.
    Washington, D.C. : CQ Press, c2003.
    Call Number: JK 1341 .C65 2003
  • Guide to Congress. 6th ed. 2 vols.
    Washington, D.C. : CQ Press, c2008.
    Call Number: R328.73 C764
  • CongressLink
    CongressLink provides information about the U.S. Congress -- how it works, its members and leaders, and the public policies it produces. The site also hosts lesson plans and reference and historical materials related to congressional topics. It is sponsored by the Dirksen Congressional Center.
  • CQ Press Electronic Library
    Access the full text of many CQ reference titles. Search each title individually, or across titles. Selected individual titles are listed below. Check CLIO for print holdings.
    • Congressional Quarterly's Politics in America. Biennial.
      Contains lengthy profiles of each congressperson - ideology, political history, voting record, election results, committees, finances, key votes, interest group ratings.
    • Congress and the Nation Quadrennial.
      Washington, D.C. : CQ Press, 1945-
      Call Number: KF 49 .C65
      Each volume covers governmental action during a four-year presidential term, divided into broad themes like Economic Policy, Foreign Policy, or Housing and Urban Aid, with chronologies and further references.
    • CQ Almanac. Annual.
      CQ covers everything that goes on in Congress and is well indexed. It's useful to determine dates, chronologies, bill titles and numbers. Also a good source for a succinct analysis of the issues related to a particular piece of legislation. Use CQ Weekly, in the Current Events section, for current legislation, the annual almanac for prior years. Congressional Quarterly is the best source to use for initial identification of legislation to research.
    • CQ Press Congress Collection
      CQ Congress Collection provides an analytical survey of the history and development, powers, personalities, current developments, and legislation considered and passed by the United States Congress. Data with nonbiased commentary is organized under four sections: Public Policy Legislation, Members of Congress (includes biographical, political, and electoral data), CQ Key Votes, and Legislative Branch (provides encyclopedic information, statistical data, legislative analysis, and Supreme Court case summaries).
    • CQ Voting and Elections Collection
      Integrates data, authoritative analyses, concise explanations, and historical material to provide a research and reference tool on voting and elections in America. From the American voter, to major and minor political parties, to actual races for Congress, the presidency, and governorships, the collection provides context-driven intelligence on the state of elections in America. Chronological coverage varies by office. Presidential coverage begins 1789. Election data can be downloaded.
    • Vital Statistics on American Politics. Annual.
  • Davidson, Roger H.
    Congress and Its Members. 13th ed.
    Washington, D.C. : CQ Press, 2012.
    Call Number: JK 1021 .D38 2012
  • Enciso, Carmen E.
    Hispanic Americans in Congress, 1822-1995.
    Washington, DC : U.S. G.P.O., 1995.
    Call Number: Y 1.1/7:103-325
  • Encyclopedia of Governmental Advisory Organizations. 2 vols.
    Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., c1973-
    Call Number: JK 468 .C7 E52
  • Encyclopedia of Interest Groups and Lobbyists in the United States. 2 vols.
    Armonk, NY : Sharpe Reference, c2000.
    Call Number: JK 1118 .N47 2000
  • Encyclopedia of the American Constitution. 2nd ed. 6 vols.
    New York : Macmillan Reference USA, c2000.
    Call Number: KF 4548 .E53 2000
  • The Encyclopedia of the United States Congress.
    New York : Facts On File, c2007.
    Call Number: JK 1021 .D48 2007
        Comprehensive essays on all major topics relating to Congress, with bibliographies.
  • Guide to House and Senate Members
    This online Guide to the House and Senate Members of the most current Congress is intended to be a single point of access for Member information from several different official sources.
  • House History
  • LegiStorm
    The LegiStorm web site provides salary information for all Congressional staff positions, and a comprehensive database of all privately financed trips taken by members of Congress and congressional staffers. It also includes data on financial disclosures, foreign gifts, and earmarks.
  • Martis, Kenneth C
    The Historical Atlas of United States Congressional Districts, 1789-1983.
    New York : Free Press ; London : Collier Macmillan, c1982.
    Call Number: G 1201.F9 M3 1982
  • Membership of the 111th Congress: a Profile, Congressional Research Service, February 2010
  • Membership of the 112th Congress: a Profile, Congressional Research Service, April 2011
  • The Political Graveyard: a Database of Historic Cemeteries
    "The Web Site That Tells Where the Dead Politicians are Buried "
  • Ragsdale, Bruce A.
    Black Americans in Congress, 1870-2007.
    Washington, D.C. : U.S. G.P.O., 2008.
    Call Number: Y 1.1/2:SERIAL 14904
  • Representatives and Senators: Trends in Member Characteristics Since 1945, Congressional Research Service, February 2012
  • Secret Sessions of the House and Senate: Authority, Confidentiality, and Frequency, March 2013, from the Congressional Research Service
  • Schraufnagel, Scot.
    Historical Dictionary of the U.S. Congress.
    Lanham, Md. : Scarecrow Press, 2011.
    Call Number: JK 1021 .S37 2011
  • United States. Bureau of the Census.
    Congressional District Atlas. Biennial. 1983-
    Call Number: G 1201 .F7 U54
        For each state, includes a map of the state showing each district, maps of each district with inset maps showing district boundaries which do not follow county boundaries, and tables for places, counties, districts and counties, and American Indian reservations.
  • United States Senate Election, Expulsion and Censure Cases, 1793-1990.
    Washington, D.C. : GPO, 1995.
    Call Number: Y 1.1/3:103-33
  • Vital Statistics on Congress. Semiannual.
    Washington, D.C. : American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, 1980-
    Call Number: JK 1041 .V58
    Online editions: 1997-1998, 2008, 2013
  • Who's Who in American Politics. Biennial.
    New York : Bowker, 1967/68-
    Call Number: E176 .W48
  • Women in the United States Congress, 1917-2011.
    Washington : U.S. G.P.O., 2006. (Note: Print ed. is older)
    Call Number: Y 1.1/2:SERIAL 14903

Indexes, Abstracts, Databases

  • ABC Pol Sci: Advance Bibliography of Contents, Political Science and Government. Monthly.
    Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-Clio, 1969-1994.
    Call Number: Z 7161 .A214
    A Table of Contents list, author and subject index to journals in the fields. Since 1984, also available as part of Worldwide Political Science Abstracts, below.
  • Checklist of United States Public Documents, 1789-1909. 3rd ed.
    NY : Kraus Reprint, 1962.
    Call Number: R328.734 D6111
    Lists documents in SuDocs number order, with agency index and a list of Serial Set volumes with contents.
  • CQ.com
    CQ.com is a compehensive legislative information system, provided by Congressional Quarterly.
  • CQ Electronic Library
    The CQ Electronic Library provides full text to many of Congressional Quarterly's respected reference titles.
  • FDsys
    FDsys provides access to the full text of many Congressional publications, including bills, laws, committee prints, hearings, documents, and the Congressional Record.
  • International Political Science Abstracts Online 1989-present, updated quarterly.
    Paris: International Political Science Association, 1951-
  • Poore, Benjamin P.
    A Descriptive Catalogue of the Government Publications of the United States, September 5, 1774-March 4, 1881
    Call Number: 328.73 AUn31
  • ProQuest Congressional
    ProQuest Congressional is the most comprehensive online resource available for congressional publications and legislative research. Included are: Committee Hearings, Committee Prints, Congressional Research Service (CRS) Reports, House and Senate Documents, House and Senate Reports, Senate Executive Reports, Senate Executive Treaty Documents, Legislative Histories, Statutes at Large, the Serial Set and Serial Set Maps. Most of the content is full text.
  • ProQuest Legislative Insight
    Proquest Legislative Insight is a federal legislative history service that makes available thoroughly researched compilations of digital full-text publications relevant to enacted U.S. public laws. These include the full text of the public law itself, all versions of related bills, law-specific Congressional Record excerpts, committee hearings, reports, and prints. Also included are presidential signing statements, CRS reports and miscellaneous congressional publications that provide background material to aid in the understanding of issues related to the making of the law.
    Eventually, ProQuest Legislative Insight will provide legislative histories for all public laws from the 71st Congress (1929) to the present.
  • Thomas: Legislative Information on the Internet
    Thomas is a source for much Congressional information and publication, including full text of bills, public laws, and the Congressional Record.
  • U.S. Congressional Serial Set, 1789-1980
    The bound, sequentially numbered volumes of all the Reports, Documents, and Journals of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives constitute a rich source of primary source material on all aspects of American history. Upon completion, the digital version of the Serial Set will consist of approximately 13,800 volumes and over 12 million pages.
  • U.S. Dept. of the Interior. Division of Documents.
    Comprehensive Index to the Publications of the United States Government, 1881-1893. 2 vols.
    Washington, Govt. print. off., 1905.
    Call Number: 328.734 A11 Q
    Commonly known as "Ames" for the author, John G. Ames, it is in a simple dictionary format, giving Congress, session, and report number.
  • United States Political Science Documents. Annual (Ceased).
    Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh, 1975-1991.
    Call Number: JA 51 .U55
    Indexed and abstracted major journals in political science, history, economics, public administration, foreign policy, international affairs, and related areas.
  • Worldwide Political Science Abstracts
    The database contains abstracts of books and articles from professional journals and major news magazines, devoted to North American and international politics.


  • Goehlert, Robert.
    Members of Congress: a Bibliography.
    Washington, D.C. : Congressional Quarterly, c1996.
    Call Number: Z 7165 .U5 G568 1996
  • Goehlert, Robert.
    The United States Congress: a Bibliography.
    New York : Free Press, 1982.
    Call Number: Z 716 5.U5 G575
        Continued by The United States Congress: an Annotated Bibliography, 1980-1993 (below).
  • Goehlert, Robert.
    The United States Congress: an Annotated Bibliography, 1980-1993.
    Washington, D.C. : Congressional Quarterly, c1995.
    Call Number: Z 7165 .U5 M285 1994
  • Miler, Cynthia Pease.
    Congressional Archives: Selected Bibliography
  • Quatennens, Jo Anne McCormick.
    Senators of the United States: a Historical Bibliography.
    Washington, D.C. : GPO, 1995.
    Call Number: R016.32873 Q28
  • Union List of Legislative Histories. 7th ed.
    Alexandria, Va. : Law Librarians' Society of Washington, 2000.
    Call Number: KF 4 .U644 2000g
    A list of "the libraries in the Washington, D.C., area that have compiled in-house legislative histories or or have acquired published histories for particular laws of the U.S." It includes laws through the 105th Congress (1998).
  • The United States Senate: an Institutional Bibliography, 1789-present
    This selective bibliography, compiled by the United States Senate Historical Office, is designed to provide general readers and scholars with a guide to articles, documents, and books on the institutional development of the Senate. In addition to covering the fundamental powers of the Senate, the bibliography includes sources on Senate practices, customs, and rules of procedure.


  • Almanac of the Unelected: Staff of the U.S. Congress. Annual, ceased.
    Washington, D.C. : Almanac Publishing, 1988-
    Call Number: JK 1083 .A77
    See also the Insider's Guide to Key Committee Staff of the U.S. Congress, below
  • Congressional Directory. Annual. 1970-
    Washington, U.S. Govt. Print. Off., etc., 1809-
    Call Number: JK 1011 .Un3
    Contains biographies, committee assignments and staff members, maps of congressional districts.
  • Congressional Staff Directory. Annual.
    Washington, DC : CQ Press, 1959-2009.
    Call Number: JK 1012 .C65
  • Encyclopedia of Governmental Advisory Organizations. Irregular.
    Detroit : Gale Research, 1973-
    Call Number: JK 468 .C7 E52
    Includes entries for over 6,800 permanent, continuing, and ad hoc U.S. Presidential Advisory Committees, Congressional Advisory Committees, Public Advisory Committees, Interagency Committees, and other government-related boards, panels, task forces, commissions, conferences, and other similar bodies, from 1837 to the present.
  • Guide to House and Senate Members
    This online Guide to the House and Senate Members of the 110th Congress is intended to be a single point of access for Member information from several different official sources.
  • Insider's Guide to Key Committee Staff of the U.S. Congress
    Lanham, MD : Bernan Press, c2009--
    Call Number: JK 1083 .A771
  • Leadership Library on the Internet
    The Leadership Library, also known as Yellow Books, includes a Congressional directory, searchable by keyword, name, and agency; updated daily.
  • Lobbying Database: from the Center for Responsive Politics
  • Pearson, Joyce A. McCray.
    U.S. Government Directories, 1982-1995.
    Englewood, Colo. : Libraries Unlimited, 1998.
    Call Number: Z 7165 .U5 P42 1998
    Earlier edition, 1970-1981, at Z 7164.A2 G685 1984 - Lehman.
  • U.S. Government Manual. Annual. 1973/74-
    Call Number: JK 421 .Un34
    The organization manual for the Federal government; lists major officials in each agency, and information on the agency's programs and responsibilities.
  • Washington Information Directory: a Guide to National Organizations and Government Agencies
    Washington, Congressional Quarterly, inc., 1975-
    Call Number: F 192.3 .W33
  • Washington Representatives. Annual.
    Washington, Columbia Books, 1979-
    Call Number: JK 1118 .W38
    A compilation of Washington representatives of the major national associations, labor unions and U.S. companies; registered foreign agents; lobbyists; lawyers; law firms; and special interest groups, together with their clients and areas of legislative and regulatory concern.

The Legislative Process

The legislative process can be a complicated one, with several versions of a bill in both houses, committee hearings, floor debate, reports, and floor votes all along the way. The process sometimes results in law, often not.

Please consult the U.S. Government Documents Legislative Process page, which presents the major documents involved in the process, with brief definitions of the legislative actions, listings of the locations of the print documents in the library, and links to several sources of full text documents on the internet.

Additional resources to consult:

Congressional Voting Records

  • Official Sources
  • U.S. Congressional Roll Call Voting Records.
    Data files for each Congress, 1789-present, are available in the Electronic Data Service in Lehman Library, for extraction and analysis.
  • Congressional Scorecards
    "Scorecard Reveals Legislators Whose Records Support – or Undermines – America's Security", from the Center for Security Policy.
  • CQ.com: Floor Votes
    The latest votes from Congress -- updated hourly.
  • CQ Congress Collection
    The CQ Congress Collection provides searching and browsing of Congressional votes in various ways, back to the 79th Congress (1945/1946-present).
  • C-SPAN Congressional Vote Search
    Covers votes from the 104th Congress, 2nd session, 1996, searchable by subject, date, member, or vote number.
  • Congressional Roll Call. Annual.
    Washington, D.C. : CQ Press, 1969-
    Call Number: JK 1 .C6335
  • National Taxpayers Union Rates Congress
    Every year National Taxpayers Union (NTU) rates U.S. Representatives and Senators on their actual votes--every vote that affects taxes, spending, and debt. NTU assigned weights to the votes, reflecting the importance of each vote's effect on federal spending. The Taxpayer Score measures the strength of support for reducing spending and opposing higher taxes. In general, a higher score is better because it means a member of Congress voted to spend less money.
  • Project Vote Smart
    A non-partisan site tracking the performance of the President, Congress, Governors, and State Legislators.
  • Public Interest Research Group's Congressional Scorecard
  • Sharp, J. Michael.
    The Directory of Congressional Voting Scores and Interest Group Ratings. 2 vols. 4th ed.
    Washington, D.C. : Q Press, c2006.
    Call Number: JK 1051 .S555 2006
  • U.S. Congress Votes Database
    This site, washingtonpost.com's U.S. Congress Votes Database, is a deep database of every vote in the United States Congress since the 102nd Congress (1991). It lets you browse votes in a variety of ways -- both in aggregate and for individual members of Congress.
  • Voter Information Services, Inc.
    Voting records for members of Congress, and ratings of members of Congress based on their votes on legislation supported or opposed by over 20 special interest/lobbying groups.

Current Events, News and Periodicals

Print sources and web sites which provide access to current legislation and Congressional news.

  • Capitol Spotlight
    A joint service of C-Span and CQ (below), every weekday you can read a story by a CQ staff writer, who will write about one of the most important issues or events on Capitol Hill that day. It also includes CQ's weekly update of "Bills to Watch."
  • Congress.org
    The heart of Congress.org is an award-winning software program that makes it easy for citizens to write their elected officials.
  • Congress & the Presidency Semiannual.
    Washington, D.C. : American University, 1981/82-
    Call Number: JK 1021 .C592
  • Congressional Digest. Monthly.
    Washington, D.C. : Congressional Digest, Inc., 1921-1991.
    Call Number: JK 1 .C65, Call Number: Microfilm F3041
  • CQ Weekly
    Washington, D.C. Congressional Quarterly, 1948-
    Call Number: JK 1 .C15
    CQ Weekly covers everything that goes on in Congress, indexed; useful to determine dates, chronologies, bill titles and numbers.
  • FedNet
    FedNet began broadcasting Congress on the web in 1996 and since that time has broadcast over 5,000 live hearings, thousands of live press conferences and complete, gavel-to-gavel, live coverage of the Senate and House Floor Debates each day.
  • The Hill: the Capitol Newspaper
    The Hill reports and analyzes the actions of Congress as it struggles to reconcile the needs of those it represents with the legitimate needs of the administration, lobbyists and the news media. We explain the pressures confronting policy-makers, and the many ways - often unpredictable - that decisions are made.
  • National Journal Biweekly. 1981-
    Call Number: JK 1 .N28
  • National Journal Group’s Policy Central
    A collection of resources on U.S. politics and policy, including the National Journal, The Hotline, Congress Daily, Technology Daily, Poll Track, Ad Spotlight, and The Almanac of American Politics. Also provides Congressional markup reports and update reports on key legislation.
  • OMB Watch
    OMB Watch has a long history of encouraging the public's right-to-know and public access to government information. During the 1990s, OMB Watch expanded its role to include oversight of policy and legislative issues that address public access to government information.
  • Roll Call Online
    Compiled by "the newspaper of Capitol Hill," Web users can tap into Roll Call's wealth of knowledge and learn about the hottest news scoops and the lowdown on every Congressional election in the nation. There's also commentary from noted columnists Morton Kondracke, Charlie Cook, Stu Rothenberg, and Norm Ornstein. And don't miss the Roll Call Files, the renowned lists and assessments that will keep you up-to-date.
  • U.S. House of Representatives
    The U.S. House of Representatives' web service provides public access to legislative information as well as information about Members, Committees, and Organizations of the House and to other U.S. government information resources.
  • U.S. Senate
    The United States Senate's web server provides information from and about the members of the Senate, Senate Committees, and Senate leadership and support offices. This evolving service also provides general background information about U.S. Senate legislative procedures, Senate facilities in the U.S. Capitol, and the history of the Senate.

Congressional Documents & Debates

These titles record the activity on the floor of Congress, from the Continental Congress to the present. Many of them are now available online, from the Library of Congress, as part of  A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation: U.S. Congressional Documents and Debates, 1774-1875, or from FDsys.

The Overview of the Congressional Record and Its Predecessor Publications is an excellent summary and description of the following titles. The overview was prepared by Richard J. McKinney for the Law Librarians' Society of Washington, D.C.

  • Annals of Congress. 42 vols.
  • Calendars of the United States House of Representatives and History of Legislation. Weekly.
    Call Number: Y 1.2/2:
    Online version: Congressional Calendars, 1996-present
    House of Representatives:
    Legislative Activities, including the House Calendar and Floor Proceedings
    Senate:     Status of legislation.
  • Congressional Globe. Daily.
    Butler Library (microfilm)
  • Congressional Record. Daily.
    Washington, D.C. : GPO, 1873-
    Call Number: KF 35 .U5
    Call Number: Microfilm FN 73
    The Congressional Record is a substantially verbatim record of the proceedings and debates of the United States Congress. It is published daily when Congress is in session
    Online versions from these sources:
    • FDsys (Daily), 1994-present
      FDsys contains Congressional record volumes from 140 (1994) to the present. At the back of each daily issue is the "Daily Digest," which summarizes the day's floor and committee activities.
    • FDsys (Bound)
      At the end of each session of Congress, all of the daily editions are collected, re-paginated, and re-indexed into a permanent, bound edition. This permanent edition, referred to as the Congressional Record (Bound Edition), is made up of one volume per session of Congress, with each volume published in multiple parts, each part containing approximately 10 to 20 days of Congressional proceedings. The primary ways in which the bound edition differs from the daily edition are continuous pagination; somewhat edited, revised, and rearranged text; and the dropping of the prefixes H, S, and E before page numbers.
    • Hein Online (Daily), 1873-present
  • Congressional Record Index. Biweekly.
    Washington, D.C. : GPO, 1873-
    Call Number: Microfilm FN 73
    Each issue contains the section "History of Bills and Resolutions," which traces the legislative process. It is cumulated into annual bound volumes, which contain a "Daily Digest" section, with a chronology of actions, a name and subject index, and the "History of Bills and Resolutions" index.
  • Daily Compilation of Presidential Documents.
    Washington, D.C. : Office of the Federal Register, National Archives and Records Service, 2009-
    Issued daily, it is the most comprehensive source of presidential materials, including addresses, vetoes, signing statements, and actions on legislation. Replaces the Weekly Compilation, below.
    See The Legal Significance of Presidential Signings, from the Dept. of Justice (1993) for a discussion of the utilization of Presidential signings and their legal standing.
  • Digest of Public General Bills and Resolutions. Annual.
    Washington, D.C. : GPO, 1936-1990.
    Call Number: J 52 .A32
    Call Number: 328.73 Un31
    Provides a description of all bills and resolutions of the year, action taken on bills (whether they passed into law or not), and several indexes.
  • Documents from the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention, 1774-1789
    The Continental Congress Broadside Collection (253 titles) and the Constitutional Convention Broadside Collection (21 titles) contain 274 documents relating to the work of Congress and the drafting and ratification of the Constitution. Items include extracts of the journals of Congress, resolutions, proclamations, committee reports, treaties, and early printed versions of the United States Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. Most Broadsides are one page in length, others range from 1 to 28 pages.
  • Impeachment: An Overview of Constitutional Provisions, Procedure, and Practice
    Congressional Research Service, April 8, 2010.
  • Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States. Annual.
    Washington, D.C. : GPO, 1789-
    Call Number: KF 46 .A22
    Call Number: XJH: [cong-sess] (CD-ROM)
    Online versions:
  • Journal of the Senate of the United States of America. Annual.
    Washington, D.C. : GPO, 1789-
    Call Number: KF 45 .A22
    Online version: 1st-43rd Congresses, 1789-1875
  • Journals of the Continental Congress.
    Call Number: J 10 .A52
    Index at J 10 .A5 - Butler.
        First Continental Congress: 9/5/1774-10/26/1774.
        Second Continental Congress: 5/10/1775-3/2/1789.
  • Maclay, William.
    Journal of William Maclay, United States Senator from Pennsylvania, 1789-1791. Ed. by Edgar S. Maclay.
    New York, Appleton, 1890.
    Call Number: 973.4 M2231
  • Major Legislation of the Congress. Monthly.
    Washington, D.C. : GPO, 1980-1992.
    Call Number: LC 14.18:
    Contains summaries of the "major" legislation introduced in Congress, with indexes by title and bill number.
  • Public and Private Laws, 104th Congress (1995)-present
    Public and private laws are also known as slip laws. A slip law is an official publication of the law and is competent evidence admissible in all state and Federal courts and tribunals of the United States. Public laws affect society as a whole, while private laws affect an individual, family, or small group.
    After the President signs a bill into law, it is delivered to the Office of the Federal Register (OFR), National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) where it is assigned a law number, legal statutory citation (public laws only), and prepared for publication as a slip law. Private laws receive their legal statutory citations when they are published in the United States Statutes at Large.
  • U.S. Code.
    Washington, D.C. : GPO, 1925-
    Law Library
    Subject arrangement of law, recumulated every 6 years, with annual supplements in between.
  • U.S. Congress. Senate.
    Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States of America.
    Washington : Printed by order of the Senate of the United States, 1828- (Washington : Printed by Duff Green)
    Call Number: JK 1251 .A3
    Call Number: Microfilm FN 2522
    Online version: 1789-1875
  • U.S. Constitutional Convention (1787).
    Jonathan Elliot's Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution as Recommended by the General Convention at Philadelphia in 1787. 5 vol.
    Philadelphia, Lippincott, 1888.
    Call Number: JK 141 1888
  • U.S. Constitutional Convention (1787).
    The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787 / Edited by Max Farrand. Rev. ed. 4 vols.
    New Haven, Yale University Press, 1966.
    Call Number: JK 141 .U55 1966a
  • U.S. Congressional Serial Set.
    Washington, D.C. : GPO, 1817-
    Call Number: 328.734 - Offsite
    The U.S. Congressional Serial Set, 1817-1980 contains 13,384 volumes printed in 14,708 books and more than 10.4 million pages from the original 355,081 publications, along with approximately 67,000 maps and thousands of illustrations and statistical tables. Its contents come not only from the U.S. Congress, but also include key Executive Department publications and publication series. Beginning with Volume 1 in the first session of the 15th Congress (1817), the online Readex U.S. Congressional Serial Set, 1817-1980 contains all publications from the 15th through the 96th Congresses.
    • An Overview of the U.S. Congressional Serial Set
      By Richard J. McKinney, Law Librarians' Society of Washington, D.C.
    • U.S. Congressional Serial Set (GPO)
      The Numerical List of Documents and Reports lists numerically, with a brief title, all of the Senate and House Documents and Reports issued during a Session of Congress. The Numerical List also indicates the specific volume of the Congressional Serial Set in which each Document and Report is bound. No alphabetical or subject indexing is contained in this publication.
      The Schedule of Serial Set Volumes lists numerically, by Serial Number, each volume of the Congressional Serial Set as well as the contents of each volume. The Schedule of Volumes is usually planned at the beginning of a new Session of Congress and it is compiled as the Session of Congress progresses. All documents authorized to be printed during the Session must be submitted for printing or accounted for before the Schedule can be completed.
    • U.S. Congressional Serial Set: What It Is and Its History
      By Virginia Saunders, Government Printing Office
  • U.S. Statutes at Large. Annual. 1789-
    Online versions: 82nd Congress (1951), Volume 65 - present, 1789-present
    The United States Statutes at Large, typically referred to as the Statutes at Large, is the permanent collection of all laws and resolutions enacted during each session of Congress.
    Citation Example: 15 Stat. 1020
  • United States Statutes and the United States Code: Historical Outlines, Notes, Lists, Tables, and Sources, from the Law Librarians' Society of Washington, D.C.
  • Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents.
    Washington, D.C. : Office of the Federal Register, National Archives and Records Service, 1965-2009.
    Call Number: J 80 .A284
    Online versions: 1993-2009, 1965-2009
    Issued each Monday, it is the most comprehensive source of presidential materials, including vetoes, signing statements, and actions on legislation. Continued by the Daily Compilation, above.
    See The Legal Significance of Presidential Signing Statements, from the Dept. of Justice (1993) for a discussion of the utilization of Presidential signings and their legal standing.

Supporting Agencies of Congress and Their Publications

There are seven agencies which report directly to Congress. Not all of them produce publications significant to the legislative process. See "Losing Support," by Eliza N. Carney (National Journal, 9/23/95, pp. 2353-2357) for a detailed report on Congressional support agencies, their role, and the decisions to reduce their staffs by the 104th Congress.

  • Architect of the Capitol
  • Congressional Budget Office (CBO)
    Provides Congress with budget-related information and analyses of alternative fiscal and program policies; presents options to Congress and outlines possible budgetary impact of pending legislation; forecasts of economic trends and budgetary implications.
        Prepares the Budget and Economic Outlook (Y 10.13: - Offsite) annual report on major budgetary options.
  • Government Accountability Office (GAO)
    "Watchdog of the executive branch." The Government Accountability Office is the investigative arm of Congress. GAO exists to support the Congress in meeting its Constitutional responsibilities and to help improve the performance and accountability of the federal government for the American people. GAO examines the use of public funds, evaluates federal programs and activities, and provides analyses, options, recommendations, and other assistance to help the Congress make effective oversight, policy, and funding decisions. The former name of GAO was General Accounting Office.
  • The Library of Congress
    Includes links to the American Memory Collection, the Library of Congress Information System (LOCIS), and the Copyright Office.
    • Congressional Research Service (CRS)
      The Congressional Research Service (CRS) works exclusively for the United States Congress, providing policy and legal analysis to committees and Members of both the House and Senate, regardless of party affiliation. As a legislative branch agency within the Library of Congress, CRS has been a valued and respected resource on Capitol Hill for nearly a century.
      CRS is well-known for analysis that is authoritative, confidential, objective and nonpartisan. Its highest priority is to ensure that Congress has 24/7 access to the nation’s best thinking. You can request current CRS reports from your congressperson's office.
    • Congressional Research Service Reports
      1916-present, from ProQuest Congressional
      Selected Reports (mostly recent), from Open CRS
  • Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) Archive
    The OTA closed on September 29, 1995. During its 23-year history, OTA provided Congressional members and committees with analysis of the scientific and technological issues that are increasingly relevant to public policy and legislative action. A CD-ROM set (Call Number: Y 3.T 22/2:2 L 52/v.1-5/CD) contains all the formally issued reports of the Office of Technology Assessment, as well as many background papers and contractor papers -- over 100,000 pages of the best available analyses of the scientific and technical policy issues of the past two decades. An article, "Rebuilding the Office of Technology Assessment," in the Chronicle of Higher Education, 11/1/96, suggested that OTA might be revived by the 105th Congress if enough support was forthcoming from the academic community. It wasn't.
  • U.S. Botanic Garden

Public Interest & Research Groups

  • The Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies, at American University
    The Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies (CCPS) provides an integrated teaching, research, and study program focusing on Congress and the presidency and the interactions of these two basic American institutions.
  • The Center for Responsive Politics
    The Center for Responsive Politics, through its web site, opensecrets.org, is a non-partisan, non-profit research group that tracks money in politics, and its effect on elections and public policy. The Center conducts computer-based research on campaign finance issues for the news media, academics, activists, and the public at large. The CenterUs work is aimed at creating a more educated voter, an involved citizenry, and a more responsive government.
  • The Center on Congress at Indiana University
    The central goal of the Center is to improve public understanding of Congress.
  • Congressional Management Foundation
    The Congressional Management Foundation is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to helping congressional offices improve their management practices.