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Government Publications-United States Federal Government

This guide was designed to help aid students and researchers locate information published by the U.S Federal government.

Background Congressional Sources

Online: 

Print: 

  • Members of Congress: a bibliography.  ZJK103.0.A2 G568 1996 Washington, D.C. : Congressional Quarterly, c1996. 
  • United States Congress: an annotated bibliography, 1980-1993ZJK1061 .G644 1995  Washington, D.C. : Congressional Quarterly, c1995.
  • The Senate, 1789-1989 : Addresses on the History of the United States Senate. Washington : U.S. G.P.O., 1988-1994.   4vols.   JK1158 .B97 
    • " 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."
  • Congressional procedures and the policy process / Walter J. Oleszek.  KF4937 .O44 2011  Washington, D.C. : CQ Press, c2011.

 Legislative Process

Congressional Committees

There are 3 basic types of congressional committee publications:

  • Hearings: Published hearing transcripts contain all witness testimony, the question-and-answer portion of the hearing, and any other material requested of the witness by the committee or inserted into the record such as exhibits, related reports, statistics, letters, or magazine articles.
  • Prints: a special background research report on proposed legislation. It often provides highly valuable situation reports, statistics, historical background and legislative analyses
  • Reports: Congressional reports and congressional documents are included in the Serial Set. Documents originate from congressional committees and may cover non-governmental reports.

Committee transcript vs. committee testimony: 

"A committee hearing transcript is verbatim text of what was spoken at a committee hearing. This will usually include the Question & Answer (Q&A) part of a committee hearing, although not always. Committee testimony is the official, written statement presented by a witness at the hearing. Although the testimony may be spoken during the hearing and consequently also part of the verbatim transcript, it is also written and submitted to the committee. Both FNS and FDCH provide all the written testimony that is submitted to each committee holding a hearing on a given day.

Certain very high profile witnesses, such as Hillary Rodham Clinton, rarely provide a written statement to a committee. In these cases, FNS and FDCH will not provide this data to LexisNexis – unless, of course, they cover the entire hearing gavel to gavel, in which case the transcript will be available. "http://www.lexisnexis.com/Academic/1univ/cong/faq_committee.asp

FInding Congressional Committee Hearings Online

Congressional committees  (FEDsys)

  • list of Senate and House committees with links to their websites, memberships and publications
  • time coverage varies, most publications start from the 105th congress (1997-1998+)

Legislative Branch Resources on GPO Access

Catalog of U.S. government publications (GPO)

  • July 1976+
  • search congressional publications and serial set in the advanced search's "catalogs" drop down menu
  • SuDoc and MoCat numbers listed in the catalog can be used to access microform edition of the document in the library

Monthly catalog of United States government publications 

  • UBC holdings 1895-2004
  • hearings, committee prints and committee reports
  • check under: "U.S. Congress. (name of the committee)" or the name of the committee
  • library holdings indexed by this catalog:
    • Depository: 1956+
    • Non-depository: 1953+

Congressional hearings (Law Library of Congress)

Congressional Record

Published daily while Congress is in session since 1873, the Congressional Record is the official record of the proceedings and debates of U.S. Congress in the House and Senate

It has four sections:

  1. proceedings of the House
  2. proceedings of the Senate, both include record of votes and legislative actions and full text of many bills
  3. extension of remarks are texts appended to record after the fact
  4. Daily Digest is a factual record of committee and floor proceedings

While cumulated into bound volumes, pagination in the sessional index is different from in the biweekly index which is for the daily issues.

The Congressional Record is available: 

  Congressional Record (via FEDSys)

Congressional record : proceedings and debates of the...Congress

Congressional record: proceedings and debates of the ... Congress 

 

Predecessors of the Congressional Record. 

1.  Annals of Congress   (Library of Congress) 1789-1824

"The Annals of Congress, formally known as The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States, cover the 1st Congress through the first session of the 18th Congress, from 1789 to 1824. The Annals were not published contemporaneously, but were compiled between 1834 and 1856, using the best records available, primarily newspaper accounts. Speeches are paraphrased rather than presented verbatim, but the record of debate is nonetheless fuller than that available from the House and Senate Journals."

 

2. Register of Debates  (Library of Congress) 1833-1837

"The Register of Debates is a record of the congressional debates of the 18th Congress, 2nd Session through the 25th Congress, 1st Session (1824-37). It is the second of the four series of publications containing the debates of Congress. It was preceded by the Annals of Congress and succeeded by the Congressional Globe"

 

3. Congressional Globe  (Library of Congress) 1833-1873

"The Globe, as it is usually called, contains the congressional debates of the 23rd through 42nd Congresses (1833-73). There are forty-six volumes in the series based on the table found in the Third Edition of Checklist of United States Public Documents 1789-1909, Volume 1B (pp. 1466-69)"

Other Congressional resources: 

Debates and proceedings in the Congress of the United States : with an appendix containing important state papers and public documents, and all the laws of a public nature; with a copious index; compiled from authentic materials (online)

  • Holdings 1789-1824

Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States (online).

  • Holdings very incomplete. 

Calendars of the United States House of Representatives and history of legislation (online)

  • Holdings 1995-present

Congressional Serial Set

The Congressional Serial Set, often referred to as the "Serial Set" or the "Sheep Set," contains the Congressional Reports and Congressional Documents.  It began publication with the 15th Congress, 1st Session (1817). Documents before 1817 may be found in the American State Papers.

Congressional Documents contain:

  • House and Senate Documents
  • Senate Executive Documents
  • Senate Treaty Documents

It may include reports of executive departments and independent organizations, reports of special investigations made for Congress,  annual reports of non-governmental organizations, committee reports related to bills and other matters, presidential communications to Congress, treaty materials, certain executive department publications, and certain non-governmental publications.

For detailed contents, see "An overview of the U.S. Congressional Serial Set".

Background information: 

  • Until 1953, the official House and Senate Journals were also included in the Serial Set.
  • Treaty Documents were known as Executive Reports before 1981.
  • Senate executive documents and reports were not printed in the Serial Set until 1979.
  • The American State Papers often viewed as the predecessor of the Serial Set.

 

 Where to find the U.S Serial Set: 

1. Readex U.S. Congressional serial set, 1817-1994

  • Also includes access to American state papers, 1789-1838.

2. Proquest U.S. Serial Set Digital Collection (Congressional Publications)

    • Coverage from 1789-1969, including the American State Papers, and all maps, illustrations, photos, and lithographs found within the U.S. Serial Set during that time period. 

3. U.S. Serial Set (Library of Congress)

    • 1833 - 1917

4. American State Papers (Library of Congress) 

    • The American State Papers, comprising a total of thirty-eight physical volumes, contain the legislative and executive documents of Congress during the period 1789 to 1838.

5. American state papersdocuments, legislative and executive of the Congress of the United States  Coverage 1789-1838

Congressional Voting Record

 There are different ways to record congressional votes. Roll call votes indicate by name how a member voted while voice votes, division vote or standing votes only count the number of members voting "aye" or "no".

Official Sources of voting records: 

Congressional Record 

  • 1873+
  • official source for recorded floor votes
  • includes alphabetical listing of members under "yea", "nay" and "not voting" categories
  • Congressional Record Index provides subject access to the votes under "Votes in Senate" and "Votes in House"

Roll call votes Congress.gov

  • Federal Roll Call Votes 1989-current

Senate votes (United States Senate)

  • 101st Congress (1989)+
  • roll call vote tallies are available online within an hour of the vote
  • links to THOMAS for the texts of the legislation

U.S. House of Representatives Roll Call Votes (Office of the Clerk - House of Representatives)

  • 101st, 2nd session (1990)+

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.

Congressional Research Services Reports

Sites to find Congressional Research Service Reports 

Congressional Research Reports (University of North Texas)

Created and maintained by the University of North Texas Libraries (UNTL). Congressional Research Reports are produced exclusively for Members of Congress, their committees and staff members. However, some Members and non-profit groups have posted a large number of reports on their websites. UNTL's site exists to "provide integrated, searchable access to many of the full-text CRS reports that have been available at a variety of different Web sites since 1990." 

CRS Reports (WikiLeaks) 

"Wikileaks has released nearly a billion dollars worth of quasi-secret reports commissioned by the United States Congress"- Wikileaks

Federation of American Scientists (FAS) Collections of CRS Reports 

"The Congressional Research Service, a component of the Library of Congress, conducts research and analysis for Congress on a broad range of issues of national policy. While many CRS memoranda are generated in response to individual Member or staff inquiries and are confidential, most CRS reports are available to anyone who has access to a congressional intranet.

Yet at the direction of Congress, CRS does not make even its non-confidential publications directly available to the public online. In order to help overcome this unnecessary barrier, the Federation of American Scientists endeavors to provide current, regularly updated public access to as many non-confidential CRS reports as possible. These reports are provided without congressional or CRS authorization as a public service" - FAS

Congressional Quarterly / CQ

CQ Weekly provides congressional news and analysis, bill tracking, member profiles, committee coverage, government documents and transcripts.

UBC Library Holdings: 

CQ Weekly -  Call number Koerner JK1. C15

  • 1998-2011

CQ Weekly  (online)

  • 2012- 
  • Browsing can only be done for the current year. You must do a search to access previous years. 

Congressional quarterly weekly report - Call number Koerner JK1. C15

  • 1968-1998

The ... CQ guide to current American government. Call number Koerner JK1. C14

  • varied holdings
  • ceased in 2008

 

Based on University of Toronto's US Federal Government Guide

Congressional Research Service Reports

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