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Bills, Hearings, and Debates

bill is drafted and introduced in one chamber of Congress by a legislator; it is assigned a bill number, and referred to a committee. House bills are usually abbreviated “H.R. 2315”; Senate bills, “S. 425.” Text of bills are often reprinted in hearings and committee reports, older Senate bills, are reprinted in the Congressional Record.

hearing is a meeting or session of a Senate, House, joint, or special committee of Congress, usually open to the public. Hearings are used to obtain information and opinions on proposed bills, conduct an investigation, or evaluate/oversee the activities of a government department or the implementation of a Federal law. Also, hearings may also be purely exploratory in nature, providing testimony and data about topics of current interest.

UCLA's holdings of US Congressional hearings on microfiche start in 1958. Prior to that date we have indexes for hearings from 1833-1969 (Ref KF40 .S474i 1935, Ref Z1223 .A1954)

Floor debates may occur at any time on a bill; these are recorded in the daily publication, Congressional Record.

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