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Government Information

Legislative Branch Sources

The US Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government, and is comprised of the House of Representatives and the Senate.
Congressional Research Service (CRS) Guide to Legislative History Research
HOW OUR LAWS ARE MADE 

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.

Additional Legislative Resources

The US Congressional Serial Set, commonly referred to as the Serial Set, contains the House and Senate Documents and the House and Senate Reports bound by session of Congress. An overview can be found at US Congressional Serial Set - What It Is and Its History.

To view specific volumes or contents of each volume in the Congressional Serial Set, view the Government Printing Office's Numerical List of Documents and Reports and Schedule of Serial Set Volumes lists.

Compiling Voting Records

Use these online and print resources to compile a congressional member's voting record. To get started, click here for voting records and information about the congressional voting process.