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University at Buffalo Libraries

Congress & Legislative Information


This guide describes how to use sources to obtain specific types of congressional publications. When multiple sources are available, the most comprehensive and/or easiest to use is listed first. The major sources for identifying and obtaining congressional publications are the Libraries Catalog, ProQuest Congressional, FDsys and THOMAS.


Bills

Bills are draft legislation introduced in either the House or the Senate at the start of the law-making process. Not all bills will become law, and for those that do, multiple versions of a bill may be generated as the bill works its way through the legislative process. Microfiche copies for all versions of bills from the 98th Congress forward are available in the Capen Multimedia Center. Online access to bill texts can be found at the following sites:

FDsys

ProQuest Congressional
http://library.buffalo.edu/libraries/e-resources/cis.html (current UB username and password required)
Select "Bills" from the list of links on the main page.
Bibliographic access : Bill Tracking; 101st Congress (1989)-present
Includes status, sponsors, the Congressional Research Service's Bill Digest (summary of text), descriptive subject terms, Congressional Record citations, and is linked to the full text of all versions of the bill.
Full text : 101st Congress (1989)-present
The text can be retrieved either by doing a keyword search directly in the full-text database or by the links to the full text are found in the "Bill Tracking" database.

THOMAS: Search Bills & Resolutions
http://thomas.loc.gov/home/search.html
Bibliographic access : Bill Summary & Status ; 93rd Congress (1973) -present
Includes status, sponsors, the Bill Digest (summary of text), descriptive subject terms, Congressional Record citations, legislative history, and, for available dates, is linked to the full text of the final version of the bill, committee reports, Congressional Record text, and to a record of any roll call votes.
Full text: 101st Congress (1989) -present
All versions of a bill will be retrieved when doing a keyword search in the Full Text database. The full text of the final version is also linked in the Bill Summary & Status database.
Searches in both databases may be limited to only those bills receiving floor action, enrolled bills, or to House or Senate bills. Searches in Bill Summary & Status may additionally be limited by sponsors, committees, or stage in the legislative process. Browsable lists of bills by type and number are available.


Amendments

Amendments contain the text of changes made to bills. If adopted, the text is reflected in the updated verson of a bill.

THOMAS: Search Bills and Resolutions
http://thomas.loc.gov/home/search.html
Amendments are included in both the Full Text (1989-present) and Bill Summary & Status (1973-present) databases.


Committee Prints

Prints are anything the committee wants to issue in support of its legislative and oversight functions. Prints may contain draft legislation, situation reports, statistical information, historical information, or legislative analyses. Committee prints are available in the Libraries' collection and can be identified using Libraries Catalog.

Congressional Committee Prints
http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/browse/collection.action?collectionCode=CPRT
Full text : 105th Congress (1997)-present
Search prints by keyword or number.

ProQuest Congressional 
http://library.buffalo.edu/libraries/e-resources/cis.html (current UB username and password required)
Bibliographic access : Abstracts from 91st Congress (1970)-present
Under the "CIS Index" link , search with the subject option. Results are listed by type of publication, including "Print". Links are provided to the full text where available.
Full text (selected prints only): 103th Congress (1993)-present
Can be retrieved by links within the "CIS Index" results, or searched directly from the main page by selecting "Publications", then "Committee Prints".


Committee Hearings

Hearings are transcripts from proceedings by congressional committees which gather information pertaining to proposed bills. Hearings may contain the views of government officials, special interest groups, individuals and others speaking in support or opposition of an issue. Complete hearing transcripts are available in the Lockwood Documents collection, and can be identifed in the Libraries Catalog.

Committee Home Pages http://house.gov/committees/(House Committees)   http://www.senate.gov/pagelayout/committees/d_three_sections_with_teasers/committees_home.htm (Senate Committees) The full text of committee hearings are often available directly from the Web site of the appropriate committee. THOMAS provides links to each committee's home page. Note that the dates for available hearings may vary at each committee's Web site.

Congressional Hearings
http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/browse/collection.action?collectionCode=CHRG
Full text : 105th Congress (1997)-present

ProQuest Congressional
http://library.buffalo.edu/libraries/e-resources/cis.html (current UB username and password required)
Bibliographic access : Abstracts from 91st Congress (1970)-present
Under "CIS Index", select the "Subject" option to search all parts of the index, or select "Witness" to search the name/title of speakers. Results are listed by type of publication, including "Hearing". Links to the full text are provided where available.
Full text : 100th Congress, 2nd Session (1988)-present
For 1988-1993 only selected hearings are available. After 1993, coverage of written testimony is comprehensive and coverage of discussion testimony is selective. Where the full text is available, it is linked to the "CIS Index" results, or can be searched directly by selecting "Testimony" from the main page.


 House & Senate Committee Reports

A committee report summarizes the purpose and scope of a particular bill and sets forth the committee's findings and recommendations. Committee reports are available in the Libraries' collection and can be identifed using Libraries Catalog

Congressional Reports
http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/browse/collection.action?collectionCode=CRPT
Full text : 104th Congress (1995)-present
Search reports by keyword or number.

ProQuest Congressional
http://library.buffalo.edu/libraries/e-resources/cis.html (current UB username and password required)
Bibliographic access : Abstracts from 91st Congress (1970)-present
Under "CIS Index", select "Subject" to search all parts of the index. Results are sorted by type of publication, including "Reports". Links to the full text are provided where available.
Full text : 101st Congress (1990)-present
Can be retrieved by links within the "CIS Index" results, or searched directly from the main page by selecting "Publications", then "Reports".

THOMAS: Committe Reports
http://thomas.loc.gov/cp109/cp109query.html
Full text : 104th Congress (1995)-present
Search by keyword, report number, bill number, or committee.


House & Senate Documents (including Executive)

House and Senate Documents (H.Doc. or S.Doc.) can contain Presidential messages on new legislation or vetoes, special reports of executive branch agencies, or biannual reports on committee activities. House and Senate Documents are available in the Libraries' collection and can be searched using Libraries Catalog . Online access is available at the following sources:

Congressional Documents
http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/browse/collection.action?collectionCode=CDOC
Full text : 104th Congress (1995)-present
Search selected House, Senate and Treaty Documents by keyword.

ProQuest Congressional
http://library.buffalo.edu/libraries/e-resources/cis.html (current UB username and password required)
Bibliographic access : Abstracts from 91st Congress (1970)-present
Under "CIS Index", select the "Subject" search option . Results are sorted by type of publication, including "Documents". Links to the full text are provided where available.
Full text : 104th Congress (1995)-present
Can be retrieved by links within the "CIS Index" results, or searched directly by selecting "Publications" from the main screen, then "Documents".


Congressional Record

The Congressional Record is a transcript of the statements and proceedings which take place on the floors of the House and Senate. It contains statements made on the floor, votes, and texts of supporting materials submitted by speakers (extension of remarks). Both the daily and cumulative editions of the Congressional Record are available in the Lockwood Documents collection and can be located using Libraries Catalog.

Note : The Congressional Record has undergone several title changes throughout American history. Prior to 1873, the Congressional Record was known as the Congressional Globe . Print copies of the Congressional Globe are available in the Lockwood Book Collection at the call number J11 .G5 (1833-1873). In addition, online access is available through the Library of Congress's American Memory Project ( http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/amlaw/lwcg.html ).

Prior to 1833, the Congressional Globe was known as the Register of Debates . Print copies of the Register of Debates are available at the call number Lockwood Book Collection J11.A5; online access is available through the Library of Congress's American Memory Project ( http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/amlaw/lwrd.html ).

Debates of the 1st through 18th Congresses (1789-1824) were summarized in the The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States (also known as the Annals of Congress ). Print copies are available at the call number Lockwood Book Collection J11.A5. In addition, online access is available through the Library of Congress's American Memory Project ( http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/amlaw/lwac.html ).

Online access to the Congressional Record is available from several sources:

Fdsys

ProQuest Congressional
http://library.buffalo.edu/libraries/e-resources/cis.html (current UB username and password required)
Bibliographic access : Congressional Record references are part of the Legislative History (1970-present) and the Bill Tracking (1989-present) citations. Links to the full text are provided when available.
Full text : 99th Congress (1985)-present
The Congressional Record may be searched directly by selecting "Publications" from the main screen, then "Congressional Record" (for keyword searching) or "Congressional Record by Page or Date" (for exact citations).

THOMAS: Search Congressional Record
http://thomas.loc.gov/home/r109query.html
Full text : 101st Congress (1989)-present.


Legislative Histories for Public Laws

ProQuest Congressional
http://library.buffalo.edu/libraries/e-resources/cis.html (current UB username and password required)
Bibliographic access : 91st Congress (1970-present); updated annually
Under "CIS Index" or "Laws", search options for "Legislative Histories" are given. Each history provides a chronological list of actions and publications associated with a law. Full text links are provided for available dates.


Background Research Reports

Although not considered congressional publications, a variety of reports produced by other agencies may help evaluate proposed and/or enacted legislation.

CQ Electronic Library
http://library.buffalo.edu/libraries/e-resources/cq.html (current UB username and password required)
Includes two premier commerical publications pertaining to Congress: CQ Weekly , which focuses primarily on legislative news and analysis; and CQ Researcher , which provides in-depth articles on major policy issues facing Congress.

Government Accounting Office (GAO) Reports

Congressional Budget Office (CBO)
http://www.cbo.gov/
The CBO provides Congress with analyses needed for economic and budget decisions and with the information and estimates required for the Congressional budget process. In addition to the recently-released reports on the site's main page, others are arranged by subject on the "Studies and Reports" page. CBO reports received by the UB Libraries are listed in Libraries Catalog.

Major Studies & Issue Briefs of the Congressional Research Service
http://library.buffalo.edu/libraries/asl/guides/microforms/CRS-papers.html
Prepared on behalf of Congress, these valuable background reports are selectively available on the Internet and in our collection.


Committee Information and Schedules

Congressional Calendars (1995+)
http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/browse/collection.action?collectionCode=CCAL

House of Representatives 
http://www.house.gov/committees

Senate  http://www.senate.gov/pagelayout/committees/d_three_sections_with_teasers/committees_home.htm


Members and Voting Records

Members of Congress: Selected Information Resources
http://library.buffalo.edu/libraries/asl/guides/congress_members.html
This subject guide provides a comprehensive list of both print and electronic sources. Includes a section on obtaining voting records for an individual member of Congress (http://libweb.lib.buffalo.edu/guide/guide.asp?ID=127#4). For locating voting records on a specific piece of legislation, see below.

Voting Records by Congress 
http://clerk.house.gov/legislative/legvotes.aspx 
This page retrieves a browsable list of roll call votes from the 101st Congress (1990) to the present. The "Roll" number retrieves a voting record; the "Issue" (bill) number retrieves the "THOMAS: Bill Summary & Status" entry.


UB Libraries Collection

Since 1963, Lockwood Memorial Library has been an official depository for federal government documents, including congressional publications. For information predating 1963, refer to the subject guide Historical Congressional Resources.

Like all federal depository material, each congressional item in the Lockwood Documents collection has a call number that is referred to as a SuDoc (Superintendent of Documents) number. SuDoc numbers are part of every citation in the CIS Index as well as its electronic counterpart, ProQuest Congressional. SuDoc numbers also appear in the Libraries Catalog.

Aids to Locating Congressional Publications

  • Libraries Catalog
    http://library.buffalo.edu
    Most prints, reports, documents and hearings are included in the catalog and can be identified by title, broad subject term or committee name. The exceptions are bills, resolutions, and GAO Reports. The Libraries receive copies of all versions of bills and resolutions on microfiche. All are assigned numbers in the SuDoc class range US MicFiche Y 1.4/#: Use the Superintendent of Documents Cumulative Finding Aid to determine the fiche and frame numbers of individual bills.
    Individual GAO report titles also do not appear within BISON. The fiche are arranged by type of document, then report number, with the SuDoc classification codes beginning at US MicFiche GA1. Use the index GAO Reports and Testimony to identify titles and report numbers.
  • CIS Index/ProQuest Congressional
    Lockwood Reference Z 1223.A221 (1970-present)
    http://library.buffalo.edu/libraries/e-resources/cis.html (current UB username and password required)
    The CIS (Congressional Information Service) Index provides comprehensive indexing for all congressional publications except the Congressional Record . Includes abstracts, subject/name index, number indexes (SuDoc, bill report, law, etc.), and legislative histories.
  • Congressional Index CCH
    Law Federal Core US 002.3 C76; 87th Congress (1963)-present
    Commerce Clearing House's Congressional Index covers the status and history of legislation as it is evaluated by Congress, as well as the activities and members of Congress. This index includes subject, author, and title access to bills, as well as information about voting records, public laws, treaties, and nominations.
  • Digest of Public General Bills and Resolutions
    Lockwood Documents US LC 14.6:; 88th Congress:1st session (1963)-101st Congress:2nd session (1990)
    Indexes: 77th Congress:1st session - 99th Congress:2nd session (1941 - 1986)