Guides
Guide to Congressional Information in Electronic Form

Getting Started - Overview of a Topic

National Journal Policy Group (http://www.nationaljournal.com/member/magazine)
CQ Electronic Library (http://library.cqpress.com/)
Roll Call (http://www.rollcall.com/) and The Hill (http://www.thehill.com/)
Expanded Academic ASAP (http://infotrac.galegroup.com/itweb/ucdavis?db=eaim)
A general and interdisciplinary database covering popular and scholarly journals and magazines with many full-text articles.
LexisNexis Congressional Hot Bills and Topics (http://web.lexis-nexis.com/congcomp/form/cong/s_polhotbills.html)

Legislative Process

How Our Laws Are Made (http://thomas.loc.gov/home/lawsmade.toc.html)
Enactment of a Law (http://thomas.loc.gov/home/enactment/enactlawtoc.html)

Congressional Documents That Are Part of the Legislative Process

Bills (http://www.gpoaccess.gov/bills/)
A bill may be introduced into either the House or the Senate. It is assigned a number and referred to the appropriate committee. A bill may be amended in committee. Many more bills are introduced than actually receive any action and both houses of congress may submit similar bills.
Committee Hearings (http://www.gpoaccess.gov/chearings/)
A congressional Committee may hold hearings to further investigate the implications of any bill. Testimony may be heard from numerous interested parties. The transcripts are published as congressional hearings.
Committee Reports (http://www.gpoaccess.gov/cprints/)
A committee may refer the bill to the floor of the chamber, often accompanied by a committee report. The report will often summarize the thinking of the committee.
Conference Committee Reports
A bill which passes the originating chamber will usually be referred to the opposite chamber to undergo the same process. A Conference Committee composed of members from both houses may convene to resolve differences. This is published as a conference committee report.
Congressional Record (http://www.gpoaccess.gov/crecord/)
When a bill has passed in both the House and the Senate it is referred to the floor of the entire congress where discussion may take place and a vote may be recorded. The voting record and the floor debate is published in the Congressional Record
LexisNexis Congressional (http://web.lexis-nexis.com/congcomp)
  • Indexes congressional documents
  • Bill tracking traces legislative history for bills from 101st Congress [1989/90] to present
  • Legislative histories list congressiona documents associated with each public law from 91st Congress [1969/70] to present
Thomas (http://thomas.loc.gov/)
Thomas from the Library of Congress provides access to full-text congressional bills for the 103rd and 104th Congress [1993] to present. It also has the full-text of the Congressional Record [1995] to present and the Congressional Record Index.
Thomas provides:
  • Bill summary and status, 93rd Congress, 1973 to the present.
  • Public laws, 93rd Congress, 1973 to the present.
  • Bill text, 101st Congress, 1989/90 to the present.
UCD Law Library Research Guides (http://www.law.ucdavis.edu/library/)
Click on Research Guides and select Federal Legislative History

Congressional Documents

GPO Access – Legislative Branch Resources on GPO Access (http://www.gpoaccess.gov/legislative.html)
GPO Access from the Government Printing Office is the official source for Federal documents from Congress. It contains the full text of many different congressional documents comprising the legislative process:
Thomas (http://thomas.loc.gov/)
Thomas from the Library of Congress provides access to full-text congressional bills for the 103rd and the 104th Congresses to the present(back to 1993). It also has the full-text of the Congressional Record (1995 to the present) and the Congressional Record Index.
LexisNexis Congressional (http://web.lexis-nexis.com/congcomp)
Provides subject indexing and full text access to congressional publications:
  • Testimony
  • Hearings
  • Committee reports, prints, and documents
  • CIS Legislative histories
Historical coverage for congressional hearings, committee reports and documents covers 1789 to 1969.

Federal Laws and Regulations in Electronic Format

GPO Access (http://www.gpoaccess.gov/plaws/) provides full text of:

Member Information

U.S. House of Representatives (http://www.house.gov/)
Includes links to Members and Committee assignments by name, state and congressional district; a lookup to service to identify and contact your representative by email.
U.S. Senate (http://www.senate.gov/)
The site has directories of Senators by name, links to their web pages and a contact your Senator by email guide.
Congressional Directory (http://www.gpoaccess.gov/cdirectory/)
Almanac of American Politics (by National Journal) (http://www.nationaljournal.com/pubs/almanac/)
Project Vote Smart (http://www.vote-smart.org/)
Congress.org (http://www.congress.org/congressorg/home/)
FEC Information (http://www.tray.com/fecinfo/) – independent site tracks political spending
Congressional Universe (http://web.lexis-nexis.com/congcomp/) – select Members
Congressional Districts (http://nationalatlas.gov/articles/boundaries/a_conApport.html) – via nationalatlas.gov
See also Biographical Directory of Members of Congress 1774 to present (http://bioguide.congress.gov/biosearch/biosearch.asp)

Congressional Support Agencies

Congressional Budget Office (http://www.cbo.gov/)
CBO provides Congress with objective, timely, and nonpartisan analyses needed for budget and economic decision-making. Access publications and information by:
  • Subject (http://www.cbo.gov/publications/) – examples include agriculture, environment, homeland security, etc.
Congressional Research Service
Congressional Research Service is the public policy research arm of the United States Congress. It works exclusively for members of Congress, their committees and staff. As part of their mission to provide research services for Congress they compile many research reports. The reports can be found in several places:
Government Accountability Office (http://www.gao.gov/)
The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is the investigative arm of Congress. GAO conducts audits, surveys, investigations. and researches issues as directed by Congress.
GAO Reports (http://www.gpoaccess.gov/gaoreports/search.html) from 1994 to the present are available online through GPO Access.

News

Roll Call (http://www.rollcall.com/)
Daily newsletter on congressional activies
CQ Weekly Report (http://library.cqpress.com/)
Tracks congressional issues
National Journal's Policy Central (http://www.nationaljournal.com/about/policycentral/)
Weekly summary of national issues
LexisNexis Academic (http://www.lexisnexis.com/us/lnacademic/)
General and worldwide news, including transcripts, legal and business news.
Access World News (http://uclibs.org/PID/23120) [via Newsbank]
Full text from newspapers and resources in the U.S. and worldwide.
C-Span online (http://www.cspan.org/)

Historical Congressional Documents

A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation (http://lcweb2.loc.gov/ammem/amlaw/lawhome.html)
A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation will consist of full-text published debates of Congress from the Annals of Congress (1789-1824), Register of Debates (1824-1837), Congressional Globe (1837-73) and the Congressional Record, (1873 - ). It includes the Journals of the House of Representatives (1789-1793) and the Senate (1789-1793), including the Senate Executive Journal (1789-1805); the debates of Congress as published in the Annals of Congress (1789-1838); and the Journal of William Maclay (1789-1791), Senator from Pennsylvania in the first Congress.
Statutes at Large – 1789-1875 (http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/amlaw/lwsl.html)
Timeline (http://lcweb2.loc.gov/ammem/amlaw/lwtl.html)
American History as Seen in Congressional Documents, 1774-1873
Biographical Directory of the United States Congress 1774 to the present (http://bioguide.congress.gov/biosearch/biosearch.asp)
LexisNexis Congressional Historical Indexes (http://web.lexis-nexis.com/congcomp/)
Select Historical Indexes from the LexisNexis Congressional Menu. Indexes Congressional documents from 1789-1969.
U.S. Congressional Serial Set 1817- (http://uclibs.org/PID/42461) [via Newsbank]
The historical Congressional Serial Set contains Congressional committee reports and documents,agency annual reports and other documents from government agencies. The documents are full text. This is a service under development and not all congressional documents have been digitized and added to the collection at this time.