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Federal Legislative History Research


This portion of the guide describes five different electronic sources that contain the full text of one or more of the types of legislative history documents discussed in this guide.


This website from the Library of Congress provides a wealth of legislative history information from current and past years. It provides the full text of public laws, legislative bills (as well as summaries and status information for these bills), legislative debates, and committee reports. defaults to searching the current Congress. Therefore, you will need to adjust your search filters if you need to research older legislative documents.

For additional guidance on using this database, click on "Support" to access the "Help Center."

GovInfo is the official website for U.S. government documents provides free electronic access to federal government information. Its home page provides links to various search pages for all the types of Congressional documents discussed in this guide (bills, reports, debates in the Congressional Record, and hearings). GovInfo also provides access to presidential statements contained in the Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States.

For additional guidance on searching GovInfo, select "Help" on the home page.


The U.S. Congressional Documents collection on HeinOnline provides access to the debates of Congress going back to 1789, including all of the volumes of the Congressional Record published since 1873. Researches may search by citation or by keyword.

For additional help searching on HeinOnline, use the “Search Help” link next to the search box or select "Help" at the top of the page.

U.S. Congressional Serial Set

The Serial Set includes the full text of historical Congressional committee reports as well as Presidential statements going back to the early 1800s. You can search for committee reports by keyword, bill number, and/or publication number. You can also browse various lists of subjects provided under a number of broad headings.

Be sure to use the "Help" page within this database to make the most of your research.

ProQuest Congressional

ProQuest Congressional includes a variety of legislative history information and documents, including the full text of Congressional hearings going back to 1824. On the ProQuest Congressional site, you can choose the type of document you wish to search (such as reports, hearings, bills & public laws, or the daily Congressional Record).

The ProQuest Congressional database offers a variety of ways to search for documents, including by the publication number or the number of the related bill or public law. You can also conduct a keyword search through the Basic Search or Advanced Search tabs. 

For additional guidance on using ProQuest Congressional, choose the ? link (Help link).

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