FInding specific document types in Proquest Congressional

Finding the text of a bill or a law

  • If you have the bill or Public Law number (P.L.), go to Legislative & Executive Publications and select Search by Number.
  • If you don't already have the number, select the Advanced Search.
  • Unselect "all," and select only "Bills and Laws (1789 - )."
  • Search by topic word, bill sponsor, vote report (by sponsor), and more

House and Senate Reports and Documents, 1817-Present

Two approaches:

  1. If you have the report number: Select Legislative and Executive Publications and Search by Number.
  2. If you don't have a number, select the Advanced Search, unselect All sources and select House and Senate Documents or House and Senate Reports, Scroll down to limit by year or session-of-Congress, if necessary.

About House and Senate Reports:

"Congressional reports originate from congressional committees and deal with proposed legislation and issues under investigation.

  • House and Senate Reports: Reports of congressional committees concerning proposed legislation or containing findings on matters under investigation.
  • Senate Executive Reports: Reports of the Committee on Foreign Relations relating to treaties between the United States and foreign nations which have been submitted to the U.S. Senate for ratification, or are reports of various Senate committees regarding nomination of individuals." [GPO]

Finding debate (Congressional Record)

About The Congressional Record:

The Congressional Record is the official record of the proceedings and debates of the United States Congress. Released in a Daily Ed and, later, in the Permanent Bound Edition: "The primary ways in which the bound edition differs from the daily edition are continuous pagination; somewhat edited, revised, and rearranged text; and the dropping of the prefixes H, S, and E before page numbers." [GPO]

The Congressional Record is also available in print on Olin Level 5, Call number: J 11 R4+.
An index to the proceedings can be found at the end of each session, and in 5-year cumulative index volumes.
The "Daily edition" is also available to the general public from GPO FDSys from 1994 - .

Hearings

About Congressional Hearings:
"A hearing is a meeting or session of a Senate, House, joint, or special committee of Congress, usually open to the public, to obtain information and opinions on proposed legislation, conduct an investigation, or evaluate/oversee the activities of a government department or the implementation of a Federal law. In addition, hearings may also be purely exploratory in nature, providing testimony and data about topics of current interest. Most congressional hearings are published two months to two years after they are held." [GPO]

Note: The decision to publish a committee hearing is left up to the committee. Some hearings remain unpublished, but they should eventually find their way to the National Archives. Some of these hearings were subsequently made available on microfilm and many are included in Proquest Congressional.  See U.S. Government Documents: A Finding Guide  for more information.

Roll Call Votes

Roll call votes are recorded in the bound edition of the Congressional Record. To find roll call votes in Proquest Congressional Publications,

  • From the menu, select Legislative and Executive Publications and Advanced Search.
  • Enter key terms (title of bill, etc.);
  • Use the drop-down menu below the search field to select Roll Call Votes.

Note: The Permanent Bound Ed is also available in print, in Olin Library. It's shelved on Olin Level 5, Call number: J 11 R4+.
In addition, the "Daily edition" is available to the general public from GPO FDSys.

More sources for Roll call votes (floor votes)

Prior to 1945, you will need to search the Congressional Record. The Congressional Record is the official source of recorded floor votes.

Papers from early Republic

Vital Statistics on Congress