United States Congressional

Find U.S. Congressional documents in free official government websites and commercial databases

Congressional Record and Its Predecessors

The Congressional Record is the official record of the activities, debates and proceedings of the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives. It is published daily by the U. S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) when Congress is in session.  After a session of Congress, the daily editions are eventually compiled in permanent bound volumes.  The proceedings of a single congress can run over 30,000 print pages.

The House and Senate proceedings include edited debates, voting records, legislative actions, and texts of selected bills.

The Daily Digest in each issue summarizes the day's floor and committee activities, including actions on bills, votes, hearings, meetings, bill status, and the upcoming week's agenda.  

The Extension of Remarks section includes any materials submitted later for inclusion but were not actually spoken on the House of Senate Floor.  This can be anything including additional legislative statements, speeches given outside of Congress, memorials, letters from constituents, newspaper articles or even poetry or recipes.  

Congressional Record - Daily vs Permanent Bound Editions - Citing

Congressional Record Daily Edition reports each day's proceedings and is printed and delivered to all members of Congress by the following morning.  It contains four independently-numbered parts:

  • House Proceedings
  • Senate Proceedings
  • Extension of Remarks (additional materials inserted into the public record by legislators)
  • Daily Digest (brief overview)

The Daily Edition includes the prefixes H, S and E. before page numbers. 
Example: 159 Cong. Rec. H227 (daily ed. Jan. 23, 2013) (statement of  Rep. Yarmuth)  

Permanent "Bound" Edition is the annual compilation of all the Daily Editions for an annual session, re-paginated, edited, and permanently bound.  There is a delay of several years for this to be produced. 

The permanent edition does not include prefixes and is cited by volume and page number. 
Example: 142 Cong. Rec. 14982 (1996).


     142 Cong. Rec 14982 (1996) (statement of Sen. John McCain).

Cite the Daily Edition only for matters not yet appearing in the permanent edition.

Congressional Record and Its Predecessors by Date and Source

Congressional Record  1789-current
(Daily & Bound)

 UTSA subscription: ProQuest Congressional
 Advanced Search >  Congressional Record

   Daily 1995-current
Bound 1881-1994
   Congress.gov (Library of Congress) (open access)      
    govinfo  (GPO) (open access)      
(Permanent bound)
 govinfo (GPO) (1873-2017) (open access)
Congressional Globe  1833-1873  

 Library of Congress (open access)
 American Memory Project: A Century of Lawmaking


Register of Debates in Congress

 1824-1837    https://lcweb2.loc.gov/ammem/amlaw/lwrd.html      
Annals of Congress 
 1789-1824    https://lcweb2.loc.gov/ammem/amlaw/lwac.html      
Journals of Continental Congress and Constitutional Convention 
 1774-1789    https://memory.loc.gov/ammem/amlaw/lwjc.html      

Search Tips for ProQuest Congressional (UTSA subscription)

  • Database: ProQuest Congressional
  • Version. You can search the Daily Congressional Record or the Permanent Bound edition. 
  • Date: Make sure you are searching the correct dates.  You can limit to a particular date, a specific Congress, or a date range. 
  • Full Text searching.  When searching full text, use the proximity search NEAR/x to find words close to each other.  For example, Guatemala NEAR/5 terrorism finds the words Guatemala and Terrorism within 5 words of each other. The default is 10 words.
  • Truncation: To find various form of words, use truncation symbols (*) for any number of letters, or (?) to replace a single letter.   
  •  Example: terror* (for terror, terrorist, terrorism);  post? (for post, posts, but not postal)
  • Comments spoken by particular speaker.  Limit to Member of Congress in drop down menu.  Can also limit to broad topic.  
  • Speakers are referred to by last name in text in all capitals: Mr. HANSEN.  So can search full text for speakers:
    • allcaps(hansen) near/25 OSHA  

  • Citing help: Congressional Record Permanent Edition and Congressional Record Daily Edition.

Search Tips for govinfo (free government database)

  • Database: govinfo (advanced search)
  • Free online government database
  • Can search Daily edition (1994-current), Bound edition  (1873-2001; 2005-2010), or Index either separately or combined
  • Can limit by date (left hand box)
  • On right hand side you can search in full text, branch, category, citation, government author, series, SuDoc  #, title, congress number, congress session, or congressional report citation.
  • If you limit to a single source (e.g., Congressional Record Daily Edition) you will have additional options for searching such as Congress Member Speaking, or Congress Member Not Voting. or Statutes at Large Citation.
  • For more tips, see the Help section for tip sheets and tutorials.