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Government Information: Congress

Congress

The information on this page pertains to the United States Congress and its roll as the legislative body of the United States Government.  The following resources will allow you to research and track legislation, laws, members of Congress, and the workings and records of Congress from the beginning of the United States to the present day.

Collections of Congressional information are outstanding resources for History and Political Science scholars, and due to the wide scope of U.S. Congressional activity, these materials can benefit work in almost any academic area, providing statements, statistics, and opinions of the moment from throughout American History.

Legislation and Proceedings of Congress

Congress.gov

Congress.gov is a service of the Library of Congress dedicated to providing current and historical information about the US Congress.  Current legislation (searchable by number, sponsor, or name), bill text, roll call votes, appropriations bills, current floor activity, and congressional schedules.  Congress.gov is a replacement of THOMAS.gov.

FDsys.gov

FDsys.gov is the Government Printing Office’s information storage and retrieval site which provides access to authenticated, information directly from Congress.  FDsys.gov is the official online repository of bills, congressional calanders, congressional committee hearings and publications, as well as other information.  FDsys.gov offers powerful search features and the most up to date versions (daily when applicable) of information.

ProQuest Congressional

ProQuest Congressional (formerly LexisNexis Congressional) offers access to a wide selection of information from and about the United States Congress through a single database.  The following is a full list of the information covered by the MU Libraries' subscription to ProQuest Congressional:

  • Congressional Hearings 
  • Congressional Serial Set
  • Congressional Serial Set Maps
  • House and Senate Reports
  • House and Senate Documents
  • Committee Prints & Miscellaneous Publications
  • Legislative Histories
  • Congressional Research Service Reports Citations

The Congressional Record

The Congressional Record is the official record of the proceedings of the United States Congress. The CR is published daily when Congress is in session. The Congressional Record as it exists today began in 1873 with a special session of the 43rd Congress.  Prior to 1873 there were three titles which collected some of the information that today makes up the Congressional Record.  These titles were edited collections, and do not always conform to the current format of the CR.

The Congressional Record is available in FDsys.gov (1994 to present) and in ProQuest Congressional (1789 to present).

In the Miami University Libraries the Congressional Record is available from 1873 to 1977 in print, and from 1978 to the present in microfiche.  The titles which recorded the acts of Congress prior to 1873 are available online through the American Memory Project, and in the MU Libraries:  The Annals of Congress (1789-1824 42v), The Register of Debates (1824-1837 14v), and The Congressional Globe (1833-1873 106v).

U.S. Congressional Serial Set

The U.S. Congressional Serial Set (usually referred to simply as the Serial Set) is a collection of the reports and documents introduced to or created in the Senate and House of Representatives during each session of Congress.  A variety of publications including Executive Agency reports, Congressional Hearings, Presidential communications to Congress, committee reports and recommendations, treaty materials, sworn statements and testimony before Congress, maps, and Congressional discussion of popular and important world events have been included in the Serial Set. If a topic has been discussed in Congress chances are that the supporting material can be found in the Serial Set.

The Serial Set began publication in 1817 with the 15th Congress, 1st Session. Documents introduced to Congress before 1817 may be found in the American State Papers. Given its long history and the variety of information that has been included in it, the Serial Set represents an invaluable source for research on American History.

The Serial Set can be accessed through FDsys.gov (99th Congress to present), and ProQuest Congressional (1789 to present).

The Serial Set is also available in the Miami University Libraries (Volume 1 to present).  Volume 1 to 606 (microfiche), and volume 607 to the present (print) are available with some exceptions. Volumes in print are housed in off-site storage. Any volume can be requested at the circulation desks in King Library on the Oxford campus. Due to past incidents of vandalism, print volumes may only be used in the Library.

C-SPAN Video Archive

C-SPAN has released its entire video archive spanning 1987 to the present. The archive allows for viewing unedited recordings of political speeches, debates, election coverage and outcomes, and the current activity of the US Congress.

Congressional Representatives

Contact representatives and look up their biographical information: House / Senate / Congressional Pictoral Directory

View current legislation, including sponsors, bill text and calendars: House / Senate

View roll-call votes (how reps. voted on a given bill): House / Senate

View public disclosures of donations and lobbying by representative: House / Senate

    The Federal Election Commission is the regulatory agency  responsible for administering the Federal Election Campaign Act. The FEC website provides maps, reports, and other campaign finance information for Presidental, Senate, and House elections.

      Congressional Information Agencies

      While most federal agencies are organized under the Executive Branch of the US Government the CRS, CBO, and GAO are all Legislative Agencies which support the work of the United States Congress.  All three agencies produce information which is regarded as non-partisan, detailed, and accurate.

      The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) provides information and reports to Congress on matters of the US Budget.

      The Government Accountability Office (GAO) functions as an investigative service for congress, primarily working on financial auditing. 

      CBO and GAO reports and information are made available through the public.

      The Congressional Research Service (CRS) conducts research for Members of Congress on current events and public policy.  CRS reports are generally regarded as excellent summeries of a given issue and are often of great use to researchers.

      There is currently no official distribution of CRS reports to the general public.  However some CRS reports have been made available through individual or organizational requests, or have been released by Members of Congress. Once released, CRS reports are considered public domain.  While there is no signal repository for all of these reports there are collections which house some of them.  OpenCRS, the US Department of State, the UNT Digital Library, and the Federation of American Scientists all provide access to collections of CRS reports.