Documents of Legislative History
Bills & Proposed Resolutions
Proposed legislation comes in the form of bills or proposed resolutions. There can be many versions as the legislation works its way through the legislative process.
Committee Hearing Transcripts
Committee hearings are a way for Congress to engage in fact-finding. The committee invites witnesses, generally experts in the hearing's subject matter, to testify at the hearings. The witness usually reads a prepared statement, then is questioned by committee members. Prepared statements are often available before the full hearing transcript.
Committee hearing transcripts can be found at the various committee websites, while witness prepared statements can often (depending on the witness) be found on the website of the organization with which the witness is affiliated. Hearing transcripts can also be found on Congress.gov
, ProQuest Congressional
, and Westlaw
When the committee decides to send the bill/resolution back to the full Congressional chamber for a vote, it generally send it back with a report that explains the changes the bill/resolution would make to current law and includes a section-by-section analysis to explain each section of the proposed law.
Congressional Floor Debate
Remarks made on the floor of the House and Senate are transcribed in the Congressional Record.