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HIST 370: Recent U.S. History-The United States since 1914: US Congress

Congressional Record

The Congressional Record is the record of the proceedings of Congress.  It is published daily when Congress is in session and is largely a verbatim account of the remarks and debates on the floor of the House of Representatives and the Senate.  It also includes bills resolutions, motions and roll call votes. Members are allowed to edit their comments.

The Congressional Record consists of four section:

  • Daily Digest [serves as the table of contents and highlights the day's action. Also includes a list of Committee meetings. Each page begins with the letter D, e.g. D1234]
  • House Section [each House page begins with the letter H e.g. H1234]
  • Senate Section [each Senate page begins with the letter S e.g. S3456]
  • Extension of Remarks [numbered sequentially throughout each session of Congress and the pages begin with the letter E, e.g. E6789]

At the back of each daily issue is the "Daily Digest," which summarizes the day's floor and committee activities and serves as a table of contents for each issue. The House and Senate sections contain proceedings for the separate chambers of Congress. Finally, the Extension of Remarks includes tributes, statements, and other information that supplements statements made on the Congressional floor. [source]

Researching and accessing the Congressional Record

 This FDSys database contains full text of the daily Congressional Record from 1994 to the present. The link is to a page that allows browsing the Record by date, or you can choose this collection to search from their Advanced Search Page. The system also provides a comprehensive system of help screens; here is the section on the Congressional Record.

FDSys is also beginning to offer the "bound" version of the Record online as well. Currently coverage goes back to 1999. And the Congressional Record Index is on FDSys from 1983 to the present.

FDSys masthead

Thomas offers full-text searching of the Record from the 101st Congress (1989) to the present. In addition to specifying keywords, you can choose to search the remarks of a particular member of Congress and/or limit your search by various date options. You may only search one Congress at a time, Thomashowever (the current Congress is the default setting). Thomas also provides an electronic index to the Record for 1995 to the present. Again, you must search each Congress separately.

A convenient feature of Thomas' Record coverage, if you know the recent date that you want, is their "Browse Daily Issues" option. A table of contents is provided for each section of each daily issue, with links to the full text. You can also take a look at the "Latest Daily Digest."

NOTE: Thomas is getting a big facelift. will be replacing it soon, and is in beta mode now. This is the link to the new Congressional Record page 

[adapted from St. Mary's Library Guide]

Congressional Record guides

LexisNexis Congressional help

Q:  Using the Search by Number page to search for a legislative history brings back other content types, how do I set up a search to retrieve only the legislative history?

A:  Use the Advanced Search form.  On the Advanced search form you can select the document type you want to retrieve, so deselect the others and check the box for Legislative Histories. 

limit to from the advanced search form

keyword search

After selecting the document type, you can type in the keywords or the public law number in the search box. 


The law number can be formatted several ways (the PL must be in caps): 

  • 101 PL 549  (note the space between the elements)
  • PL101-549  (note there is no space between the elements)
  • P.L. 101-549  (note the space between the elements.  Also, in preliminary testing, the periods appear optional)

search using pl number



Print Sources at Lilly

Congressional Record
1789-1998 - Print - Governement Documents Shelves
1989-1993 - Microfiche
1985 (or 1994 depending on source) - current - Online

Congressional Digest 1992- Current

Monthly periodical with Pro/Con arguments.

Shelved in Periodicals.

Congressional Quarterly Almanac
1945 -1982
Shelved in Reference


Additional Congressional Resources

Earlham College • 801 National Road West • Richmond, Indiana 47374-4095