U.S. Congressional Record

What is the Congressional Record?

The Congressional Record began publication in 1873 (43rd Congress, 2nd session). Printed by the Government Printing Office, it is the fourth in a series of publications containing the debates of Congress. (It was preceded by the Annals of Congress (1787 – 1824), Register of Debates (1824 – 1837), and Congressional Globe (1833 – 1873). The Record is far more comprehensive than its predecessors in reporting Congressional debates.

The Congressional Record is the official record of the proceedings and debates of the Congress in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. It contains: a verbatim record of what is said on the floor of the House and Senate (however, members can revise and extend their remarks), a record of votes reprints of major bills and some committee reports (including all conference committee reports), veto messages, a "Daily Digest" of floor action.

The Congressional Record is published every day Congress is in session, and the daily issues are cumulated into (and replaced by) annual volumes. An index to the daily Congressional Record is issued every two weeks and the annual Congressional Record has its own cumulative index.

The contents of the appendix of each volume vary from Congress to Congress, but appendixes typically contain presidential messages, reports of the heads of departments and cabinet officers, texts of laws, and appropriations. Speeches not indexed or referenced on the pages reprinting the debates appear in the appendix as well.

Congressional hearings and Congressional reports (see Serial Set) are not included in the Congressional Record

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Finding Information in the Congressional Record

The Congressional Record is divided into four sections: the proceedings and debates of the House and Senate, the Extensions of Remarks, and the Daily Digest, a summary of proceedings for that day in each house. Each section is paged continuously and separately during a session, and each page of each section has a letter prefix:

The daily Record has an index composed of two parts, an index by subject and individual name to the proceedings and debates, and a History of Bills and Resolutions. The history is arranged by chamber and, within chamber, by bill and resolution number.

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What we have available at WTAMU

Unfortunately WTAMU does not have a complete collection of the Congressional Record. Below is a list of what we do have available. For additional help, please see a Documents staff member.

The Annals of Congress

Also known as The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States. The Annals cover the 1st Congress through the first session of the 18th Congress, from 1789 to 1824. The Annals were not published contemporaneously, but were compiled between 1834 and 1856, using records available, such as newspaper accounts. Speeches are paraphrased rather than presented verbatim.

Microfilm
A complete set is in the Gov Docs Dept Microform Cabinets with the title U.S. Debates and Proceedings.
Annals of Congress
From the Library of Congress American Memory project, you can browse the annals by selecting a Congress or search the annals by keyword searching, with the ability to limit your search by Congress, chamber, and session.

The Register of Debates

The Register of Debates is a record of the congressional debates of the 18th Congress, 2nd Session through the 25th Congress, 1st Session (1824-37). It is the second of the four series of publications containing the debates of Congress. It was preceded by the Annals of Congress and succeeded by the Congressional Globe. The Register of Debates is not a verbatim account of the proceedings, but rather a summary of debates of the period.

Microfilm
A complete set is in the Gov Docs Dept Microform Cabinets with the title U.S. Register of Debates.
The Register of Debates
From the Library of Congress American Memory project, you can browse the annals by selecting a Congress or search the annals by keyword searching, with the ability to limit your search by Congress, chamber, and session.

Congressional Globe

The Globe, contains the congressional debates of the 23rd through 42nd Congresses (1833-73). Earlier, the Globe contained a "condensed report" or abstract rather than a verbatim report of the debates and proceedings. With the 32nd Congress (1851), however, the Globe began to provide some verbatim transcription.

Microfilm
A complete set is in the Gov Docs Dept Microform Cabinets.
Congressional Globe
From the Library of Congress American Memory project, you can browse the annals by selecting a Congress or search the annals by keyword searching, with the ability to limit your search by Congress, chamber, and session.

Congressional Record

Print Sources
WTAMU has the 60th Congress (1907) to the 106th Congress (1999) in print. Some volumes may be missing from this collection. Volumes after the 106th Congress can be viewed online or in Microfiche.
Documents Department
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Microfiche Sources
WTAMU has the 43rd Congress (1873) through the 66th Congress (1921) in Microfiche. After this you must use the print volumes until the 101st Congress (1989) to present which is back to microfiche format.
Thomas: U.S. Congress on the Internet
Thomas has available the Congressional Record from the 101st (1989) to current Congress in full text online. Look under "Congressional Record". The citations to the Congressional Record in the Bill Status section are linked to the text beginning in 1993.
GPO Access
GPO Access contains Congressional Record volumes from 140 (1994) to the present. At the back of each daily issue is the "Daily Digest," which summarizes the day's floor and committee activities. This site is the main page for the Congressional Record. You can also search by Bills, The History of Bills, or search GPO's Congressional Record Index that covers 1983 to current.

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Online Resources

Thomas: U.S. Congress on the Internet
Thomas has available the Congressional Record from the 101st (1989) to current Congress in full text online. Look under "Congressional Record". The citations to the Congressional Record in the Bill Status section are linked to the text beginning in 1993.
GPO Access
GPO Access contains Congressional Record volumes from 140 (1994) to the present. At the back of each daily issue is the "Daily Digest" which summarizes the day's floor and committee activities. This site is the main page for the Congressional Record. You can also search by Bills, The History of Bills, or search GPO's Congressional Record Index that covers 1983 to current.
National Archives
The National Archives has a site that provides a technical background in their Library Resources for Administrative History: Debates of Congress.
U.S. Senate Reference
Information on the Congressional Record from the U.S. Senate.
U.S. Congress
Guide to biographical information as well as resources on Congressional districts, Congressional and campaign news, Congressional publications, and other guides to Congressional information.

Any questions? Ask a Librarian, or call us at 806/651-2205.

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