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Business and Public Policy Research Guide: Legislative Research (U.S.)


Legislative Research

Document Trail Chart

How to track a law from the bill stage though passage into law.

GAO = Government Accountability Office

CRS = Congressional Research Service

CBO = Congressional Budget Office

Legislative Histories and Bill Tracking

Congressional Record

Congressional Record is the proceedings of the United States Congress. There were several preceeding titles: The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States [1789-1824]; Register of Debates in Congress [1824-1837]; and The Congressional Globe [1833-1873]. Also online are the Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789.

Congressional Reports

Congressional Reports eventually become part of the U.S. Congressional Serial Set. Congressional Reports, consisting of Senate and House Reports, are important for several reasons: 1) they often present the legislative intent of congressional bills (why was this law needed?; what were the legislators thinking?; and 2) they often present statistics and other useful background information.

Congressional Hearings

Other Legislative Sources