Skip to main content

Federal Legislative Histories

Congressional Documents

Bill -- A form of proposed legislation, numbered H.R. # and S. # for the House and Senate, respectively, which includes a proposal for a new law or the amendment or repeal of an existing law.  A bill is the draft, unapproved form of a public law. 

Resolution -- A form of proposed legislation used to initiate administrative or housekeeping procedures to govern the action of the chamber in which they originate.

Concurrent resolution -- An expression by Congress not normally legislative in character which expresses a "sense", opinion, purpose, fact, or principle and which does not require the President's signature.

Joint resolution -- A legislative initiative used typically used for the introduction of constitutional amendments and for the proclamation of commemorative days, weeks, or months.

Hearing -- Transcripts of testimony before congressional committees, usually with substantial accompanying documentation.

Print -- Research reports with background information ordered printed by a congressional committee.

Markup -- Review by a congressional committee after hearings are held to make changes to a bill and to make recommendations to Congress about its passage.

Report -- Reports of Congressional committees concerning proposed legislation and/or findings on matters under investigation that describe the purpose and scope of a bill and the reasons for approval.

Conference report -- A report of a conference committee, a committee formed to reconcile different versions of a bill passed in the House and Senate.

Document -- A publication containing various other materials, such as Executive Branch agency reports or other communication, ordered printed by both chambers of Congress.

Senate Executive reports -- Reports of the Committee on Foreign Relations relating to Treaties between the United States and foreign nations which have been submitted to the U.S. Senate for ratification or reports of various Senate Committees regarding nomination of individuals.

Senate Executive documents -- A publication containing the text of a Treaty as it is submitted to the U.S. Senate for ratification by the President of the United States. Beginning with the 97th Congress in 1981, Executive (Lettered) Documents became known as Treaty Documents, and they are now numbered instead of lettered alphabetically.

Senate treaty documents -- A publication containing the text of a Treaty as it is submitted to the U.S. Senate for ratification by the President of the United States. Beginning with the 97th Congress in 1981, Executive (Lettered) Documents became known as Treaty Documents, and they are now numbered instead of lettered alphabetically.

U. S. Congressional Serial Set -- A serially numbered collection of congressional publications dating back to 1789 which includes House and Senate Reports and Documents.

Slip law -- First official publication of a public law.

U.S. Statutes at Large -- Arrangement in chronological and numerical order in separate series of public laws, private laws, joint resolutions, concurrent resolutions, and some Presidential materials into bound sessional volumes.

Congressional Record -- Transcript of the deliberations of the members of the House and Senate.

Journals (House Journal and Senate Journal) -- Annual official legislative record of each chamber, containing minutes of daily sessions, a concise record of legislative action.

Other Documents

Public law -- A law passed by Congress of general application.

Private law -- A law passed by Congress that generally benefits a particular person or group of individuals.

U.S. Code -- Codification of the general and permanent law of the United States.

Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents -- A weekly collection of presidential materials, including Executive orders, transcripts of news conferences, messages to Congress, list of presidential nominees, and public speeches and statements.

Public Papers of the President -- An official series containing the text of each president's speeches, news conferences, messages, statements, communications to Congress, executive orders, proclamations, nominations, and appointments.

Monthly Catalog of U.S. Government Publications -- Catalog of government documents distributed through the U.S. Government Printing Office Federal Depository Library Program.