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Federal Legislative History

Legislative process, bills, reports, hearings, debates, etc. will be covered in this guide.

Committee Reports

Committee reports in general, and conference reports in particular, are the most important source of legislative history. Reports are issued for almost every bill that becomes a law, and there is usually a report from each of the House and Senate committees that considered the legislation.  A report will accompany the bill when it is sent to the full chamber for debate and voting. Reports usually reprint the text of the bill, describe its purposes, and give reasons for the committee’s recommendations on the bill. If a conference committee was appointed to draft a compromise bill acceptable to both the House and Senate, a conference report will be issued. Conference reports are particularly important because they come at the end of the legislative process and report on the text of the compromise bill.

To Find Reports

Committee reports are available as follows: