Government Documents and Microforms

How a Bill Becomes a Law and Various Other Sources

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To Trace a Particular Bill Number

In addition to the sources listed in How to Choose a Particular Bill or Law, the following sources can be used to find out who sponsored a bill in each chamber, when the bill was introduced in each chamber, the text of the bill, and it's SuDoc number.

Title & Dates of Coverage Location Frequency & Indexing Description
Bills and Resolutions Finding Aid
Middleton Government Documents
GP 3.28:
Bills beginning with the 96th Congress (1979) are received in microfiche only, and are filed by fiche number, not bill number.

Full-text via FDsys 103rd Session (1993) forward.

Major bills prior to the 96th session of Congress may sometimes be located full-text in the Congressional Record.
S. Senate bills
S.Res. Senate Resolutions
S.J.Res. Senate Joint Resolutions
S.Con.Res. Senate Concurrent Resolutions
H.R. House Bills
H.Res. House Resolutions
H.J. Res. House Joint Resolutions
H.Con.Res.House Concurrent Resolutions
CCH Congressional Index Middleton Reference
K 49 .C6
Updated Weekly. Bill section for each house lists bills with short summaries, when introduced, and by whom, along with committee assignment.

“Status of …” section traces major steps in the legislative process.
CIS Index and Abstracts
Middleton Reference
KF 49 C62
Annual cumulations In the index of bill numbers, look up the Congressional Session number, then the bill number to see the list of accession numbers for the hearings and reports in the abstract volumes.

If the bill became a law, CIS will use the Public Law number as an accession number (e.g., P. L. 101-690). If the bill became a law, use the Legislative History volume or sections.
Congressional Record [various titles]
Middleton Government Documents
X 1.1:

Issued every day Congress is in session.

Check by subject and bill name indexes for the dates the bill came up for a vote.
In the “Senate Bills and Resolutions” and “House Bills and Resolutions” sections at the end of each year's index volumes, sponsors are listed.

The “History of Bills Enacted into Public Law” at the back of the yearly “Daily Digest” volume will include the bill number that passed and its companion bill in the other chamber (if there was one) and when the bill was introduced. Available also via FDsys from 1983 to present.

If you know the name of the sponsor, it is sometimes easier to look by the sponsor's name in the “Remarks On” section.

If it is a major piece of legislation, the full text of the bill is reprinted in the Record, along with the remarks of the sponsor(s).
FDsys Updated Daily. Full text of bills are available from 1993 forward. The database is updated by 6 a.m. daily when bills are published and approved for release.

Also includes the Congressional Record, Congressional Directory, History of Bills, and the Constitution Annotated.
THOMAS WWW Updated Daily. Produced by the Library of Congress, this is a major government gateway into congressional information.
Includes published versions of congressional bills, reports, and documents.

Also includes the Congressional Record and the History of Bills, 1973 forward.

See also, Congressional Quarterly Almanac, Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report, and National Journal, along with other sources described in How to Choose a Particular Bill or Law.