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Federal Legislative History Research: Debates
This guide will outline the resources available at the University of Missouri School of Law for federal legislative history research.
Legislative Debates & Proceedings are statements made and/or actions taken in a chamber of Congress. Floor debates may occur at any time on a bill and they are recorded in the daily publication, Congressional Record.
Legislative debates may include statements by a bill’s sponsors or the chairs of the committees considering the bills, which are given more weight than comments by Representatives or Senators not involved with the specific bill. However, statements may be contradictory (making it difficult to infer the intent) and can be altered prior to publication.
How to Cite a Debate
Bluebook Rule 13.5
"Cite congressional debates after 1873 to the Congressional Record; use the daily edition only for matter not yet appearing in the permanent edition. The primary ways in which the Congressional Record differs from the daily edition are continuous pagination, altered text, and the dropping of the prefixes H, S, and E before page numbers:"
This collection features the complete Congressional Record Bound version, as well as the daily version back to 1980. It also includes the three predecessor titles: Annals of Congress (1789-1824), Register of Debates (1824-1837) Congressional Globe (1833-1873), and Congressional Hearings (1927-2015), as well as other important congressional material. Using the Daily-to-Bound Locator Tool, you can quickly find a page in the Bound volume from the Daily edition. This collection now also includes other Congressional documents including Congressional bills, prints, hearings, reports and presidential remarks and public laws.