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How to . . .   find the Congressional Record

The Congressional Record is a record of the proceedings of Congress. It is published daily when one or both chambers of Congress is in session and is available the following morning. You can read the full text of the Congressional Record on the web or via an iTunes app, find it in libraries, or purchase it from the Government Printing Office.

Web Access

The Congressional Record began publication in 1873; there are three earlier publications that cover the debates of Congress from 1789 through 1873. The full text of these earlier publications are available on the Library of Congress’ Century of Lawmaking website. The Annals of Congress cover the 1st Congress through the first session of the 18th Congress (1789-1824). The Register of Debates covers the second session of the 18th Congress through the first session of the 25th Congress (1824-1837). The Congressional Globe covers the 23rd Congress through the 42nd Congress (1833-1873). In addition, the website provides the full text of the first Congressional Record that covered 1873-1875; however, Web access to the full text of the Congressional Record does not pick up again until 1989.

The full text of the contemporary Congressional Record is available on THOMAS and on the Government Printing Office (GPO) website. On THOMAS, you can browse the Record or do a fielded search back to the 101st Congress (1989-90). On the GPO website, you can do fielded searches or you can retrieve a page (if you know the specific page number you are looking for) back to the 104th Congress (1995-96).

The contemporary Congressional Record Index is also available on THOMAS, back to 1995, and on the GPO website, back to 1983. The GPO website also provides easy access to the History of Bills and Resolutions portion of the Congressional Record Index.

Both the full text of the Record and the Congressional Record Index are updated daily on GPO and THOMAS.


The Congressional Record is available as an app for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch users, with content back to 1995. The documents are delivered via searchable PDF files that can also be emailed or saved. The app is free to download via the iTunes store.


The Congressional Record and its index may be available in large library systems or college libraries, frequently as a part of their participation in the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP). Over 1,100 libraries participate in the FDLP, collecting and/or providing public access to government documents. A list of depository libraries is available on GPO's website. Since most depository libraries are within a university or state library, calling ahead to ask about hours is advised.

Purchasing from GPO

GPO sells single issues of and subscriptions to the Congressional Record. More information is available from GPO by calling 202-512-1800 or 1-866-512-1800 or by visiting the online U.S. Government Bookstore. You may also fax or mail an order form.


Virtual Reference Desk

For information on the Senate, Congress, the legislative process and the federal government, the Virtual Reference Desk is a good place to begin.

Contact your Senators

Follow this guide on how to contact your Senators by phone, postal mail, or on the Web.

Senate Historical Office

Historical information provided by the Senate Historical Office.

Compilations of Law

Compilations of Law links to the full text of several popular acts of law as they have been amended over the years.