United States Senate
United States Senate Senators HomeCommittees HomeLegislation & Records HomeArt & History HomeVisitor Center HomeReference Home
United States Senate
Virtual Reference Desk
Statistics & Lists
How to...
Is it true that . . .
Senate Organization
Constitution of the United States

How to . . .   find copies of bills

You can read the full text of recent bills on the web, you can order printed copies from the Senate or House Document Rooms, or you can find them in a library. Senate bills are also sometimes printed in the Congressional Record.

You need a bill or public law number to check the status or request a copy of legislation. Active Legislation is one of several resources that will help you find bill numbers.

Web Access

  • THOMAS provides the full text of bills from the 101st Congress (1989) to the present. You can do fielded searches by bill number, sponsor, committee, stage in legislative process, standard subject term, word or phrase. You can also browse a sequential list of all bills and resolutions.
  • GPO provides the full text of bills from the 103rd Congress (1993) to the present. You can search by bill number, or you can browse a list of all bills and resolutions.


Document Rooms

Senate Document Services may be able to provide you with a copy of a bill or resolution from the current Congress. Check with them for availability.


Bills and resolutions 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.

Congressional Record

Some Senate bills are printed in the Congressional Record, generally on the day they are introduced. Quite often, a senator gives a statement of introduction, which is helpful in understanding the provisions of the bill. The text of House measures are rarely printed, and there are usually no statements of introduction.


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.