Fewer Options More Options

About the Congressional Record

After each day that Congress is in session, the proceedings are printed in the Congressional Record (CR) and available the following morning.

New daily issues, reporting business from the previous day if either the House or Senate or both met, are usually available by 10:00 am. Late availability, often due to a late night Congressional session, is announced on the Most Recent Issue page. You can also subscribe to daily email alerts for new CR issues.

Daily Congressional proceedings may include legislative activity by the chambers and their committees, Member remarks, communications from the president, and more (described below in Congressional Record Sections). Note that official records of House and Senate actions are recorded in their respective journals.

Congress.gov provides numerous ways to access the CR. Among them are:

Scope of Coverage

Congress.gov provides full-text access to daily CR issues dating from 1995 (beginning with the 104th Congress). New issues become available on Congress.gov shortly after they are published on GPO's FDsys usually before 10:00 am. Late availability, often due to a late night Congressional session, is announced on the Most Recent Issue page. Issues are not usually printed for days that neither the Senate nor House met.

Browsing the Congressional Record

  • Browse By Date browse entire issues and all sections, 1995-present
  • Filters facilitate limiting items by Congress, Chamber of Origin, Section, and Member Remarks, 1995-present
  • Congressional Record Index is topical access to remarks and activities by Members, individuals, organizations, and legislative business mentioned in the CR. Index entries feature a linked Congressional Record page number and the date.

Searching the Congressional Record

  • To search the full text of the CR, choose Congressional Record from the search dropdown menu on the homepage, and enter a keyword or phrase in quotes. Refine search results by using the “search within” feature, or by selecting additional criteria from the filters to the left of results.
  • Congressional Record - Specialized Search Forms describes additional search options.
  • See Congressional Record Search Tips.
  • See Search Tools Overview for details on using operators and fields in your search query.
  • Congressional Record search form field equivalents are listed here.
Search Label on Congressional Record search form Field Searched
Congress congressId:
Section of Congressional Record crArticleSectionName:
Dates - Session congSessionNum:
Dates - Selected Date crArticleDateStr:
Words and Phrases - Full Text text:
Words and Phrases - Headings Only title:
Member Remarks - House crMemberRemarks:
Member Remarks - Senate crMemberRemarks:

Congressional Record Sections

The CR is a daily account of the business conducted by each chamber and their committees. Each issue may include these sections:

Daily Digest is the default view for the CR. It provides a summary of the previous day's legislative activity. These headings may be present within the Daily Digest section:

Senate business conducted in the Senate chamber and committees. These headings may be present within the Senate section:

House business conducted in the House chamber and committees. These headings may be present within the House section:

Extensions of Remarks used only by House of Representative members to publish additional statements not actually delivered on the House floor.

Congressional Record Citations

Daily edition - Four distinct sections and page number series are within each daily issue. Page numbers are preceded by single letters designating the section, and require a volume number or date to be unique:

  • S for Senate (e.g., Volume 162, Issue No. 7, January 12, 2016, S45-S46)
  • H for House (e.g., Volume 161, Issue No. 9, January 20, 2015, H419-H424 Example is the president's State of the Union Address.)
  • E for Extensions of Remarks (e.g., Volume 158, Issue No. 154, December 4, 2012, E1875)
  • D for Daily Digest (e.g., Volume 154, Issue No. 65, April 23, 2008, D421-D482 Example is an announcement that Richard Gere is testifying at a committee hearing.)

Bound edition - After the end of each year, a permanent final version, referred to as the Congressional Record 'bound edition', is prepared by GPO. In the bound edition, the pagination is continuous, and there is some editing and rearrangement of texts.

Citations for daily edition issues differ from citations to the bound edition. Compare citations from both editions that have this title CONFERENCE REPORT ON HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION 83, CONCURRENT RESOLUTION ON THE BUDGET FOR FISCAL YEAR 2002:

Most web-accessible CRs are the daily edition. Three years (1999-2001) of the bound edition are available from FDsys.

History of the Congressional Record

The CR has been published by the GPO since 1873. Before 1873, records of congressional proceedings were kept under various titles: Annals of Congress, Register of Debates and Congressional Globe. Reporters of Debate and the Congressional Record provides narrative history.

Senate.gov features a digital library of Résumés of Congressional Activity dating from 1947.

Century of Lawmaking provides full-text access to the "permanent edition" of the CR, and its previous titles, from 1789-1875 (1st through the 43rd Congresses).

Print format documents on various media (paper, microfiche, etc.) may be available at a federal depository library.

Research Guides and Related Resources

Find more information about the Congressional Record from:

In Custodia Legis - Debates of Congress: A Beginner's Guide

Law Librarians' Society

National Archives

U.S. Senate