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Zimmerman's Research Guide


Congressional Reports

Congressional Reports are prepared by Congressional Committees to explain their findings and recommendations on issues related to a particular bill. Congressional Reports are available from many sources, including -

(a) FDsys and Congress.gov, which post Reports free starting with the 104th Congress (1995-96).

(b) Private vendors including:

  1. Lexis, starting 1990 (LEGIS;CMTRPT) - pull reports using the format "H Rpt 103-213"; PLUS you can go back to 1777 in the U.S. Serial Set (discussed below);
  2. Westlaw, staring 1948 (LH) - you can pull reports using the format "s rep 94-75" or "hr rep 102-38" or "hr conf rep 101-386 for Conference Reports;
  3. Bloomberg Law starting 1995;
  4. ProQuest Congressional, starting 1991 (basic subscription), with add-on Serial Set subscription covering 1789-1969;
  5. CQ Roll Call starting 1989 and
  6. HeinOnline, if you have the add-on U.S. Congressional Documents Library subscription.

(c) The United States Congressional Serial Set and American State Papers -- for Reports all the way back to 1777. The Serial Set and American State Papers are available in print in depository libraries and electronically through Lexis, ProQuest Congressional, the Library of Congress and Readex. For details, see the "United States Congressional Serial Set" and "American State Papers" entries. Note: If you have the Report Number and a year from 1777 through 1969, you can pull up the Report from the Lexis Serial Set Archive database using one of the formats: "DOC-NO(s. rpt. 91-874)" or "DOC-NO(s rp 874) and date is 1964" (for Senate Report 874 from 1964).

(d) Pre-compiled Legislative Histories. Reports are included in the various legislative histories that legislative librarians have compiled. These include a collection compiled by the GAO covering thousands of bills that is now available through Westlaw. For more information, see "Federal Legislative Histories."

(e) The U.S. Code Congressional and Administrative News (USCCAN), which publishes at least one report (if Congress wrote one) for each Public Law enacted. Starts 1948. USCCAN is available on Westlaw (USCCAN).

(f) The Government Printing Office (GPO). The GOP publishes and sells Reports as individual volumes through the U.S. Government Bookstore. Alternatively, you can call the GPO Bookstore in Washington (202-512-1800).

If the Report was issued since July 1976, you can look it up in the GPO's online Catalog of U.S. Government Publications. The Catalog will tell you which depository libraries received that report, so you can either go or call for copies.

(g) Tax-related reports are available through Westlaw back to 1948 (FTX-LH), Tax Analysts' Federal Research Library back to 1981, RIA's Checkpoint back to the 104th Congress (1995-1996), and Wolter Kluwer's Intelliconnect back to 1954 (all three services available by subscription-only).

Researching Reports: To find Congressional Reports on a particular subject, you can -

(b) Search by keyword in any of the online databases discussed above.

(b) Look in the CIS/Index to Congressional Publications and Public Laws, which indexes Congressional materials 1970 to last year. The CIS/Index is available in hard copy in some large law libraries, on Lexis (LEGIS;CISINX) and on ProQuest Congressional. The CIS/Historical Index on Lexis (LEGIS;CISHST) covers 1789-1980.

(c) Look in the CIS U.S. Serial Set Index, in hard copy or on CIS's Congressional Masterfile I CD-ROM. If you don't have access to these, you should be able to get copies from the Serial Set Index from a document delivery service that works from a Federal Depository Library.

(d) Search by keyword in the GPO's online Catalog of U.S. Government Publications, which goes back to July 1976. This can be a good no-cost way to look up Hearing titles, SuDoc numbers, publication dates, etc.

(d) Look through the print indexes to the GPO's Monthly Catalog of Government Publications. The print Monthly Catalog goes back to 1895 which is great for coverage, but you can end up looking through a lot of annual indexes unless you're looking for a particular year. You can speed up the process if you can access a copy of the Cumulative Subject Index to the Monthly Catalog of United States Government Publications, 1900-1971 and/or United States Government Publications, Monthly Catalog: Quinquennial Cumulative Personal Author Index, 1941-1975.

Congressional Research Service Reports: See "Congressional Research Service Reports."

See Also
Bill Status
Congressional Research Service Reports
Federal Bills
Federal Legislative History

For comments, questions and suggestions, email the author
Copyright 2015 Andrew Zimmerman