Skip to Main Content

Government Publications: United States: Congressional Record

Guide to United States government publications.

Definition: Congressional proceedings and debates

The Congressional Record is the official record of the proceedings, debates, and activities of Congress. Although the Record contains a substantially verbatim account of the proceedings and debate, it also contains extensive inserted materials, communications from the President and executive agencies, memorials, and petitions.

There are two editions of the Record, a daily one and a bound, permanent one. The daily edition reports each day’s proceedings in Congress and is published on the succeeding day. Periodically, throughout a session, an index to the daily Record is published. At the end of each session of Congress, all of the daily editions are collected, re-paginated, and re-indexed into a permanent, bound edition. The bound edition usually takes several years to be published after a Congressional session ends. The bound edition is made up of one volume per session of Congress, with each volume published in multiple parts.

Access to the Congressional Record

The Congressional Record is the official record of the proceedings and debates of the United States Congress. It is published daily when Congress is in session. The Congressional Record began publication in 1873, and is still published today.

Note: Debates for sessions prior to 1873 are recorded in The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States (1789-1824), the Register of Debates in Congress (1824-1837), and the Congressional Globe (1833-1873). These can be accessed through A Century of Lawmaking For a New Nation: U.S. Congressional Documents and Debates.

Govinfo currently contains Congressional Record volumes from 140 (1994) to the present.