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Legislative History: Debates

Resources for finding federal and state legislative history materials.

Finding Debates

Best Bet

For most UCI researchers who are looking for a PDF of a Congressional Record page, HeinOnline is the best bet because it has its full text, plus that of the predecessor publications. However, HeinOnline's search options are somewhat limited. Researchers who want to search the full text of the Congressional Record should review the other options below.

Other Options

About Debates

What are floor debates?

Debates are speeches and floor remarks that occur in the House and Senate. This can include remarks about pending legislation and proposed amendments. Since 1874, these have been published in the Congressional Record, which is issued daily when Congress is in session. At the end of a session, the daily editions are compiled, edited, and bound in volumes constituting a permanent edition. For older Congresses, debates were published in:

  • 1789-1824 Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States ,
  • 1824-1837 Register of Debates in Congress  
  • 1833-1873 Congressional Globe .

See also:

How do you cite floor debates?

Debates printed in the Congressional Record are cited using volume and page number.

See Bluebook Rule 13.5. Example:

152 Cong. Rec. H2,107 (daily ed. May 4, 2006).

If you need to cite the Bound Edition and you only have a Daily Edition citation, you can either do a full-text search for unique terms, or try HeinOnline's lookup tool: