Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
Using this guide
Congress passes over 500 laws during each two year session. What is the process? How does a bill become a law? This guide will help you follow a bill through Congress and identify Congressional procedures, terms and organization.
Questions this guide will help answer
How can I track a bill through the federal legislative process?
What do various terms used in Congress mean?
How do I determine the role and responsibilities of a Congressional committee?
How do I find what was said and written about a proposed bill throughout the process?
When did a bill become a law?
What is the legislative history of long term issues? (eg. environmental issues, trade policy, telecommunications)
Commentary, News & Analysis
- Congressional Digest
- Each issue addresses a different topic. Provides pros and cons, analysis and a short bibliography. Excellent source for an overview on a topic.
1921 - present. Latest in Current Periodicals; earlier Perkins stacks. Online in Academic Search Complete
- CQ Researcher
- Comprehensive analysis and discussion of current issues facing Congress and the United States.
1991 - 2003 Perkins stacks. Online 1991 - present in CQ Electronic Library.
- CQ Weekly
- Current analysis and updates on the work Congress and national political issues. Includes votes and status of legislation.
1957 - present Perkins Current Periodicals and stacks. Online 1983 - present in CQ Electronic Library.
- LexisNexis Academic
- Full text coverage of major general periodicals and newspapers. Includes polls under the "Reference" menu selection.
- National Journal
- 1975 - present. Latest in Current Periodicals; earlier in Perkins Stacks JK1 .N28. Also available through NationalJournal.com database. (Use Advanced Search to access all the way back to 1977.) Provides a broad but thorough view of issues facing the nation. Looks at all branches of the federal government as well as some state coverage. Covers elections nationwide. Less statistical than CQ Weekly Report but provides more analysis and commentary.
- Excellent resource for political and public policy research. Indexes scholarly materials.
- Political Science Complete
- Covers the core Political Science journals and many other materials.