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Legislative Process: Bill Introduction

How a bill becomes a law in the US, with the government documents associated with each step of the process

Sources for bills


Members of the House or Senate introduce bills for consideration. The bills are considered by each house separately first. The President, a member of the Cabinet, or head of a Federal agency can also propose legislation.

Sources for recent bills:

GPO Access Congressional Bills
Available from the 103rd (1993-1994) Congress - present.
ProQuest Congressional
Choose Bills & Laws from the search page.
Legislative histories of bills from 91st (1969-1970) Congress - present.; text and status of bills from 101st Congress- present.
THOMAS: Bills, Resolutions
Texts of bills from the 101st (1989) Congress - present, and bill summary status from 1973.
Beta version of THOMAS's successor. For now, includes legislation from the 107th Congress (2001) to the present. Tracking the U.S. Congress 
Follow the latest action in Congress, research members' votes, and set up your own feeds to track specific legislation.

Sources for older bills:

Full text of early bills, before amendment and passage, or especially if they "died", can be difficult to find.  Here are some suggested resources.   

Congressional bills
96th-106th Cong.  (Y 1.4/1: Public Documents and Maps microfiche, 3rd floor Bostock)
Congressional Record
X 1.1:  1873 - 1913 Public Documents & Maps microfiche/ 1913-2004  Public Documents & Maps, U.S. Documents
Congressional Globe
From 1833 - 1873
Register of Debates
From 1824 -1837
Annals of Congress
From 1789 - 1824
U.S. Congressional Serial Set
House and Senate Reports

Subject Guide

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Ryan Denniston

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