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Legislative Process: Committee Analysis

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

Sources for Committee Documents


After debate in either house of Congress the bill is sent to the appropriate committee for review and revisions. Sometimes hearings are held to gather expert testimony, and the committee issues a report with its recommendations. There may also be committee prints--documents for the use of a committee in their work, but not the formal report of the committee. These prints may contain committee rules, revised versions of bills or preliminary reports.

If a committee does not act on a bill it is said to "die" and will not progress further. If approved, the bill will return to the House or Senate for approval.


House Committee Home Pages and Senate Committee Home Pages
Committee home pages are additional sources for current legislative information. They may include hearings, documents, status of legislation under the Committee, information about the structure and affiliation of the committee.
GPO Access, Congressional Reports
Covers 104th Cong.(1995/96) - present
ProQuest Congressional
Covers early 19th century - present. From Advanced Search, see especially these types of documents for this stage of the process:
  • Hearings
  • Documents and Reports (both House and Senate)
  • Committee Prints
Texts of bills from the 103rd Cong.(1993) to present Congress and bill summary status from 1973.
U.S. Congressional Serial Set 
Contains House and Senate Documents and Reports full text from 15th Cong.(1817) - 64th Cong. (1917).

Subject Guide

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Ryan Denniston

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