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Legislative Process: Floor Debate

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

What did they say in Congress?


The bill is returned to the House or Senate for further debate and approval. At this point members may propose amendments to the bill, add additional text or otherwise alter the bill.  These may be referred to as floor statements. When similar bills are presented and passed in the House and Senate, a conference committee of the two chambers is formed to reconcile differences. (See Committee Analysis for sources.)  The new bill is reintroduced and acted on.


Congressional Record
X 1.1: 1873 - 1913 Public Documents & Maps microfiche/ 1913-2004  Public Documents & Maps, U.S. Documents
Historical Congressional Record (title changed through the years)
via Library of Congress American Memory Project:
Congress and the nation: a review of government and politics in the postwar years.
Provides a birds-eye view of the work of Congress.  Especially useful for seeking out broad trends, eg. environmental issues, health care, welfare, etc.
Paper: 1945-present.  Online: 1945-present. 
Congressional Quarterly Almanac, and Congressional Quarterly Almanac plus.
Comprehensive, yearly summary of the activity and issues addressed by Congress.  Provides voting information by bill for every member. Includes major political happenings of that year and text of important statements.
Paper: 1948 - present.

Subject Guide

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Ryan Denniston

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