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Congressional Record

History and Use of the Congressional Record: Proceedings and Debates of Congress.

Congressional Record: Proceedings and Debates of the U.S. Congress

The Congressional Record is a strange, wondrous, and problematical publication. It is the record of the proceedings, debates, and activities of Congress. But that doesn't begin to describe the drama, comedy, egos, and sleight-of-hand that are in this publication. All of this is carefully cloaked in boring details. The text is more or less verbatim and many of the oddities result due to the "more or less" nature.

The Record also includes messages, reports, and communications from the President and executive agencies.

Two Editions

For most of its one hundred and forty years of publishing, there have been two editions:

Daily issues


Bound volumes (permanent)

Cumulation of all daily issues

Daily Issues

Sections (1968-present):

  • House
  • Senate
  • Extensions of Remarks
  • Daily Digest (summary of the day's activity)
  • Each section is paginated separately
  • Pages for each section start with the number 1 and continue to the end of  the session of Congress
  • Page numbers are preceded by a letter for the section: H, S, E, D

Daily issues do not have an index; the Daily Digest is the best point of access when a page number is not known.


Bound Volumes

Bound volumes are printed at the conclusion of each session of Congress and after a long delay. Volume 161, covering 2015, is starting to arrive.

According to the Government Publishing Office:

At the end of each session of Congress, all of the daily editions are collected, re-paginated, and re-indexed into a permanent, bound edition. This permanent edition, referred to as the Congressional Record (Bound Edition), is made up of one volume per session of Congress, with each volume published in multiple parts, each part containing approximately 10 to 20 days of Congressional proceedings.

The primary ways in which the bound edition differs from the daily edition are continuous pagination; somewhat edited, revised, and rearranged text; and the dropping of the prefixes H, S, D, and E before page numbers.

from Congressional Record (Bound Edition)

UD Library Holdings (print)

Call number: U.S Docs Reference (X followed by vol. number) (holdings: 1973 - 2009 (v. 119 - v. 155)

Call number: Library Annex (X followed by vol. number) (holdings: 1874 - 1972 (v. 2 - v. 118)

UD Library Holdings (microfilm)

Call number: Microfilm S 687 (holdings: 1873 - 1972 (v. 1 - v. 118)


Beginning with the 1985 edition, GPO distributes the permanent bound edition only to Regionals or major depositories in states without a regional, such as, the University of Delaware Library.