US Congressional Debates

Congressional Record

Since 1873, the Congressional Record has provided a substantially verbatim account of proceedings in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. It differs from similar publications in other countries through its inclusion of remarks not actually made in Congress. In addition to correcting grammar mistakes, members are also allowed to extend their remarks prior to publication. With unanimous approval of either house, a member may even retract or substantially change what he or she said. Since 1978, unspoken content is supposed to be marked by a bullet or printed in a different typeface, though this rule is not always followed. In earlier years, there is no way of telling whether comments printed in the Congressional Record were actually delivered.

Congressional Globe

The Congressional Globe began verbatim reporting of congressional speeches in 1851. Previously, proceedings were presented in a condensed form.

Register of Debates in Congress

The Register of Debates in Congress was published privately by Gales and Seaton, two Washington newspaper reporters. It is not a complete account and the proceedings are delivered in the third person.

Annals of Congress

Tha Annals of Congress was published using newspaper accounts from the period. It offers an incomplete, third person account of debates.

Constitutional Convention

The "Secret Proceedings and Debates" from the convention were published in 1839 using primarily the notes taken by Robert Yates, Chief Justice of New York.

Congressional Hearings

Transcripts of Congressional committee hearings are not always published. Published transcripts can be distributed centrally and/or by the committee itself, depending upon the situation. Checking multiple sources may be necessary.

  • 1990s to present
  • 1988 to present
  • 1975 to present (Ask at the Government Information Service)
    • House Committee on Foreign Affairs/Committee on International Relations
    • Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
    • Joint Economic Committee

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