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Federal Legislative History Materials

About Debates

The term "debates" includes all activities which occur on the floor of the two houses of Congress. While individual comments during debates are not proof of congressional intent, statements by the bill’s sponsor or chair of the committee reporting the bill, especially those with the stated intention of clarifying or explaining the bill, can have significant weight. Debates are particularly important when amendments to the bill are offered on the floor of the House or Senate.

Sources for Federal Debates