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Federal Legislative History Materials

About Reports

These are committees’ official communications to Congress explaining the purpose of a bill and setting forth the recommendations for passage of the bill. Many also contain a report by the minority members of the committee on their objections to the language or purpose of the bill. Reports may be issued by House, Senate and Conference (i.e. joint) committees, and are numbered consecutively for each Congress. Committee reports, especially Conference committees, tend to carry a great deal of weight in ascertaining congressional intent.

The Serial Set

The Serial Set is a term used to describe a set of bound volumes of Congressional reports and documents. This set began publication in 1817 with the 15th Congress. Earlier Congressional documents were compiled in a set known as the American State Papers. Serial set citations may be found in some references to Congressional documents. Boston College Libraries' collections for the serial set appear below.

Full-text Electronic Sources for Reports