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Federal Legislative Research: Congressional Reports

U.S. Congressional Serial Set

The Serial Set contains the House and Senate Documents and the House and Senate Reports. The reports are usually from congressional committees dealing with proposed legislation and issues under investigation. The documents include all other papers ordered printed by the House or Senate.  During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, executive-branch materials were also published in the Serial Set.


What are Congressional Reports?

image of congressional reports


Congressional reports are reports generated by committees or chambers of Congress to explain the history and intent of the bill, the findings of the Congress, and the reason why the committee approves the bill, or any amendments to the bill they have suggested. Congressional reports are one of the most infomrative documents when compiling a legislative history. There are two main types of Congressional reports. They are:

1) Committee reports: When a bill is proposed in Congress, it is sent to Congressional committee. If the committee recommends the passage of the bill, they will create a report that explains the findings of the committee, the bill history and intent, and the reasons why the committee approves of the bill. 

2) Conference reports: If a bill is passed in one chamber of Congress, and the second chamber of Congress edited the text of the bill before they passed it, the second chamber sends the bill back to the first chamber and a conference committee is established comprised of members of both chambers of Congress to work out the difference between both versions of the bills. The conference report is a statement submitted with the conference committee version of the bill to explain the changes in the text. The conference report can be printed as a House Report, but it can occassionally be printed as a Senate Report, and is also published in the Congressional Record, the House and Senate Journals, and the U.S. Serial Set. 

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