Once a bill is reported on by its various committees, it is discussed on the floor of either the House or the Senate. This allows members of Congress to argue for or against a particular piece of legislation, suggest amendments to the legislation, or to discuss in detail particular provisions of the legislation.
A transcript of everything that occurs in Congress is published in the Congressional Record, including the floor debates. The Congressional Record is published by the Governmental Publishing Office (GPO) each day that the Congress is in session. The Congressional Record is divided into four sections:
Prior to 1873 the Congressional Debates were recorded in:
These publications can be accessed at the Library of Congress's American Memory Project website, A Century of Lawmaking For a New Nation.