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U.S. Congressional Materials at UC Berkeley: Bills

This guide provides information on locating U.S. Congressional Materials within the UC Berkeley Library.

Congressional Bills

Bills are one of the main publications to come out of Congress.  They are the potential laws of the country and historic bills can be a snapshot into the social, political and economic issues of the time they were drafted.  Bills can be found in the following places [Numbers in brackets denote Congessional session]:

  • (1993- ) FDSys
  • (1973-) Congress.gov
  • [1-24, 37-55, 97-106] available at the UCB Law Library
  • [97- (1981- )] Senate MICROFICHE 1700 Newspapers/Microforms (basement of Doe Library)
  • [97- (1981- )] House MICROFICHE 1699 Newspapers/Microforms (basement of Doe Library)
  • [75 (1937/38)-91 (1970)] Sen J50.J1 (NRLF)
  • [75 (1937/38)-91 (1970)] House J50.K1 (NRLF)

Indexes

Congressional bills are indexed in the following places [Numbers in brackets denote Congressional session]: 

  • 1789-Present: Proquest Congressional
  • (1873- ) Congressional Record Index J11.R5
  • [97 (1935) - ] House Calendars (1935- J47.A3)
  • [83rd Congress(1953/54)- ] Congressional Index - KF49 .C6 Law Library

Congressional Procedure

Congress rarely considers bills in a linear fashion.  There are many rules, procedures and precedents that may affect how a bill makes its way though the House and the Senate.  The sources below detail Congressional Procedure in both chambers.

House

Senate

Tracking Current U.S. Congressional Bills

Tracking a bill through Congress can be exciting.  The following links will allow you to track current bills, though there are many other similar sites and tools on the internet.

  • Congress.gov -- Official Congressional site.  Sign up for a free account, then search for the bill(s) you are interested in. 
  • GovTrack.us -- Sign up for a free account, then search for the bill(s) you are interested in
  • Opencongress.org -- Sign up for a free account, then search for the bill(s) you are interested in.

Top Ten Bills Searched

This is the top ten list of bills searched the previous week on congress.gov, the Library of Congress' legislation database.

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Latest Bills Sent to the President

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Percentage of Bills Passed?

Since 1974, over 10,000 bills on average are introduced in Congress, but less than less than 5% make it to law.  A large number of bills (especially true for the more radical bills on the spectrum) never make it out of committee.  While making your views known on a bill during any part of the legislative process is helpful, be particularly mindful and watch for hearing(s) and votes being scheduled: that is when to really start watching and advocating for or against.