If a compiled history does not exist, you can compile your own for a bill or law. To do so:
You can also view our "Sources for Legislative History Documents" handout:
The full text of bills is available from several different sources, depending on the date of the bill and the format required.
Committee reports summarize the action that a committee took on a bill, and committee reports are often thought of as the most useful documents for identifying legislative intent. A special committee called the conference committee is composed of member of the House and Senate and is used to reconcile the differences between bills passed in each chamber.
Floor Debate is published in the Congressional Record. Predecessors to the Congressional Record are: Congressional Globe (1833-1873), Register of Debates in Congress (1825-1837) Annals of the Congress of the United States (1789-1824).
Committee hearings can be one of the most elusive Congressional documents to locate. The time between the event and its publication can be months or even years. Before the hearing is officially printed, you may be able to obtain hearing materials from the committee itself.
CRS is part of the Library of Congress. Its staff provides Congress with objective research and analysis on public policy issues. While not indicative of legislative intent, CRS reports are nonetheless an excellent source for topical analysis.