Congressional committee reports are created by the committees of the United States House of Representatives and United States Senate. These reports are important sources for determining legislative intent, better understanding the “cultural history” of a piece of legislation, or locating a committee’s findings on an investigation into a given subject.
As is true with many of the legislative history resources we discuss, the best place to find congressional reports in print is a federal depository library. The U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) distributes government information free of cost to libraries in the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP), and these libraries provide free access for all users to this information. Information specialists are available at FDLP libraries to assist researchers with locating government information. To find your closest federal depository library, use the Federal Depository Library Directory.
The American State Papers and the U.S. Congressional Serial Set contain a variety of federal government information, including committee reports, in print and on microfiche. The American State Papers cover the years 1789-1838. The Serial Set was first published in 1817, and provides coverage up to the present day. The Serial Set has a variety of access points, including subject, keyword, name, reported bill number indexes, and a sequential list of titles and reference information for documents, including committee reports, for each session of Congress. A citation to the Serial Set takes the form of a volume number. Once you have identified the volume, look for the relevant report number.
Conference reports are usually made available in the Congressional Record the day after they are filed. For information on how to access the Congressional Record and its predecessors in print, please see the "Debates of Congress" section.
The subscription resources marked with a padlock are available to researchers on-site at the Library of Congress. If you are unable to visit the Library, you may be able to access these resources through your local public or academic library.
GovInfo is a service of the United States Government Publishing Office (GPO) that provides free public access to official publications from all three branches of the federal government. GovInfo contains select committee reports dating back to 1995. Access to the Congressional Record dating back to 1994 is also available on GovInfo. Additionally, the Law Library of Congress and GPO are currently collaborating on a Serial Set digitization project. Select volumes of the Serial Set have been added to GovInfo. The joint digitization project is a multi-year effort. Additional volumes of the Serial Set will be added to this collection as they are available.
The Internet Archive is another source for committee reports. Researchers can use the Advanced Search External to search for a report, specifically by filling in a citation into the “any field” box, report title into the “title” box, and/or a committee title into the “creator” box. For example, if you were searching for a Senate Committee on Appropriations report, you would enter “United States. Congress. Senate. Committee on Appropriations” in the creator box.