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Federal Legislative History Guide

How to locate, compile, and understand the legislative history of federal acts.

About Presidential Materials

These materials include proclamations, executive orders, communications to Congress, signing statements, and more. Such documents may not divulge legislative intent expressly, but they can indicate a law's importance, a view of its application, and political context. Signing statements may be particularly relevant, since a bill requires the President's signature to become law.

Most of these documents are collected in the Daily (formerly Weekly) Compilation of Presidential Documents. These materials are then published annually in the Public Papers of the President, along with certain Federal Register materials. 

Sample Citation

Presidential Statement on Signing the SAFE Port Act, 42 Weekly Comp. Pres. Doc. 1817 (Oct. 13, 2006).

Locating Congressional Debates

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