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U.S. Legislative Process: Hearings

This guide provides access to the documents processed in the legislative process in the U.S.


After introduction, a bill is referred to the appropriate committee(s).  When considering a bill, a congressional committee may hold hearings in order to gather information.  Department or agency personnel, individual experts, interested citizens, and representatives of groups affected by the legislation may be invited to testify.  In addition to containing both oral and written testimony, hearings may also contain valuable statistical information and miscellaneous reports in appendix form.

Online Versions

Microfiche 1981 - mid 2010s

Van Pelt Library

All hearings from 1981-recent are available on microfiche in the Van Pelt Library. Arrangement of the fiche hearings is by Superintendent of Documents (SuDocs) number, which can be obtained from:

Biddle Law Library

The following Microfiche sets are available at Biddle:

U.S. congressional hearings supplement [microform]
Library has: 41st congr.(1869-1871)-73rd congr.(1933/1934)
[Biddle Law Library, Fiche Fed 2.6]
Unpublished U.S. House of Representatives committee hearings [microform]
Library Has: 22nd congr.(1833)-1972
[Biddle Law Library, Fiche Fed 2.3]


Microprint 1956-1980 (in LIBRA Storage)

As a backup to online access, most hearings from 1956-1980 are available within the United States Government publications; depository [microform] collection. The collection includes hearings listed in the Monthly Catalog starting with January 1956. Many of these are 1955 hearings. Last MoCat entry number in the microprint collection is 80-25679. The Monthly Catalog for 1980 includes numbers up to 80-26778.

Microprint collection is arranged by Monthly Catalog (MoCat) number which can be obtained from:

  • ProQuest Congressional - Check Hearings, some MoCat numbers are provided.
  • WorldCat- many U.S. documents are catalog here, esp post-1976.  See Class Descriptor field for SuDoc and Item Number.  
  • Catalog of U.S. Government Publications, 1976 - present, earlier records are being added.
  • Monthly Catalog of U.S. Government Publications in print (1941- c.1997)

Requests from LIBRA of these hearings need to include reference to "Microprint #5" and the relevant MoCat number.

About 140 hearings from 1978-1913, out of several hundred from this time period, were also published as Senate or House Reports or Documents and can be found in the US Serial Set of House and Senate Documents. See ProQuest Congressional for these scattered hearings in the U.S. Serial Set online.

Print Hearings

Many hearings from about 1924 to 1986 were received in paper from the Government Depository program. Some were cataloged, appear in Franklin, and are shelved in the regular Van Pelt stacks. Others are at LIBRA storage. Search Franklin either by title or by author (For author searching use this format: United States. Congress. House or Senate. Committee name. Subcommittee name.)

Browse print hearings at LIBRA

From 1977 to 1984, the Biddle Law Library received about 75 percent of all hearings in paper. These are arranged by SuDocs number.

Older Print Indexes Previously Used to Find Hearings

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