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Legislative History: Reports

Legislative history details and resources at Paley Library


If a committee votes to report a bill favorably to the House or Senate, a written report is submitted describing the legislation and explaining the committee’s action. These reports often provide a section-by-section analysis and recommended amendments.

If the House and Senate versions of legislation differ, a conference committee is appointed to resolve the differences. This conference report is submitted to both houses and is an excellent source of legislative history.

CIS, Ground floor
Thomas, Library of Congress


These items are numbered consecutively within each Congress.  "H.R. Rep. No. 112-89" is the 89th House Report from the 112th Congress.

House Report -- H.R. Rep. No.

Senate Report -- S. Rep. No.

House Conference Report -- H.R. Rep. No. _____ (Conf. Rep.)

Senate Conference Report -- S. Rep. No. _____ (Conf. Rep.)


Committees and subcommites use reports to communicate with the full chamber.  Reports may contain their recommendations and rationalizations.  Becuase it details considerations straight from the body that investigated and produced the bill, the report is a more persuasive source.

For more information, consult the sources in the "For more detail..." box on the Legislative Process tab.

Research Gold!

Conference reports take the bill section by section, discussing how the House and Senate bill versions were reconciled.  Because it tracks what was kept and why, the conference report (where available) is an excellent resource for legislative history research.