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U.S. Congress

Overview

General information and extensive details exist about the U.S. Congress. This guide highlights some information by or about the legislative branch, including select publications that are available in the Catalog of U.S. Government Publications and GovInfo. In addition, there are some featured guides by Federal Depository Libraries that show additional U.S. Government information about the U.S. Congress.

Photograph of an aerial view of Capitol Hill in 2007

Aerial view of Capitol Hill featuring the U.S. Capitol in 2007 (Source: Library of Congress)

Federal Legislative Branch

There are three main parts of the legislative branch at the U.S. Government level: the U.S. House of Representatives, the U.S. Senate, and the six legislative branch agencies. Click on each tab of this box to check out some information about each of these areas

Seal of U.S. House of RepresentativesThe purpose of the U.S. House of Representatives is to make and pass laws. In addition, the House exclusively initiates revenue bills, impeaches Federal officials, and elects the President of the United States if there is a tie in the Electoral College. There are 435 representatives, 5 delegates, and 1 resident commissioner. The representatives have full voting rights while the delegates and resident commissioner are non-voting members. For more information about the House, visit their official website. Its information includes the chamber's history, floor proceedings, committee schedules, votes on recent bills, and more.

Seal of U.S. SenateThe U.S. Senate's purpose is also to make and pass laws. Senators confirm the President of the United States’ appointments that require consent and provide advice and consent to ratify treaties, with some exceptions. The 100 senators represent each state equally (two per state), regardless of the 50 states’ varying population sizes. Visit the Senate's official website for more information about it. This website has information that includes the chamber's history, committee hearings and meetings, appointment statuses of civilian and non-civilian government positions nominated by the President, and more.

Legislate branch agencies of the U.S. Government report to the U.S. Congress. They provide support and information for congressional members. Below are the six agencies: Architect of the Capitol, Congressional Budget Office, Library of Congress, United States Botanic Garden, United States Government Accountability Office, and United States Government Publishing Office.


Screenshot of Architect of the Capitol website

Architect of the Capitol (AOC)

  • AOC's mission is to "serve Congress and the Supreme Court, preserve America's Capitol and inspire memorable experiences."
Screenshot of CBO's website

Congressional Budget Office (CBO)

  • Its mission is to provide “objective, nonpartisan information… to help Congress make effective budget and economic policy."

 

Screenshot of Library of Congress' website

Library of Congress

  • Though the Library of Congress serves primarily the members of Congress with 24/7 access to information and reference services, the general public can also enjoy and explore its vast printed and digital collections.
Screenshot of USBG website

United States Botanic Garden (USBG)

  • The USBG "inspires people to appreciate, study, and conserve plants to enrich society locally and globally"
 
Screenshot of GAO's website

United States Government Accountability Office (GAO)

  • GAO's purpose is to “examine how taxpayer dollars are spent and advise lawmakers and agency heads on ways to make government work better."

Screenshot of GPO's website

United States Government Publishing Office (GPO)

  • The mission of GPO is to “publish trusted information for the Federal Government to the American people."

Related GPO Resources

GPO has information about, or related to, the U.S. Congress. Click on each of the tabs in this box to see some of the featured resources from the FDLP Academy and FDLP Resource Guides.

FDLP Academy Banner

The FDLP Academy offers free webinars and webcasts for Federal Depository Libraries and the general public. Its mission is to "create and deliver enhanced educational opportunities to the FDLP community by fostering collaboration, by facilitating knowledge sharing, and through the application of new methods and use of multiple mediums" about U.S. Government resources. The following webinars contain information related to the U.S. Congress.


Screenshot of "Congress.gov: Updates and Overview"

Congress.gov: Updates and Overview 

  • Recorded on March 7, 2023
  • Length of Time: 59 minutes
  • Speakers: Barbara Bavis and Robert Brammer (Law Library of Congress)
Screenshot of "Library of Congress Manuscript Collections: Orientation and Research Strategies"

Library of Congress Manuscript Collections: Orientation and Research Strategies 

  • Recorded on January 24, 2023
  • Length of Time: 60 minutes
  • Speaker: Edith A. Sandler (Library of Congress)
Screenshot of "New GovInfo Content and Congressionally Mandated Reports Preview"

New GovInfo Content and Congressionally Mandated Reports Preview 

  • Recorded on October 17, 2023
  • Length of Time: 42 minutes
  • Speakers: Megan Minta and Amanda Dunn (United States Government Publishing Office)
Screenshot of "Researching Federal Congressional Committee Hearings"

Researching Federal Congressional Committee Hearings

  • Recorded on March 30, 2022
  • Length of Time: 61 minutes
  • Speaker: Barbara Bavis (Law Library of Congress)

If interested in learning more about topics that related to, but not specifically about, the U.S. Congress, check out the following FDLP Resource Guides.