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Basic Resources for Finding U.S. Government Documents

This guide lists resources for locating U.S. government documents.

Legislative Branch Information

  • A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation (through the Library of Congress) provides access to records and acts of Congress from 1774 through 1873 (1st through 43rd Congresses), including Congressional journals, debates, bills, resolutions and more.
  • Congress.gov provides legislation from the 107th Congress (2001) to the present and Congressional member profiles from the 93rd Congress (1973) to the present (will eventually incorporate all of information currently on THOMAS.gov).
  • Legislation and Votes provided by the Office of the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Executive Branch Information

  • The American Presidency Project (created by the University of California at Santa Barbara) provides access to Presidential papers, including public papers, news conferences, executive orders, economic reports, speeches and more.

 

  • WhiteHouse.gov provides Presidential statements, briefings, executive orders and more.

Judicial Branch Information

  • USCourts.gov provides information about the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. District Courts, the U.S. Court of Appeals and Federal Judges.

  • Visit SupremeCourt.gov for information on U.S. Supreme Court briefs, oral arguments, opinions and more.

  • The Federal Judicial Center, the research and aducation agency of the federal judicial system, makes many of its research publications available on its website.

Government Accountability Office (GAO)

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that investigates how the federal government spends taxpayer dollars. The GAO produces reports (often called "blue books"), testimonies, legal decisions and opinions and makes them available to the public on its website. Users can search for GAO reports or browse reports by date, topic or government agency. 

You can also locate GAO reports on FDSys (administered by the Government Printing Office). Select the "Advanced Search option and then "GAO Reports and GAO Comptroller General Decisions."