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Social Work Policy Analysis: Citing Legislative Materials

Guidelines and links for finding information for SWK 312 comprehensive research paper.

APA Citation Guide, 7th edition

Find the book in the library or, better yet, click on the link for the online guide.

The Publication Manual of the APA does not specifically address citing the Congressional Record.
For materials not covered in the Publication Manual, the APA refers users to The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation. The recommendations below are based on the 21st edition of The Bluebook, More information on The Bluebook is available from the link below:

Citing the Congressional Record

The Congressional Record is issued in two editions -- the Daily Edition and the Permanent Edition. Writers should "use the Daily Edition only for matters not yet appearing in the permanent collection." (The Bluebook, 2020)

Citing to the Permanent Bound Edition:

In text citation:

Following the general APA and Bluebook principles for citing legislative materials, the in-text citation would look like this:

  • (142 Cong. Rec. 14979, 1996)

Reference list:

Cite to the volume and page number of the permanent edition of the Congressional Record:

  • 142 Cong. Rec. 14979 (1996)
  • 142 Cong. Rec 14982 (1996) (statement of Sen. John McCain).

In the example, above, 142 is the volume, 14979 is the page number.

For proceedings that have not yet appeared in the Permanent Edition of the Congressional Record:

*If the text is not yet published in the permanent edition, you will need to cite to the Daily Edition. The Daily Edition includes the prefixes H, S and E.* before page numbers. (The Bluebook, 2020, p. 140).

In text:

Citing this in text is not specifically addressed in either The Bluebook or the APA Publication Manual. Following general APA and Bluebook principles for citing legislative materials:

  • (159 Cong. Rec. H227, 2013)

Reference list:

  • 159 Cong. Rec. H227 (daily ed. Jan. 23, 2013) (statement of  Rep. Yarmuth)  

These abbreviations refer to sections of the Daily Edition: H=House; S=Senate; E=Extension of Remarks

Citing a Congressional Report

Congressional Reports list their relevant citation information on their front page headers.  Your citation will say if the report is from the House (H) or Senate (S), give the number, part (if applicable--part number will be listed beneath the report number), and year.  If relevant, include "at [page number]" to signify a particular area.

Example (reference list):

  • S. Report No. 110-449, (2008).

Example (in-text):

  • (S. Rep. No. 110-449, at 34, 2008)

Citing a Hearing

The CIS Index has pointed you to a Congressional Hearing about your law.  You access the full text from the GPO database.  Now what?

To cite a hearing, list its title, including the committee it is presented before, whether it is a House or Senate hearing, the Congress number, page number if applicable, and date.  If citing a particular section, indicate after the date.

Example (reference list):

  • Battling the Backlog: Challenges Facing the VA Claims Adjudication and Appeal Process: A Hearing Before the Committee on Veterans' Affairs, Senate, 109th Cong., 38 (2008) (statement of Robert Chisolm).
Example (in-text):
  • (Battling the Backlog, 38, 2008)

Citing Statutes

Bills and resolutions that have been passed by both houses of Congress and signed by the president become law and should be cited as statutes.


Statutes (Laws and Acts)

Federal statute, Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990

Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq. (1990).

  • Parenthetical citation: (Americans With Disabilities Act, 1990)
  • Narrative citation: Americans With Disabilities Act (1990)

To cite the location of the law in the Untied States Code (your law may affect multiple sections of an existing code; each should be cited separately), list the code number and the section (§) amended/added and the year.

Example (for one of the amendments to the USC determined by the law listed above):

  • 38 USC § 7731(a) (2008) (as amended in 2008 by Pub. L. No. 110-389).

In-text citations may list only the title and year.


  • Concerns about these benefits and their relevance to the current needs of American veterans led to a 46 page amendment addressing compensation, modernization of the VA system, labor, insurance, housing, and other concerns (Veterans' Benefits Improvement Act of 2008).

    More examples of statutes can be found on pages 361-363 in the Publication Manual, 7th ed.