Records of the U.S. Senate
Records of the U.S. Senate include a variety of record types, such as bill files, bound volumes, committee papers, minute and docket books, and petitions and memorials. Records span from 1789 to the present. They include material referred to and generated by the many committees, as well as records of the Secretary of the Senate.
Senate records are divided into browse lists by type of committee (standing, select, or special) or administrative/support office.
Standing Committees are permanently authorized by Senate rules.
Select Committees are appointed to perform a special function that is beyond the authority or capacity of a standing committee, and expire on completion of their assigned duties.
Special Committees are appointed to perform a special function that is beyond the authority or capacity of a standing committee, and are investigative in nature rather than legislative.
Administrative and Support Offices
The Secretary of the Senate is chief legislative officer of the Senate. Additional administrative and support functions are performed by the Legislative Counsel, the President of the Senate, the Chaplain, and the Sergeant at Arms.
Note: The Senate determines access policies for its records. Senate Resolution 474 from the 96th Congress opens most Senate records when they are 20 years old. Records containing highly personal information, material closed by statute, and records of executive nominations are closed for 50 years.