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About Government Publications

Government publications are issued by the legislative, executive and judicial branches of the Federal Government. The following section gives information about the three branches of the Federal Government and the publications they issue.

Executive Branch

The executive branch of Government enforces the laws of the land. It was established in Article II of the Constitution. Many laws enacted by Congress require agencies to issue regulations. Executive branch agencies are granted the power to implement regulations relating to matters within their jurisdiction. Regulations are published daily in the Federal Register and are then codified in the Code of Federal Regulations once a year.

 

Judicial Branch

The judicial branch of government is established in Article III of the Constitution with the creation of the Supreme Court. This court is the highest court in the country and is empowered with the judicial powers of the government. There are lower Federal courts but they were not created by the Constitution. Rather, Congress deemed them necessary and established them using power granted from the Constitution. Courts decide arguments about the meaning of laws, how they are applied, and whether they break the rules of the Constitution. A court's authority to decide constitutionality is called judicial review.

 

Legislative Branch

The legislative branch of government has the authority to make laws for the nation. It was established in Article I of the Constitution with the creation of Congress. Congress is made up of two chambers, the Senate and the House of Representatives. Agencies such as the Government Printing Office, Library of Congress, Congressional Budget Office, and the General Accounting Office, that provide support services for the Congress are also part of the legislative branch.

 

Sessions of Congress

The legislative branch of government operates under "congresses" and "sessions." Each congress is made up of two sessions, which each last for approximately one year each. The chart below details the dates for each congress and their associated sessions dating back to the 97th Congress.

 

A complete guide to the sessions of congress which includes the beginning and ending dates, recesses, number of days in the session, the name of the Speaker of the House and the President Pro Tem of the Senate, may be found by searching in the Congressional Directory.

 

Years

Congress

Dates

2011-2012

112th Congress

Session 1: January 5, 2011 - January 3, 2012

Session 2: January 3, 2012 - TBD

2009-2010

111th Congress

Session 1   January 6, 2009 - December 24, 2009

Session 2:  January 5, 2010 - December 29, 2010

2007-2008

110th Congress

Session 1:  January 4, 2007 - December 31, 2007

Session 2:  January 3, 2008 - January 3, 2009

2005-2006

109th Congress

Session 1:  January 4, 2005 - December 22, 2005

Session 2:  January 3, 2006 - December 8, 2006

2003-2004

108th Congress

Session 1:  January 7, 2003 - December 9, 2003

Session 2: January 20, 2004 - December 8, 2004

2001-2002

107th Congress

Session 1:  January 3, 2001 - December 20, 2001

Session 2:  January 23, 2002 - November 22, 2002

1999-2000

106th Congress

Session 1:  January 6, 1999 - November 22, 1999

Session 2:  January 24, 2000 - December 15, 2000

1997-1998

105th Congress

Session 1:  January 7, 1997 -  November 13, 1997

Session 2:  January 27, 1998 - December 19, 1998

1995-1996

104th Congress

Session 1:  January 4, 1995 -  January 3, 1996

Session 2:  January 3, 1996 - October 4, 1996

1993-1994

103rd Congress

Session 1:  January 5, 1993 -  November 26, 1993

Session 2:  January 25, 1994 - December 1, 1994

1991-1992

102nd Congress

Session 1:  January 3, 1991 -  January 3, 1992

Session 2:  January 3, 1992 - October 9, 1992

1989-1990

101st Congress

Session 1:  January 3, 1989 -  November 22, 1989

Session 2:  January 23, 1990 - October 28, 1990

1989-1990

101st Congress

Session 1:  January 3, 1989 -  November 22, 1989

Session 2:  January 23, 1990 - October 28, 1990

1987-1988

100th Congress

Session 1:  January 6, 1987 -  December 22, 1987

Session 2:  January 25, 1988 - October 22, 1988

1985-1986

99th Congress

Session 1:  January 3, 1985 -  December 20, 1985

Session 2:  January 21, 1986 - October 18, 1986

1983-1984

98th Congress

Session 1:  January 3, 1983 -  November 18, 1983

Session 2:  January 23, 1984 - October 12, 1984

1981-1982

97th Congress

Session 1:  January 5, 1981 -  December 16, 1981

Session 2:  January 25, 1982 - December 23, 1982

 

Information about collections of government publications available in FDsys is available by clicking on the What's Available? book in the Contents tab or through the Collections Available in FDsys page.

 

 


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