Federal session laws are available in both print and electronic formats. While subject access may be available, the easiest access point is by public law number.
Researching federal legislative history is treated in depth by Chapter 5 of this guide.
United States Statutes at Large (Stat.)
This is the official (published under government auspices) version of the federal session laws. Each volume (published in several parts) contains the enacted public and private laws for one Congressional session. Laws are arranged in chronological order. Publication of the bound volumes occurs about two years after the end of the session. Publication of official slip laws is also slower than commercial versions. A subject index is contained in each part of a Statutes at Large volume; however, one normally begins with the code and works from there to the session laws. Recent enactments printed in pamphlet form (slip laws) are shelved at the end of the bound volumes. Session laws are available on Bloomberg Law, Lexis, Westlaw, HeinOnline and FDsys.
United States Code Congressional and Administrative News (U.S.C.C.A.N.)
Published by West, this set is primarily used for legislative history purposes. However, it also includes monthly pamphlets with new federal legislation. Typically, these are published about a month or two after the date of enactment. Pamphlets include cumulative subject indexes and tables listing code sections that have been affected by recent legislation. Westlaw provides U.S.C.C.A.N. online.
United States Code Service Advance Session Law Service (U.S.C.S.)
Monthly print pamphlets, shelved at the end of this code set, contain the text of recent public laws. These have the same publication schedule as U.S.C.C.A.N., appearing a month or two after enactment. Various tables and indexes are included in the pamphlets.