Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Financial Crisis of 2008: Congress

A starting point for students researching the U.S. financial crisis of 2008. Includes primary, secondary, and government information sources.

Congressional Hearings

For online access to the transcripts of congressional hearings, use the Government Printing Office's Federal Digital System (FDsys). Below are links to a few of the many congressional hearings related to the housing and financial crisis. You can search for more of these documents by using the relevant keywords and the Advanced Search.

CRS Reports

The Congressional Research Service is a research arm of the Library of Congress. Librarians, experts, and information specialists are tasked to write reports for members of congress on a topics related to discussions during the legislative process. Search and browse these reports using OpenCRS.com.

Library Catalog

You can search the library catalog for primary source materials (i.e. government hearings) related to the financial crisis. Here are some sample catalog searches:

Major Legislation

Bailout Bill - The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act (EESA) of 2008 -- "A bill to provide authority for the Federal Government to purchase and insure certain types of troubled assets for the purposes of providing stability to and preventing disruption in the economy and financial system and protecting taxpayers, to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide incentives for energy production and conservation, to extend certain expiring provisions, to provide individual income tax relief, and for other purposes" Official description, as amended by Senate.

  • Follow that link for a summary, full-text, vote count, and recent news of the bill provided by OpenCongress.org. For similar information, along with information about where the money is going, please visit ProPublica.org.

Stimulus Bill - The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 -- "Making supplemental appropriations for job preservation and creation, infrastructure investment, energy efficiency and science, assistance to the unemployed, and State and local fiscal stabilization, for fiscal year ending September 30, 2009, and for other purposes."Official description.

  • Follow the above link for a summary, full-text, vote count, and recent news of the bill provided by OpenCongress.org. For a featured webpage on the bill, please visit ProPublica.org. Also, use Recovery.gov, a site devoted to federal transparency, to track the money.

Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 -- "A bill to promote the financial stability of the United States by improving accountability and transparency in the financial system, to end "too big to fail", to protect the American taxpayer by ending bailouts, to protect consumers from abusive financial services practices, and for other purposes."Official description.

Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA) -- Public Law 110-289, Signed by President Bush on July 30, 2008. This law began the government conservatorship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. For more information, visit ProPublica's page on this law.

Government Information Services

U.S. House of Representatives

The U.S. House of Representives plays an active government role in examining the global financial crisis. Visit their website and associated committee pages to monitor their activity in dealing with the recent recession.

Relevant House committes to consider: 

U.S. Senate

The U.S. Senate, like the House, plays an important role in the understanding the current economic sitation, and the factors that led to the recent recession. Visit their site, and their associated committee pages, for access to news and transcripts of their activity.

Relevant Senate committees: