Skip to main content

Congress.gov Adds New Features


As we noted back in November, the popular legislative website THOMAS.gov is now redirecting its users to the Congress.gov platform. More recently, Congress.gov introduced Advanced Search and Browse features to its database, and also incorporated the Appropriations table from THOMAS.

The Advanced Search feature allows users to search in 21 different data fields, including Bill Text, Bill Summary, Committee, Sponsor, Cosponsor, Policy Area, Bill Official Title, and Bill Popular Title. You may search all legislation going back to the 93rd Congress (1973-1974), or limit your search to current legislation. Multiple data fields may be used in a single search. To add or remove a data field, you simply click on the plus or minus icon. You then specify whether you want to search for documents that contain or do not contain your search terms. This is a useful feature that allows you to increase the accuracy of your search. For example, if you wanted to search for all current bills in the Senate Armed Services Committee not related to Afghanistan, you might select “Armed Services” under the “Committee – Senate” field, and under the field “Title – All (Bills)” search for documents that do not contain the term “Afghanistan.” 

The Browse feature is similar to that of THOMAS, but the browsing categories have been rearranged under slightly different headings. For example, vetoed bills are now found under a separate heading from bills, resolutions, and amendments. There are also several categories from THOMAS that have either been dropped or are not yet available. As of this posting, Congress.gov does not allow browsing by bill number, popular and short titles, sponsor summaries, or CBO cost estimates.   

The Appropriations tables can be found by clicking on “Appropriations” on the home page under “Bill Searches and Lists.” These tables list appropriations resolutions by fiscal year, with links to full text and histories of the resolutions and to roll call vote results. However, Congress.gov currently only includes tables going back to 2011, while those on THOMAS go back to 1998.

 Congress.gov currently does not include data sets for nominations, treaties, or Senate Executive communications, although the About page states that they will be added over the course of this year. These data sets are still available on THOMAS. (The original THOMAS site can be accessed here until late 2014.) You can read more about Advanced Search and Browse, as well as other new developments, on the Enhancements page.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Congressional Report on the Executive Authority to Exclude Aliens Released Days Before Immigration Ban

On January 27 President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order, Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States. Four days earlier, on January 24, the Congressional Research Service released its own report:  Executive Authority to Exclude Aliens: In Brief.
To those unfamiliar, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) is a federal legislative branch agency, housed inside the Library of Congress, charged with providing the United States Congress non-partisan advice on issues that may come before Congress, including immigration.
Included in the report are in-depth discussions on the operation of sections of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) in the context of the executive power . Discussions of sections 212(f),  214(a)(1) and 215(a)(1) report on how the sections have been used by Presidents, along with relevant case law and precedents. Most interesting is the list of executive orders excluding some groups of aliens during past presidencies; the table all…

GAO Launches Government Transition App

Want to learn more about the upcoming presidential and congressional transitions? There’s an app for that. 

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently launched its Priorities for Policy Makers app (available free of charge for iPhone or Android), which is intended to “help President-elect Donald Trump and the next Congresstackle critical challenges facing the nation, fix agency-specific problems, and scrutinize government areas with the potential for large savings,” according to Gene Dodaro, Comptroller General of the United States and head of the GAO. The app allows users to search by agency or topic, and provides brief summaries of relevant issues as well as links to more detailed GAO reports. 

You can also find GAO priority recommendations on the agency’s Presidential and Congressional Transition web pages.