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Congress on the Internet

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Finding information on the Internet can be a tedious task. This sheet should help you find the information you need and help you head toward a better understanding of how Congressional information is found on the World Wide Web.

THOMAS - U.S. Congress on the Web

This site is rather awkward in a navigational sense. It is also quite unhelpful if someone looking on the site doesn't know what they are looking for. This being said, Thomas has the most up to date, and pertinent information on pending and passed legislation available on the web, so it is a necessity to try and figure out how to work through the site. Here are a few hints to help you in your search:

  • If you already know the House or Senate Bill/Amendment number that you are looking for, Thomas offers a place for you to type this in. The place is titled at the near top center of the page as: Search CURRENT CONGRESS for Text of Bills. Under this there is a field that you can type in your bill number entitled: By Bill Number. Don't forget to add the acronym that is a part of the Bill in the search area. (See notes on acronyms below.)

  • The other way you can search for information on your bill is by clicking the link found under Bill Summary & Status, titled: 107th. It is rather intimidating to see the options available to you once this link is opened, but it allows you an enormous number of possibilities which makes it a wonderful asset.

First you will be asked to select whether you want All Legislation, Public Bills, Amendments, or Private Bills. If you don't know, stay with the default, which is All Legislation.

For the most part the rest of the site is rather straightforward. If you have word/phrase keyword you are looking for, type it in. If there is a subject keyword you are looking for, type it inů

One of the most wonderful options of this link is the opportunity to use the Sponsor/Co-Sponsor fields. Here, even if you don't know what the Bill is titled, or the number, or anything at all but the Sponsors of the Bill, all you need to do is scroll down the list of House Reps, or Senators and highlight them. (To highlight multiple Sponsors you need to hold your Control key on your keyboard when clicking their names.) One final note about Sponsor/Co-Sponsor option: This is a great way to keep an eye on what your House Rep or Senator might be doing on the hill. By doing a general search on your Rep or Senator you can find out what bills he or she is sponsoring or co-sponsoring.

Once you have more information on your bill you can follow the progress of your bill through this search site by adding more information to the search fields on this link.

However, to stay completely abreast of where a bill or legislation is at in any specific time period, it is vital to personally check with congressional staff who are in the know. Even then, it is unpredictable exactly what or when something happens.

  • There are a couple of other options for you if you want to just look for general bills. One, you can type in a general subject interest in the field right next to the bill number search. This search often takes you into a world of confusion, but is sometimes helpful in the long run. The other option is clicking the link on the left titled: Bills in the News. This link will take you to an alphabetical listing of bills by subject. In other words, if you want to look into Defense Bills in the news you click the link D.

  • Another way to find out what's happening in Congress is by clicking the link titled: Most Recent Issues under Congressional Record Text. Here you will find two different links and a series of days. Clicking the link titled: Daily Digest will give you information about the time and status of the bill you are looking for. It will also give you links to the bill itself so that you can print up a hard copy if you like.

  • Thomas uses several government acronyms that make searching for the information you need that much more confusing. Use this wonderful glossary from the C-Span web site to help make sense of these acronyms:

Hopefully this little sheet will help you on your search for Congressional Enlightenment. Another good site is Project Vote Smart at: This site offers a great deal of information that includes: Voting Records, Campaign Finance, Special Interest Groups' Performance Evaluations, Campaign Issue Positions, Contact Information, Backgrounds and Previous Experience of politicians, Status of Legislation and more.

Other Sites:

Federal Register:

Library of Congress:

Code of Federal Regulations:

EPA has the text and summaries of all federal environmental laws at

All US federal laws may be found at This is a comprehensive web site that includes all US Code; Administrative Law; Congressional Records; case law by Federal District and the Supreme Court; the Constitution; Court Rules; all State Laws; and all law journals.

For more information, or if you have any questions, feel free to contact Geoffrey Petrie: [email protected]

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