Find Bills by Subject and Policy Area

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Legislative analysts from the Congressional Research Service (CRS) closely examine the content of each bill and resolution to assign Policy Area Terms and Legislative Subject Terms. The Legislative Indexing Vocabulary (LIV) is an older CRS thesaurus that was discontinued in 2008. Terms from all three subject vocabularies can be used to enhance Congress.gov research. Terms assigned to a bill can be seen from the "View All Subjects" link to the right of each bill's overview. Terms are assigned to bills and resolutions, but not to amendments.

Vocabulary Number of Terms Number of Terms per Bill Coverage Dates
Policy Area 32 1 1973-present
Legislative Subjects 1,004 varies 2009-present
Legislative Indexing Vocabulary (LIV) 5,500 varies 1973-2008

Using Policy Area Terms

1. The "Subject - Policy Area" filter can be selected from any search results list, including Legislation of the U.S. Congress and any Congressional member profile, to refine the list to only items in a selected policy area. The "Subject - Policy Area" filter lists most-used terms in descending order.

2. Browse alphabetical list of Bills by Subject - Policy Area.

3. From advanced search, choose Legislation and select a term from the "Subject - Policy Area" drop-down menu. Build your search by adding additional elements. See example here.

4. Policy area terms may be used with the billPolicyArea search field from command line or the main search box. Copy the below example and paste it into a search box to see how this search works.

billPolicyArea:"energy" AND billText:"hydropower"

Using Legislative Subject Terms

1. From advanced search, select the "Subject - Legislative Subject Term" field from the drop-down menu and enter a term from the Legislative Subject Term vocabulary. Build your search by adding additional elements. See example here.

2. Browse alphabetical lists of Legislative Subject Terms.

3. From the command line or main search box, include one or multiple legislative subject terms using the billSubjectTerm field. Copy the below example and paste it into a search box to see how it works.

billSubjectTerm:("military history" OR "Veterans' organizations and recognition") AND billStatus:"Became Law"

Using the LIV

1. From Advanced Search, select the "Subject - All" field from the drop-down menu and enter an LIV term. All terms, including LIV, Legislative Subject Terms, and Policy Areas, are searchable from the Subject (All) field in the Advanced Search form. See example here.

2. From the Command Line or main search box, include one or multiple LIV terms using the allBillSubjects. Copy the below example and paste it into a search box to see how it works.
allBillSubjects:("citizenship education" AND "government paperwork")

Using the Congressional Record Index

The Congressional Record Index is another useful subject index to legislation.