How to Pick a Search Page

You can search Congress.gov in many different ways. This overview describes the wide variety of places to begin your search. Consult Coverage Dates for Legislative Information for the specific update schedules and start date for each collection.

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Global Search - One Search Across Multiple Collections

What can you search?

From the Congress.gov homepage you can search "All Sources", "All Legislation", or any single collection (Legislation, Committee Reports, Congressional Record, Nominations, Treaty Documents, Executive Communications). Use the collection menu to the left of the search box to change from the default "Current Legislation."

Homepage Main Search

Why choose Main Search?

To quickly execute a simple search that can be edited with filters and Search Within.

To quickly search across all collections for all available years.

Supports all Search Tools.

Caveats

Phrases require quotation marks (without quotation marks the system puts OR between words).

Query Builder

What can you search?

From the Query Builder you can search any combination of collections.

Why choose Query Builder?

To build precise, complex searches, row-by-row. Use the plus (+) and minus (-) controls to add or remove rows. Combine rows with Boolean AND, OR, or AND NOT. Nest searches using inner plus (+) and minus (-) controls.

More fields are available than on the specialized search forms.

Calendar picker makes date searching easy.

Value lists facilitate selecting multiple Legislative Actions, committees, etc.

Caveats

Don't use Search Operators. Use the provided lists (in the 3rd box on each row) to select operators: is, is near, contains, does not contain.

Only filters that apply to your search criteria are available from your results list. You cannot expand your search results set; you can only reduce it.

Command Line

What can you search?

From the Command Line box you can search any combination of collections.

Why choose Command Line?

To build precise, complex searches using fields. Combine search fields using Boolean AND, OR, or AND NOT.

The large search box can expand, if necessary.

Supports all Search Tools.

Legislation - Specialized Search Forms

Legislation Quick

What can you search?

From the Legislation Quick form you can search the legislation collection, including records for every bill and resolution introduced in the U.S. Congress since 1973 (93rd Congress).

Why choose Legislation Quick?

The guided form facilitates search using these criteria: Congress, Legislation Number, single sponsor or cosponsor, single committee, and one of 15 legislative actions.

Caveats

Only filters that apply to your search criteria are available from your results list. You cannot expand your search results set; you can only reduce it.

Legislation Advanced

What can you search?

From the Legislation Advanced form you can search the legislation collection, including records for every bill and resolution introduced in the U.S. Congress since 1973 (93rd Congress).

Why choose Legislation Advanced?

The guided form supports precise, complex searches.

Caveats

Only filters that apply to your search criteria are available from your results list. You cannot expand your search results set; you can only reduce it.

Legislation Text

What can you search?

From the Legislation Text form your search is limited to Legislation Text.

Why choose Legislation Text?

To exclusively search bill and law text language in different versions.

To search for language exclusively within specific bill text versions.

Unique to results lists from the Legislation Text form, results lists are categorized into 4 relevancy ranked sets of texts containing: Phrase exactly as entered, Terms near each other in any order, All terms, Any terms.

Caveats

Don't use Search Operators. Due to relevancy ranked results, "Words and Phrases" box does not support proximity nor does it support Boolean search operators.

Results list returns a maximum of 500 items.

Search by Number (Citation)

What can you search?

From the Search by Number form you can retreive legislation and committee reports, by number.

Why choose Search by Number?

To build a cross-congress results list using legislation or committee report citations.

Committee Reports - Specialized Search Form

Committee Reports

What can you search?

From the Committee Reports form you can search the Committee Reports collection dating from 1995.

Why choose Committee Reports?

The guided form facilitates search using these criteria: Congress, Report Number, Legislation Number, or Committee.

Congressional Record - Specialized Search Form

Congressional Record

What can you search?

From the Congressional Record form you can search the Congressional Record collection dating from 1995.

Why choose to use the Congressional Record search form?

The guided form facilitates search using these criteria: Congress, Section of the Congressional Record, or Member Remarks.

Find by Date

What can you search?

From the Find an issue of the Record feature, click on the small calendar icon to see dates for which daily issues of the Record are available. Use calendar toggles to select the day, month, and year.

Why choose the Find an issue of the Record search form?

To retreive a single issue of the Congressional Record by date.

Find by Page Number

What can you search?

From the Find by Page Number feature, use the value lists to select the year (volume) and type the page number into the seach box.

Why choose the Find by Page Number search form?

To retreive a specific Congressional Record article by page number.

Query Builder - Congressional Record

What can you search?

From the Query Builder, you can search the Congressional Record collection dating from 1995.

Why choose to use the Query Builder to search the Congressional Record?

To search the Congressional Record within a range of dates, in combination with other search criteria. The calendar picker makes date searching easy. Select Search in: "Congressional Record" and select the "Issue Date" value. Use the provided list (in the 3rd box on the row) to select operators, like: is between, is after, is...yesterday, last 7 days, last 30 days. You can combine that row with additional rows to search "All Fields" and other "Congressional Record" fields.

To build precise, complex searches, row-by-row. Use the plus (+) and minus (-) controls to add or remove rows. Combine rows with Boolean AND, OR, or AND NOT. Nest searches using inner plus (+) and minus (-) controls.

More fields are available than on the specialized search forms.

Caveats

Don't use Search Operators. Use the provided lists (in the 3rd box on each row) to select operators, like: is, is near, contains, does not contain.

Only filters that apply to your search criteria are available from your results list. You cannot expand your search results set; you can only reduce it.

Nominations - Specialized Search Form

Nominations

What can you search?

From the Nominations form you can search the Nominations collection dating from 1981.

Why choose to use the Nominations search form?

The guided form facilitates search using these criteria: Congress, Nomination Type, Presidential Nomination (PN) Number, Name, Committee, and one of 17 actions.

Query Builder - Nominations

What can you search?

From the Query Builder, you can search the Nominations collection dating from 1981.

Why choose to use the Query Builder to search Nominations?

To search Nominations within a range of dates for "Latest Action", "Confirmed", or "Received." The calendar date-picker makes date searching easy.

To build precise, complex searches, row-by-row. Use the plus (+) and minus (-) controls to add or remove rows. Combine rows with Boolean AND, OR, or AND NOT. Nest searches using inner plus (+) and minus (-) controls.

More fields are available than on the specialized search forms.

Caveats

Don't use Search Operators. Use the provided lists (in the 3rd box on each row) to select operators, like: is, is near, contains, does not contain.

Only filters that apply to your search criteria are available from your results list. You cannot expand your search results set; you can only reduce it.

Treaty Documents - Specialized Search Form

Treaty Documents

What can you search?

From the Treaty Documents form you can search the Treaty Documents collection.

Why choose to use the Treaty Documents search form?

The guided form facilitates search using these criteria: Congress, Treaty Document Number, Executive Report Number, and Treaty Topic.

Executive Communications - Specialized Search Form

Executive and Other Communications

What can you search?

From the Executive Communications form you can search the Executive and Other Communications collection.

Why choose to use the Executive Communications search form?

The guided form facilitates search using these criteria: Congress, Communication Type, Communication Number, and Committee.