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Glossary of Legislative Terms
|General - All Sources |
Alerts on Saved Searches
Congress.gov now offers the ability to set up alerts on saved searches. When creating a search to save, set the search results Sort by to Newest to Oldest in order to see what is new at the top of your search results. After saving your search, click the Get alerts link at the top of the page. You will receive an email by 9 am each day your search has new items. For more information, see the In Custodia Legis blog post.
Alerts on Modified Saved Searches
Modify your saved searches to run against the new congress, and continue to receive alerts. Learn how.
Budget and Appropriations Resources
Following appropriations legislation? Learn more about budget and appropriations resources on Congress.gov.
From accounts to zip codes, the Resources link is your gateway to an A to Z directory of research guides, help pages, legislative information sources, and more. Find the link in the header and footer of every Congress.gov page.
Convene Dates and Times
The homepage displays the convene date and time for the House and the Senate. Learn more.
Default AND Search Operator - Homepage Search Forms, Search Bar, and Legislation Advanced Search Form
Homepage search forms, search bar, and the Legislation Advanced Search form all default to the AND search operator. Learn more about how this impacts your searches. Click here for a detailed search example.
Filter Search Results with Policy Terms
Use the Subject – Policy Area filter on any search results page or Member profile to view items by policy area, such as Health or Immigration. Click here to learn more.
How to Remove Highlighting from a Search Result
When viewing search results on Congress.gov, highlighted search terms can be very helpful in understanding why a particular item was retrieved. But what if you need a clean copy without the highlighting? Simply edit the URL to remove the search portion and the highlighting will be gone. Look for ?q and delete it along with all characters that follow.
New Release Notes
On the Floor Reports Linked from Previous Meeting Dates
Print Multiple Pages of Search Results
Congress.gov RSS feeds help you keep up with congressional activity. Subscribe to one or more feeds such as Bills Presented to the President, On the House Floor Today, On the Senate Floor Today, Search Tips and more.
Search Across Collections and Congresses
Use the “All Sources” option from the drop-down menu to search across all collections and congresses. Example: “Kyoto Protocol”
The facets on the left of the page display the number of items returned in each collection.
Congress.gov search forms, accessible from the homepage, offer frequently used search field options tailored to each collection.
Sessions of Congress and Corresponding Years
The 115th Congress will be in session through 2018. This Congresses page shows the years associated with each Congress.
Track Appropriations on Congress.gov
Two-Minute Tip Videos
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Wildcard Search Operator
In Congress.gov, the asterisk (*) functions as a wildcard search operator, allowing you to find items that have data in a particular field. Finding bills that have been placed on the House or Senate calendar (i.e., eligible for floor consideration) is a useful application of this feature. Click here to learn more.
|Access to Debates from "Bill History – Congressional Record References"|
From the Actions tab for the Consolidated Appropriations bill (H.R.2029), click on Bill History – Congressional Record References to discover an interactive, chronological list of links to debate, motions, and actions in the Congressional Record. Bills and resolutions from 1995-present (beginning with the 104th Congress) in all have "Bill History – Congressional Record References" pages.
Alerts on Committee Action on Legislation
Alerts on Legislation
Alerts on New Legislation
Want to get email alerts when new legislation is introduced? Click here to learn how.
All Actions Link
The 'All Actions' link from a results list expedites access to the Actions tab. See it in this list of bills that became law in the current Congress.
All Information View for Bills and Resolutions
Appropriations Legislation Status Table
The FY17 Appropriations Status Table is featured on the homepage.
Bill Status Data Bulk Download
Find more information at About Congress.gov XML Bulk Data.
Browse Bill Texts
Browse Legislation by Sponsor and Cosponsor
Congress.gov offers several ways to browse and search for bills, resolutions, and amendments by sponsor and cosponsor. See this Law Library blog post to learn more.
Citation Format for Searching All Legislation
When searching All Legislation, a citation format that works well for finding a specific bill or law is this sequence: congress number and citation in a single string.
S.25  = 113s25
Public Law 109-25 = 109pl25
The Cosponsors tab of a bill or resolution display allows you to view cosponsors in the order they were added (first to last, or last to first) as well as by name, party, and state.
Current Legislative Activities
What’s happening on the floor today? See the Congress.gov homepage for links to bills being considered today.
Explore a Bill Video
Two-Minute tip video - learn how to explore a bill.
Glossary of Legislative Terms
Legislation Search - Advanced Search Form
The advanced search form for legislation offers a guided search experience for creating precise searches using a variety of criteria including sponsors, cosponsors, committees, and actions.
Legislation Search - Advanced Search Form - Committee Activity Feature
Legislation Search - Advanced Search Form - Committee History
Legislation Search - Case Sensitive Query Builder Feature
Congress.gov’s Query Builder search tool has been enhanced with a case sensitive option for items like Bill Titles, Bill Text, Summaries, and Actions. Learn how this feature facilitates more precise searches.
Legislation Search - Limit Searches for Actions on Legislation by Either the House or the Senate
Legislation Search - Measures with Actions on a Date
Legislation Search - Results Display Options
You can view legislative search results in a compact or expanded display, with facets and tracker hidden or shown.
Legislation Search - Roll Call Votes
Legislation Search - Search By Date of Sponsor or Cosponsor
Legislation Search - Search Tools
Legislation Search - Search Within Feature
Looking for legislation sponsored or cosponsored by a Member on a certain topic? The Search Within feature can help.
Legislation Text Search - Search with Quotes and Boolean Operators
Legislative Subject Terms
Legislative Subject Terms are assigned to each bill by CRS legislative analysts. You can browse bills in each Congress by Legislative Subject Term or include subjects in searches. Find Bills by Subject and Policy Area provides guidance for using Legislative Subject Terms in your research.
Cuba in the 114th Congress
National Aeronautics and Space Administration in the 113th Congress
Arab-Israeli relations in the 112th Congress
To find private bills, use this search isPrivateBill:"Y". Select Became Law from the Status of Legislation facet to see private bills that were passed into law. Another option is to use the Bills Introduced as Private Legislation browse, found under Bills by Legislative Actions on the Browse page.
Links to private bill and private law lists are also available from the glossary.
Sponsored and Cosponsored Legislation
Congress.gov features a profile page for every Member of Congress who has held office since 1973. Each page provides an interactive list of legislation that the Member sponsored or cosponsored in the House and/or the Senate, all in one place on the site. Click here for information on how to view and refine a Member's list of legislation.
Yesterday in Congress
Visit Yesterday in Congress for an overview of legislative actions taken by the full House or Senate each legislative day. Browse bills and resolutions introduced, reported, and passed by date going back to the 93rd Congress. From the homepage, click Yesterday in Congress, found under the Current Legislative Activities heading.
Alerts on Members
How to Search Within a Member's Remarks in the Congressional Record
Example: The phrase "no child left behind" within Senator Lamar Alexander's remarks in the 114th Congress.
Member Information Sort Options
Members can be sorted by name, state or territory, or party.
Member remarks in the Congressional Record are easily tracked via the member's landing page. Click on “View this member’s remarks in the Congressional Record” link to the right of a member profile. Use the facets on the left to narrow results by date or Congressional Record section.
Policy Area Filters
Sponsors and Cosponsors Browse Lists
Alerts on the Congressional Record
Congressional Record Index
The Congressional Record Index (1995 – present) is now available on Congress.gov. You can browse or search the Index to find remarks and activities by Members as well as individuals and organizations mentioned in the Congressional Record.
Congressional Record Sort Options
Congressional Record can be sorted by issue date or article title.
History of Bills and Resolutions
On Congress.gov, find the History of Bills and Resolutions under the Actions tab of any bill or resolution introduced between 1995-present (beginning with the 104th Congress). Click here for detailed instructions.
How to Search the Congressional Record
The Congressional Record collection contains the complete Record in full text since 1995. To search via keyword or phrase, be as specific as possible and use quotation marks for phrases.
Example: “Air and Space Museum”
Searching for Member Remarks in the Congressional Record
Committee profiles facilitate access to business conducted and documents produced by House and Senate committees. Each profile features an interactive list of legislation and reports, and general information by and about a committee. Find House and Senate committee profiles listed at Committees of the U.S. Congress.
Committee Profiles - Inactive
Committee Reports - How to Search
Committee Reports are available in Congress.gov from 1995 (104th Congress) to the present. Committee Reports reveal the legislative intent of the committee in recommending a measure. To begin a search of these reports, choose the Committee Reports option in the homepage search drop-down menu and enter a committee report number, the associated legislation number, or keyword/phrase.
|Committee Reports - Search Citation Format|
A citation format that works well for finding a specific committee report is this sequence: congress number and citation in a single string. Choose Committee Reports from the Congress.gov homepage search drop-down menu.
Example: House Rept.114-89 = 114hrpt89
Committee Reports - Six Search Options
1. Use the Committee Reports option from the drop-down menu in the Congress.gov homepage search box. Enter the report citation, associated legislation number, or a keyword/phrase. Use the facets on the left to narrow your search results. Search example: Committee Report for H.R. 22 [114th].
2. From the Search by Number page, choose the Committee Reports option from the drop-down menu and select a Congress.
3. Use the Committee Reports search box.
4. View all committee reports by Congress from the Committees section of the browse page.
5. From the Advanced Search - Query Builder page, search in Committee Reports.
6. View committee reports from links on the Overview, Actions, and Committee tabs of the associated bills. Example: H.R. 22 [114th].
|Legislation with Committee Action Finding Aid|
|Alerts on Nominations|
Set up a nomination alert to receive an email when action occurs.
|How to Search for Nominations Actions on a Date using the Nominations Search Form|
How to Search for Nominations by Date using Query Builder
Looking for nominations sent to the Senate by the new administration? Use Congress.gov to search nominations by the date they were received in the Senate.
From the home page, click the Advanced search tab and then select Query Builder.
Example: Under Search in, select Nominations, Received in Senate Date, is after 1/19/2017. Click the red minus symbol to remove the unused search boxes connected to your terms by AND. Then click Search.
Print-Friendly View for Nominations
For a print-friendly view, use the All Information link now available for nominations and treaties as well as legislation.
Sort Options for Nominations
Nominations can be sorted by latest action, date received, or number.
|Supreme Court Nominations|
Quickly retrieve Supreme Court nominations records from Congress.gov. From the homepage, select Browse in the top navigation. Then, scroll down and select Nominations. Select Supreme Court Nominations to see all such records from 1981 to the present. Click here for detailed instructions.
|Treaty Documents |
How to Search for Treaty Documents
Treaty Documents can be found by number or searched via keyword or phrase. Use the Status of Treaty Document and Topic facets to refine your results. Example: Fisheries and Wildlife treaties approved by the Senate since 2011.
Sort Options for Treaty Documents
Treaty Documents can be sorted by latest action, date received, or number.
|Find Senate Communications in the Congressional Record|
How to Search for Executive Communications
Search Executive Communications by keyword.
Results sets can be limited by these facets:
Search Form for Executive Communications to the House
A guided search form is available for the House Communications collection. Learn more. *