Search Tips By Category

Subscribe to search tips from RSS and Email Alerts.

General – All Sources

Alerts on Modified Saved Searches

Modify your saved searches to run against the new congress, and continue to receive alerts. Learn how.

Congress.gov Notifications

Subscribe to Congress.gov Notifications for alerts on new features, advance notice of system maintenance, and more. Learn how.

Convene Dates and Times

The Congress.gov homepage displays the convene date and time for the House and the Senate. Check the Current Legislative Activities section.

Default AND Search Operator

Homepage search forms, search bar, and the Legislation Advanced Search form all default to the AND search operator. Learn more about search operators in Congress.gov Search Tools.

New Release Notes

View the Congress.gov Enhancements page for a description of new features added in the latest release.

On the Floor Reports Linked from Previous Meeting Dates

From the Congress.gov homepage, House and Senate Previous Meeting dates link to lists of daily floor activity. Selecting a link opens an On the Floor list of bills, resolutions, nominations, and treaties considered.

Print Multiple Pages of Search Results

Printing multiple pages of Congress.gov search results? Read these helpful tips.

RSS Feeds

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 Congress.gov homepage search bar to search across all collections and congresses. Example: “Kyoto Protocol”

The filters on the left of the page display the number of items returned in each collection.

Search Forms

Congress.gov search forms, accessible from the homepage, offer frequently used search field options tailored to each collection.

Sessions of Congress and Corresponding Years

This Congresses page shows the years associated with each Congress.

THOMAS Retirement

THOMAS.gov retired on July 5, 2016. Find details in Congress.gov FAQs, including information about redirects for THOMAS URLs.

U.S. Code

Find a link to U.S. Code at the top of the homepage and in the footer of all Congress.gov pages.

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.

Legislation

Access to Debates from “Bill History – Congressional Record References”

From the Actions tab for the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016 (114th 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 Congress.gov all have “Bill History – Congressional Record References” pages.

Alerts on New Legislation

Want to get email alerts when new legislation is introduced? Click here to learn how.

Alerts on Individual Bills

Get an email alert on a bill. Start a Congress.gov account to get alerts on individual bills when there are updates to actions, bill text, cosponsors, or summaries.

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

On Congress.gov bill detail pages, All Information (Except Text) links open a customizable, printer-friendly view of information related to the bill, all on one page. Learn how to use this feature.

Bill Status Data Bulk Download

Want to import Congress.gov bill status data into a spreadsheet or database? Bulk download for bill status data is available at https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/bulkdata/BILLSTATUS.

Find more information at About Congress.gov XML Bulk Data.

Browse Bill Texts

Use the Bill and Law Texts Received Today browse page to find the text versions most recently added to Congress.gov. The list can be sorted by order received or by bill number.

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.

Examples:

S.25 [113] = 113s25

Public Law 109-25 = 109pl25

Cosponsor Information

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.

Filter Search Results with Policy Terms

Use the Subject – Policy Area filter on any legislation search results page, Member profile, or Committee profile to view legislation by policy area, such as Health or Immigration. Click here to learn more.

Glossary of Legislative Terms

Can’t recall the exact meaning of a term? See the Glossary of legislative process terms under Support in the top navigation of Congress.gov.

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

Limit your search to a specific type of activity related to a committee using the Legislation Advanced Search form. Learn how.

Legislation Search – Advanced Search Form – Committee History

On the Advanced Legislation Search form, Committee Selection pages display committee name changes for past congresses. Learn more.

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

Use Congress.gov’s Legislation Advanced Search Form to limit searches for actions on legislation by either the House or the Senate. Learn how.

Legislation Search – Measures with Actions on a Date

Use the Legislation Advanced Search form to find measures with actions on a date or in a date range. Learn how.

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

Use Congress.gov search and browse tools to find roll call votes on legislation. Here’s how.

Legislation Search – Search By Date of Sponsor or Cosponsor

On Congress.gov, use field labels to search for legislation sponsored or cosponsored by Members from a particular state. Learn how.

Legislation Search – Search Tools

Find bills or public laws by number from any Congress.gov search box or the Legislation page. See Search by Number (Citation) for a list of prefixes.

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

The Legislation Text search form now defaults to the option to “Allowquotes and Boolean operators” when searching words and phrases. Learn more.

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.

Examples:

Cuba in the 114th Congress

National Aeronautics and Space Administration in the 113th Congress

Arab-Israeli relations in the 112th Congress

Private Bills

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.

Two-Minute Tip Videos

Get a quick orientation about…

Votes Resources

Votes in the House and Senate describes recorded vote information accessible from Congress.gov, and suggests supplementary resources.

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.

Members

Alerts on Members

Get an email alert on a member. Start a Congress.gov account to get alerts on individual members when they sponsor or cosponsor a bill.

How to Search Within a Member’s Remarks in the Congressional Record

  • From a member landing page, click on “See This Member’s Remarks in the Congressional Record” link to the right of the overview.
  • The resulting list contains all of a member’s remarks in the Congressional Record (1995- ). Click on the “search within” check box, enter a keyword or phrase, and hit search.

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

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

View the policy areas associated with the legislation that a member sponsors or cosponsors by looking at the subject – policy area filters from each member’s landing page.

Sponsors and Cosponsors Browse Lists

Find who has sponsored or cosponsored the most legislation using the Sponsors and Cosponsors browse lists for House and Senate.

Congressional Record

Alerts on the Congressional Record

Get an email alert for the Congressional Record. Start a Congress.gov account to receive an email alert when the latest issue of the Congressional Record is published online.

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.

For example, see these entries for American Heart Association;Deaton, Angus S.; and Wawa, Inc.

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

Use the Congressional Record search form to find Member remarks in the Congressional Record. Learn more.

Committees

Alerts on Committee Action on Legislation

Stay informed of committee action on legislation with Congress.gov email alerts. Learn how.

Committee Profiles

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

Inactive committee profile pages now show a committee’s status as Terminated and the years when the committee was active. Learn more.

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].

Committee Schedule

See the Committee Schedule to view all congressional hearings and meetings scheduled by day or week. Learn more.

Legislation with Committee Action Finding Aid

Use the Legislation with Actions Related to Committees browse pages to track legislation referred to a specific committee or subcommittee: House | Senate

Examples:

Nominations

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

Search for nominations actions on a date or date range with the Nominations search form. Learn how.

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.

Senate Communications

Find Senate Communications in the Congressional Record

Use the Senate Communications search form to find Executive Communications to the Senate that appeared in the Congressional Record on a date or within a date range. Learn more.

How to Search for Executive Communications

Search Executive Communications by keyword.

Results sets can be limited by these facets:

  • Congress
  • Communication Type (Petitions or Memorials, Presidential Messages, Executive Communications)
  • Senate Committee

House Communications

Search Form for Executive Communications to the House

A guided search form is available for the House Communications collection. Learn more. *