Web tools for keeping tabs on Congress

Want to know who your Representative is? Check out Project Vote Smart! Just enter your 9-digit ZIP code and you’ll get a whole list of both federal and state elected officials, each linked to an information page containing contact information (among lots of other things).

Looking for the most recent action on a bill in Crongress or the Senate? Go to THOMAS and enter the bill number, including the prefix letters. For example, to see House Resolution 3824, enter “hr3824″ in the Search Bill Text box. Be sure to check the button for searching by bill number instead of keyword. You can find the most recent status of the bill (e.g. sent to a committee, reported to the House, etc.) by following the “Bill Summary & Status file” link. For more information on THOMAS, see the THOMAS FAQ. Bloggers/netizens note:

How do I link a particular part of THOMAS to my own web site?
You can create a permanent link to a bill … by using UNIX GET or POST protocols… It is necessary to use these protocols because the URL addresses you see when you execute a search are temporary addresses…
— from the THOMAS FAQ

Be sure to check out the POST instructions in the link above. I used them to whip up the button below to show the bills that my so-called Representative, Dan Lungren, sponsored or cosponsored in this (the 109th) session of Congress:

About Jim Vanderveen

I'm a bit of a Renaissance man, with far too many hobbies for my free time! But more important than any hobby is my family. My proudest accomplishment has been raising some great kids! And somehow convincing my wife to put up with me since 1988. ;)
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One Response to Web tools for keeping tabs on Congress

  1. jim says:

    Well, I guess I should have clicked my “XHTML Validation” button when I published this article — the button I created (above) using code and instructions from the THOMAS FAQ generated about a dozen validation errors! Fortunately they were all easy to fix. Just make sure all the keywords are lowercase, and all the attributes are double-quoted, e.g. change
    <form action= ... method="post">
    About half of the errors are due to lack of double-quoting type=hidden, but all you need to do is change these to type="hidden". I’m pretty sure that’s all I had to do to get the article to validate.

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