Congress.gov celebrated its sixth birthday this year on September 19. It has come a long way since the initial beta website, which was launched with filters, the status of legislation tracker, legislative process videos, a mobile friendly responsive design, and member pages. Those were all items that were not available on the former THOMAS website. Since then we have been able to add popular features such as bill alerts, saved searches, and the ability to download your search results.
This year we have pushed Congress.gov even further. We started in January with a new Congress.gov search box, search form, and a streamlined header. In February we increased the number of search results you can download from 500 to 1,000. There were updates in March and April (Part 1 and Part 2). Tina provided a nice overview of new ways to search Congress.gov in April. We spent time working to enhance our saved search email alerts.
We also had the following updates throughout the year:
September was a particularly busy month: Dr. Hayden announced that Congressional Research Service Reports are now available via crsreports.congress.gov, and Robert blogged about the new experimental Congress.gov Chrome extension.
A huge behind the scenes change occurred over the second half of this year. The Government Publishing Office (GPO) transitioned its online publication of government information from the FDsys website to govinfo. A lot of data for Congress.gov comes from GPO, so we needed to switch to getting the data from govinfo when the old site was successfully retired earlier this month. Congratulations, GPO!
Also during the year, a reference to Congress.gov was spotted at the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park by Bill Kellum. Leah K. Ibraheem shared metrics from mobile devices for the site, and Chalonda Newman, Michelle Wilson, and Leah shared information about their roles in a series of interviews. A terrific team works to make Congress.gov the powerful site that it is.
Top 18 in 2018
To see what items were most viewed in previous years on Congress.gov, take a look back at 13 in 2013, 14 in 2014, 15 in 2015, 16 in 2016, and 17 in 2017. For the top 18 most-viewed bills in 2018, I have also added the latest step in the tracker for each item below as of the drafting of this post.
- H.R.1865 – Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017 [Became Law]
- H.R.5087 – Assault Weapons Ban of 2018 [Introduced]
- H.R.1 – An Act to provide for reconciliation pursuant to titles II and V of the concurrent resolution on the budget for fiscal year 2018. [Became Law]
- H.R.38 – Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 [Passed House]
- H.R.5428 – Stand with UK against Russia Violations Act [Introduced]
- H.R.392 – Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2017 [Introduced]
- H.R.5515 – John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 [Became Law]
- S.2155 – Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act [Became Law]
- H.R.1625 – Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018 [Became Law]
- H.R.4760 – Securing America’s Future Act of 2018 [Failed House]
- S.3036 – Keep Families Together Act [Introduced]
- H.R.2810 – National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018 [Became Law]
- H.R.1892 – Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 [Became Law]
- H.R.5404 – To define the dollar as a fixed weight of gold. [Introduced]
- H.R.2 – Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 [Became Law]
- H.R.620 – ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017 [Passed House]
- H.R.5682 – FIRST STEP Act [Passed House]
- H.R.6 – SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act [Became Law]
Nine of the eighteen items above became law.
It has been a great year for Congress.gov. I am excited for what comes next in 2019, including new features like the planned Committee Schedule.