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Email Alerts and Browse Page Updates: Congress.gov New, Tip, and Top for November 2021

Earlier this month, Robert shared news of the addition of the “Add to My Calendar” feature for upcoming committee hearings on Congress.gov. I have already used it several times to be reminded of when a hearing that I want to follow is scheduled.

Congress.gov continues to grow with new material. If you had done a global search six years ago there would have been about a million items in the results. Now there are almost 1.5 million items to search, including materials from the current Congress, over 90 years of the Bound Congressional Record, and hearing transcripts now starting with the 105th Congress.

We have made a number of enhancements with this month’s second release. We updated the old RSS and Email Alerts page to focus on the variety of alerts Congress.gov provides. See the new Get Email Alerts and Updates page for all the ways to subscribe. Also with this release, there is a new and improved appropriations alert under legislation on the page:

Appropriations Measures Considered by Congress
Email alerts when appropriations measures are considered by Congress. View Appropriations Status Table 

After you are signed in and select “Get alerts” on the site you will be subscribed and will receive an email update when any appropriations bill has action.

We added contextual links to alerts across the site. For example, if you are on the Most Viewed Bills or Enhancement Timeline you will now have an easy link to set up the respective alerts. We also added a new link to Get Email Alerts and Updates on the homepage.

Congress.gov Homepage with New Email Alert Link

New “Get Email Alerts and Updates” link on the Congress.gov homepage

In a recent update we added the option in the quick search and advanced search forms to default to modern legislation or also include historical legislation. With today’s release we are adding a similar historical check box to the Congressional Record quick search form. Checking the historical box will include the Bound Congressional Record in your search results.

Another section that we focused on enhancing this release is Browse. With the addition of earlier Congresses, the drop down list has been getting longer. This is now a type ahead field, which should be easier for the user. Interested in the 93rd Congress? Start to type 93 and it will be an option. Alternatively, you can type in a year like 1977 if you don’t know off the top of your head that it is in the 95th Congress. Also on the updated Browse pages is the specific date range for the Congress, so on the 95th Congress page you will see “January 4, 1977 – October 15, 1978.”

screenshot of the browse page

Newly Updated Browse Page with Type Ahead and Specific Date Range

We continued our quest to improve the accessibility of Congress.gov. The Glossary of Legislative Terms has been improved for accessibility purposes.


The following are the second set of Congress.gov enhancements for November.

Enhancement – Email Alerts and Updates – Appropriations Alert

  • Go to the redesigned Get Email Alerts and Updates page to see the full list of email alerts, updates and RSS feeds available for you to keep up with Congressional activity and current legislation.
  • To get alerts on appropriations legislation for the current fiscal year, use the “Get alerts” link under the heading Appropriations Measures Considered by Congress.
  • You will receive an email when new appropriations bills are introduced or when any current appropriations bills are updated.

Enhancement – Congressional Record – Search

  • Congress checkboxes on the Congressional Record search form give you the option to limit your search to 1995-2022 (Daily Edition issues) or Historical (1909-1994) (Bound Edition volumes).
  • Options for searching only headings and Members Remarks are disabled when you select only Historical Congresses.
  • Tooltips, visible when you move your cursor over the icon next to a Congress checkbox, display helpful reminders and link to the Congressional Record help page for more details.

Enhancement – Browse – Congress Type Ahead

  • Start typing to select a Congress on the Browse page, a directory of frequently-requested resources, lists of legislation and more.
  • Links to House and Senate calendars are available for previous Congresses under Congressional Activity.

Enhancement – Glossary of Legislative Terms – Improved Accessibility

  • Definitions are no longer collapsed in the Glossary of Legislative Terms, improving accessibility and allowing you to get the information you need with fewer clicks.

Enhancement – Congressional Record – Bound Edition

Congress.gov Tip

Did you know that you can search Congress.gov without a search term? Do a blank search and then use the filters (or facets) on the left to winnow your way down to a smaller results set. You can check the “Search Within” box in the search bar later on if you decide you want to add a search term to this results set. And, just a reminder, you can “Save this Search” and “Get Alerts.”

Most-Viewed Bills

The following is the most-viewed bills list for the week of November 21, 2021.

1. H.R.3684 [117th] Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act
2. H.R.5376 [117th] Build Back Better Act
3. H.R.4350 [117th] National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022
4. H.R.1319 [117th] American Rescue Plan Act of 2021
5. H.Res.789 [117th] Censuring Representative Paul Gosar.
6. H.Res.57 [117th] Impeaching Joseph R. Biden, President of the United States, for abuse of power by enabling bribery and other high crimes and misdemeanors.
7. H.R.1996 [117th] SAFE Banking Act of 2021
8. H.R.133 [116th] Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021
9. S.1260 [117th] United States Innovation and Competition Act of 2021
10. H.Res.774 [117th] Providing for consideration of the bill (H.R. 5376) to provide for reconciliation pursuant to title II of S. Con. Res. 14; and for other purposes.

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