Each year we continue to enhance and grow Congress.gov. Back in January 2013 we added the Congressional Record to the website. At the time, the Congressional Record only went back to 2011. If you look today, after we have methodically been adding previous Congresses of the Bound Congressional Record, it now goes back to 1899. That’s over 120 years!
In June 2014 we added accounts and saved searches. This year we revamped our Get Email Alerts and Updates page to make it easier to sign up and stay connected to Congress.gov, including an improved appropriations alert. We also continue to enhance the accessibility of Congress.gov. In July 2015 we added the ability to listen to bill summaries. This year, we improved the accessibility of the Glossary and the Help Center section, including pages like Search Tools.
As far as usage, Congress.gov averaged more page views in a month in 2021 than the total for the entire year in 2016.
We also held another Congress.gov Virtual Public Forum this year. This built on the success of last year’s event. During the event, I shared our enhancements from the past year, including those based on previous feedback.
This is now the ninth post that recaps the most-viewed bills of the year on Congress.gov. To see how viewing trends change over time, check out the most-viewed bills list from 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020. You can see the status of each item in parentheses as of the drafting of this post.
- H.R.127 [117th] Sabika Sheikh Firearm Licensing and Registration Act (Introduced)
- H.R.1319 [117th] American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (Became Law)
- H.R.1 [117th] For the People Act of 2021 (Passed House)
- H.R.3684 [117th] Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (Became Law)
- H.R.5 [117th] Equality Act (Passed House)
- 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. (Introduced)
- H.R.4980 [117th] To direct the Secretary of Homeland Security to ensure that any individual traveling on a flight that departs from or arrives to an airport inside the United States or a territory of the United States is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and for other purposes. (Introduced)
- H.R.5717 [116th] Gun Violence Prevention and Community Safety Act of 2020 (Introduced)
- H.R.7120 [116th] George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020 (Passed House)
- H.R.133 [116th] Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (Became Law)
Highlights of 2021 Enhancements
Here is a selection of highlights from the last year:
- Appropriations Alert email added to Get Email Alerts and Updates
- Add to My Calendar from the Committee Schedule
- Bound Congressional Record available back to 56th Congress (1899-1901). We also added Keyword In Context to Congressional Record quick search form results.
- Citation Tool
- Errata for Treaty Documents are now linked on the overview and have a Text – Treaty Document Errata tab
- Added public and private law text from the 82nd – 92nd Congresses (1951-1972)
- Added committee transcripts for the 105th and 106th Congresses (1997-2000)
- Added 30,000 Bills and Resolutions from 1799-1873 from the Century of Lawmaking
- Additional search labels such as relatedBill:, nominationSenateReferralCommitteeCount:, and executiveCommunicationSenateReferralCommitteeCount:
- Committee email alerts are now available to subscribe from any committee page
I always enjoy looking back to see how far the website has come. Doing so this year reminded me of the video Introducing Congress.gov that came out just after the website was launched.
What has been your favorite new enhancement to Congress.gov this year? What would you like to see us add next year?
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