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Congress.gov Screenshot of the House Communications Search Tools
House Communications Search Toosl on Congress.gov

Modernizing Congressional Data – Executive Communications on Congress.gov

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The following is a guest post from Cassidy Charles, a legislative data analyst in the Congressional Research Service (CRS) of the Library of Congress.

While the Library of Congress has recently celebrated major milestones like over 10 years since launching Congress.gov and releasing the Congress.gov API, behind the scenes partners across the legislative branch have been working on the most significant update to the legislative data exchange since the exchange launched in 1973.

Partners from within the Law Library, the Office of the Chief Information Officer, and the Congressional Research Service at the Library of Congress have been working with the Clerk of the House and the Secretary of the Senate through this multi-phase project. This exchange serves as the backbone to Congress.gov. Modernization is crucial to both uphold the security and integrity of the exchange’s systems as well as support the modern landscape of data standards and legislative procedure.

The first phase of this project was the modernization of the exchange of Executive and Other Communications data. Executive and Other Communications are messages sent to the chambers by the President, executive branch officials, state or local governments, private citizens, and other entities. In the case of the House, there are also requirements that indicate the statutory citation of the legal requirement for the report to be made to Congress. These requirements match to the communication as they are received. Congressionally mandated reports can be read on a portal made available by the Government Publishing Office on GovInfo.

Screenshot of the Congress.gov Browse page with Executive Communications expanded
Executive Communications on the Congress.gov Browse Page

Modernized data supports fielded searching like searching by the date a communication was published in the Congressional Record using the crDateStr field. As well, you can locate communications related to a specific House Document by searching with the communicationRelatedDoc field. With modernized data structures, researching legislative branch materials becomes a more nimble task.

Screenshot of Senate Communications Search Tools on Congress.gov
Senate Communications Search Tools on Congress.gov

Modernized data also supports House and Senate communications’ availability via the Congress.gov API, where users can view and download data in a machine-readable format. To learn more about the Congress.gov collections in the Congress.gov API, visit the Congress.gov API GitHub.

There are About Collections pages to learn more About Communications to the House and Senate Executive and Other Communications in addition to a Search Tools page describing the available search fields. Happy Searching!

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