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Digital U.S. Bills and Resolutions: Searching for Bills

Advanced Search Form-Fields for Searching

Using the Advanced Search form, if you select only the Bills & Laws in the Limit to section of the page, you can see that you can search some metadata as well as search all fields including full text.

The metadata that is searchable in "all fields except full-text" includes the bill title and summary, plus these additional fields that depend on the time period:

Pre-57th Congress: we can search or restrict by:

  • Congress
  • Bill No
  • Version Date
  • Version Action

57th Congress - Present: we can search or restrict by

  • Congress
  • Bill No.
  • Version Date
  • Version Action
  • Sponsor

When you have selected Bills & Law only, you will see these additional fields appear below your guided search form to allow you to enter data to search these fields.

Search by Number

 

 

 

Use the Search by Number form to pull up all of the bill versions, and any documents related by bill number. That would include, for example, any hearing held on the bill or a report issued on the bill.

Bill Text

Your results for a Search By Number search for a legislative citation such as a bill number or a public law number will contain a Bill Profile as well as all bill text versions, as well as other documents from your collections that have been "tagged" with that bill number, i.e. they are related to that bill in some way.

 

You can filter just to see the bill text if you wish to compare the words and phrases for example, or you can filter to view the bill profile to see a composite of information about the bill, including sponsors, activity, votes and related documents. You will only see a legislative history and Public Law if a bill became law (about 3% of all bills make it to this status!)

Your Bill Results

  1. Filter for just the Bill Text
  2. Sort to see the oldest document first
  3. Open the abstract to view the information about the bill (the metadata) and access the full-text (PDF) Note the Navigation menu on the left and the link to the PDF download at the bottom.
  4. In the bill abstract, note the added information- the links to the Bill Tracking report, links to the enacted law- the slip law (PL) and the session law (Stat.), the U.S. Code sections affected by the bill, the Summary and the sponsorship information. The link to download the PDF is at the bottom.