It is that time again, when Congress is in session and bills are being passed. The 115th Congress began on January 3, 2017. If you are a political junkie, how will you keep up with it all? Who is in the House and Senate for each state? What committees are they on? What bills are going through?
I posed this question today and received some excellent feedback. I want to share it so everyone has the opportunity to go directly to the source for information, rather than always relying strictly on the media for all of the answers. It really is up to us to make sure we have accurate information, and this will help us to do just that.
- GovTrack (h/t Darrell)
GovTrack.us tracks the United States Congress and helps Americans understand what is going on in their national legislature. We publish the status of federal legislation and information about your representative and senators in Congress. Use GovTrack to track bills for updates or get alerts. We also go beyond the official record with statistical analyses, bill summaries, and other tools to put information in context. GovTrack was the first to create open data about Congress (see the developer docs), and we have successfully lobbied Congress to make more and better legislative information available to the public.
- C-SPAN Congressional Chronicle (h/t Todd)
A resource for House and Senate floor proceedings. Access the legislative schedule, a directory of committees and members, bills, votes and statistics about each session of Congress.
- Congress.gov (h/t Anne)
Congress.gov is the official website for U.S. federal legislative information. The site provides access to accurate, timely, and complete legislative information for Members of Congress, legislative agencies, and the public. It is presented by the Library of Congress (LOC) using data from the Office of the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives, the Office of the Secretary of the Senate, the Government Publishing Office, Congressional Budget Office, and the LOC’s Congressional Research Service.
- Vote Spotter (mobile app) (h/t Anne)
VoteSpotter alerts you of important votes from your legislator. Each notification comes with a plain English description of the law so you understand what’s going on. Vote on whether you agree or disagree with your legislator’s vote, then see what others think. Once you’ve shared your opinion, you can send email or call your legislator directly from VoteSpotter to keep them accountable.
- Countable (mobile app) (h/t Caroline)
Countable is your one-stop shop for getting simple explanations of bills and issues in the news, and having your voice heard in the halls of power. Our main newsfeed will help you understand all the top issues in the news, and bills that are up for a debate. The more you use our app, the more the news feed will be tailored to you and your interests.
I also recommend downloading one of the free apps of the Constitution. At the rate Congress and PEOTUS are going, we are all going to need access to it to refresh our memories pretty constantly.
If you have a website or app you like to use, and I have not included it, please tell us about it in the comments!