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Fake News - Finding the Facts: Legislative Tracking

Guide on how to research "fake news" to get to the underlying official documents.

Congressional Documents

Committee Reports

  • Prepared after the committee the bill was referred to has voted in favor of recommending to the full chamber that it pass the bill.

  • Most reliable and persuasive indication of legislative intent.

  • Contains then-latest version of bill (reported bill).

  • Contains section-by-section bill analysis.

Committee Hearings

  • Transcribed hearings initially held by the committee to obtain information from interested parties on whether a bill should be approved.

  • Committee member statements and testimony by notable players is more persuasive.

Floor Debates (in the Congressional Record)

  • Transcribed floor debate by the full chamber after the bill has been approved by the committee.

  • Statements by key players are more persuasive.

Bills

  • Evolution of different bill versions may indicate legislative intent, by inference.

 

Bill Tracking

Track Introduced Bills in Congress

Search Most-Viewed Bills from the House and Senate

See Coverage Dates Chart to determine if the information is available on Congress.gov

How a Bill Becomes a Law

How a Bill Becomes a Law

The "How Our Laws Are Made" image was created by Mike Wirth and Dr. Suzanne Cooper Guasco and is licensed for use under the Creative Commons Atrribution 3.0 United States License.

Legislative Process Tutorial

Other Sites

Tracking Congress In The Age Of Trump (via FiveThirtyEight)

An updating tally of how often Congress as well as every member of the House and the Senate votes with or against the president.

MapLight 

A nonpartisan research organization that reveals money’s influence on politics. They research and compile data about the sources of campaign contributions in U.S. presidential, congressional, state, and local ballot and candidate elections. They provide journalists and citizens with transparency tools that connect data on campaign contributions, politicians, legislative votes, industries, companies, and more to show patterns of influence never before possible to see. These tools allow users to gain unique insights into how campaign contributions affect policy so they can draw their own conclusions about how money influences our political system.

OpenSecrets.org

Supported by the nonpartisan, independent nonprofit Center for Responsive Politics, this resource analyzes federal campaign contributions, campaign expenditures, and lobbying data. Its focus on "tracking money in politics" and dark money also includes a "Donor Lookup" feature.

Countable

Countable makes learning about what your government is up to easy and fun. Learn about issues you care about, influence Congress with one tap voting, and rally your friends around specific legislation.