Congress.gov moves out of beta, features added

Congress.gov has been moved out of its beta testing status two years after its debut as the federal government’s free legislative information site. With the move, several new features have been added to the site, including:

  • Congress.gov Resources, a section with an expanded list of “most viewed” bills each day and an alphabetical listing of hundreds of links related to Congress.
  • Live video streams of House Committee hearings and meetings, with an archive to January, 2012.
  • Improved advanced search with 30 new fields including nominations, Congressional Record and name of member as well as the ability to browse a calendar of days in session, roll call votes and bills by sponsor and co-sponsors.

Congress.gov debuted as a beta site in 2012, featuring only bill status and summary, member profiles and bill text from the two most recent 111th and 112th congresses.

Since then, it has added the Congressional Record, committee reports, links to cost estimates from the Congressional Budget Office, legislative process videos, committee profile pages, nominations and user accounts with saved personal searches.

Plans by the system’s owners, the Library of Congress, the Senate, the House of Representatives and the Government Printing Office, call for additional features this year, including the addition of treaties, House and Senate Executive Communications and the Congressional Record Index.

Congress.gov takes the place of the legacy site THOMAS, named for Thomas Jefferson and launched by the Library in 1995 as a bipartisan initiative of Congress. The site, which averages 10 million visits each year, has been updated over the years, but could not support features Internet users have come to expect, according to the Library. 

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