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Category Archives: Congress

The Statutes at Large Modernization Act

The Statutes at Large Modernization Act (H.R. 4006) Introduced by Rep. Dave Brat (R-VA) and Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA). Endorsed by: Sunlight Foundation, R Street Institute, Demand Progress, Liberty Coalition, Data Transparency Coalition,, and Niskanen Center.

“What is the United States Statutes at Large? Compiled by the National Archives and Records Administration, one volume per session of Congress since 1789; Legal and permanent evidence of the laws enacted during a session of Congress, plus

Why does it need to be available online? The United States of America was established as “a government of laws, and not of men.” The rule of law requires that the laws be available to the people. The Internet is the dominant, ubiquitous communications platform of modern society.

Isn’t the U.S. Code enough? The U.S. Code is not a complete history of the laws of our Republic. It does not include, however, repealed laws, original statutes that have been amended, private laws, or statutes with limited duration like appropriations acts or infrastructure projects. In addition, only about half of the titles of the U.S. Code are codified as positive law. The other, uncodified titles are merely “evidence” of the law before the judicial branch, so attorneys must consult the United States Statutes at Large on questions of law related to uncodified titles.

Hasn’t the Law Library of Congress already digitized the Statutes at Large? The Law Library of Congress has published the Statutes at Large in a text-over-PDF format. It does not, however, include adequately defined and embedded data elements that enable advanced search functions, machine readability, and other useful options. It’s a good start, but it isn’t the modern, authoritative version we need.

How will the digitization process work? The National Archives and Records Administration will take the lead. It will also consult with public and private entities with expertise in developing formatting conventions for legislative materials. Including the results on will make it a more complete research resource.”

  • Update via Daniel Schuman, Demand Progress: “Also, want to point you to a useful non-official source for SAL data. A number of organizations/volunteers have built, which provides all statutes at large, public law cites, and US code cites from 1787 to present.  It also allows for the instantaneous comparison of any two roll call votes since ~1990.”

Pew – How Americans View Their Government

“A year ahead of the presidential election, the American public is deeply cynical about government, politics and the nation’s elected leaders in a way that has become quite familiar. Currently, just 19% say they can trust the government always or most of the time, among the lowest levels in the past half-century. Only 20% wouldContinue Reading

Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015

Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, H. Rept. 114-315, October 28, 2015.

Federal Support for Development, Production, and Use of Fuels and Energy Technologies

CBO – “The federal government provides financial support for the development, production, and use of fuels and energy technologies both through tax preferences and through spending programs administered by the Department of Energy (DOE). Policymakers have provided that support with several goals in mind, including increasing domestic energy production, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and encouragingContinue Reading

European Security, Islamist Terrorism, and Returning Fighters

CRS – European Security, Islamist Terrorism, and Returning Fighters, November 16, 2015. “On November 13, 2015, coordinated terrorist attacks in Paris left at least 129 people dead and over 350 injured at six locations throughout the city. French President François Hollande attributed the attacks to the Islamic State terrorist organization (which subsequently claimed responsibility), andContinue Reading

CBO’s Revenue Forecasting Record

CBO’s Revenue Forecasting Record, November 10, 2015. “To prepare the baseline budget projections on which much of its analysis is based, the Congressional Budget Office must regularly produce revenue forecasts. As a part of that process, the agency assesses the accuracy of its past projections and continually refines its methods for projecting revenues to attemptContinue Reading

CRS Report – Veterans and Homelessness

Veterans and Homelessness, Libby Perl, Specialist in Housing Policy. November 6, 2015. “The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan brought renewed attention to the needs of veterans, including the needs of homeless veterans. Researchers have found both male and female veterans to be over represented in the homeless population, and, as the number of veterans increasedContinue Reading

Researching Current Federal Legislation and Regulations

CRS – Researching Current Federal Legislation and Regulations: A Guide to Resources for Congressional Staff, Jerry W. Mansfield, Lead Information Services Coordinator. November 9, 2015. “This report is designed to introduce congressional staff to selected governmental and nongovernmental sources that are useful in tracking and obtaining information on federal legislation and regulations. It includes governmentalContinue Reading

Cell Phone Location Tracking Laws By State

ACLU: “Location records can reveal an enormous of information about a person, especially with the proliferation of smartphones that constantly track our whereabouts. Because privacy laws haven’t kept up with advances in technology, police have long claimed the authority to access this information from cell phone companies without warrants. That’s changing. While Congress and theContinue Reading

CBO – Monthly Budget Review: Summary for Fiscal Year 2015

“In fiscal year 2015, which ended on September 30, the federal budget deficit totaled $439 billion—$44 billion less than the shortfall in 2014. Fiscal year 2015 was the sixth consecutive year in which the deficit declined as a share of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP). The deficit peaked at 9.8 percent of GDP inContinue Reading

Speakers of the House: Elections, 1913-2015

CRS – Speakers of the House: Elections, 1913-2015. Richard S. Beth – Specialist on Congress and the Legislative Process, Valerie Heitshusen, Specialist on Congress and the Legislative Process. November 3, 2015. “Each new House elects a Speaker by roll call vote when it first convenes. Customarily, the conference of each major party nominates a candidateContinue Reading

U.S. Strategic Nuclear Forces: Background, Developments, and Issues

CRS – U.S. Strategic Nuclear Forces: Background, Developments, and Issues, updated November 3, 2015. “Even though the United States plans to reduce the number of warheads deployed on its long-range missiles and bombers, consistent with the terms of the New START Treaty, it also plans todevelop new delivery systems for deployment over the next 20-30Continue Reading