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Bulk Downloads of Congressional Data Now Available

“Using the ProPublica Congress API, developers can access details on each of the thousands of bills introduced in every two-year session. But they used to have to download those details one bill at a time, and be able to write API calls in software code. Now you can download information on all of the bills introduced in each session in a single file, thanks to the bulk bill data set we’re announcing today. You can get this data for free starting right now from the ProPublica Data Store. A data dictionary and an example file are available here. Twice a day, we generate a single zip file containing metadata for every bill introduced in the current congress, including who sponsors and cosponsors the bill, actions taken by committees, votes on the floor and a summary of what the bill would do. So every time you download the bulk bill data from the 115th Congress, you’ll have the complete, up-to-date data set. You can also download archives of bill data for past congresses, going back to 1973 — when current House Speaker Paul Ryan was only 3 years old and one of the bills debated was the now-familiar ERISA, a law governing employer-sponsored retirement plans. To produce the files we’re using the same codebase that powers our Congress API and the work of sites like the @unitedstates project. That open-source effort is a significant part of our congressional data and relies on volunteers. The bulk bill downloads replace the files previously available on that site and on the Sunlight Foundation’s site…”

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