GovTrack.us helps citizens watch Congress

The website GovTrack.us is a great resource for citizens who are interested in the United States Congress. With the rapid expansion of government in the recent past, this is something we should all be concerned with.

By using GovTrack.us, you can search for bills by their bill number, words in the bill, the bill sponsors, and other ways. Once you’ve found the bill, you can read its text and see its status as it works its way through Congress. What’s really useful is to add a tracker to the bill, so that you can be notified — either on the site itself or through email or RSS feed — when there’s new information about the bill.

If you’re interested in information about particular members of Congress, you can find them by name, zip code, or by clicking on a map. Once found, GovTrack.us reports some useful information.

One thing reported is the member’s position across the political spectrum. This is done through a statistical analysis of cosponsorship of bills. Kansas Sen. Brownback is identified through this analysis as a “far-right Republican,” while Sen. Roberts is also a “far-right Republican,” a change from his characterization as a “rank-and-file Republican” when I looked at this website in June.

This analysis also reports that Roberts is “somewhere between a leader and a follower,” according to sponsorship of bills. Brownback is rated the same.

The page for each member also reports approval ratings from SurveyUSA and an analysis of missed votes. It also holds a link to the page at the Center for Responsive Politics, which lets you see information about campaign contributions. Information about committee membership and bill sponsorship and cosponsorship round out this page.

You can also add a member to your tracking page, so you can receive email updates when new information becomes available.

This website is a useful resource for citizens to keep with with Congress.


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