Quick facts

  • At least twice as many people access congressional legislative information through third party sources than directly through the THOMAS website. Major third party sources include GovTrack.us, OpenCongress.org, and Sunlight’s Congress app for Android.
  • Providing “bulk access to data” means releasing an entire database for use by others.
  • A coalition of organizations issues the major Open House Report calling on Congress to “embrace structured data by publishing the status of legislation and other information to the Web not only as it is now, but also in structured data formats.” (May 2007) (http://bit.ly/HkPycb)
  • The Explanatory Statement accompanying the Committee Print of the House Committee on Appropriations for Public Law 111-9 (March 2009) articulates Congress’ support for bulk access to legislative information. (http://1.usa.gov/I2UvJG p. 1770)
  • In 2008, the Library of Congress says it expected to report on the resources necessary to supply the public with raw legislative data within the first part of the calendar year. It established a bulk data task force that has never completed its deliberations. (http://bit.ly/A4c5le)
  • Rep. Bill Foster introduced HR 6289 (in the 111th Congress) that would require some legislative data to be made available in bulk and create a THOMAS advisory committee. (Sep. 2010) (http://1.usa.gov/HZthAp)
  • Congressional Facebook Hackathon endorses bulk access to legislative data as an action item: “Release Structured Machine-Readable Legislative Data: Providing legislative data in a bulk format to enable third-party developers to create more dynamic interfaces for legislative information.” (November 2011) (http://1.usa.gov/ygzQpl)
  • 30 organizations and companies call for bulk access to legislative data and the creation of an advisory committee. (April 6, 2012)

 Major reports and documents

Legislative resources

Civil society organization resources