One of the most important tools we use to track legislation is THOMAS (http://thomas.loc.gov) , the Library of Congress' record of Legislative Information. THOMAS allows us to check the complete record of all legislation introduced in the Congress and contains information going as far back as the 93rd Congress
THOMAS can be confusing if you've never used it, but it is something worth knowing. The following guide should introduce you to the basics, but nothing is as effective as actually trying it for yourself.
When you first visit the THOMAS page, this is what you will see:
The front page serves as a gate to all the other information. Clicking on the links will bring you to each section where more detailed information can be found.
1: This is a search box that allows you to search for legislation in the current Congress by bill number. If you are looking for a specific bill and know its number, this is the place to start. Bill numbers typically start with H.R. for House Bills and S. for Senate bills.
2: This is a search box that allows you to search for legislation by words of phrase. It is particularly useful if you know the bill's name, or if you're looking for a range of information. If you're looking for all veterans-related bills, this is the place to start. Try entering words like veterans, defense, military and other key words that you think would appear in the text of the bill. Sometimes you have to sort through the results to find what you were looking for.
3. The Bill Summary and Status Link serves as an advance search. Clicking on this link brings you to a separate screen where you can search in any number of ways. It also allows you to search past Congresses as far back as the 93rd Congress. Click Here for more information
4. The Bill Text Link allows you to the complete text of any piece of legislation. Like the other links, it allows you to search in a variety of ways, and covers past years--going back to the 101st Congress.
5. Public Laws by Law Number allows you to find the text of all Congressional Bills that were passed and signed into Public Law by Presidential Signature, or by Congressional Override.
6. The Congressional Record provides detailed coverage of the actions on the floor of the Capitol. The text of all statements, motions, and proceedings is recorded and is fully searchable by the links in this area.
7. Committee information provides information on the reports and actions of the House and Senate Committees. You can use these links to search for what the Veterans Affairs, Armed Services, Budget, and Appropriations Committees are doing for the veterans community.
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