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Nov 02

Who is running the country? Find out at Congress.gov

Posted on November 2, 2022 at 9:53 AM by Tracey Boswell

Who is running the country? By using Congress.gov you can learn how to access legislators and follow bills in Congress.

The federal (national) legislative process is handled by Congress, which is the House of Representatives and the Senate in Washington DC. Congress, also called the Legislature, is in session year-round starting the first Monday in January with holiday breaks.  It does not meet every day. Every state has two senators who serve a six-year term. The number of state representatives, called Congressmen, is based on population. They serve two-year terms.

There are many news outlets, websites, and other sources which report on the activities of  the legislature. However, if you would like to look for specific facts you can access the official source freely online at Congress.gov. From this page you can search for, or quickly access, nearly everything about Congress.

Congress gov home page

The search bar at the top is for the current congress but a drop-down arrow at the left allows you to search all congresses or other options.

The next bar allows you to link to the most-viewed bills or the top 10. Bills are the written documents which are created, debated, amended, and voted upon to make laws. They originate either in the House or the Senate: they are numbered starting with HR or S. Here is an example of a law: Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act HR3684 

Congress Infrastructure lawBecause this is a very large bill there are hundreds of links, especially in the actions, amendments, and related bills. You can see from the tracker line that this bill became law.


Current legislative activities are shown on Congress.gov for both the House and Senate. You can watch the live video session, see when they met last, see when they will meet next, link to floor activities, hearings, bills and more.

 Farther down the page you can locate your state senators and representatives in  Current Members of Congress. If you don’t know who they are, you can use the members link in the top right corner or this website to find out. Here is an example of the entry for Kansas Representative Ron Estes(R), 4th District.

Congress Ron Estes page 1Congress Ron Estes p. 2

The tabs on the top right of Congress.gov are useful too.

 Legislation takes you to recent activity and the status of the bills. Clicking on the bill number takes you to the full information on the bill: this includes the sponsors and committees of the bill and all the actions taken on it.

The Congressional Record is the official record of the proceedings and debates of the United States Congress, a cross between an agenda and a newspaper. You can browse it, search it or even listen to it.

Committees opens the page with the links to the standing, special and joint committees formed to work in the legislature. Select them to view their meeting schedules and websites. You can also search in that committee for something specific.

Members is another place to search for your senators and representatives.

Support is a search feature.

Search Tools is a collection of searchable fields. There are multiple ways to locate information.

Additional legislative information for can be found for the Senate at its website and also for the House of Representatives.

For Kansas, this information about the government, bills and committees is found at KSLegislature.org.

Contact us for more information and assistance

 Legislative Hotline: 800-432-3924

 General Information: 785-296-3296

 Email a librarian: infodesk@ks.gov

Chat with a librarian: http://kslib.info/ask