House of Representatives Public Information

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This page is part of the Transparency Hub project.
Add what you know.

much of this is old, and to be cleaned up. is a good starting point for a house info review/survey, though. -john

House Web Publications Analysis by Access Point

Here is a list of access points for House Web Publications and primary source information that affects the House, with a description of the content each one provides.

See also Senate Public Information, Executive Branch Public Information, or the Sunlight Labs Data sets page.

Contents

House of Representatives

The Web site for the whole House of Representatives contains the following resources:

House Offices

Offices Assisting Legislative Duties

  • Legislative Branch Agencies
The Congressional Research Service was created in 1914 to provide nonpartisan information for the Congress. Committees often request reports from the CRS to help them consider legislative issues. Open CRS makes public reports available to everyone, and advocates all reports being publicly available.
Here is a PDF file: the CRS Annual Report Fiscal Year 2007. Tons of information on how the CRS works.
Also available is The Congressional Research Service and the Legislative Process, a self-reflexive report (RL33471) from March 18, 2008.
...and here is a 1998 CRS report detailing the congressional policy concerning the distribution of CRS reports to the general public: Congressional Policy Concerning the Distribution of CRS Written Products to the Public, Jan 2, 1998
The Congressional Budget Office exists to provide information regarding the federal budget. Their description is here.
The CBO is different from the Office of Management and Budget, which serves the president in preparing the federal budget. OMBwatch serves to watch, and advocates transparency of, the White House's OMB.
  • GAO: Government Accountability Office
The Government Accountability Office is the "Investigative arm of Congress charged with examining matters relating to the receipt and payment of public funds," according to their summary on Google. More information about them can be found here.
The GAO Web site addresses public availability of information (especially as it relates to the FOIA, or Freedom of Information Act) here. They cite 31 U.S.C. 711, see especially section 81.4.
The Web site for the Office of the Clerk of the House provides a lot of unique legislative content, as required by law. (see the duties section of the Clerk's Web site, or Rule II of the House Rules (the clerk is mentioned throughout).
  • Office of the Legislative Counsel
Official Website
History of the Parliamentarian via the Clerk
  • Office of the Law Revision Counsel
In charge of U.S. Code - Website

Administrative, Operational, and Financial Offices

  • Clerk of the House
(See above)
  • Chief Administrative Officer
Official Website
Under the CAO are:
Green the Capitol Initiative
Office of Finance: Electronic Funds Transfer Enrollment and W-9 Forms
Human Resources Vacancy Announcements
Office of Procurement: Current Solicitations
  • Sergeant-at-Arms
history via clerk
  • Office of Interparliamentary Affairs
  • House Office Building Commission
  • Architect of the Capitol, the Superintendent of House Office Buildings, Electricians, and Engineers
Architect of the Capitol Website
  • House Commission on Congressional Mailing Standards (Franking Commission)

Legal and Regulatory Offices

  • Inspector General
House Rule II, Clause 6 (search in page for: "There is established an Office of Inspector General.") provides for the creation of the Office of the Inspector General. They are appointed jointly by the majority leadership of the House, and are responsible for auditing the finances of the members and organizations of the US House.
  • Office of Compliance
  • Office of the General Counsel
The House also has an "Office of the General Counsel" for providing legal assistance and representation to the house. There doesn't seem to be an official Web site, but the legal basis can be found in House Rule II, clause 8 (at the very end).

Offices Supporting Ceremonial Traditions and the Preservation of Institutional Memory

  • Clerk of the House
(See above)
  • House Chaplain
The House has a Chaplain, who also has a Web site.
  • Sergeant-at-Arms
(See above)
  • Historian of the House
Website

Offices Assisting in Security and the Maintenance of Order

  • Sergeant-at-Arms
(See above)
  • Office of Emergency Planning, Preparedness and Operations
  • Office of the Attending Physician

House Leadership Structure

Refer to CRS Reports RS20881, Party Leaders in the House: Election, Duties, and Responsibilities, and RS20930, House Leadership Structure: Overview of Party Organization

  • Democratic Caucus
Website
  • Democratic Policy and Steering Committee
  • Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC)
  • Majority Leader
The website for the Majority Leader (of the House) is focused on information most relevant to members of the House Majority. This includes "Whip Packs" detailing legislative information in anticipation of floor votes, "Daily Leaders" describing the day's legislative activity, and "Weekly Leaders" detailing legislative activity scheduled for the week.
Refer to CRS Report RL30665, The Role of the House Majority Leader: An Overview
  • Minority Leader / Republican Leader
The website of the House Republican Leader (a position formerly called Minority Leader) contains information important to the House Minority. This includes: Leader Alerts, Press Releases, a Calendar, a Daily Schedule, Weekly Schedule, and Daily and Weekly Wrapups.
history of the republican whips via the clerk
Refer to CRS Report RL30666, The Role of the House Minority Leader: An Overview
  • National Republican Congressional Committee
  • [House] Republican Conference
Website
  • Party Whips
From both parties there are: Chief Deputy Whips, Deputy Whips, Assistant Whips, At-Large Whips, and Regional Whips.
Refer to CRS Report RS20499, House Leadership: Whip Organization
  • Majority Whip
The Majority Whip's website features Whip Packs, Weekly Whip Reports, and The Daily Whipline.
History of the dem whips via the clerk
  • Minority Whip
Website
  • Republican Policy Committee
Website
  • Republican Steering Committee
The website of the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, provides information and links to resources about the House of Representatives, from a Democratic point of view. Contrasting with the Senate, procedures of the House favor the Majority so that the Speaker has broader powers to control the House.
There are also links to summaries of the Democrats' plans for the first 100 hours of the 110th Congress, press releases, speeches, reports, and issue summaries from a Democratic perspective.
Refer to CRS Report 97-780, The Speaker of the House: House Officer, Party Leader, and Representative

Extras

  • Committee Web Pages
For a discussion of Committee Web Page information and recommendations, see the committee Web page section of this page. Also check out an index of House Committee Web Pages from the House Web Site.
  • Representatives' Web Pages
Web Pages of individual Representatives often contain information about their districts, committee assignments, constituents, and contact information. An index of Representatives' Web Sites is available from the House Web Page.
  • The White House
The Web page for The White House has information pertaining to the President and to the Executive Branch of the US government. Notably, the Web site provides information on the President's view of various issues, Press Briefings, OMB (which lays out the budget plans on behalf of the president for submission to Congress), the Cabinet, Executive Orders, Federal Agencies and Commissions, Executive Offices of the President, Nominations and Appointments, Proclamations, and Radio Addresses.
  • Floor Preview
There is a link to a preview of floor action for the remainder of the week (provided by the House Web site).
  • Committee Hearings Schedule
A schedule of Committee Hearings is provided (for the coming week).
  • Indices
Indices of Committee Web pages, Representatives, Leadership, House Organizations and Commissions, and notable links from each branch of government are provided.
  • Laws of the United States
Resources and links regarding laws (successful bills) are provided, with links to the US Code and "Slip Laws", which are laws that have just been published, which are then prepared by the Federal Register (part of the National Archives, or NARA).
House Rules and Conduct standards are provided.
Not to be confused with legislative calendars, which dictate the order in which bills are considered in the House, the House Calendar is a general schedule for whether the House will be in Session. Details regarding legislation are not included.

Legislative Support Agencies

  • CGP: Catalog of Government Publications (search)
The Catalog of Government Publications search is a "tool for federal publications that includes descriptive records for historical and current publications and provides direct links to those that are available online."
  • Center for Legislative Archives (National Archives and Records Administration)
Website
  • Congressional Record
According to the GPO Access Web site, "The Congressional Record is the official record of the proceedings and debates of the United States Congress. It is published daily when Congress is in session. GPO Access contains Congressional Record volumes from 140 (1994) to the present. At the back of each daily issue is the "Daily Digest," which summarizes the day's floor and committee activities." Daily Digests have their own search page also.
A searchable archive of the Congressional Record is available here.
  • Daily Digest
Here is the GPO's page devoted to browsing through the Daily Digests. They also give a lengthy description of the materials covered by each digest:
"The Daily Digest of the Congressional Record serves as a table of contents for the House and Senate actions reported in the issue and statements published in the Extensions of Remarks of the Congressional Record. The Daily Digest begins with highlights of the day's action, followed by a summary for the Senate and a summary for the House. Each summary includes such items as measures introduced, reported or passed, as well measures under consideration. Each entry references the Senate or House page number where the item is reported.
"The Daily Digest also includes a list of Committee meetings held that day and scheduled for the following day; the schedule for the next meeting of each chamber, and a list of Extensions of Remarks inserted in that issue. Pages are number sequentially throughout the session of Congress. Each Digest page begins with the letter D and appears in the format D1234."
  • DLR: Directorate of Legal Research
The Directorate of Legal Research is a little known Research Service that answers to Congress to look at legal precedents from other countries. Their information should be centralized, indexed, archived, and publicly available. DLR website is here.
  • Federal Register
The Federal Register gives access to: Federal Laws, Presidential Documents, and Administrative Regulations and Notices.
  • GPO: Government Printing Office
The GPO explains its responsiblities in the following way: "GPO is the Federal Government's primary centralized resource for gathering, cataloging, producing, providing, authenticating, and preserving published information in all its forms."
The GPO publishes the following about the House, and makes them available through the GPO Access Site:
  • House Journal
According to the GPO, "The Journal is a record of the proceedings of each legislative day in the House. The Journal -- and not the Congressional Record -- is the official record of the proceedings of the House (4 Hinds Sec. 2727; Manual Sec. 582), and certified copies thereof are admissible in judicial proceedings (28 USC Sec. 1736)." The archive is here, and covers from 1991 to 1999.
  • Library Of Congress
Website
  • Multiple Database Search
GPO multiple database search that covers a WIDE variety of governmental publications.
  • THOMAS
THOMAS is run by the Library of Congress in order to make legislative information available to the public. It features various searches covering Bills, Resolutions, the Congressional Record, the Daily Digest, nominations, treaties, and committee reports. THOMAS is a great place to start any search for legislative information.

House Floor: Availability of legislation and conference reports

Adopt the provisions of the resolution authored by Rep. Brian Baird (D-WA). It was called H.Res. 688(summary)in the 109th Congress. It would update and strengthen the existing three-day rule in the House and close various loopholes. Specifically, it would:

  • Require posting legislation and conference reports on the Internet for 72 hours before floor consideration.
  • Be waivable only by a 2/3 vote (instead of the current simple majority), if the House wanted not to wait 72 hours.
  • Eliminate the loophole for bills never reported by any committee.
  • Eliminate the loophole called the "last six days rule", an obsolete rule which exempts conference reports from the three-day rule in the final week of a congressional session, when the worst abuses occur.
  • Exactly like the existing three-day rule, exempt declarations of war and national emergency, and certain other special measures.

(Note: More information on this bill is available is at ReadtheBill.org.)

Make all legislation and conference reports available in XML format. (Note: This recommendation should not be used as a technological excuse to not make bills available as required under other House rules.)

Amendments

In this comment, a former lobbyist suggests having a waiting period for amendments before their consideration.

Other

(Section of things to be developed or discussed)

Votes in committee hearings published conveniently.

Organization of this entry inspired by a CRS Report from May 22, 2008 - "Support Offices in the House of Representatives: Roles and Authorities." Order Code: RL33220.

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