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How to Find Congressional and Legislative Information: Searching

This guide provides an overview of how to search for and find Congressional and legislative information.

Overview is the official source for Congressional and legislative information and should be the first website you access to find legislation.

This section will show you how to:

  • Perform basic, intermediate, and advanced searches on
  • Find Members of Congress
  • Create citations

Performing a Basic Search

Performing a Basic Search

When you first arrive at you will see a small, search bar at the top of the screen that looks like this:

The dropdown menu on the left of this search bar allows you to choose what kind of legislative information you are looking for. The menu includes two ways to search: 

  1. By Congress OR
  2. By Source

If you have an idea of what you are looking for, choose the correct option from the dropdown menu, and type in the document title or keyword in the search bar on the right. To initiate the search, click the magnifying glass to the far right.

Perform this basic search when you know what you are looking for.

Performing an Intermediate Search

Performing an Intermediate Search

Although similar to performing a basic search, performing an intermediate search on requires you to click the "More Options" dropdown in the center of the search bar: 

Once clicked, you will be given an expanded search box that looks like this:

In this expanded search box, you will be able to specify the Words & Phrases you enter, and you can search them by:

  1. Word Variants, which is the default option OR
  2. Case sensitivity

You can also search by:

  1. Titles
  2. Summaries OR
  3. Actions of the words you have entered in the search box.

The intermediate search will also give you more options for limiting your search including limiting by: 

  1. Congress Years (between 1972-2022 OR historical material, which is incomplete on this site).
  2. Sponsors/Co-sponsors (Members of the House of Representatives or Senators)
  3. Legislation and Law Numbers
  4. Legislative Actions
  5. Committees (House Committees or Senate Committees)

Performing an Advanced Search

Finding Members


Creating a Account

You can create a personal account on which allows you to :

  1. Save your searches and
  2. Receive alerts on legislation.

This can be useful if you are working on a research paper or following a legislative topic. All you need is a valid email address and password.

To learn more about creating an account, click here.