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Congressional issues are always important, but they are poised to be in the spotlight next year. President Elect Joseph Biden has stated that while he will use executive orders aggressively, there are many issues that require action from the legislative branch. Given a global pandemic, frayed relations with major power competitors, and mounting social problems, 2021 may be an unusually busy legislative year.
Here is a guide to the many sources of data about legislators, congress, and government at large. Most of these resources will be most helpful for software developers and data scientists trying to make sense of the complex sociotechnical system that is the United States federal government.
The United States GitHub account maintains a bevy of valuable resources (several more are cited throughout this post). There are two useful links below of JSON files detailing current members of Congress, and another with a list of their official social media accounts.
Govtrack maintains an extremely useful database of misconduct and alleged misconduct by Members of congress. Here is their GitHub page:
Popular Congressional APIs
ProPublica and Sunlight offer two useful APIs for accessing a wide range of congressional information.
MIT professor Charles Stewart maintains a valuable collection of data resources here:
Public Domain Photos of Members of Congress
Need photos of members of congress? Look no further:
FEC Finance Data
Financial contributions are a perennially important data source for understanding Congress:
Legislation and Congressional Information
GovInfo.gov is one of the most useful resources for finding information related to Congress, including bills, hearings, and more:
GovInfo.gov also has a bulkdata page available here: https://www.govinfo.gov/bulkdata
The United States github account has excellent tools for obtaining bulk records of bills and the Congressional Record, available here:
The Federal Register is the official journal of the federal government and contains a number of important notifications, proposals of rule changes and other public notices. There is currently a beta site for searching and browsing it available here:
Spending & Budget
Geography and Districts
Working on a GIS project that? Check out this data for GeoJSON and other shapefiles :
Inspector General Reports
An important collection of reports from government watchdogs: