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Political Science: POLS 155 Congress

What's on This Page?

This page lists resources useful for completing the work required for POLS 155 - Congress.

There are a great many additional print and online resources listed under the tabs across this Political Science research guide. I encourage you to explore the resources you find there.


Find Biographical Information

United States House of Representatives

Use the Directory of Representatives and search by State and District or by Representative Last Name.

Almanac of American Politics, 2020.

[online resource; UCSB IP addresses only]

Arranged by state, then congressional district, the Almanac includes demographic information for each district; profiles of the district's Congressional Representative, Senators and Governor; voting records on key votes; and advocacy group ratings.

Vote Smart

Use to find congressional biographies, voting records, positions on issues, ratings by interest groups, records of speeches and info on funding sources.

ProQuest Congressional

[online resource; UCSB IP addresses only]

Use ProQuest Congressional tp search for entries on your Senator or Representative using the Members & Committees option.

Find District Information

Almanac of American Politics, 2020.

[online resource; UCSB IP addresses only]

Find Congressional district information by looking for the State and then the District.

United States Census Bureau.
My Congressional District.

Provides select district-level statistics from the American Community Survey (ACS) and County Business Patterns (CBP).

United States Census Bureau.

The Census Bureau is a leading source of data about the nation's people and economy. See especially the Bureau's Explore Census Data. (Advanced Search) tool which gives access to statistical information drawn from the Decennial Census, American Community Survey, and Economic Census. 

See also the Bureau's Economic Indicators which present national level data about the U.S. economy, reported monthly and quarterly for selected sectors of the economy, such as new residential construction (housing starts), monthly sales for food and services, and U.S. international trade in goods and services.

Find Bills, Committee Info, Speeches, Votes

ProQuest Congressional

[online resource; UCSB IP addresses only]

Includes full text of Congressional hearings and Congressional documents; full text of the Congressional Record (the official record of the proceedings and debates of the U.S. Congress) from the 99th Congress (1985/86) to the present; full text of the U.S. Code (USC), Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) and the Federal Register (FR); plus bill tracking information, info on Congressional committees and individual members, and links to other sources of information on the activities of Congress.

The official website for U.S. federal legislative information. Covers Committees, Committee Hearings and Committee Reports; provides yet another way to access the Congressional Record, and includes records for every bill and resolution introduced in the U.S. Congress since 1973 (93rd Congress), and every amendment introduced or submitted since 1981 (97th Congress). 

United States House of Representatives

Use the Committees link to see how House committees consider bills and oversee agencies, programs, and activities within their areas of concern. Use the Legislative Activity link to read about items currently before Congress. 
The Clerk of the House maintains a web page recording Roll Call Votes from the 101st Congress, 2nd Session (1990) to present.

United States Senate

See especially resources under the Committees and Legislation & Records links.

Vote Smart

Includes records on key votes of the House and Senate.

How Our Laws Are Made (H. Doc. 110-49)    


The Federal Digital System (FDsys) provides online access to official publications from all three branches of the Federal Government. Use FDsys to find a pdf of "How Our Laws Are Made" (2007) – a useful summary of the legislative process.

Find Info on Campaign Funding & Interest Groups

U.S. Federal Elections Commission (FEC)

See especially resources under the FEC's Campaign Finance Data links.

Tracks how money in politics influences elections and public policy.  See especially the links under Menu - Politicians & Elections and Menu - Influence & Lobbying.

Political MoneyLine

Compiles information on money in U.S. politics from multiple sources, including the Federal Elections Commission, the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives.

Financial Disclosure Reports (House)

Search for Clerk of the House and Public Disclosure links to find Financial Disclosure Reports, Foreign Travel Reports, Gifts and Travel Filings, Statements of Disbursements, and Legal Expense Fund Disclosures.

Public Disclosure Reports (Senate)

Click on the Public Disclosure link under Legislation & Records to find records filed in compliance with the Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA), the Federal Election Campaign Act, the Ethics in Government Act, and the Senate Code of Official Conduct, etc. 

Political Advocacy Groups

A directory of United States lobbyists and political interest groups, now maintained by Kathi Carlisle Fountain of the Orbis Cascade Alliance academic library consortium.

Vote Smart

Find Interest Groups info under the Government & Officials link at the bottom of the home page.

Information Sources on Congressional Representatives and Their Districts

POLS 155 Congress: Information Sources on Congressional Representatives and Their Districts

Find News Stories

A wide range of news sources – leaning left, right and center – can be found under the News Sources tab on this Political Science Research Guide. 

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