U.S. Congress Votes Database
January 20, 2006 12:45 PM   Subscribe

U.S. Congress Votes Database The Washington Post's U.S. Congress Votes Database has every vote in the U.S. Congress since 1991. The votes are sliced and diced in a variety of ways, including late-night votes in the House and Senate, and lists of congresspeople and senators who've missed votes. Each member of Congress has a web page and RSS feed. There's also an RSS feed of the 10 most recent votes. (More info, and details from the developers).
posted by kirkaracha (17 comments total)
Sort by astrological sign? That's just bizarre.
posted by luftmensch at 1:03 PM on January 20, 2006

This is awesome. I had often thought this is very needed, something you could point to when people say "i don't know how to research" (a vote)-- so its all there, just read it. And the programmer obviously rules if he/she enabled sorting by astrology.
posted by uni verse at 1:39 PM on January 20, 2006

Is the rss feed link broken?
posted by uni verse at 1:41 PM on January 20, 2006

Great use of RSS.
posted by Nelson at 1:43 PM on January 20, 2006

Web 2.0, baby.
posted by S.C. at 1:45 PM on January 20, 2006

Pretty cool. Some of the data comes from THOMAS, and I won’t call him out, but the webmaster of THOMAS is a MeFite.
posted by ijoshua at 1:48 PM on January 20, 2006

See also Keith Poole's Voteview for a huge amount of information, but that's organized more for academic research, and software to display and analyze Congressional votes from 1789 on.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:49 PM on January 20, 2006

This is awesome and I bet Adrian (chicagocrimes) was behind it.
posted by mathowie at 1:49 PM on January 20, 2006

Thanks for the nice comments. We've got plenty of stuff to add to the site and are consistently improving it. For example, we just added bill categories, so you can, for instance, see all the Internet-related bills. (Category-specific RSS feeds are coming.) Contact me or post a comment here if you've got any ideas!

Note that the site is powered by Python with the Django framework.
posted by adrian_h at 1:54 PM on January 20, 2006

Regarding the feed being broken: The poster used "feed://" in the URL, which assumes your browser is set up to handle those types of URLs. For all the feeds, see this Web page.
posted by adrian_h at 1:56 PM on January 20, 2006

Wow, this is great.
posted by COBRA! at 2:01 PM on January 20, 2006

This is really useful.
posted by Rothko at 3:05 PM on January 20, 2006

This is really useful data, but there's no way anyone can possibly realize all the uses of it. It would be really nice if the data was available for others to make use of in some structured format, e.g. Excel documents, XML, RDF, or even just standardized tags in the HTML (e.g. class="bill" around bills and class="date" around dates).

Short of the raw data, I'd like to see percentages, graphs, trends over time, and comparisons between members of congress.
posted by scottreynen at 3:20 PM on January 20, 2006

The raw data are publicly available. You can get all of the votes for all of the Congresses from Poole's web page, and no doubt from other free sources as well.

The files on Poole's page are set up for a particular program called w-nominate that uses them to estimate legislator preferences, so they're not comma-delimited or anything like that, but it's easy enough to convert them to a csv with simple search-and-replace in any text editor.

As far as percentages, graphs, trends over time, and comparisons, there are hundreds of articles on different aspects of the subject.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:01 PM on January 20, 2006

As Adrian indicated above, we're constantly thinking of ways to improve the site, including the addition of new features that summarize and display the data better. Comparisons between members is one of the top things on our list.
posted by thescoop at 6:45 AM on January 21, 2006

The EaZy RSS reader is an add-in for Excel 2000 or later version that supposedly lets you read RSS feed in Excel.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:28 AM on January 21, 2006

This is awesome, Adrian. Great work; thanks a lot.
posted by youarenothere at 3:02 PM on January 21, 2006

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