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Congressional Bills: Search Tips

The following sample searches are provided as guides to popular types of searches in the Congressional Bills databases. They are performed in the Congressional Bills database for the 105th Congress.  For the sake of space, only the top three hits in each results list are included with each example below.

Sample Searches | Catalog of Congressional Bills | Identification Codes

Sample Searches (2)

1. Search by Subject

This type of search returns bills that are related to a specific subject. The word(s) that you enter as your search term(s) may appear anywhere within the document.

Query: "national forests" AND (conservation OR management)
Alternative: national ADJ forests AND (conservation OR management)
Results: H.R. 4570 (ih) To provide for certain boundary adjustments and conveyances involving
S. 2237 (pcs) Making appropriations for the Department of the Interior and related
H.R. 2107 (enr) Making appropriations for the Department of the Interior and related

2. Search by Bill Number

This type of search returns bills that contain a given bill number. The returned documents may be bills that bear the number you have entered as a query, or they may reference the bill number in their title or text, as in a regular subject search.

Note: The bill number may be typed with or without punctuation. If no punctuation is used, you must leave a space between the "h" and the "r" for bills in the House.

Query: "h.r. 2"
Alternative: "h r 2"
Results: H.Res. 133 (rh) Providing for consideration of the bill (H.R. 2) to repeal the United States
H.R. 2 (rh) To repeal the United States Housing Act of 1937, deregulate the public
H.R. 2 (eh) To repeal the United States Housing Act of 1937, deregulate the public

The above query returns bills that bear the number "H.R. 2" and bills that make reference to H.R. 2. The order of returned documents is determined by relevance ranking, not by chronology; this ranking accounts for the appearance of a reported bill before an engrossed bill and the listing of a House resolution that makes reference to a bill before the bill itself.

Catalog of Available Bills

To view a catalog of Congressional bills available via GPO Access, click on the "submit" button on the search page without having entered any query terms and then select the appropriate document from the results list. A catalog will be retrieved for any Congress (i.e., 106th Congress, 105th Congress, etc.) that is highlighted on the search page.

Identification Codes

In the list that displays your query results, each bill is displayed with the bill number and the initial words of the bill's name. The specific version of the bill is identified by the abbreviation in parentheses that follows the bill number; the explanation of this abbreviation appears in brackets following the name of the bill. For example, in the entry "H.R. 5 (ih) To amend the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act," "H.R. 5" is the bill number, and "(ih)" is the code that indicates this version of the bill was introduced in the House. A list of the abbreviations used to identify different versions of the same bill follows the sample searches below.