One of my own favorite new parts of GovTrack 2.0 is the advanced bill search, which you can find in Browse => Bills => Search & Track => Advanced Search.
The advanced search — or in technical jargon the “faceted” search — can be used to drill-down into all of the bills that are currently before the U.S. Congress or actually any bill introduced since 1973. Besides searching bill titles, you can narrow your search using a number of other filters. What’s really cool is that the filters change as you drill-down so that you can find the available choices quickly.
For instance, choose Rep. Eric Cantor as the sponsor and then the filter for bill current status will only show the statuses of Cantor’s 17 bills in the current Congress. Next to each status is the number of Cantor’s bills with that status: 3 signed by the president, 2 bills passed the House, 11 resolutions passed, 1 bill waiting on committee action. Cantor has gotten a lot of bills passed.
You can also use this to get a quick count of the number of bills enacted since the start of the current session of Congress (2011-2012). Start at the advanced search and then find the filter “Signed by the President.” Next to it, it currently reads 106 bills. That’s how many bills became law. The count is updated as fast as the other bill information on GovTrack — typically it’s one or two days behind. Congress’s parliamentary procedure is pretty complex, so if you hover your mouse over any of the status options you’ll get a little explanatory text for it.
The filters in advanced search are: when the bill was introduced, who sponsored it, its current status in the legislative process, its subject area, and the bill’s type (e.g. bill versus resolution). You can also sort the results by the bill’s most recent status change date, by its date of introduction, or by its relevancy to a title text search.
The same search interface appears in a few other places on GovTrack. Can you find them all?