GovTrack applies the principles of open data to legislative transparency since Congress won’t do it themselves. We screen scrape a variety of official government websites each day and make the resulting normalized database of legislative information available for free for reuse — in bulk and with an API.
What kind of data is it? Our database includes
- Everyone who has ever served in Congress since the founding of the nation.
- Every roll call vote in Congress since the founding of the nation.
- Every bill in Congress since 1973 (full text since 1987).
- Current committee assignments.
Consider joining our mail list for notices about any data format changes. If you have any ideas for making GovTrack data better, please post a message to let others know.
You must agree to the license terms before accessing the bulk data or API. The terms are about as unrestrictive as terms go. Note that we do not make a distinction between commercial and noncommercial use.
If you are building a serious product and want a contractual guarantee that the data will remain available, like a SLA, you’ll need to contact us at the address at the bottom of the page. That entails a nominal fee.
We’d appreciate it if you let us know how you are using the data, just to satisfy our curiosity. Email us at the address at the bottom of the page.
Bulk Raw Data
There are two ways to access GovTrack’s database. The first and most supported is to download the data in bulk. The database consists mostly of a large collection of flat XML files. The structure of the files is quite stable: it has been relatively unchanged for seven years. More Information on Bulk Data >
Legislative Data API Access
The second way to access GovTrack’s legislative database is through our API. The API went online in May 2012 and is currently beta, subject to change, etc. It is not as supported as the bulk raw data download and is not as complete. More Information on the API >
Geographic Information API and Maps
GovTrack also hosts a map server and API for United States Congressional Districts, 113th Congress (i.e. 2012 elections and on), based on the GIS data made available by the U.S. Census. More Information on the GIS API and Maps >
Our source code is split mostly between three repositories:
github.com/govtrack/govtrack.us-web contains the source code for the Django front-end that you see at govtrack.us.
github.com/unitedstates/congress is a community project to develop scrapers and other data gathering scripts around U.S. federal legislation.
github.com/unitedstates/congress-legislators is a community project to maintain a comprehensive database of Members of Congress, past and present.