Open Data & APIs
All the data that powers GovTrack.us is available to you for reuse for any purpose.
In 2005, we were the first to make U.S. federal legislative information comprehensively available in an open, structured data format. Our data was available in bulk from 2005 through 2016, and via an API from 2012 through 2016, and it was the basis for dozens of other open government projects, including major projects of the Sunlight Foundation and investigative stories at major news publications.
In 2016, after a 15-year campaign, we finally convinced the U.S. Congress to make legislative data available themselves directly. The ecosystem of non-governmental open data providers has also completely changed since 2005. As a result, we deprecated our raw bulk data and APIs in 2016 with a scheduled shut-off date of August 2017.
Getting data from the primary source
Official data from Congress that you can use includes:
- Membership of the House of Representatives in XML
- Membership of the Senate in XML
- Bill summary and status XML at GPO FDSys
- Upcoming bills and committee hearings in the House (docs.house.gov)
But in most cases it is easier and more reliable to get data from the non-governmental sources in the next section.
Easier ways to get the data
congress-legislators. The congress-legislators project on Github is a comprehensive database of all Members of Congress since 1789, stored in YAML format. We began this project in 2012 and continue to maintain it with others.
congress project. The congress project on github is an open source community repository where we write Python scripts to gather official legislative information and convert it into more usable JSON data files. The scripts produce data in an easier format that you would get from official sources.
ProPublica Congress API. The ProPublica Congress API is the only public API for legislative information. The API was formerly the Sunlight Foundation Congress API and traces its history to our legislative data offerings back in 2010.
How To Build an App to Call/Write Congress and Creating congressional district maps with Mapbox explain how to find someone’s congressional district and how to use that to help them contact their representative or senator.
DEPRECATED - Ends Summer 2017 Bulk Data: Our bulk data contains the raw data behind most everything you see on GovTrack in JSON format. You can download the bulk data using rsync, a common Unix data transfer utility.
DEPRECATED - Ends on Jan 3, 2017 GIS API and Maps. We host a map server and API for United States Congressional Districts, 113th Congress (i.e. 2012 elections and on), based on the geographic data made available by the U.S. Census. This service will be discontinued on January 4, 2017.