This API is deprecated in favor of the Real Time Congress API. It contains most legislative information that Drumbone does. Drumbone may be deactivated in the near future.
Bills and resolutions in the United States Congress. There are two methods available:
Important: Use of this data is subject to GovTrack's bulk data license, and this data's accuracy and recency is tied to GovTrack's.
You can see exactly where Drumbone's data on H.R. 4872 comes from, for example, by viewing h4872.xml on GovTrack.
The dates for bills in Drumbone, such as the date a bill was introduced at, should really just be dates, with no times associated with them. Most events here are designated in THOMAS as on that day, not to a time in it. Unfortunately, the timestamps in the API include a time. To avoid inaccuracy, these timestamps are set as having happened at noon UTC, so that they happen on the same day throughout the world. A v2 of the Drumbone API will include removing the time portion of these timestamps.
There are 8 types of bills:
If you're trying to separate bills or laws from resolutions, it should be noted that House and Senate joint resolutions are actually laws, and are signed by the President. The sole exception is constitutional amendments, which are joint resolutions that are not submitted to the President. The Senate glossary does a good job of explaining these, and other, terms.
Note: GovTrack uses different bill type identifiers. In the same order as the list above, GovTrack's types are "h", "hr", "hj", "hc", "s", "sr", "sj", and "sc". Keep this in mind if you're trying to cross reference Drumbone's data with GovTrack's. Drumbone's type identifiers are designed to be easily obtained from the formal prefix to a bill (e.g. "H.J.Res" => "hjres").
The only unique key for a bill is contained in the field "bill_id". Bill IDs are a combination of the type of bill, the bill number, and the session of Congress a bill was introduced in.
They are of the format: [type][number]-[session]
For example, H.R. 4173 from the 111th Congress would be "hr4173-111".
You'll probably want to give at least a session parameter as a filter.
There are a number of flags and timestamps related to the bill's state and history.
An array of information about each passage vote on the bill. Includes both voice and roll call votes.
NOTE: There are limitations to this field, that are very important to understand. The votes in this field correspond to the <vote> elements in GovTrack's XML. These capture both voice votes and roll call votes on passage of legislation, and do not capture procedural votes. However, they do not currently capture certain important votes, where one chamber is agreeing to amendments by another chamber (the so-called "ping pong" process). See the data for H.R. 3590 for an important example of this.
Each vote object has the following fields:
An array of action objects describing the history of a bill.
A special section with just the most recent action on a bill. The fields are identical to those in the "actions" section.
An array of all short and official titles that have ever been assigned to this bill. Each object has the following fields:
A subset of the "basic" fields of the legislator sponsoring the legislation. Includes title, first_name, nickname, last_name, name_suffix, district, state, party, bioguide_id, and govtrack_id.
An array of objects with a subset of basic fields of the legislators cosponsoring the legislation. Each object has the same fields as "sponsor" above.
An array of bioguide_ids for the legislators cosponsoring the legislation, if any exist.
The official CRS summary for a bill, if one exists.
The official set of keywords for a bill. There are many, and they get specific. Examples include "HIV-AIDS", "Health programs administration and funding", "Income tax rates", etc.