Keeping tabs on our congress


Posted by kyle at January 16th, 2009

In a few days from now, our President Elect is going to take office and become the 44th president of the United States of America. The ENTP crew is pretty stoked – our Campfire chat is usually about half politics and half real-work. For quite a few months now, we’ve (Justin in particular) been playing with various APIs that feed into how our government works such as GovTrack and Sunlight Labs. Obie threw down the gauntlet today, but I guess we’ve been hammering down that road for quite some time now.

There’s a few other treats that Justin and Towski have been hacking on, but in the meantime I’d like to introduce you to a cool little tool Justin hacked up one weekend: @legislate.

@legislate tracks roll calls in the Senate & House. It’s a simple way to keep track of our congress and see what they do with their time. We love twitter, we love transparency in the government — so we love @legislate.


  1. justin justin said on January 16th, 2009

    At our company we don’t value one-sided politics. We enjoy healthy debate from marginally both parties. We try not to sit around circle jerking too much.

  2. Kyle Kyle said on January 16th, 2009

    justin: Can’t say I follow you. @legislate only tracks the voting records of the House and Senate. It has no party affiliation or bias: only the actual votes our Senators and Congressmen/women make.

  3. Billy Gray Billy Gray said on January 17th, 2009

    Very cool, Kyle (and Justin who built it!). Are you guys popping the GovTrack xml feed right into the twitter account?

    I started watching RSS feeds of the Congress votes a while back and you quickly see how very little of it isn’t so much substantive as procedural (motions for cloture, amendments to try and hole bills up in committee). Which is SOP if you watch C-SPAN, but when you find a feed that you expect to be the laws, passing and failing, it’s surprising. Are you guys pulling in all votes, or discarding some of the noisier ones?

    This is very cool, following ;-)

  4. Justin Palmer Justin Palmer said on January 17th, 2009

    Bill: You’re right. Roll call votes are noisy and their titles are ambiguous unless you know exactly what bill something like HR7005 is. What I’m doing is pulling the roll call votes and then fetching the associated bill title which is much more descriptive. Clicking through the link will give you more info on the roll call vote itself though.

    I’m not skipping any votes though. Everything that Govtrack is collecting, I’m posting.

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