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FAQ About the New Congress Collection

What has changed?
Is training available on using the new interface?
Other questions or comments about the new design?

General Site Use

Searching
Browsing
Downloading
CiteNow Button
Email Button
Save to Favorites / "Star" Button
Using Your Profile
Browser Compatibility
Contact Us

About the Content

Floor Votes
Member Profiles
Voting Alignment
Interest Group Ratings
Voting Scores
Advanced CQ Key Vote Analysis
How Congress Works
Policy Analysis
Congressional Encyclopedia
Congressional Dictionary


FAQ About the New Congress Collection


What has changed?

The new look is designed to make Congress Collection easier to use, and the new content gives a fuller picture than ever of the U.S. Congress. New features include:

  • New design and structure to help guide you to key research tasks you can complete on the site.
  • New organization and re-building of functions that were previously confusing.
  • New, vast amount of content back to 1947—CQ Voting Scores. The scores track voting habits of members in the House and Senate.
  • Improved display and algorithm of search results, including new filters and options for sorting relevant results.


Is training available on using the new interface?

Yes! A tutorial video is available below, or if you would like to attend a webinar on the new site, please contact us.


Other questions or comments about the new design?

We want to hear from you! Please contact us.




General Site Use


Searching

To search for a complete phrase, place it in quotes when entering you search terms into the search bar.

Use the following qualifiers to help limit your search:

AND = return results that include ALL search terms
OR = return results that include any search term
NOT = exclude term from results

Search results will be sorted by relevance, or you can select to sort them by newest or oldest results. Use the source type filters to only view search results that are a specific type of source.

The Document Type icons appear in browse lists and search results pages. The icons provide quick visual clues to the type of information contained in the document.

Document Type and Icon

Description

Biography

Biography

Biographical information and demographic data on members of Congress.

Case Summary

Case Summary

Summary and CQ analysis of major Supreme Court decisions relating to Congress and its members.

Contact Information

Contact Information

Addresses, rosters, and jurisdictions of congressional committees and subcommittees.

CQ Key Vote

CQ Key Vote

Summary and analysis of roll call votes designated by CQ editorial staff as the most critical in determining the outcome of congressional action on a major issue.

Encyclopedia Entry

Encyclopedia Entry

General summaries of congressional issues.

Facts and Figures

Facts and Figures

Tables, graphs, and other statistical information relating to Congress.

Floor Vote

Floor Vote

Summary and analysis of roll call votes.

Glossary

Glossary

Congressional terms and their definitions, taken from CQ Press sources.

Legislative Analysis

Legislative Analysis

Reporting and analysis on legislation.

Primary Source

Primary Source

Full-text or excerpts of primary source material relating to Congress.


Browsing

There are several options for browsing content in Congress Collection, all of which can be found nested withing the four tabs atop Congress Collection: Floor Votes, Member Profiles, Analyze Data, and How Congress Works.

For more about the content within these tabs, please visit About the Content.


Downloading

Data can be exported both at the level of display (e.g. when a roll call vote is open on the screen) and through the data export manager (or data cart). The Download Data portal at the top right of Congress Collection enables researchers to export data using one of two primary organizing variables: members or floor votes. The portal will take you through several steps to select the data you would like to export. After you have selected member or vote data, your data set, and refined your data export specifications according to the options described, you will need to choose a file format for your data export: comma delimited (Excel spreadsheet) or tab delimited (Text). Next, select whether you want to export your data directly or email it.

CiteNow Button

You can find the source of a page by clicking on CiteNow at the top of the page or scrolling to the bottom of the page for the on-page citation.

Email Button

You can easily share documents by clicking "Email this Document" atop each page. Enter the required fields and press "Send Email."

Save to Favorites / "Star" Button

Save content to favorites by clicking on the star icon on the page you want to save, or next to the search result you are interested in. Access your favorite content by logging into your profile.

Using Your Profile

Creating a Profile

Create a profile to save your content in order to access it later. Just create a username and password by clicking "Your Profile" in the top right of Congress Collection, and that’s it.


Favorite Documents

This lists all the documents you have previously favorited.


Document History

View your document history to see all of the content you have viewed. Access your document history by logging into your profile.


Saved Searches

Save search results you want to access later by clicking on the Save Searches button on the search result page. Access your saved searches by logging into your profile.


Browser Compatibility

Congress Collection functions best using Internet Explorer 9 or higher, and the latest versions of Firefox, Safari, and Chrome, which typically update automatically.

Contact Us

For all questions not answered on this page plesae feel free to email us or call: 1-800-818-7243.




About the Content


Floor Votes

The landing page for any Floor Vote is a "Box Score." The top line of the box score indicates in which chamber of Congress the vote was taken and the date on which the vote occurred.

In the box score, each row represents one political party (D=Democratic Party, R=Republican Party, I=Independent). The first column indicates the party and the total number of party members who voted on the measure; note that this figure does not represent the total number of party members in the chamber, but rather the number of party members who cast a vote. In the example below, 246 Democrats, 164 Republicans, and 1 independent cast a vote on the measure.

In the "Yeas," "Nays," and "Other" columns, you will see the number of party members who cast that vote and their percentage of the entire party caucus voting on the measure. In the sample Floor Vote Box Score, of the 246 Democrats casting a vote, 132 voted for the measure, 103 voted against it, and 11 cast some other type of vote. The 132 Democrats voting "yea" represent 53.66% of the total number of Democrats voting (132 / 246). The 103 Democrats who voted "nay" represent 41.87% of all Democrats voting (103 / 246). And so forth. The percentages may not sum to 100 percent due to rounding.

In the "Total" row, you will see the total number of votes cast on the measure (411 in the example below), the total number of "yea" votes (294), the total "nays" (106), and total "other" (11). The percentages in this row represent, respectively, "yea" votes as a percentage of all votes cast, "nay" votes as a percentage of all votes cast, and "other" votes as a percentage of all votes cast.

The design of the Floor Vote Box Score allows for quick assessment of where, in partisan terms, support for the measure came from. In our example, the measure passed the House by a comfortable margin, on a vote of 294 to 106, a 71.53% majority. Republicans were nearly unanimous in their support, with only 2 members voting against. Democrats, on the other hand, were nearly evenly split, with 53.66% of Democrats present and voting supporting the measure.

House vote October 6, 1993
Party / Totals Yeas Nays Other
D / 246 132 (53.66%) 103 (41.87%) 11 (4.47%)
R / 164 162 (98.78%) 2 (1.22%) 0 (0.00%)
I / 1 0 (0.00%) 1 (100.00%) 0 (0.00%)
Totals: 411 294 (71.53%) 106 (25.79%) 11 (2.67%)
View Roll Call
Perform Detailed Vote Analysis
Map It
Link to Full Text

At the bottom of the box score are four links:

  • View Roll Call: Takes you to a member-by-member accounting of the yeas and nays for this Floor Vote.
  • Perform Detailed Vote Analysis: Allows you to analyze voting alignments and patterns, on this Floor Vote, among members based on their demographic and personal characteristics.
  • Map It: Displays a map of the United States that is shaded to indicate how the state delegations voted on this Floor Vote: green = yea; gray = nay; striped = even split. Gradations of green and gray indicate the strength of the "yea" and "nay" vote, respectively. Click on any state to see the roll-call votes of individual members of the state delegation on the given Floor Vote.
  • Link to Full Text: Where relevant and starting with the 101st Congress (1989-1990), CQ Press Congress Collection includes a link to the full text of the legislation that has led to a Floor Vote. The link may take the user to multiple versions of the legislation depending on where it is in the legislative process.

Below the Floor Vote Box Score is a brief description of the measure on which the vote was taken.

Roll-Call Results

Clicking on the "View Roll Call" link under the Floor Votes Box Score will take you to a list of the "yeas" and "nays." Other types of votes are possible, however. Below is a key to the roll-call results.

Symbol

Meaning

Y

Voted for ("yea")

N

Voted against ("nay")

+

Announced for

#

Paired for

X

Paired against

-

Announced against

P

Voted "present"

C

Voted "present" to avoid possible conflict of interest

?

Did not vote or otherwise make a position known"

Note: The following will be tallied and included under "Other": +, #, X, -, P, C, ?.

What is a CQ Key Vote?

For each series of related votes on an issue, only one vote is usually identified as a CQ Key Vote. This vote is the floor vote in the House or Senate that in the opinion of CQ's editorial staff was the most important in determining the outcome.


Member Profiles

The landing pages for Member Profiles contain a narrative biography written by CQ editorial staff and a box score. The box score includes the member's name, positions and dates of service, and various demographic and personal information, including

  • religion
  • education
  • political background
  • military service (if applicable)
  • previous occupations
  • election record

Under Election Record users will find the year in which the member was elected or reelected and the percentage of the vote that the member received in the general election that year.

The box score also contains links to the member's homepage, their OpenSecrets campaign finance webpage, record key votes, and links to their interest group ratings and voting scores.

Voting Alignment

The Voting Alignment feature, under the “Analyze Data” tab, allows users to compare the votes of two members on CQ Key Votes (Member Alignment), to determine which specific votes a member voted on with his or her political party (Party Unity), and to evaluate the cohesiveness of a state delegation (State Delegation Alignment).

Interest Group Ratings

Interest Group Ratings--a scale of 0 to 100 that indicates how closely a member aligns with the ideological aims of a special interest group--can be browsed via the "Analyze Data" tab. The ratings can be compared between members or queried based on member demographics of your choosing. Thorough detail about and methodology behind interest group ratings can be found here.

Voting Scores

Voting Scores--a scale of 0 to 100 that indicates how a member aligns with either their party or the president--can be browsed via the "Analyze Data" tab. The scores can be compared between members or queried based on member demographics of your choosing. Thorough detail about and methodology behind voting scores can be found here.

Advanced CQ Key Vote Analysis

To compare vote outcomes with member biographical factors, click “Advanced CQ Key Vote Analysis” under the “Analyze Data” tab. If you want to perform this analysis on a vote that is not a CQ Key Vote, you must first search for that vote, open the vote from the search results, and choose to "Analyze this Vote" from the vote page.

Once you have found a floor vote to analyze and clicked "Analyze this Vote," you may

  • select by name two members whose votes you would like to compare on the selected floor vote
  • use the drop-down menus to select by demographic characteristics the members whose votes you would like to compare on the selected floor vote

The demographic drop-down menus allow you to select members of Congress based on their

  • party affiliation
  • type of vote cast on the CQ Key Vote under analysis (yea, nay, or either)
  • state
  • year of birth (or range of years)
  • self-announced religion
  • race/ethnicity
  • highest educational attainment
  • previous occupation
  • sex
  • military service

It would be possible, for example, to see how the female members of Congress voted on the floor vote that you had selected for analysis. Or you could see how male members with prior military service voted on it. Or you could search on members from the state of New York who professed a Methodist faith and voted "yea" on the selected measure. Of course, if you are interested in how a particular member, or two particular members, voted, you could select those individuals from the drop-down list and leave all of the demographic search parameters set to their default values.

How Congress Works

In simple, clear language, How Congress Works presents basic narrative explanations of the procedures and rules that govern the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Highlighted sidebars further detail the impact of congressional action with interesting narrative examples from history, along with charts and tables that provide a complete overview of congressional procedures. How Congress Works will help you place recent events in the context of the entire picture of how Congress operates.

Policy Analysis

Policy Analysis, available via the "How Congress Works" tab, presents a list of twenty-four public policy areas, ranging from agriculture to transportation. Within each topic are narrative legislative analyses related to those topics, and also floor votes themselves--another way to access votes of interest to you.

Congressional Encyclopedia

Accessible from the “How Congress Works” tab on the homepage, the CQ Press Congress Collection Encyclopedia offers authoritative reference articles on a wide range of congressional issues.To view an encyclopedia entry, scroll down the page and click on the title of the article you wish to read. All articles in the encyclopedia are taken from CQ Press sources.

Congressional Dictionary

Accessible from the “How Congress Works” tab on the homepage, the Congressional Dictionary provides definitions of commonly used terms, taken from CQ Press source materials. Clicking on the link will reveal the letters of the alphabet; click on a letter to see the terms that begin with that letter.