The Congressional Research Service (CRS) published a guide for researching federal legislation and regulations. Although written for Congressional staff, the guide is a useful resource for advocates.
Under “Researching Current Federal Legislation,” the guide discusses Congress.gov, where advocates can find bill summaries, text, sponsors, cosponsors, and status. The guide explains that the Daily Digest section of the Congressional Record summarizes actions taken in the House of Representatives and Senate and identifies committee hearings and committee meetings scheduled for the next legislative day. Links to the House and Senate homepages provide directories of representatives and senators and show each chamber’s calendar, committee activities, and roll call votes.
The “Researching Current Federal Regulations” section of the guide describes the Code of Federal Regulations and the Federal Register. It also explains RegInfo.gov, the site that provides a list of all proposed rules undergoing Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) review as required by Executive Order 12866 from 1993. Regulations.gov is the site for submitting comments on proposed rules and reading comments already submitted.
The “Daily Compilation of Presidential Documents” provides the dates on which the president signed or vetoed legislation, and contains executive orders, nominations submitted to the Senate, and transcripts of presidential messages to Congress.
CRS Report RL33895, Researching Current Federal Legislation and Regulations: A Guide to Resources for Congressional Staff, is available at: http://bit.ly/2lRNnq8
Chapter 2 of NLIHC’s 2016 Advocates’ Guide at http://nlihc.org/library/guides is another resource for advocates regarding the legislative and regulatory process. Topics covered include: How Laws Are Made, The Federal Budget and Appropriations Process, Introduction to the Federal Regulatory Process, and Congressional Advocacy. The 2017 Advocates’ Guide will be available in early April.