In an election year in particular, but in truth most of the time, the news and those who watch it are focused on the Executive branch of government. The Judiciary gets big press when it makes a major decision too. But the Legislative branch only seems worth mentioning when it up or down votes something important to the President or a rival, when it impacts the party’s agenda or a member makes a public spectacle of him/herself. That’s not a good thing. The President gets the glory and the Supreme Court judges get the job security, but much of what makes up the day to day running of government happens in the two houses of Congress. And an election year means many sitting members positions are at stake as is their party’s power. If the last few years have shown anything, it’s that not much gets accomplished when Congress doesn’t want it to.
Enter The Congressional Record recently updated to a universal build. Not only does it give you access to what’s actually going on in the House of Representative and the Senate, but it also provides the information without the editorializing and politicking that has become the norm in regular broadcast and many print news sources. The app isn’t flashy but it lets you browse records going back to 1995, and identifies the latest bills and resolutions before the houses. It has the same records you’d find in the Library of Congress divided into four sections: Senate, House, Extension of Remarks, and Entire Issue. There is also a convenient Daily Digest. You can perform keyword searches for persons and issues of interest, share documents by email and save to most iPad PDF apps for annotation or further sharing.
Like the Congress The Congressional Record app may lack glamor, but it has an important and underrated purpose. It’s also free, so grab it and get yourself informed long before you head to the voting booth.