House of Reps’ Spending Info Is Now Online as Data

Yesterday the House of Representatives began publishing its spending data online as a spreadsheet (and continued publishing it online as a PDF file).

As Josh Tauberer explains in Open Government Data: The Book, the compilation of spending data, known as the Statements of Disbursements, includes “how much congressmen and their staffs are paid, what kinds of expenses they have, and who they are paying for those services.” While it does not contain all the nitty-gritty details, the Disbursements data can tell you a lot about the health and activities of Congress.

Yesterday’s publication includes the full dataset for the first quarter of 2016 in a 17.8 MB CSV file, and a smaller 502 KB summary file in CSV format. The information is also published as a PDF, which it has been since November 2009. Continue reading “House of Reps’ Spending Info Is Now Online as Data”

The Icky Democrat(ic) Party

There is a weird difference in how Democrats and Republicans refer to the Democratic Party, and it comes down to the suffix “ic.” Republicans overwhelmingly use the term “Democrat Party,” while both democrats and republicans use the phrase “Democratic Party.”

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Source: Statements in the Congressional Record as Tracked by “Capitol Words”

Continue reading “The Icky Democrat(ic) Party”

Making Congress Slightly More Capable: Appropriators OK COLAs for House Personal Office Staff

In a heartening development for anyone who cares about Congress as an institution, today the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee agreed by voice vote to an amendment offered by Rep. Farr (D-CA) to increase funding for member personal offices by 1.5%. This modest increase will help provide funds that can be used to give staff a long-deserved cost of living adjustment.

Here is the bill considered by the committee and the committee report. The text of the amendment is not yet available. We submitted testimony to the committee with a number of recommendations for action. Continue reading “Making Congress Slightly More Capable: Appropriators OK COLAs for House Personal Office Staff”

House Appropriators Turn Back Public Access to CRS Reports, but Not Without a Fight

Today the House of Representatives’ Appropriations Committee debated two amendments that would make Congressional Research Service reports more equitably available to the public. The effort to release the reports was led by Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL) and Rep. Scott Rigell (R-VA).

Here is the bill considered by the committee and the committee report. We submitted testimony to the committee with a number of recommendations for action and we strongly support public access to CRS reports. Continue reading “House Appropriators Turn Back Public Access to CRS Reports, but Not Without a Fight”

How to Give Your Job Announcements Legs

I run a small, free, opengov jobs list with about 700 participants. On the public-facing side, it’s a Google group that anyone can join to learn about or post jobs. On the back-end, I monitor 50+ organizational websites to alert me when a new job is posted. Most organizations are truly awful in how they post their job announcements.

Here are some tips to help people find your announcement: Continue reading “How to Give Your Job Announcements Legs”