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The Voter’s Speakeasy featuring unbiased reporting and insight into life at Vote Smart from our staff, interns, and volunteers.

Navigating Thomas: Bill Texts

2007 December 13 - Key Votes

If you've been reading Project Vote Smart summaries of Congressional legislation, you probably have noticed that PVS provides a link to the text of the legislation at a website called Thomas. For an example of a link like this, see our summary of the House concurrence vote on HR 6, the energy bill. If you scroll down past the PVS synopsis, past the official title, and right below the highlights, you will see an example of this type of link. One question we get quite frequently is "What is Thomas?"

Thomas is a part of the website of the Library of Congress where you can find a wealth of information on Congressional legislation and even read the transcripts of the floor debates. These transcripts are called the Congressional Record. This site is called Thomas because it proclaims to be in the spirit of Thomas Jefferson.

When you are reading a summary on our site and you click on the link to the text of the bill on Thomas, you may find that there are a handful of versions of the bill available for you. Again HR 6 is a good example. Here Thomas currently tells you there are six versions of HR 6 available. The first version is the IH version, or the version introduced in the House. This is the bill in its original form, with all the original text the sponsor of the bill had written. Sometimes a bill text version will be available that says "reported in House," or ...

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