Analysis Of Major Congressional Legislation

Erin Carson, Lead Analyst Tuesday May 27th 2014

VoteTocracy produces a unique assessment of major Congressional legislation we call Bill Analysis.  This analysis is placed next to information provided directly by Congress, including the Full Bill Text, Congressional Voting and any Congressional Research Summary.  All information is displayed in one simple, Bill Page. It acts as a one-stop shop for information about a pending piece of federal legislation. We produce approximately 8-12 per week.    

Bill Analysis is an original, 15 point breakdown about a bill.  You may review several examples by following any of these links:  HRES.401 - Designation "National Entrepreneurs Day" or HR.3370 - Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act Of 2013 or SRES.370 - A Resolution Supporting Condemning Russian Military Aggression In Ukraine.  All Bill Analysis is categorized under Bills In Motion.  

Here is what we include in our Bill Analysis:

Want More

Includes all links to sources utilized or referred to in analysis.  It works to accelerate research and story development by grouping into one central location all the sources used by the VoteTocracy team in producing the Bill Analysis.  All documents references are web linked and open in adjacent window for easier reference. 

Readability

Shows page counts and a readability score. It is designed to help journalists assess the scope of bill prior to embarking upon a full reading, which may save time.  

 

Momentum Update (when applicable) 

Describes recent activity, hearings and mark-up changes.  It offers journalists a summary of the latest activities, in narrative form, impacting the bill. 

Getting Started

A teaser about the bill; offers a quick way to anchor around the core idea of the bill.

Our Summary

A brief including what and why and a little extra about the bill; supports journalists with an easy way to describe to, or with, other experts the bill.

Who is Affected

Identifies who is affected, or may be affected. It accelerates research by identifying the individuals, institutions or constituent groups who will be affected directly by the bill.  Serves to help tailor an article for local impact treatment. 

Background

Discusses the conditions and developments which inspire the legislation. It accelerates research by providing useful background on the events, conditions or related stimuli resulting in the legislation’s creation.

Sponsor’s Pitch

Direct quotes provided by the sponsor; full press release typically included in Want More section. It accelerates story development by eliminating need to go to Sponsor site and find release and attributable quote.

Committee Actions

Identifies specific actions taken or planned in the Committee and Sub-Committees.  It works to accelerate research and story development by eliminating need to go to Committee sites and find required information.  References to non-bill specific Committee hearings also work to save research time.

Political Momentum

Discusses the struggle the bill faces for attention amid other bills.  It orients a journalist to the competition within a branch among other pending legislation; highlights the scope of other competing legislation or flags attention to amendments and procedural efforts.   This section DOES NOT offer an opinion; it merely brings forward the complexities surrounding the bill’s pathway.

White House Position

Identifies any position officially expressed by the White House.  It works to accelerate research and story development by including any position or related position the Executive Brand has expressed about the bill.

Cheering & Fearing

Lays out who supports and who opposes the bill using quotes from legislators and or 3rd party organizations. It works to accelerate research and story development by establishing the essential framework for debate about eh bill.  This section DOES NOT offer an opinion. 

Cost

Highlights any CBO estimates provided for the bill; adds a 3rd party fact about the cost implications of the bill, if passed as proposed.

Provisions Made Clear

Translates technical provisions into plain language. It works to accelerate research by reducing the amount of time required to read through official bill text.  Plain language summaries of key provisions make it easier to gain an understanding of the bill’s impact an implications.  The inclusion of this section next to Official Bill Text also enables journalists to quickly validate using original material.

Authorizations

Indicates Constitutional authority for the bill; provides the Congressional attribution related to the authority of the bill.

Amendments & Related Bills

Identifies related bills and amendments.  It works to accelerate research and story development by eliminating the need to go to other sites and determine which bills are related.