As a educational feature of Obama Conspiracy Theories, we sometimes answer general questions for the public. This question comes from Pamela, posting on the Orly Taitz web site. Pamela is having a problem searching for material at the congressional web site, thomas.gov. Pamela writes:
I am pretty sure that they [the United States Senate] do not repeat numbers for their Resolutions or Bills.
Actually, Pamela, they do. In each session of Congress, they start over from numero uno otherwise the numbers would get very large because many, many bills are introduced in Congress every year. When searching for a bill by number, you need to know the year.
The search bar on the main page at thomas.gov is labeled “Legislation in Current Congress.” Every 2 years, we get a new Congress! Isn’t that exciting! But that means a little extra work for you because you will have to click the “Advanced Search” link for older information. The current Congress is the 111th, and the one serving from 2007-2008 was the 110th. (See the tutorial below on how to compute the Session of Congress.)
For the particular search you had in mind, Senate Resolution 511 about John McCain (an important American leader), you will need to select the 110th Congress since that resolution was from 2008. Right below Enter Search, you can select “Bill Number.” Now a Senate Resolution isn’t a bill, and so they use a special prefix, “S.RES” for Senate RESolution. In this case you can enter “S.RES.511″ for the Bill number, and it will go right to the resolution you want. It’s easy once you get the hang of it.
To see number reuse in action, you can search in the 109th Congress and find that Senate Resolution 511 was “a resolution commending and supporting Radio Al Mahaba, the 1st and only radio station for the women of Iraq” sponsored by Senator Clinton.
Tutorial: Computing the Session of Congress
Members of the House of Representatives serve two year terms, and that period makes up a “session”. You will have to do a little arithmetic to figure out the session by the year. It’s really fun do to.
Just take the year and subtract 1787 (the year the Constitution was written) Divide that by 2 and throw away the fraction and voila, you have the session. 2006 – 1787 = 219. Divide by 2 and you get 109.5 (don’t forget to discard the fraction) and the answer is the 109th Congress.
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