March 30, 2010
After diligently searching THOMAS, you have found the bill/resolution that you were looking for. You have a printed copy of the actual language of your bill; now, you are looking for similar measures.
In our continuing effort to help members of The American Legion family in their efforts to follow congressional actions, below is a brief discussion about companion bills, and how to find them.
In its simplest form, a companion bill, or companion measure, is a bill - introduced in either the House or Senate - which has identical or similar language to another bill introduced in the other chamber.
The reason for this is that House and Senate lawmakers who share similar views on legislation may introduce a companion bill in their respective chambers to promote simultaneous consideration of the measure.
Sometimes, these measures will even be introduced in their respective chambers on the very same day, or within a few days of each other. If both measures move forward quickly in their respective chambers, then the chances the bills will be passed becomes greater.
Finding companion bills is relatively easy. On the results page - when you request information for a particular bill - directly below the sponsor and co-sponsor information, there is a line entitled "Related Bills." In that line will be listed usually one bill, sometimes more.
Oftentimes, several members may have the same idea for a piece of legislation. They will then introduce their bills independently of one another. If the language of these bills is very close - but not exactly the same - the individual bills may or may not be listed under "Related Bills." If not, then finding these similar bills will require further effort.
Return to the starting page for THOMAS. Under the area "Search Bill Summary and Status," click the "Word/Phrase" button, then fill in the space below with some search term that you know is included in the bill you have already found. Then click the "Search" button. This should give you several more bills to add to your stack. The more search terms you add to the search, the more likely you will find a similar bill.