Position Report Help
Last updated: June 23, 2015
You can enter up to thirty "items" where each item is either a roll call vote or a bill (a piece of legislation) introduced in Congress. To enter an item, use the one-character links (commands) in the "Edit Item" column of the item table.
- V or L
- Add a new item (vote or legislation/bill) at the end of the list, or insert a new item above an existing one,
- Edit an existing item,
- Save changes,
- Cancel changes,
- Delete an item.
Click Get Report to get the report that will show how each member voted on the selected votes or whether he or she was an "official" cosponsor of the selected bills. If you select the "Position with Ratings" report type, you can also specify your "preferred" position and weight of each item. In that case, the report will show the members' position relative to your "preferred" position and include a score (the percentage of votes or co-sponsorships in support of the "preferred" position) for each member. The report can be saved in tab-delimited or Excel spreadsheet format.
For roll call votes enter
- Year of the vote.
- Roll call number.
Each recorded vote in the House and the Senate is assigned a unique number - the roll call number of the vote. Note that our database does not contain every roll call vote. For example, by default we do not include unanimous votes (votes with no or very little "opposition") unless they are considered important by one of the groups featured in our Congressional Report Cards.
For co-sponsored bills enter
- Congress (107th, 108th, etc.) during which the bill was introduced.
- Bill type (H.R., H.Res, S., S.Res, etc.).
- Bill number.
You cannot have "items" from both chambers in one report. In other words, a House report can only include House votes or bills introduced in the House, but not Senate votes or bills.
Use the links on the report main page to get
- current list of roll call votes available in our database and instructions on where to find roll call numbers of congressional votes,
- current list of bills with co-sponsorship data in our database, and
- Contact VIS page you can use to order any missing votes or bills. These requests are typically processed within two business day.
Use the Save button to save all items (including your position) in a text file on your computer. To restore the saved items in the Congress Position Report tool, click Browse to select the file you had saved and then use the Load button to load it in the tool. The file that will be stored on your computer is a harmless text file that you can open with Notepad. By default, the file is called VisCPRItems.xml. Be sure to NOT change the file format. If you do, you will not be able to load the file back in the CPR tool.
If you check the "Item Description entry" checkbox, you will be able to enter a title and a description text for each "item" (vote or bill). This can be useful for the following reasons:
- You are planning on coming back later and getting a report with the same (or similar) "items". The Load button will allow you to quickly initialize the input screen with the items you had saved in the VisCPRItems.xml file on your computer.
- You would like to have your opinion on legislation considered by the Congress included in our Congressional Report Cards. In this case, you would enter a title and a description of each item (vote or bill), save the data on your computer in the XML file (see above), and mail the XML file to us at support [at] vis.org. Use the "Review" link to review the information for all items you have entered in a format similar to how it would be displayed in our Report Cards.
- You use some other provider such as CapitolAdvantage.com to publish your congressional scorecard and you want them to use the same votes or bills that you have already entered in our Position Report tool. If you enter a title and a description for each item, the XML file will contain all the data the other provider needs to publish your scorecard. Just send them the XML file and they should be able to easily extract the data from it. For more information, contact us at support at vis.org.