Connecting Roll Call Votes to Members of Congress (XQuery)

Apologies for the lack of posting today but I have been trying to connect up roll call votes in the House of Representatives to additional information on members of Congress.

In case you didn’t know, roll call votes are reported in XML and have this form:

<recorded-vote><legislator name-id="A000374" sort-field="Abraham" 
unaccented-name="Abraham" party="R" state="LA"
role="legislator">Abraham</legislator><
vote>Aye</vote></recorded-vote>
<recorded-vote><legislator name-id="A000370" sort-field="Adams" 
unaccented-name="Adams" party="D" state="NC" 
role="legislator">Adams</legislator
><vote>No</vote></recorded-vote>
<recorded-vote><legislator name-id="A000055" sort-field="Aderholt" 
unaccented-name="Aderholt" party="R" state="AL" 
role="legislator">Aderholt</legislator>
<vote>Aye</vote></recorded-vote>
<recorded-vote><legislator name-id="A000371" sort-field="Aguilar" 
unaccented-name="Aguilar" party="D" state="CA"
role="legislator">Aguilar</legislator><
vote>Aye</vote></recorded-vote>
...

For a full example: http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2015/roll643.xml

With the name-id attribute value, I can automatically construct URIs to the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, for example, the entry on Abraham, Ralph.

More information than a poke with a sharp stick would give you but its only self-serving cant.

One of the things that would be nice to link up with roll call votes would be the homepages of those voting.

Continuing with Ralph Abraham, mapping A000374 to https://abraham.house.gov/ would be helpful in gathering other information, such as the various offices where Representative Abraham can be contacted.

If you are reading the URIs, you might think just prepending the last name of each representative to “house.gov” would be sufficient. Well, it would be except that there are eight-three cases where representatives share last names and/or a new naming scheme has more than the last name + house.gov.

After I was satisfied that there wasn’t a direct mapping between the current uses of name-id and House member websites, I started creating such a mapping that you can drop into XQuery as a lookup table and/or use as an external file.

The lookup table should be finished tomorrow so check back.

PS: Yes, I am aware there are tables of contact information for members of Congress but I have yet to see one that lists all their local offices. Moreover, a lookup table for XQuery may encourage people to connect more data to their representatives. Such as articles in local newspapers, property deeds and other such material.

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