The Policy Agendas Project archives data on U.S. National Policymaking activity since 1946. Each of the available datasets are linked via a common policy topic coding system that corresponds to the congressional bills data available on this website.
Trends in bill sponsorship are often similar to congressional hearings trends ( www.policyagendas.org ). However, whereas hearings are collective actions largely determined by the majority party, congressional bills permit comparisons of individual level activity (of members of all parties) that will often deviate from hearings activity.
For example, in an unpublished University of Washington dissertation (2003), T. Jens Feeley (firstname.lastname@example.org) has applied Petrocik's concept of issue ownership from the elections literature to bill sponsorship activity in the House. Among his findings, he demonstrates that the majority party's discretion was considerably constrained by its governing responsibilities.
In addition, the Policy Trends Tool enables researchers and students to conduct real time queries that automatically generate graphical policy trends. For example, a research might ask whether congressional hearings on environmental issues are inversely related to congressional hearings on economic issues.
The datasets made available on this site continue to expand:
Congressional Hearings; U.S. Public Laws; New York Times coverage (sample); Congressional Quarterly coverage; U.S. Budget Authority; Executive Orders;Gallup's Most Important Problem; Congressional Roll Call Votes, and much much more...