Healthcare Reform, Jobs Most Searched for Bills

The financial reform bill also sparked interest among Thomas.gov users.

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The day-to-day partisan battles of Capitol Hill may occupy the airwaves, but those interested in actual policy are also going online to read the bills their members of Congress are fighting about. Each week, THOMAS.gov, the Library of Congress website devoted to tracking legislation, compiles a list of the top-searched legislative items for the past seven days. Though last week's top ten for the most part included bills related to economic matters, this week's list includes more diverse fare, including bills focusing on campaign finance, the environment, and Internet gambling.

Below are last week's ten most-searched bills on THOMAS.gov, according to data compiled by THOMAS on August 1.

1. Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (H.R. 3590)

Previous ranking: 2

Sponsor: Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY)

More commonly known as the healthcare reform bill, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act became law on March 23, 2010, after months of partisan wrangling. Among its many provisions, this act imposes an individual mandate to obtain health insurance and prohibits insurers from denying coverage due to pre-existing conditions.

2. Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2010 (H.R. 4899)

Previous ranking: 6

Sponsor: Sen. David Obey (D-WI)

Also known as the "Disaster Relief and Summer Jobs Act of 2010," this bill includes a host of proposed spending for a variety of purposes, including $5.1 billion to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for disaster-related audits and investigations and $37 billion to support the war effort in Iraq. The Supplemental Appropriations Act was signed into law by President Obama on July 29.

3. Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010 (H.R. 4173)

Previous ranking: 3

Sponsor: Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA)

The Restoring American Financial Stability Act was signed by Obama on July 21, six months after its initial introduction. Also known as the financial regulatory reform bill, this bill is intended to address the causes of the 2008 economic crisis. It aims to create a watchdog council at the Federal Reserve and also to mitigate the dangers of "too-big-to-fail" financial institutions by providing a way to liquidate failed firms.

4. Unemployment Compensation Extension Act of 2010 (H.R. 4213)

Previous ranking: 1

Sponsor: Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY)

This bill, which President Obama signed into law on July 22, went through several versions and was known by several names, including the "American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act" and "Tax Extenders Act." In its final version, the bill establishes the long-awaited extension of unemployment benefits until the end of November 2010, as well as a provision establishing retroactive payment of benefits to those whose benefits had recently expired.

5. Small Business Jobs and Credit Act of 2010 (H.R. 5297)

Previous ranking: 7

Sponsor: Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA)

The Small Business Jobs and Credit Act includes provisions to establish a $30 billion fund to increase loan availability to small businesses, as well as an initiative to help fund states' lending programs. This bill passed the house in June and is currently being debated in the Senate.

6. Consolidated Land, Energy, and Aquatic Resources (CLEAR) Act of 2009 (H.R. 3534)

Not on list last week.

Sponsor: Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV)

The CLEAR Act was introduced as a response to the BP oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico and aims to increase accountability in the management of mineral and energy resources. The bill, which passed the House last week, would establish new Interior Department agencies to enforce safety and environmental standards around energy production, as well as to regulate the leasing of federal lands to be used in energy production. The bill also specifically addresses contributing factors to the BP blowout, and aims to establish regular inspections of oil wells on the Continental Shelf and to require oil company CEOs to certify annually that their drilling operations are safe. [See photos of the Gulf oil spill.]

7. James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010 (H.R. 847)