When searching for information about the roles and functions of Congress and its members, a good researcher will consult a variety of sources. You may find valuable background and in-depth coverage in books and book chapters, scholarly articles in databases, freely available materials on Congress.gov, and newspaper articles for more current Congressional actions. Once you have a topic in mind, see below for a recommended research plan.
Books and book chapters may be the best resource to get a footing on your research. They offer background and historical information to help you grasp the broader topic. Search specifically at first - Congress AND "Patriot Act" - but you may need to search more broadly to find more materials - Congress AND surveillance. Use the Big Red Box to search for books, ebooks, and ebook chapters!
Both JSTOR and HeinOnline provide scholarly articles on topics about Congress. Use HeinOnline to also discover Congressional Documents like the Congressional Record and Congressional Hearings.
This freely available resource contains documentation for everything Congress. Search for the bill or public law (be sure to select the right Congress, as the search will default to the current Congress). Each bill and public law entry includes the text, all actions, Congressional Record, roll call votes, etc.