Quigley Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Make All Congressional Reports Public
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05), founder and co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional Transparency Caucus, introduced a bipartisan bill to make all reports written for Congress by federal agencies available to the public. The Access to Congressionally Mandated Reports Act creates a single website where the public can easily search, sort and download all congressional reports from agencies ranging from the Health and Human Services to the Department of Education. Rep. Quigley was joined by Reps. David Brat (R-VA-07), Elise Stefanik (R-NY-21), Jim Cooper (D-TN-05), Mike Honda (D-CA-17), Ron Kind (D-WI-03), Tim Ryan (D-OH-13), Louise McIntosh Slaughter (D-NY-25), and John Yarmuth (D-KY-03) in introducing this bill.
“Public trust in government has reached historic lows, causing too many Americans to simply give up on Washington and the mission of government. The best way to rebuild the public’s trust and promote a more efficient and effective government is by furthering government accountability through increased transparency, and that’s precisely what the Access to Congressionally Mandated Reports Act does,” said Rep. Quigley. “By making all congressional reports from agencies easy to search, sort and download online, we are fostering government accountability and transparency.”
“The Access to Congressionally Mandated Reports Act is commonsense legislation that makes government work better. It improves legislative oversight of the executive branch and gives the American people a bigger window into the workings of government,” said Daniel Schuman, Policy Director for Demand Progress. “Rep. Quigley is to be applauded for working with his colleagues on a bipartisan basis to make government more open and accountable.”
“Americans should have access to the information that their representatives have requested from the executive branch, and the ability to know whether and how the requests have been responded to,” said Rep. Brat. “I applaud Congressman Quigley for taking this step towards accountability to the people we serve.”
Each year, federal agencies submit thousands of reports to Congress containing a wealth of information that enables the public to better understand how well federal agencies are, or are not, fulfilling their respective missions, from ensuring the safety of our drugs and food supply, to protecting the environment, and monitoring the soundness of our financial institutions. Unfortunately, many of these reports simply sit, collecting dust in the Committees to which they are delivered, or are posted in numerous places on dozens of agency websites rarely to be seen.
The Access to Congressionally Mandated Reports Act would create a single website where the public can easily search, sort and download all congressional reports from agencies. This bill ensures the government’s business is done in a transparent manner and is accountable to the people it serves.
Specifically, the Access to Congressionally Mandated Reports Act would:
- Require the Government Printing Office to establish and maintain a website where the public can search, sort and download all congressionally mandated reports for free.
- The reports would be available within 30 day of being submitted to Congress and searchable by: Title; Reporting Federal Agency; Date of Publication; Congressional Committee receiving the report; Subject Tags and Serial Numbers; Statute or conference report requiring the report; Key words; and Full text search.
- The website would also list which reports were submitted on-time, late and not at all.
- Would prohibit information from being published that may not be released through FOIA.
Rep. Quigley’s bill is endorsed by: Demand Progress; National Security Counselors; Center for Responsive Politics; Center for Data Innovation; Free Government Information; R Street Institute; American Association of Law Libraries; Common Cause; Association of Research Libraries; OpenTheGovernment.org; Essential Information; and Sunlight Foundation.
Rep. Quigley has made government reform, transparency and fiscal responsibility the cornerstones of his legislative agenda throughout his time in Congress as the co-founder and co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional Transparency Caucus. His comprehensive transparency legislation, the Transparency in Government Act (TGA), includes reforms that will shine a light on every branch of the federal government, strengthening our democracy and promoting an efficient, effective and open government. Rep. Quigley has also prioritized legislation that would allow public access to CRS reports and has called on the Supreme Court to allow cameras in the courtroom.