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[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
112th Congress Rept. 112-663
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
2d Session Part 1
ACCESS TO CONGRESSIONALLY MANDATED REPORTS ACT
September 10, 2012.--Ordered to be printed
Mr. Issa, from the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform,
submitted the following
R E P O R T
[To accompany H.R. 1974]
[Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]
The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, to whom was
referred the bill (H.R. 1974) to require the Public Printer to
establish and maintain a website accessible to the public that
allows the public to obtain electronic copies of all
congressionally mandated reports in one place, and for other
purposes, having considered the same, report favorably thereon
with an amendment and recommend that the bill as amended do
Committee Statement and Views.................................... 2
Explanation of Amendments........................................ 4
Committee Consideration.......................................... 4
Application of Law to the Legislative Branch..................... 4
Statement of Oversight Findings and Recommendations of the
Statement of General Performance Goals and Objectives............ 5
Federal Advisory Committee Act................................... 5
Unfunded Mandate Statement....................................... 5
Committee Estimate............................................... 5
Budget Authority and Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate... 5
The amendment (stated in terms of the page and line numbers
of the introduced bill) is as follows:
Page 6, line 17, insert ``, with the exception of technical
changes,'' after ``changed or removed''.
COMMITTEE STATEMENT AND VIEWS
Purpose and Summary
The Committee has long been concerned with enhancing the
transparency of the Federal Government, particularly by
requiring the publication of Federal information online. H.R.
1974, the Access to Congressionally Mandate Reports Act (ACMRA)
would require the Government Printing Office (GPO) to establish
and maintain a public website that would allow the public, for
the first time, to obtain electronic copies of all
congressionally mandated reports.
Under ACMRA, the reports would be compiled on GPO's website
in a machine-readable, bulk-downloadable format and made
available no later than 30 days after they are due to Congress.
The reports would be searchable based on their content,
reporting agency, and other data. The website would include a
mechanism to display which reports are submitted on time, which
are submitted late, and which are not submitted at all.
Most executive, legislative, and judicial branch agencies
would be required to publish their reports on GPO's website,
subject to guidance issued by the Office of Management and
Budget (OMB). Agencies would be deemed to have complied with
the statutory requirement to submit a report to Congress after
publishing the report on the website and notifying the Clerk of
the House, the Secretary
of the Senate, and the appropriate Congressional committees.
ACMRA contains exceptions for records that are exempt from
public disclosure and protects information that may not be
publicly released under the Freedom of Information Act.
Background and Need for Legislation
Congressionally mandated reports contain a wealth of
information about the Federal Government's activities, plans,
challenges, and compliance with various mandates. This
information, if made public, would enable Americans to better
understand how well Federal agencies are (or are not)
fulfilling their respective missions, from ensuring the safety
of our food and drug supply, to protecting the environment, to
monitoring the soundness of our financial institutions.\1\
\1\Representative Quigley press release, June 22, 2011, available
The rules of the House require the House Clerk to compile a
``list of reports which it is the duty of any officer or
Department to make to Congress.'' This list ran to 224 pages
for the 112th Congress. There is currently no systematic
requirement for congressionally mandated reports to be provided
to the public, nor is there any means of public access.
ACMRA would provide full public transparency and
comprehensive access for congressionally mandated reports by
requiring GPO to establish a website to host them and requiring
agencies to submit them to that website. GPO already has the
necessary infrastructure to comply with ACMRA. Since 1994, GPO
has provided no-fee permanent public access to comprehensive
digital collections of congressional information on its Federal
Digital System (FDsys).\2\ ACMRA's publishing requirement
complements GPO's mission to ``Keep America Informed.''
\2\Letter from GPO to Mike Quigley, May 9, 2011.
Representative Dreihaus introduced the Access to
Congressionally Mandated Reports Act of 2010 as H.R. 6026 on
July 7, 2010. H.R. 6026 was referred to the Committee on
Oversight and Government Reform on July 30, 2010. H.R. 6026
would have required the Office of Management and Budget to
establish a single website to publish electronic copies of
congressionally mandated reports. Then-Ranking Member Issa
raised concerns about OMB's proposed role. The 111th Congress
took no further action on ACMRA.
In the 112th Congress, Representative Quigley revised
ACMRA, accommodating Representative Issa's concerns and
incorporating comments by organizations supporting government
transparency. Representative Quigley introduced the bill as
H.R. 1974 on May 24, 2011. H.R. 1974 replaced OMB as custodian
of the congressionally mandated reports website with the GPO, a
legislative branch agency. H.R. 1974 also strengthened the
bill's requirement for agencies to report in a timely manner
and added provisions ensuring state-of-the-art technology. H.R.
1974 was referred to the Committee on Oversight and Government
Reform and the Committee on House Administration. The Oversight
Committee unanimously ordered reported H.R. 1974 at a business
meeting on June 22, 2011.
On July 25, 2011, Senator Lieberman introduced companion
legislation, S. 1411, in the Senate. S. 1411 was referred to
the Committee on Rules and Administration.
Section 1. Short title
Stipulates that the Act may be cited as the ``Access to
Congressionally Mandated Reports Act.''
Section 2. Establishment of website for congressionally mandated
Requires 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 must be available within 30 days of being submitted to
Congress and searchable by title, reporting agency, publication
date, receiving committee, and other data. The website must
also list which reports were submitted on time, late, and not
Section 3. Federal agency responsibilities
Requires the head of each agency to publish the agency's
reports on the website established under Section 2, in an open
format that is machine readable. Reports must be submitted
without restrictions on access and re-use. Also requires the
Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to issue guidance to
assist agencies in implementation.
Section 4. Relationship to requirements to submit reports to Congress
Provides that each agency will be deemed to have complied
with a statutory requirement to submit any congressionally
mandated report after it has published a complete and
unredacted copy on the website established under Section 2 and
has notified the Clerk of the House, the Secretary of the
Senate, and each receiving congressional committee. It also
provides that once a report has been published it may only be
changed or removed with the consent of each receiving
Section 5. Relationship to Freedom of Information Act
Prevents the Act from being construed to require the
disclosure of information exempt from public disclosure under
the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Requires agencies to
redact information that may not be publicly released, indicate
where redactions were made, and identify the relevant FOIA
Section 6. Definitions
Defines ``congressionally mandated report'' to mean ``a
report that is required to be submitted to either house of
Congress or any committee of Congress by statute or by a
conference report that accompanies legislation signed into
law.'' It defines ``Federal agency'' using the meaning in
Section 102 of title 40, United States Code, which includes an
executive agency or an establishment in the legislative or
judicial branch, except the Senate, the House, and the
Architect of the Capitol. It also exempts the Government
Section 7. Implementation
The website and other provisions of the bill must be
implemented within one year after the date of enactment of the
EXPLANATION OF AMENDMENTS
Mr. Quigley offered an amendment allowing agencies to make
technical changes to reports after they are posted on the
publicly accessible website required under the bill. It was
accepted by voice vote.
On June 22, 2011, the Committee met in open session and
ordered reported favorably the bill, H.R. 1974 as amended, by
voice vote, a quorum being present.
APPLICATION OF LAW TO THE LEGISLATIVE BRANCH
Section 102(b)(3) of Public Law 104-1 requires a
description of the application of this bill to the legislative
branch where the bill relates to the terms and conditions of
employment or access to public services and accommodations.
This bill requires the Government Printing Office (GPO) to
establish and maintain a public website that would allow the
public, for the first time, to obtain electronic copies of all
congressionally mandated reports. As such this bill does not
relate to employment or access to public services and
STATEMENT OF OVERSIGHT FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE COMMITTEE
In compliance with clause 3(c)(1) of rule XIII and clause
2(b)(1) of rule X of the Rules of the House of Representatives,
the Committee's oversight findings and recommendations are
reflected in the descriptive portions of this report.
STATEMENT OF GENERAL PERFORMANCE GOALS AND OBJECTIVES
In accordance with clause 3(c)(4) of rule XIII of the Rules
of the House of Representatives, the Committee's performance
goals and objectives are reflected in the descriptive portions
of this report.
FEDERAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE ACT
The Committee finds that the legislation does not establish
or authorize the establishment of an advisory committee within
the definition of 5 U.S.C. App., Section 5(b).
UNFUNDED MANDATE STATEMENT
Section 423 of the Congressional Budget and Impoundment
Control Act (as amended by Section 101(a)(2) of the Unfunded
Mandates Reform Act, P.L. 104-4) requires a statement as to
whether the provisions of the reported include unfunded
mandates. In compliance with this requirement the Committee has
received a letter from the Congressional Budget Office included
H.R. 1974 does not include any congressional earmarks,
limited tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits as defined in
clause 9 of rule XXI.
Clause 3(d)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of
Representatives requires an estimate and a comparison by the
Committee of the costs that would be incurred in carrying out
H.R. 1974. However, clause 3(d)(3)(B) of that rule provides
that this requirement does not apply when the Committee has
included in its report a timely submitted cost estimate of the
bill prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget
Office under section 402 of the Congressional Budget Act.
BUDGET AUTHORITY AND CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE COST ESTIMATE
With respect to the requirements of clause 3(c)(2) of rule
XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives and section
308(a) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 and with respect
to requirements of clause (3)(c)(3) of rule XIII of the Rules
of the House of Representatives and section 402 of the
Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Committee has received
the following cost estimate for H.R. 1974 from the Director of
Congressional Budget Office:
July 7, 2011.
Hon. Darrell Issa,
Chairman, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 1974, the Access
to Congressionally Mandated Reports Act.
If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Matthew
Douglas W. Elmendorf.
H.R. 1974--Access to Congressionally Mandated Reports Act
H.R. 1974 would require the Government Printing Office
(GPO) to establish and maintain a Web site that would allow the
public to obtain electronic copies of all Congressionally
mandated reports. Most executive, legislative, and judicial
branch agencies would be required to provide GPO with their
reports and notify the Clerk of the House and the Secretary of
the Senate, as well as the appropriate Congressional committee,
when the report is available on the Internet.
Based on information from GPO and other agencies that
produce Congressionally mandated reports, CBO expects that
complying with the bill's provisions would increase
administrative costs to GPO to store and maintain the reports
and to agencies to provide them. Based on information provided
by those agencies, CBO estimates that in total implementing the
bill would cost less than $500,000 annually, assuming the
availability of appropriated funds.
Pay-as-you-go procedures apply to the bill because it would
affect direct spending by agencies not funded through annual
appropriations, such as the Tennessee Valley Authority and
Bonneville Power Administration. Such agencies would face some
additional costs, but CBO estimates that any net increase in
direct spending would not be significant. Enacting the
legislation would not affect revenues.
H.R. 1974 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and
would not affect the budgets of state, local, or tribal
The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Matthew
Pickford. This estimate was approved by Theresa Gullo, Deputy
Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.