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                                                     Calendar No. 565
115th Congress     }                                    {      Report
                                 SENATE
 2d Session        }                                    {     115-333
_______________________________________________________________________

                                     


            MODERNIZING CONGRESSIONAL REPORTING ACT OF 2018

                               __________

                              R E P O R T

                                 of the

                   COMMITTEE ON HOMELAND SECURITY AND

                          GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS

                          UNITED STATES SENATE

                              to accompany

                                S. 3027

         TO SAVE TAXPAYER MONEY AND IMPROVE THE EFFICIENCY AND
   SPEED OF INTRAGOVERNMENTAL CORRESPONDENCE, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES

[GRAPHIC(S) NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT]


               September 4, 2018.--Ordered to be printed

                                   ______
		 
                     U.S. GOVERNMENT PUBLISHING OFFICE 
		 
79-010                    WASHINGTON : 2018                 


























        COMMITTEE ON HOMELAND SECURITY AND GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS

                    RON JOHNSON, Wisconsin, Chairman
JOHN McCAIN, Arizona                 CLAIRE McCASKILL, Missouri
ROB PORTMAN, Ohio                    THOMAS R. CARPER, Delaware
RAND PAUL, Kentucky                  HEIDI HEITKAMP, North Dakota
JAMES LANKFORD, Oklahoma             GARY C. PETERS, Michigan
MICHAEL B. ENZI, Wyoming             MAGGIE HASSAN, New Hampshire
JOHN HOEVEN, North Dakota            KAMALA D. HARRIS, California
STEVE DAINES, Montana                DOUG JONES, Alabama

                  Christopher R. Hixon, Staff Director
                Gabrielle D'Adamo Singer, Chief Counsel
                  Daniel J. Spino, Research Assistant
               Margaret E. Daum, Minority Staff Director
       Charles A. Moskowitz, Minority Senior Legislative Counsel
                     Laura W. Kilbride, Chief Clerk

















                                                     Calendar No. 565
115th Congress     }                                    {      Report
                                 SENATE
 2d Session        }                                    {     115-333

======================================================================



 
            MODERNIZING CONGRESSIONAL REPORTING ACT OF 2018

                                _______
                                

               September 4, 2018.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

 Mr. Johnson, from the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental 
                    Affairs, submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 3027]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental 
Affairs, to which was referred the bill (S. 3027) to save 
taxpayer money and improve the efficiency and speed of 
intragovernmental correspondence, and for other purposes, 
having considered the same, reports favorably thereon with an 
amendment in the nature of a substitute and recommends that the 
bill, as amended, do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
  I. Purpose and Summary..............................................1
 II. Background and Need for the Legislation..........................2
III. Legislative History..............................................3
 IV. Section-by-Section Analysis......................................3
  V. Evaluation of Regulatory Impact..................................4
 VI. Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate........................4
VII. Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported............5

                         I. PURPOSE AND SUMMARY

    S. 3027, the Modernizing Congressional Reporting Act of 
2018 (MCRA), requires Federal agencies to send congressionally-
mandated reports and other documents electronically to Congress 
unless congressional offices specifically request a physical 
copy. The bill also requires Federal agencies to post 
congressionally-mandated reports on agency websites, in an 
easily searchable database, to provide the public with greater 
access to such materials.

              II. BACKGROUND AND THE NEED FOR LEGISLATION

    The standing rules of the United States Senate task the 
Committee with studying the ``efficiency, economy, and 
effectiveness of all agencies and departments of the 
Government.''\1\ In executing these duties, the Committee seeks 
to identify areas of waste, fraud, and abuse within the Federal 
Government through oversight of programs and activities carried 
out by Federal agencies and departments.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\Standing Rules of the Senate; Rule XXV(k).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The Committee has identified unnecessary printing by the 
Federal Government as an area in which we can improve 
efficiencies. In 2017 alone, the Committee's majority staff 
received an estimated 20,000 sheets of physical mail 
transmitted by Federal agencies.\2\ The production of 
congressionally-mandated physical correspondence and reports 
comes at a cost to the taxpayers. For example, the Department 
of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General reports that 
just one edition of its Semiannual Report to Congress costs 
nearly $3,600 to print and mail.\3\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \2\S. Comm. on Homeland Sec. & Governmental Aff. Majority holds in 
its archive 19 boxes of reports and communications transmitted in 2017. 
Ninety percent of these archived communications are identified by the 
Committee Chief Clerk as having been transmitted from Federal agencies 
and departments. Each box is 4.75" wide, and contains roughly 500 
sheets of paper per 2".
    \3\Transmittal letter (May 29, 2018), U.S. Department of Veterans 
Affairs Office of Inspector General, Semiannual Report to Congress, 
Issue 79 (Oct 1, 2017 through Mar 31, 2018) https://www.va.gov/oig/
pubs/sars/VAOIG-SAR-2018-1.pdf.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    S. 3027 addresses wasteful, unnecessary printing by 
requiring that any report an agency is required to submit to 
Congress, and any responses by agencies to a formal request by 
a congressional office for any report or other recorded 
information, be transmitted via acceptable electronic format--
unless such committee or office otherwise requests a physical 
copy. The bill also provides greater transparency to the 
American public by requiring that all congressionally-mandated 
reports, and associated structured data and transmittal 
letters, be posted on the agency's public website.
    S. 3027 builds on previous Committee efforts to curb 
unnecessary printing to save resources and taxpayer dollars. On 
July 26, 2017, the Committee favorably reported H.R. 195, the 
Federal Register Printing Savings Act, introduced by 
Representative Steve Russell (R-OK). The bill, signed into law 
on January 22, 2018, prohibits the Government Printing Office 
(GPO) from distributing printed copies of the Federal Register 
to offices of the federal government and Members of Congress 
unless the office specifically requests either a single issue 
or a subscription.\4\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \4\Pub. L. No. 115-120.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    During the Committee's consideration of H.R. 195, Senator 
James Lankford (R-OK) noted that measures such as H.R. 195 are 
commonsense proposals. Senator Lankford remarked, ``We all see 
the exact same thing, things that are printed, passed out, 
never touched. For those of us that get all of our information 
on an iPad or on a computer, we are not going to the printed 
paper at the same level.''\5\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \5\S. Comm. on Homeland Sec. & Governmental Aff., transcript of 
July 26, 2017 business meeting.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The Committee's approval of S. 3027 is the next step in an 
ongoing process to root out waste and inefficiencies in 
government.

                        III. LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    S. 3027 was introduced by Ranking Member Claire McCaskill 
on June 7, 2018. The bill was referred to the Committee on 
Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. Original cosponsors 
include Senators Portman, Peters, Carper, Hassan, Tester, 
Hoeven, Heitkamp, Jones, Harris, Lankford, Daines, and Ernst. 
Senator Klobuchar later joined as a cosponsor.
    The Committee considered S. 3027 at a business meeting on 
June 13, 2018. Senator McCaskill offered a substitute amendment 
that includes a definition for the term ``open format,'' and 
adds section 4 to the bill which establishes that agencies 
shall post all reports on a public website in an open, free, 
and easily accessed format. The Committee approved the 
substitute amendment, and the bill as amended, by voice vote en 
bloc and ordered the bill, as amended, reported favorably. 
Senators present for both votes were Senators Johnson, Portman, 
Lankford, Enzi, McCaskill, Carper, Peters, Hassan, Harris and 
Jones.

        IV. SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS OF THE BILL, AS REPORTED

Section 1. Short title

    This section specifies that the bill may be cited as the 
``Modernizing Congressional Reporting Act of 2018.''

Section 2. Definitions

    This section provides definitions for the terms 
``acceptable electronic format,'' ``agency,'' ``congressional 
office,'' and ``structured data.''

Section 3. Electronic transmission of reports

    This section requires any report an agency is required to 
submit to Congress, and any responses by agencies to a formal 
request by a congressional office for any report or other 
recorded information, to be transmitted via acceptable 
electronic format. Structured data, such as tables, must also 
be provided in an acceptable format. It stipulates that files 
transmitted to Congress should be in their original electronic 
format, or electronically converted format, rather than scanned 
copies. Subsection (b) requires that any scanned documents must 
be made searchable via optical character recognition or other 
means. Subsection (c) allows agencies to deviate from the 
requirements of this section if the receiving congressional 
office prefers a different format or method. Subsection (d) 
requires agencies to abide by any preferred method to receive 
correspondence that congressional offices designate.

Section 4. Publishing of reports

    This section requires that any congressionally-mandated 
report, and any associated structured data or transmittal 
letter, must be posted on the agency's public website. The file 
must be in an open, searchable, and acceptable electronic 
format. The database of reports and associated files should be 
easily accessible by the public without limiting information 
via registration or fee requirements. Agencies are required to 
post the reports on their website within 30 days of submitting 
them to Congress. Agencies may not remove or alter these 
reports, beyond technical edits, without a joint Congressional 
resolution authorizing such a change. Section 4 continues by 
clarifying that this bill does not apply to information that is 
exempt from disclosure through the Freedom of Information Act, 
as well as any information that is otherwise prohibited from 
disclosure by law. Reports should be redacted accordingly, and 
the agency should identify where the redactions are made in the 
report, and where appropriate, should identify the exemption 
under section 552(b) of title 5, United States Code, pursuant 
to which each redaction is made.

                   V. EVALUATION OF REGULATORY IMPACT

    Pursuant to the requirements of paragraph 11(b) of rule 
XXVI of the Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee has 
considered the regulatory impact of this bill and determined 
that the bill will have no regulatory impact within the meaning 
of the rules. The Committee agrees with the Congressional 
Budget Office's statement that the bill contains no 
intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as defined in the 
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) and would impose no costs 
on state, local, or tribal governments.

             VI. CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE COST ESTIMATE












                                                      July 9, 2018.
Hon. Ron Johnson, Chairman,
Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs,
U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for S. 3027, the 
Modernizing Congressional Reporting Act of 2018.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Matthew 
Pickford.
            Sincerely,
                                                Keith Hall,
                                                          Director.
    Enclosure.












S. 3027--Modernizing Congressional Reporting Act of 2018

    S. 3027 would require that all information federal agencies 
provide to the Congress be submitted in an electronic format. 
In addition, the bill would direct each agency to make all 
information provided to the Congress available online in a free 
searchable database.
    Using information from agencies that produce the thousands 
of Congressionally mandated reports, CBO estimates that 
implementing the bill would cost about $2 million over the 
2019-2023 period. CBO estimates that implementing the bill 
would require about 15 percent of the time of one federal 
employee and cost about $15,000 for each of the 26 major 
agencies to provide all reports and data electronically, as 
well as to create and update an online searchable database of 
that information at every agency. That spending would be 
subject to the availability of appropriated funds.
    S. 3027 would affect direct spending by agencies not funded 
through annual appropriations; therefore, pay-as-you-go 
procedures apply. However, CBO estimates that any net increase 
in spending by those agencies would be negligible. Enacting the 
bill would not affect revenues.
    CBO estimates that enacting S. 3027 would not increase net 
direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four 
consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2029.
    S. 3027 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act.
    On April 24, 2018, CBO transmitted a cost estimate for H.R. 
4631, Access to Congressional Mandated Reports, as ordered 
reported by the Committee on House Administration on April 12, 
2018. On March 1, 2018, CBO transmitted a cost estimate for 
H.R. 4631 as ordered reported by the House Committee on 
Oversight and Government Reform on February 6, 2018. H.R. 4631 
contains requirements similar to those in S. 3027 and the CBO 
cost estimates for the bills are similar.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Matthew 
Pickford. This estimate was reviewed by Theresa Gullo, 
Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.

       VII. CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW MADE BY THE BILL, AS REPORTED

    Because this legislation would not repeal or amend any 
provision of current law, it would not make changes in existing 
law within the meaning of clauses (a) and (b) of paragraph 12 
of rule XXVI of the Standing Rules of the Senate.

                                  [all]