Bill Mandates Publishing Agency Reports to Congress

The chairman and ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee on Tuesday introduced companion legislation to the Access to Congressionally Mandated Reports Act. The measure would require the Government Printing Office to publish agency reports to Congress online within 30 days of their submission.

Digital copies of the reports would have to be searchable by report text, key words and by the federal agencies that produced the reports and the Congressional committee that received them, according to a statement from the bill's sponsors.

Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill., introduced the House version of the legislation in May. It was reported out of the House Oversight Committee June 22 and is awaiting action by the full House.

An earlier version of the bill was introduced in the previous Congress. The bill has received strong support from a number of open government groups.

Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., sponsored the Senate legislation, along with Sens. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee.

"In the digital age, Congress should be sharing as much information as possible with our constituents through available information technologies, so taxpayers can judge for themselves how well their government is performing," Lieberman said in a statement.

Information in agency reports that isn't considered public under the Freedom of Information Act would be exempt from the new requirements.