Trump Signs Constituent Services Bill into Law

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A bill to modernize constituent services is now the law of the land.

Members of Congress may soon have improved avenues with which to work on behalves of their constituents.

On Thursday, President Trump signed into law the Creating Advanced Streamlined Electronic Services for Constituent, or CASES, Act. The bill, which was introduced by Sens. Tom Carper, D-Del., and Rob Portman, R-Ohio, revises the Privacy Act of 1974 in a major way, giving constituents the option to electronically authorize congressional offices to engage federal agencies.

Prior to CASES, lawmakers had to obtain written authorization from constituents before acting on their behalves.

“When the American taxpayers we represent need assistance with Social Security, Medicare, Veterans Affairs or any other federal agency, they should be able to get the help and information they need quickly and easily,” Carper told Nextgov in early August. “This bipartisan, bicameral bill will help to ensure that elected officials like myself can be even more effective at one of our most important responsibilities—advocating for our constituents.”

When lawmakers return from recess in September, they’ll consider a similar bill called the Federal Agency Customer Experience, or FACE, Act. Introduced in May by Sens. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., and James Lankford, R-Okla., the bill would expedite how agencies gather public feedback regarding customer experience and service delivery. It would give agencies flexibility in creating short, anonymized surveys that allow taxpayers and customers to provide more immediate feedback on government services. While the bill has cleared the Senate, it awaits action in the House Committee on Oversight and Reform.