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Issa Offers #FreeTHOMAS Amendment to Leg Approps Bill

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Rep. Darrell Issa has offered an amendment that would require bulk access to legislative data as part of the Legislative Branch Appropriations Bill. This is what we and many others have been hoping for. Here's the key language:

As soon as practicable, and no later than 120 days after the enactment of this Act, the Librarian of Congress, in consultation with the Director of the Congressional Research Service, the Public Printer, the Clerk of the House of Representatives, and the Secretary of the Senate, shall make available to the public through the Internet the bulk legislative summary and status data used by the Librarian to provide the information the Librarian posts on the THOMAS Web site.

Were this language adopted by the House, it would be a tremendous win for transparency. Before it can be considered on the floor, the amendment needs to make it through the Rules Committee, which will be meeting tomorrow at 3pm to consider which of these 14 proposed amendments comply with House rules.

This effort represents another aspect of Chairman Issa's interest in how the public engages with legislative information. That interest came into focus when he launching an innovative bill-commenting tool to solicit public feedback on several high profile bills. He is also the author of the DATA Act, which would give the public the ability to analyze spending information, and co-chairs the Congressional Transparency Caucus with Rep. Mike Quigley.