Do-or-die for FOIA reform: FTC, other agencies trying to stall it to death

Speaker John Boehner. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons/Gage Skidmore.

It’s the end of the legislative year, and it’s do-or-die time for passing the FOIA Improvement Act.

It’s a time so urgent that, for better or worse, the House of Representatives literally suspends its rules in order to get things done. That means no amendments, limited debate and, accordingly, an inverse relationship between how controversial a bill is and how likely it is to be taken up on the floor. Since there is a plethora of priorities in Congress, getting time in this “suspension calendar” is difficult.

That’s what we’re fighting for right now. It’s also why Democratic West Virginia Sen. Jay Rockefeller’s hold on the bill — the last person to stand in the way of the bill advancing — was such a problem. The goal was never to change the FOIA Improvement Act (everyone knew there was no time left, and it had already been negotiated for many months) – their goal was to choke it out.

We don’t know yet whether he, and agencies like the FTC that were lobbying him, succeeded. But arguably, today is do-or-die.

Whether the FOIA Improvement Act passes will ultimately come down to House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. If it’s a priority for him, it’ll show up. Which means if it’s a priority for you, he’s the one you should talk to — and we seem to need backup on this.

We urge you to please reach out to Boehner, and let him know that FOIA reform matters. You can find contact info and email his office directly through his OpenCongress page, or call him up at (202) 225-6205. His Twitter handle is @SpeakerBoehner. Help us save FOIA reform before it’s too late.