Oversight Advances FOIA 2013 and Other Transparency Bills

Published: Mar 20, 2013

WASHINGTON – At a full committee business meeting today the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee advanced thirteen bills by voice vote.
The Committee considered several bills designed to enhance the transparency of the federal government to the American people, including a bill to improve the responsiveness of federal agencies to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.
“The FOIA Oversight and Implementation Act ensures that many of the legislative and executive actions taken over the past two decades to improve agency response to requests are fully implemented,” said Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif. “The already bipartisan bill was strengthened today by amendments from both sides of the aisle. These commonsense reforms will make it easier and cheaper for the American people to access information from their government.”
The Committee adopted H.R. 1211, the FOIA Oversight and Implementation Act of 2013 (FOIA 2013) as amended on a unanimous voice vote. The legislation was introduced by Chairman Issa as well as Ranking Member Elijah Cummings, D-Md.
Rep. Michael Turner, R-Ohio, offered an amendment to require GAO to issue a report on federal agencies’ treatment of all FOIA requests and another specifically on those related to companies in which the government obtained a majority ownership stake under the Troubled Asset Relief Program. Rep. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., and Rep. Mark Meadows, R-NC, offered an amendment to require agencies to provide more information on compliance with fee waivers and time limits for FOIA response. Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., offered an amendment to require agency inspectors general to periodically review agency compliance with FOIA and make recommendations including disciplinary action if necessary.
The Committee adopted other transparency and government reform bills at today’s markup:
·         H.R. 1162, the Government Accountability Office Improvement Act
·         H.R. 1133, the Presidential Library Donation Reform Act
·         H.R. 1104, the Federal Advisory Committee Reform Act
·         H.R. 1246, the District of Columbia Chief Financial Officer Vacancy Act
·         H.R. 1233, concerning Presidential and Federal records, as amended
·         H.R. 1234 Electronic Message Preservation Act, as amended
The Committee adopted the follow bills earlier today:
·         H.R. 249, the Federal Employee Tax Accountability Act of 2013
·         H.R. 882, the Contracting and Tax Accountability Act of 2013
·         H.R. 313, the Government Spending Accountability Act of 2013, as amended
·         H.R. 328, the Excess Federal Building and Property Disposal Act of 2013
·         H.R. 1163, the Federal Information Security Amendments Act of 2013
·         H.R. 1232, the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act
Full markup information, including amendments, will be posted at online within 24 hours.