A bill urging the Senate to make Congressional Research Service reports publically available is stalled in the Senate Rules Committee and may be the latest of a series of such efforts to fail. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., and eight co-sponsors last fall introduced a resolution that would allow the CRS reports available to lawmakers and their aides to be posted on a public Web site.
Senate Rules Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who has jurisdiction over the matter, is pushing a more modest plan, based on the House's system, in which members would choose whether to make reports public. Rules Committee Staff Director Howard Gantman said the proposal, which the committee can implement without a vote, would improve on the Senate approach by offering a standard system for publishing reports that would refresh reports on members' Web sites when CRS updates them.
After consultations among committee aides, CRS and others, a prototype will be rolled out "very soon," according to a CRS spokeswoman and Gantman. The plan aims to balance public needs and the views of "a significant number of members" who oppose Lieberman's bill due to their belief some CRS reports should remain confidential, Gantman said.
But this approach would disappoint government transparency advocates who say all taxpayer-funded reports should be publicly available. "They should simply move on the Lieberman proposal or something like it and get on with their job," said Stephen Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists. ...
Today, Sunlight is launching a new online collaborative, legislative initiative at a new site: PublicMarkup.org. We have drafted what we think can become model transparency legislation for the government -- the Transparency In Government Act of 2008 -- and we now need your help to further shape, refine and edit it. Our hope is that the final product can be used as a model for transparent government. ...
The open access movement:
Putting peer-reviewed scientific and scholarly literature
on the internet. Making it available free of charge and
free of most copyright and licensing restrictions.
Removing the barriers to serious research.