Openness Groups Denounce House Republican Leadership Decision to Erase Progress on Bipartisan FOIA Legislation

Press Release Contact: Amy Bennett or Patrice McDermott, OpenTheGovernment.org, 202-332-6736

Openness Groups Denounce House Republican Leadership Decision to Erase Progress on Bipartisan FOIA Legislation  

July 26, 2011 - Organizations that support openness and accountability were shocked and saddened to learn that House Republican leadership plans to wipe out bipartisan progress on Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) legislation in the interest of pushing its budget package.

"If House leadership wishes to make good on their pledge to improve transparency and accountability, they should not kill this good government bill with strong bipartisan support as a political maneuver,” said Angela Canterbury, Director of Public Policy at the Project On Government Oversight (POGO). “Instead, they should walk their talk by making the Faster FOIA Act law."

This afternoon, at the direction of House leadership, the House Rules Committee is poised to approve a rule that allows Speaker Boehner to strip all language out of S. 627, the Faster FOIA Act, and replace it with his budget proposal.

The Senate unanimously passed S. 627 this May. The bill establishes the Commission on FOIA Processing Delays. The Commission would study and make recommendations to Congress and the President for addressing some of the thorniest problems that keep the public from accessing information.

According to Patrice McDermott, Director of OpenTheGovernment.org, “This is a setback for openness and accountability. Whether it is House leadership’s intent or not, this move erases a record of bipartisan support to finally address some of the greatest impediments to access under the FOIA.”

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OpenTheGovernment.org is a coalition transcending party lines of more than 75 consumer and good government groups, librarians, environmentalists, labor, journalists, and others – focused on pushing back governmental secrecy and promoting openness.

Submitted by abennett on 07/26/2011