12 Days of Open Government Resolutions – Day 5: Make Communication with Congress Accessible

Each post in the series of posts we plan to publish between now and December 25 focuses on a resolution the Obama Administration realistically can use to make the federal government more open and accountable in the coming year. See below for links to previous resolutions.

Open Government Resolution 5 for the Obama Administration – Direct agencies to make all Reports to Congress and Communications with Members of Congress available in a central location on the agency website

Communications between Congress and federal agencies are of great interest to the public. The thousands of reports and congressional testimony that Congress requires agencies to file each year that provide details on steps the agency is taking or plans to take to address an issue.  Likewise, letters from Members of Congress to agencies can influence policy and spending decisions. Making this information more easily accessible can help the public hold both branches of government accountable for their actions.

The Obama Administration's previous efforts to make agencies post reports to Congress and Congressional testimony has been only partially successful: even when agencies post the information, it can be hard for the public to find. And, despite the existence of Executive Order 13457, which directs agencies to post online all communications from Congress recommending expenditures, there has been no apparent enforcement of the requirement by the Administration.

The Administration should direct all agencies to make reports to Congress, congressional testimony, and letters from Members of Congress available in a centralized, and searchable format.

12 Days of Open Government Resolutions for the Obama Administration:

Resolution 1: Begin gathering public input for Version 2 of the US National Action Plan

Resolution 2: Make it easier for the public to track agencies’ open government work

Resolution 3: Encourage Agencies to Join FOIAOnline

Resolution 4: Direct Agencies to Update their FOIA Regulations

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