A Guide for Appropriators on Opening Up Congressional Information and Making Congress Work Better

For the fifth year in a row, today members of the Congressional Data Coalition submitted testimony to House Appropriators on ways to open up legislative information. The bipartisan coalition focused on tweaking congressional procedures and releasing datasets that, in the hands of third parties, will strengthen Congress’ capacity to govern.

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Congress open up the tap for Legislative Data!

Today the Government Publishing Office and Library of Congress completed a full revolution in public access to legislative information. Information about legislative actions in congress–the bills, summaries of the bills, and their status–is now available online, in bulk, in a structured data format. As I wrote in December, this has great significance: It marks the […]

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Why Congressional Technology Spending Matters and How to Improve the Situation

(Architect rendering via Library of Congress) Crossposted from The OpenGov Foundation blog.  Read The OpenGov Foundation’s prior analysis of Senate and House tech spending. As our analyses have shown, without complete, accurate and timely spending data, the public is effectively guessing at where their tax dollars go and what value is returned. It is reasonable to […]

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Seven years ago today, WikiLeaks published 6,700 CRS reports…and nobody was hurt

Feb. 8, 2009 began like any other Sunday for me. I was up early taking care of a young child, gulping coffee and scanning the news. The New York Times turned my stomach with its report that a Polish engineer had been beheaded by the Taliban. The Grey Lady also gleefully described the tribulations of […]

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Will the needless secrecy surrounding CRS reports end this year?

Not quite a year back, Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill., sought to do a little good for the American public. He offered an amendment to an appropriations bill that would require the Congressional Research Service to post publicly a list of the titles of its reports. Advocates for taxpayers and proponents for government transparency were delighted. […]

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What America needs in the next House Chief Administrative Officer

The Chief Administrative Officer is one of the most important but low profile staffers that makes the House of Representatives work. The CAO runs an office with a huge mandate. It manages critical technology services, oversees and coordinates the financial reporting system, ensures that the press have smooth access to legislative proceedings, handles physical resources […]

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Open Government Data Aids Congressional Oversight

According to the U.S. Constitution, Congress is supposed to maintain watchful eye over the executive branch. These days, there is just no way that Congress can do that. The executive branch has 4.1 million employees, 180 agencies, and spends $3.9 trillion each year. The people’s branch needs help, and open government data enables individuals outside […]

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Congress Poised for Leap to Open Up Legislative Data

Following bills in Congress requires three major pieces of information: the text of the bill, a summary of what the bill is about, and the status information associated with the bill. For the last few years, Congress has been publishing the text and summaries for all legislation moving in Congress, but has not published bill […]

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Second Congressional Hackathon a Great Success

On Friday, the House of Representatives held its second Congressional Hackathon, co-hosted by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer. The major, unstated purpose of the hackathon was to bring people together to sustain the effort to modernize technology in congress. The hackathon did exactly that, gathering congressional staff, legislative support staff, and members of […]

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House Open Source Caucus Launch Event

As we previously discussed, there’s a new Open Source Technology Caucus launching in the U.S. House of Representatives. And there’s a launch party tomorrow! Details from our friends at the OpenGov Foundation: Please join The OpenGov Foundation in celebrating the official launch of the House Open Source Caucus, led by Congressmen Jared Polis and Blake Farenthold. […]

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