April 13, 2021
Dear Speaker Pelosi, Republican Leader McCarthy, and Members of the House of Representatives:
We, the 31 undersigned organizations, write in strong support of the bipartisan Access to Congressionally Mandated Reports Act (“ACMRA”) and urge the House of Representatives to consider and pass the legislation. Once enacted, ACMRA will strengthen Congressional oversight and improve government transparency.
ACMRA would establish a central repository of agency reports submitted to Congress and track whether agencies have submitted required reports. This will improve Members of Congress’s access to Executive branch reports and ensure Congress knows when they become available.
The ACMRA also directs agencies to provide the Government Publishing Office any report that is both required by law to be submitted to Congress and is releasable under the Freedom of Information Act, subject to certain limitations. The legislation will not expand what information could become available in the public sphere, but it will improve accessibility. Nor does the legislation affect in any way what information is provided to Congressional committees or place any burden upon them.
Under the ACMRA, agency reports will become publicly available on GPO’s website within 30 days of submission to Congress, with the contents redacted in accordance with FOIA’s provisions — including the removal of classified or otherwise confidential material. It will be easy to track reports as new editions are released.
Additionally, for the first time we will have a comprehensive list of all Executive branch reports the law requires be submitted to Congress. This will let us know what reports are due and tell us whether an agency has complied with its obligation to submit reports in a timely fashion.
The House of Representatives most recently passed ACMRA in the 116th Congress in July 2019. A companion measure was favorably reported out of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee in April 2019. The legislation will be co-sponsored by Reps. Quigley and Comer, was first introduced in 2010, has enjoyed bipartisan co-sponsors, and we hope it will become part of this Congress’s transparency legacy.
American Library Association
Americans for Prosperity Foundation
Bipartisan Policy Center Action
Campaign for Accountability
Center for Responsive Politics
Data Coalition Initiative
Defending Rights & Dissent
Freedom of the Press Foundation
Government Accountability Project
Government Information Watch
National Freedom of Information Coalition
National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund
National Security Archive
National Security Counselors
National Taxpayer Union
Open The Government
Pay Our Interns
Project On Government Oversight
R Street Institute
Senior Executives Association
Cc: The Honorable Mike Quigley The Honorable James Comer
The Honorable Carolyn Maloney The Honorable Rodney Davis
The Honorable Zoe Lofgren