WASHINGTON, D.C. — The final version of the Government Accountability Act, the first bill passed by the 104th Congress, does not make Congress entirely accountable to the public because it does not subject Congress to the requirements of the federal Freedom of Information Act.
Earlier versions of the bills in both houses called for studies on how to make Congress more open to the public, including the feasibility of making the legislative branch subject to the Freedom of Information Act.
However, the bill that went to the President for signature in mid-January only subjected Congress to labor laws that apply to the private sector, not to open government laws which apply to the executive branch. The House-passed bill called for the study of openness in Congress, but the Senate passed its own version of the bill which the House accepted and it did not go to conference.
The last Congress entertained numerous proposals to make the legislature subject to the FOI Act including proposals that applied the Act but specifically exempted up to 20 administrative offices of Congress from its coverage. (S.2, H.R.1)
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