This Week in Congress

But first, a look back at last week…

The House of Representatives rammed through their massive First Amendment-shredding legislation, H.R. 1.

The so-called “For the People Act” is really little more than a statist power grab designed to ensure the political Establishment can retain its control over the status quo.

Here is the roll-call vote on H.R. 1. The final vote was 234-193. Every Democrat voted for the bill while every Republican voted no.

H.R. 1 is a large bill with many provisions, including (but not limited to) new mandates on states and new requirements that presidential candidates release their tax returns. (Legislation forcing groups like Campaign for Liberty to divulge its donors would likely pass the House with bipartisan support if introduced as a stand alone bill.)

Last week, the House also passed H.Res. 183, a resolution condemning anti-semitism, islamophobia, racism, sexism, and other forms of bigotry (unless it is directed at straight, white, Christian men.) Twenty-three conservatives voted no because the bill feeds the progressive narrative that bigotry against certain groups is acceptable.

Here is the vote on H.Res. 183.

Now onto this week.

The House is in session Monday through Thursday. The legislation that will get the most attention is H.Con.Res. 24, which express the sense of Congress that the “Mueller Report ” should be made available to the public.

The House will also consider a number of bills under suspension including:

  1. H.R. 974– Requires the Federal Reserve’s Vice Chairman for Supervision to provide written testimony before Congress on the boards efforts on supervising financial institutions.

  1. H.R. 1414– Requires the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FINCEN) to focus on digital currencies, protect against all forms of terrorism, and cooperate with tribal law enforcement.

  1. H.R. 758– Limits financial institutions liability for maintaining accounts at the request of law enforcement.

  1. H.R. 1582- Requires the National Archives to regulate federal agency preservation of electronic messages that are federal records and requires a yearly certification that the president is complying with requests.

  1. H.R. 736—Requires the Government Publishing office to create a website to publish all congressionally-mandated reports.

Campaign for Liberty has signed a letter in support of this bill:

Monday, March 11, 2019

Dear Members of the House of Representatives:

On behalf a bipartisan coalition of 41 organizations, we write in strong support of the Access to Congressionally Mandated Reports Act (H.R. 736), an important transparency bill scheduled for a floor vote on Tuesday. It is entirely appropriate that this legislation be considered during Sunshine Week, the annual celebration of access to public information, and we ​urge you to vote for the legislation​.

The Access to Congressionally Mandated Reports Act (ACMRA) is a straightforward measure with deep and lasting support in both parties. ​First, ACMRA requires that all reports that are mandated by federal law to be submitted by agencies to Congress be made available on the Government Publishing Office’s (GPO’s) website​, with exceptions for material that is classified or otherwise confidential. As all those reports already can become publicly available under the Freedom of Information Act, this provision simplifies congressional and public access to the reports. ​Second, it requires GPO to track all the reports that are due to Congress​ and whether an agency has submitted the report. Until now, there is no central tracking of whether agencies comply with the law.

It is important to describe what ACMRA does not do. It does not make any reports publicly available that would not be obtainable through FOIA. It does not apply to agency reports requested in committee reports, by letter, or email. It would not disclose classified material, information prohibited from disclosure by federal law, privileged or confidential trade secrets, personnel information, certain information gathered for law enforcement purposes, etc. In fact, it would not require disclosure of ​any​ information exempted from disclosure under FOIA. Moreover, Congress can act to prohibit the online disclosure of any of these reports, although they would continue to be obtainable through FOIA under current law.

ACMRA is not a new bill. It recently was passed by the House as part of a larger package. In parallel, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee voted to report a companion measure on February 13. The House Administration and Oversight and Government Reform Committees voted to favorably report the legislation in the 113th, 114th, and 115th Congresses, and the legislation was first introduced in the 111th Congress. The current bill, introduced by Rep. Mike Quigley, has 20 cosponsors, 13 Democrats and 7 Republicans, representing the political breadth of the House.

The Access to Congressionally Mandated Reports Act is a straightforward transparency measure that will empower every member of Congress to have easy access to information about what the government is doing and similarly empower the general public to access information they otherwise would have to submit a FOIA request to obtain. We urge your support. Should you have any questions, please contact Daniel Schuman, policy director, Demand Progress, at ​daniel@demandprogress.org​.

American Association of Law Libraries

American Civil Liberties Union American Library Association

Association of Research Libraries Campaign for Accountability

Campaign for Liberty

Center for Data Innovation

Center for Responsive Politics

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington

Clean Elections Texas

Coalition to Preserve, Protect & Defend

Coalition to Reduce Spending

Common Cause

Data Coalition

Defending Rights & Dissent

Demand Progress

Democracy 21

Due Process Institute

Federation of American Scientists

Free Government Information

Freedom Works

Government Accountability Project


Liberty Coalition

Lincoln Network

National Coalition for History

National Security Archive

National Security Counselors

National Taxpayers Union

Open the Government

Project On Government Oversight

Public Citizen


R Street Institute

Revolving Door Project


Senior Executives Association

Society of Professional Journalists

Sunlight Foundation

Union of Concerned Scientists


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