The House of Representatives – which has been called the “most digitally inclined” in U.S. history – took another step today toward making bulk legislative information easily available to the public.
The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Legislative Branch Appropriations approved legislation creating a task force to examine the best way to increase “dissemination of congressional information via bulk data download.” The task force will address potential costs, timeline for implementation, how and whether to authenticate data, and more. You can read the language here.
The drive for more openness and transparency has been a hallmark of the 112th Congress. Since January 2011, the House unveiled a redesigned House.gov and has begun posting legislative data in XML at docs.House.gov; streaming the House floor online and to mobile devices, and providing updates in real-time and in XML; utilizing new low-cost video conferencing tools; streaming committee hearings online; and more.
This bulk data effort follows from new rules adopted at the beginning of the 112th Congress making the posting of electronic documents a priority, and a letter from Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) on “publicly releasing the House’s legislative data in machine-readable formats.”
Making Congress more open and transparent was a key part of the Pledge to America, and the House is going to keep working to fulfill that pledge.