House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) sent the following letter to the Clerk of the House today calling for the development and adoption of new electronic data standards to help make legislative information more open and Congress more accountable to the American people. A PDF of the letter can be found here.

The Honorable Karen Haas
Clerk
U.S. House of Representatives
H-154, The Capitol
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Mrs. Haas:

The new House Majority is dedicated to changing how our institution operates, with an emphasis on real transparency and greater accountability.  Openness, once a proud tradition of the House, is again the new standard. 

At the start of the 112th Congress, the House adopted a Rules Package that identified electronic documents as a priority for the institution.   Towards that end, we are asking all House stakeholders to work together on publicly releasing the House’s legislative data in machine-readable formats.   

The Rules of the House, adopted on the opening day of this Congress, directed the Committee on House Administration to establish and maintain electronic data standards for the House and its committees. We have asked that this standard be developed in conjunction with your office for the purpose of transitioning the House to more open data formats, such as XML.

We believe that this legislative data, using standardized machine-readable formats, should be publicly available on House websites.  The Clerk’s office should work to ensure the consistent public availability and utility of the House’s legislative data.

Ultimately, legislative data is the property of the American public.  It is our hope that these reforms will continue to rebuild the trust between Congress and the people we serve.

Sincerely,

John A. Boehner                                              Eric Cantor

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