The U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) announced today that bill summaries from the House of Representatives are now available in XML format for bulk data download from GPO’s Federal Digital System (FDsys). Bill summaries, which are prepared by the Library of Congress’ Congressional Research Service, describe the most significant provisions of a piece of legislation and detail their effects on current law. XML allows data to be easily utilized by third parties looking to analyze or republish the data in order to provide increased openness and transparency to the legislative process.
“This may seem like tech jargon, but in reality, it is one of the simplest ways to get more eyes – and thus, more scrutiny – on the House’s work,” Speaker Boehner said. “I am grateful to GPO for stepping up and delivering this service to the American people, who I hope will take advantage of this and all the innovations we have made to better connect citizens and lawmakers.”
This project is one in a series of legislative data initiatives called for by Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader Cantor in 2011 in an effort to make Congress more open and accountable to the American people. These projects have since been led by the Legislative Branch Bulk Data Task Force, who has also coordinated the release of XML House Floor Summaries and the U.S. Code.