House Continues to “Embrace Innovation & Transparency in the Legislative Process” | Speaker.gov

Live at 11:30 a.m. ET → Speaker Ryan’s Annual 'Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day' Press Conference: speaker.gov/live

Here’s what open government and transparency advocates are saying about the announcement by Speaker Boehner and Leader Cantor that the House is now making the U.S. Code available in XML …

  • “Three years on, Republicans in Congress continue to follow through on promises to embrace innovation and transparency in the legislative process.” (Alex Howard, U.S. House of Representatives publishes U.S. Code as open government data, 7/30/13)
  • “This has been a long time coming; House leadership deserves enormous credit for making it a reality. ... Kudos to the House for continuing to set a great example for the rest of government. We're looking forward to hacking on this new dataset for a long time to come.” (Sunlight Foundation, The U.S. Code Arrives In XML, 7/30/13)
  • “‘This is great progress toward better public oversight of government,’ [Jim Harper, Director of Information Policy Studies at the Cato Institute] said. ‘Having the U.S. Code in XML can allow websites, apps, and information services to weave together richer stories about how the law applies and how Congress is thinking about changing it.’” (U.S. House of Representatives publishes U.S. Code as open government data, 7/30/13)
  • “This seemingly technical announcement must be understood as a bigger win for transparency than it would initially appear. … What the House leadership is doing (in a bipartisan fashion, no less) is empowering the American people to better understand the law. Congress is publishing the law online, in real time, and in formats that web developers can refashion into tools that empower everyone to understand the rules that govern our country.” (CREW, In Transparency Win, House Opens Up US Code, 7/30/13)
  • “‘I think they did an outstanding job,’ commented Eric Mill, a developer at the Sunlight Foundation. ‘Historically, the U.S. Code has been extremely difficult to reliably and accurately use as data. These new XML files are sensibly designed, thoroughly documented, and easy to use.’” (U.S. House of Representatives publishes U.S. Code as open government data, 7/30/13)
  •  “‘[The U.S. Code data] is really good example of this kind of project done right,’ [Joshua Tauberer, creator of Govtrack] said. ‘The documentation is very comprehensive and detailed and really one of the best examples of documentation for a government XML standard that I've ever seen. The data is structured in a coherent, natural way.’ … The new tool will make it possible for Govtrack to offer a service allowing users to track elements of the Code and receive an alert any time a bill mentions a specific section, he said.” (TechPresident, House Publishes U.S. Code in XML, 7/30/13)

Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) also praised the move, calling it “an important step towards making our federal laws more open and transparent.” He commended the “dedicated civil servants who are leading the effort from the non-partisan legislative branch agencies, like OLRC, who work diligently behind the scenes – too often without recognition – to keep Congress working and moving forward.”

House Administration Committee Chair Candice Miller (R-MI) said, “This improvement, which will save both time and money, changes the legislative transparency landscape.”

And Oversight & Government Reform Chair Darrell Issa (R-CA) said, “By broadening access to public, government data we give civic engineers and developers the ability to create new, innovative ways of sharing this information with the American people.”

Learn more about ongoing open government initiatives in the House at speaker.gov/open.