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Press Release Published: May 13, 2021

Comer Markup Statement on the Access to Congressionally Mandated Reports Act

WASHINGTON—Today, the House Committee on Oversight and Reform held a markup on the Access to Congressionally Mandated Reports Act (H.R. 2485), which was introduced by Ranking Member James Comer (R-Ky.) and Congressman Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) to create one central online location to store, search, and access thousands of legally mandated reports provided to Congress.

In his opening statement, Ranking Member Comer outlined the incredible value housed in these reports and reiterated the need for Congress and the public to have easier access to them.

Below are the remarks as prepared.

Madam Chair, I want to thank you for bringing this good government bill up for consideration in our Committee so quickly.

The Access to Congressionally Mandated Reports Act—long championed by my colleague Mr. Mike Quigley—represents an honest effort to modernize Congress and improve the Article I power of the legislative branch.

The bill does this by bolstering the ability of Congress to access and understand the thousands of legally mandated reports compiled by the executive branch and sent to Congress each year.

It is estimated that federal agencies write and send to Congress and Committees like ours over 4,000 written reports every two years.

That is a lot of valuable information.

These legally mandated reports contain insights into the activities of federal agencies, such as the status implementing a newly established program or general updates to combat waste, fraud, and abuse.

However, there is currently no central inventory for Congressional members, staff, or the public to access these reports.

Most reports are sent over via email and can get lost in the shuffle of an ever-changing and evolving Congress.

Or they are only sent to specific Committees, which prevents the rest of Congress and the public from viewing them.

This bill would fix this glaring problem.

The bill establishes a central and publicly available portal of all these reports at the Government Publishing Office.

Congress and members of the public will be able to fully search, sort, and download reports from this website.

This gives the whole of Congress and the American people convenient access to all executive agency reports submitted to Congress—reports that the taxpayers paid for in the first place.

But, do not worry, classified and sensitive information will be protected in keeping with the principles of the Freedom of Information Act.   

In summary, once Congress can get a handle on all of the mandated reports, we can take action to reduce any unnecessary agency reporting burdens.

After all, what’s the point of requiring a report to be written if no one is going to read it?

Simply, this reform bill will help save taxpayer dollars, improve Congressional oversight, and ensure public accountability of the executive branch.

I thank my colleague Mr. Quigley for his work over the years on this good government bill and urge all members of the committee to vote yes.

I yield back the balance of my time.