Maintain Public Access to United States Congressional Actions

Landscape

Target: House Appropriations Committee

Goal: Provide the American public with greater access to information about what is going on in Congress.

Internet websites such as govtrack.us offer information to the general public concerning bills in Congress. The website also supplies information about Representatives and Senators so that voters and citizens can gain a greater understanding of those people’s positions in regards to particular bills and laws. This information is not only invaluable to the American public, but access to such information is the right of a free nation of people.

Representative Ander Creenshaw, however, does not agree, and has recently proposed to limit access to this information. While databases such as govtrack.us have been requesting greater and more comprehensive access to information, Congress has responded that it does not trust the American public with such insights. As govtrack.us acknowledges, this is not only insulting, but degrading as well. Most users of govtrack.us “are not looking for an official government document. They want an explanation of what is going on with the bill, and that’s not provided by the government.”

Rather that recognizing the requests of the public, Congress has taken a move in the opposite direction, and has threatened to withhold valuable information from the public. Representative Creenshaw has introduced a bill that would limit what information is offered to the public. Thankfully, Representative Darrell Issa has proposed amendments to this bill which expand the limitations set by Creenshaw. We must ensure that Representative Issa’s amendments are enacted and that the American public is allowed to remain informed about what is going on in their own government.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear House Appropriations Committee,

As a citizen of the United States, it is my right to be an informed and knowledgeable resident of this country. Thus, it is my right to have access to information concerning my government and its actions. Internet websites such as govtrack.us aim to provide me with this type of information, and such access is invaluable to me.

Govtrack.us has, for years, requested that the United States government provide it with more comprehensive data which it could release to the public in order to create easier access to information. You have continually denied these requests, and have finally responded by proposing to limit what information you provide. This is appalling and a direct blow to the rights of Americans everywhere.

I urge you to rethink your position on the matter and to consider Representative Darrell Issa’s amendments to the bill that your committee has proposed. Not only is access to information a right of the American people, but it is essential to growth and maintenance of this democratic country.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

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59 Signatures

  • Hermann Kastner
  • Eric von Borstel
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