First Reactions to Senate Democrats’ Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee Bill

On Monday, the Senate Appropriations Committee Democrats released draft text, explanatory statements, and summaries for nine appropriations bills, including the Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee. We reviewed the bill text, explanatory report, and subcommittee bill summary and compared the proposed funding to the enacted levels from the last Congress. 

Senate Democratic Appropriators proposed a discretionary funding level of $29.4 billion, a $4.8 billion increase compared to FY 2021 enacted levels, or 16.3 percentage increase. This proposal represents $154 million less than the president’s request. For reference, the House-version — which passed the House in July as part of a minibus (here’s the committee report) — proposed $29.1 billion. Senate Republicans disapproved of Democrats publication of these bills and are calling for an agreement on top line spending levels; Democrats have been calling for negotiations for months.

Prior to this appropriations cycle, we compiled a list of ideas to include in the FY 2022 FSGG Appropriations bill. They include creating virtual visitor logs, providing centralized access to agency congressional budget justifications, public access to OMB apportionment decisions, listing unpublished IG reports on oversight.gov, improving congressional and public access to IG reports, and a COVID-19 spending tracker.

We note two notable provisions in the Senate’s explanatory statement

1. Apportionment Transparency

Providing $1 million to OMB to create a system to make apportionment of appropriations publicly available in a timely manner. Once the system is complete, OMB will be required to place each apportionment document on the public website within two days. (p. 45 of bill text and p. 28 of explanatory statement).

2. Federal Government Internships

Directing OPM to develop a strategy — which includes working with federal agencies and nonprofits — to increase the number of interns in the federal government over a three-year period. The strategy must include recruitment practices, onboarding, professional development, and offboarding (p. 83 of the explanatory statement).

Continue reading “First Reactions to Senate Democrats’ Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee Bill”

Forecast for October 18, 2021

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Welcome to the First Branch Forecast, your regular look into the Legislative branch and government transparency. Tell your friends to subscribe. In the words of Ted Lasso, “I appreciate you.”

THE TOP LINE

Send me in, coach. The House returns on Tuesday with a fairly light floor schedule that suggests bigger legislation is afoot. The Senate reconvenes on Monday. In addition to our list of notable events and hearings, it appears that the Attorney General will be testifying before the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday.

We’re watching the Senate to see if/when it will report out its FY2022 Appropriations bills. If, like us, you’re especially eager to see Leg Branch Approps, consider this an aperitif: CRS has a new report covering the FY 2022 Leg Branch Approps bill. As a reminder, our research shows that funding for the Legislative branch has grown at half the rate of the other non-defense discretionary spending and that the vast majority of new funds over the last quarter-century have gone to the Architect and the Capitol Police. This fiscal year the House has ponied up but will the Senate see the raise?

Congress is failing to retain capable staff and that problem is particularly acute among Black staffers, the New York Times reported. Among the recommendations outlined in a joint letter from the Congressional Black Associates and the Senate Black Legislative Staff Caucus: (1) living wages for all congressional staffers, (2) a stronger pipeline from college to the Legislative branch, (3) more opportunities to develop skills inside Congress, (4) purposeful and fair hiring practices. We note the Joint Center and Pay Our Interns have much to share on these points. In addition to the aspects cited in the Times article, we must emphasize the importance of having Legislative branch wide data, of the Senate establishing an Office of Diversity and Inclusion, of establishing pay floors for interns and staff and improving staff recruitment, and of considering unionization. Crucially, improving funding for the Legislative branch — and especially staff pay — is the price of democracy and the focus of calls from good government groups on the left and on the right.

There’s a bunch of transparency and oversight events this week and next:

• COVID-19 response transparency. The Congressional Transparency Caucus will discuss the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee — the oversight committee created to monitor the disbursement of the CARES act and five other pandemic-related packages totalling over $5 trillion — on Wednesday, October 20th at 10 AM ET. Panelists include PRAC Chair and DOJ IG Michael Horowitz, Liz Hempowiz of POGO, Chicago IG Joseph Ferguson, and Deputy IG at the Department of the Interior Caryl N. Brzymialkiewicz. Register here.

• Modernizing the Library of Congress. An oversight hearing on LOC’s modernization efforts will be held by the Senate Rules Committee on Wednesday, October 20th at 3 PM.

• Modernizing Congressional Support Agencies (CBO/GAO/CRS) is the subject of another House Modernization Committee hearing scheduled for Wednesday, October 21st from 9-11 AM. We previewed Zach Graves’ testimony on GAO, and Wendy Ginsberg’s on CRS, in last week’s newsletter.

• Safeguarding Inspector General Independence and Integrity — especially topical for today’s newsletter — will be considered at an HSGAC hearing this Thursday, October 21st at 10:15 AM.

• Transparency lightning talks. New transparency policy ideas will be discussed in a quick, digestible format on Monday, November 8th at 11 AM ET at the Advisory Committee on Transparency’s fourth event of 2021. Presenters include transparency experts from across the political spectrum: Walter Shaub of POGO, Erica Newland of Protect Democracy, Corinna Turbes of the Data Coalition, Reynold Schweickhardt of the Lincoln Network, and more. RSVP here.

Continue reading “Forecast for October 18, 2021”

Forecast for October 12, 2021

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THE TOP LINE

The House will be back briefly on Tuesday to vote to raise the debt ceiling. With the quick turn-around during a committee work week, how many members will vote by proxy? Honestly, voting remotely seems appropriate here, although members should have their full powers to intervene on the House floor (i.e., make motions) regardless of whether they’re physically present, which current House rules do not yet provide for. The Senate will be back on October 18th.

The Congressional Transparency Caucus will discuss the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee — the oversight committee created to monitor the disbursement of the CARES act and five other pandemic-related packages totalling over $5 trillion — on Wednesday, October 20th at 10 AM. Panelists include PRAC Chair and DOJ IG Michael Horowitz, Liz Hempowiz of POGO, Chicago IG Joseph Ferguson, and more. Register here.

Transparency lightning talks. If you’re interested in a series of quick pitches for making government more open and accountable, the Advisory Committee on Transparency will be hosting a series of short presentations that you can watch from the comfort of your desk. The all-star list of presenters includes Walter Shaub of POGO, Corinna Turbes of the Data Coalition, Erica Newland of Protect Democracy, Freddy Martinez of Open The Government, and more. The event is set for 11:00 am ET on November 8th. RSVP here.

Continue reading “Forecast for October 12, 2021”

Forecast for October 4, 2021

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Congress passed the stopgap funding bill on September 30, temporarily averting a government shutdown. While in theory there will be no House floor votes until the 19th and the next two weeks are committee work weeks, with the debt ceiling default almost upon us, the House will be back sooner than that. Also in theory, the Senate is in this week but will be out October 11-15. How will negotiations go on all this? For the Democrats, a lot depends on how it is framed in the media, and it seems pundits are giving Republicans a pass.

The end of the fiscal year also means that agency actions pursuant to FY 2021 appropriations report language (unless otherwise specified) are past due. Would it surprise you that we have a list of all items required and requested in the FY 2021 Legislative branch appropriations bill? (Among other things, there’s a lot of activity we have yet to see from the U.S. Capitol Police.)

Continue reading “Forecast for October 4, 2021”

Forecast for September 27, 2021

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Hey everyone, welcome to the First Branch Forecast, your regular look into the Legislative branch and government transparency. Subscribe here. We had written a lot more but pared it down because that seemed the humane thing to do. Here’s the top things you need to know.

Spending and budget. You already know that we’re in for a bumpy time with the end of the fiscal year, consideration of the physical and social infrastructure bills, and so on. Everything is being made worse by Senate Republicans who not only oppose raising the debt ceiling — a violation of Congressional norms — but will use the filibuster to greatly increase the likelihood of an economic catastrophe. They might profit from the gambit, too, as much of the reporting is focused on politics instead of governance. What’s the timeline on all this? IDK, but here’s your Sunday-night Dear Colleague from the Speaker.

Oversight. A wild story arising from the CIA’s secret “war” on Julian Assange, including the possibility of his assassination and gunfights on the streets of London with Russian agents, raises significant congressional oversight and authorization concerns. Did Congress know about the CIA’s efforts to avoid reporting its activities to Congress by reclassifying Wikileaks as a spy service based on its internal secret law? Or its reclassification of journalists (like Laura Poitras) as “information brokers” in support of allowing greater degrees of surveillance? Or a whole host of unsavory, likely extralegal, and fairly insane potential misadventures? As always on these matters, look to Sen. Wyden, who raised the alarm as best he could in a statement accompanying consideration of the 2018 Intelligence Authorization Act. “My concern is that the use of the novel phrase ‘non-state hostile intelligence service’ may have legal, constitutional, and policy implications, particularly should it be applied to journalists inquiring about secrets. The language in the bill suggesting that the U.S. government has some unstated course of action against ‘non-state hostile intelligence services’ is equally troubling.” I guess this will make Thursday’s mark-up of the FY 2022 IAA more exciting — too bad the proceedings are closed.

Transparency. The infrastructure bill has a huge FOIA carve-out that exempts the $42 billion in broadband deployment from normal transparency requirements — will someone strip that odious provision from the bill? Our friends at OpenTheGovernment are being subpoenaed by ClearviewAI, which apparently is happy gathering your personal information off the internet but is less happy when investigated for their facial recognition tech and how it’s being used. Russ Kick, a well-known transparency activist and author who created the Memory Hole website and published many newsworthy documents, has died.

Legislation. The Congressional Budget Justification Transparency Act was signed into law this past week — it requires that all plain-language explanations of how agencies would spend the appropriated monies they’ve requested be available in a central location. (Yay!) Among the many amendments to the NDAA was the PLUM Act, which would modernize the PLUM Book by creating a continuously-updated repository of more than 9,000 executive branch appointees. (Also, yay!) The Access to Congressionally Mandated Reports Act was introduced by Sens. Portman, Peters, Klobuchar, and Hassan — it would require all reports required to be submitted to Congress from agencies be available on a central website, subject to appropriate redactions — a companion measure introduced by Reps. Quigley and Comer and a score of other members passed the House in July. The humongous Protecting Our Democracy Act (text not yet available) was (re)introduced in the House and contains numerous welcome provisions to rein in out-of-control presidents. (Among its provisions, visibility into apportionments.)

The Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress held a hearing last week on civilityRoll Call has a good recap, but we think the best way to promote civility is to learn from the SCOMC itself and also look at the incentives that leadership is creating for party members. We are excited for a SCOMC hearing this Tuesday focused on modernizing Congressional support agencies, with testimony from GAO, CRS, and CBO and civil society experts on each.

Operations. House Democrats have weakened chamber rules to restrict the minority’s ability to use resolutions of inquiry to get answers from the executive branch. Rising constituent needs are swamping poorly funded congressional offices. The CBC is pushing Sen. Schumer to remove confederate statues and we wonder why Congress doesn’t charge the Joint Committee on the Library with moving them out of sight in the interim? How will the new “ban the box” law, which prevents consideration of a criminal history in the early stages of hiring, change how the legislative branch operates? A new IG report into the GAO sheds a little light on its detailees. A new Brookings report shows 128 committee oversight letters sent within the first six months of the 117th Congress, 29% of which were bipartisan, the vast majority of which came from the House Oversight Committee! By the way, what’s the odds that spyware only exists on the phones of French ministers and not, say, members of Congress?

Capitol Police. The Capitol Police Board still hasn’t acted on recs from 2017, says House Admin RM Davis. The USCP can not keep secret some surveillance footage from the Trump insurrection despite their efforts to the contrary. Threats against members have increased significantly, to 4,135 in the first quarter per the Capitol Police versus 8,613 for 2020, but they aren’t saying how many threats were substantiated, resulted in prosecutions, or resulted in convictions — or whether they’ve changed how they’re gathering this info.

Trump insurrection.The White House might decline to assert executive privilege concerning Trump and his aides activities as part of the Trump insurrection. The Select Committee on Jan. 6th issued subpoenas to four Trump aides. Conservative legal notable John Eastman put forward an incredibly dangerous plan to throw out electors and install Trump as president — it took Dan Quayle to dissuade Pence of this approach. The FBI had an informant among the insurrectionists.

Ethics. TikTokers are using member stock disclosures as a basis to make their own trades, counting on the reps using insider knowledge to make quick profits.

Continue reading “Forecast for September 27, 2021”

Forecast for September 20, 2021

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THE TOP LINE

The upcoming 10 days are going to be crazy, but the tick-tock is adequately covered by other newsletters so you don’t need it from us. Here is this week’s House floor calendar, the Senate floor schedulethe combined committee calendar, and the House Rules Committee Monday meeting announcement that includes links to the draft CR and NDAA. (See this great NDAA explainer in advance of what will likely be a fun round of floor amendments.) Looking ahead, Senate Republicans say they will vote to allow a debt default, a cynical position staked out by Sen. McConnell, who “will vote for a policy outcome he says he doesn’t want to occur.”

You might think I’m being unfair in my criticism, but the Washington Post profiled former AP journalist and appropriations expert Andrew Taylor, who has quit covering Congress and the journalism business entirely and is now criticizing Republican leadership, including Sen. McConnell on the very topic of the debt ceiling. Generally speaking, he’s described their “approach to their jobs is too often bad-faith bullshit,” and says the rules of objective journalism “can often obscure the reality of what’s really going on.”

The Senate Appropriations Committee was set to have subcommittee mark-ups this week but BGOV ($) says they were postponed because of Republican opposition, although BGOV is unclear on whether Republicans were going to vote against the bills in the evenly-divided committee or boycott the proceedings. This raises a number of governance questions, and as you know, we are focused closely on the ability of the Legislative branch to do its job, including funding for its operations.

Continue reading “Forecast for September 20, 2021”

Forecast for September 13, 2021

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THE TOP LINE

The fence is (almost certainly) coming back around the Capitol building and Supreme Court in anticipation of an event featuring Trump insurrectionists and their allies. Representatives of white supremacist groups who were promoting the “rally,” such as the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers, now say their membership will not show up because “it’s a government trap,” but we shall see.

Keeping Congress safe includes maintaining a safe working environment. Pres. Biden is requiring COVID shots for Executive branch employees. Will the House and Senate do the same? They should, especially as some legislators and staff are a public health danger: Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene will be fined for failing to wear a mask on the House floor — this is the third fine for Rep. Greene — and half of House Republicans in July would not say whether they’ve gotten the shot. I don’t know whether Congress can require legislators to get the COVID shot, but likely it could impose such a requirement on staff.

Toxic congressional bosses, whether literal or metaphorical, often leave staff with little recourse when things predictably go wrong. Why Congress does not have a HR department is the subject of a Business Insider article that explains that, for those at the receiving end of bad behavior, “the odds [are] stacked in favor of members and superiors and against rank-and-file employees.” (Unions are one way employees traditionally respond to this kind of environment, but that requires the House or Senate to act.)

Staff want to leave Capitol Hill and who can blame them? Addressing quality of life issues is essential and the starting point has to be pay. Speaker Pelosi increased the salary cap for top aides last month, but retaining staffers — especially in the face of the private sector’s strategic head-hunting — also means increasing salaries for everyone. The House passed a significant restoration of funding for the Legislative branch at the behest of Reps. Hoyer, AOC, and half the Democratic caucus, but it cannot go into effect without the Senate’s assent.

Pay alone is not enough. A workable HR department, student loan repayment help, support for continuing education, assistance with child care, a safe workplace, flexible leave policies, and much more is necessary in a workplace where pay will never be competitive with the private sector. Telework policies also make sense, as does remote work … including for members who because of emergencies or other exigent circumstances cannot or should not attend in person. Of course, House Minority Leader McCarthy is petitioning the Supreme Court to end proxy voting after losing in lower courts. We prefer truly remote proceedings to proxy voting for a number of reasons, but we cannot agree with the Leader’s logic. Should Rep. Morelle, who announced on Sunday that he has COVID, be forced to choose between returning to the chamber and infecting his colleagues and forgoing the opportunity to cast a vote on behalf of his constituents?

Continue reading “Forecast for September 13, 2021”

Forecast for September 7, 2021

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Welcome to the First Branch Forecast, your regular look into the Legislative branch and government transparency. Subscribe here.

THE TOP LINE

Yesterday was Labor Day, which is as good a reason as any to ask why the House and Senate do not allow staff for elected officials to unionize? (They do in Ohio and overseas.) Labor laws are intended to give employees a voice, and yet congressional staff work in an environment with fewer labor protections than those afforded to other federal and private sector workers. In the mid-90s, Republicans enacted legislation that gave congressional support staff the right to unionize — which I recount here — and the House and Senate set up a process that, much to their chagrin, resulted in regulations allowing political staff to unionize as well. But they wrote the law in such a way as to require a House or Senate resolution to put those regulations into effect, at least as far as we can tell. So why hasn’t either chamber acted?

On the topic of workplace safety, congressional security forces are considering bringing back the fence on an interim basis in anticipation of a rally by Trump insurrectionists at the Capitol on September 18th; rising threats by racial extremists and anti-government extremists who seek to exploit COVID as a rationale for terrorism; and a packed calendar of religious holidays, event anniversaries, and a high-profile legislative calendar. The fence is a band-aid for what’s actually necessary: wholesale reforms of the Capitol Police and security on Capitol hill.

Two new Capitol Police IG reports, which contain the IG’s executive summaries and conclusions but none of the findings or narratives, were publicly released by the Committee on House Administration last week. The first report focused on “deficiencies with the Department’s Command and Coordination Bureau.” The second report addressed “deficiencies with the Department’s Hazardous Incident Response Division (HIRD) and Canine Unit (K-9 or Unit).” Roll Call summarized the findings. It’s the same story as the other reports: the Capitol Police leadership failed; there is inadequate training from the top to bottom, inadequate coordination, and inadequate guidance.

Congressional Technology. The Library of Congress held its second annual virtual forum on legislative data services last week. It was well attended, covered a lot of ground, and we will publish a write-up soon. We congratulate the Library on a successful event. (Video does not yet appear to be publicly available.) One big take-away: while the conversation was productive and included a well-received exchange of ideas and information, the Library — which was required by Appropriators to host forums in 2020 and 2021 — would not commit to holding them in the future. It may require Congress to once again ask the Library to meet with the public; the Library previously has made clear it will not share its evaluation of requests regarding legislative data services (e.g., Congress.gov) with the public without being directed to do so by Congress.

 Many of the substantive announcements regarding Library activities already were covered at the July Bulk Data Task Force meeting, which we wrote about here. However, there was some new information, which we will cover in a future article. While the panelists did a good job with their presentations, as usual, the best part was the live Q&A with the public.

• Public requestsThe Policy Agendas project, a consortium of political scientists that “assembles and codes information on the policy processes of governments from around the world,” organized a letter signed by 18 political scientists to Dr. Hayden in advance of the virtual forum “to advocate for greater publication of documents and data by the Library of Congress on Congress.gov.” Among their requests, the Library should: make historic bill text available online; review and publish CRS reports from the CRSX archive; collect Congressionally mandated Executive branch agency reports; publish all hearing information and committee reports from 1970 forwards; and adopt the Policy Agenda’s project coding system. They also endorsed our letter from 2020 that contained recommendations on how the Library could improve its legislative information sources. The Library was taking feedback through this webform, although it is unclear whether they will continue to do so.

Tracking legislative memes. One idea raised several times at the forum, and which we have been working on for more than a year, is tracking legislative ideas across multiple bills in the same Congress and over multiple Congresses. We have a new tool, BillMap, that allows you to track these legislative memes — we’re still working on it and feedback is welcome. The task of identifying legislation related to a particular bill is more complex than most people would imagine. You can’t simply brute force the process by mechanically comparing legislative text, as much more finesse and understanding of the legislative process is required. One of our developers wrote about how we track legislative memes and assess when bills may be related to one another. We have ideas for additional methods and refinements.

Restoring funding for GAO to address the reconciliation shortfall? The conservative Lincoln Network just released an excellent report that explores how GAO saves taxpayers money. GAO has said repeatedly that taxpayers save at least $100 for every $1 invested in GAO, and yet over the decades Congress has been defunding GAO. If we restored GAO to its 1992 funding level (calculated as a percentage of federal spending), an increase of $400 million or so, that would result in more than $40 billion in savings. I’m not a budget person, but I do wonder whether there’s a way to increase GAO’s funding and use it as a pay-for in the budget reconciliation package?

Continue reading “Forecast for September 7, 2021”

Forecast for August 27, 2021

Welcome to the First Branch Forecast, your regular look into the Legislative branch and government transparency. This is an unusual Friday edition; we are hoping to not publish next week. Subscribe here.

THE TOP LINE
The House returns for a committee work week on Tuesday; the Senate is out until September 13th.The House’s National Defense Authorization Act markup will start on September 1. There are a number of important deadlines: House and Senate committees are expected to report their portions of the reconciliation package by September 15th; appropriations bills of some kind must be enacted before the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30th; and the debt limit will be reached in October or November.

Don’t forget: The Library of Congress has a virtual public forum (which means you!) on its digital services set for Sept. 2nd. This is an opportunity to ask for new tools, features, and information from the Library.

CAPITOL SECURITY
A “rally” by Trump insurrectionists and fellow right wing extremists set for Sept. 18th is alarming Capitol security officials who fear it will be violent; the event is set for a Saturday and reports do not indicate the expected size of the crowd. Earlier in the week is the 20th anniversary of 9/11, which also is raising alarm bells, although news reports provide no real information about what kind of threat, if any, may arise. We cannot tell the extent to which USCP operations have been reformed in the last 8 months, but transforming the agency into a capable security force will take years and we have grave doubts about the ability of its intelligence units to assess the circumstances.

After it was reported in the press, the USCP issued a press release acknowledging it completed its internal investigation into the shooting of Ashli Babbitt. The findings (or a summary thereof) were not released so we do not know what it says except flat assertions in the news release itself; the officer will not face internal discipline; and the officer (who is not being officially named) and their family have been “subject of numerous credible and specific threats.” The twitter thread in response to the USCP announcement apparently includes the name of the officer and a revolting amount of insurrection-related vitriol.

That officer, Lt. Michael Byrd, gave an interview with NBC news where he explained his actions were a last resort to protect members of Congress holed up in the House chamber. Lt. Byrd has received death threats and has gone into hiding for months as Trump insurrectionists and fellow travelers turn the unfortunate but likely inescapable shooting of insurrectionist Babbitt into a twisting rallying cry. We found this coverage provides the best context.

Ring, ring. The January 6th Committee is set to request telephone companies preserve phone records of certain Members of Congress, among other people.

The Capitol Police responded to a new IG flash report with this press statement. Oddly, IG flash report #5 is not publicly available, but the AP reported on it. The headline: “Report details mishandling of police emergency system on 1/6.” The USCP IG does not release reports to the public as a matter of policy (even though it’s routine for IGs across the government), although House Admin has been releasing the IG’s new flash reports, which appear to be designed for public consumption. Appropriators had requested the IG compile a list of reports over the last three years that it could release, and that report is due by September 30th. Maybe the IG should just go ahead and release this one instead of holding it for the likely House Admin hearing.

The August Capitol bomber, Floyd Ray Roseberry, has been “diagnosed with bipolar disorder and needs more medical treatment.” Roseberry, who said he had a bomb but did not have one that functioned, made a number of far right statements during a stand-off with security forces. To my mind, this highlights the danger of violent rhetoric that can activate all sorts of people.

Oddly, but not unsurprisingly, the U.S. Capitol Police’s weekly arrest summary does not include the arrest of Floyd Ray Roseberry. The Capitol Police put out a press release on 8/19 saying they arrested him, so we know they did it, and yet… nothing. This suggests, as we have long suspected, that the Capitol Police’s weekly arrest summaries are not comprehensive or reliable. When we dug into this previously, the USCP gave us a cryptic response about what they exclude from these reports.

7 Capitol Police officers have filed a civil lawsuit against ex-Pres. Trump and others “claiming they conspired to violently overturn the results of the 2020 election.” Josh Gerstein, as usual, does a good job of putting this all in context and links to the filing — bravo. You can follow the docket (including getting alerts) on CourtListener.

TRANSPARENCY
Appropriations requests are published online by Sen. Braun, which is something we don’t recall having seen before. This includes the date a letter was sent, the sender, the dollar amount, and the purpose, but not the text of the letter itself.

How does newly enacted legislation amend prior legislation? The use of technology to answer that tricky question has moved a step forward with GPO’s publication of statute compilations in USLM XML. If that last sentence is confusing, what it means is that we now have modern metadata for laws that are not officially included in the US code so it becomes possible to automate updates of that legislation and also to show how draft legislation would amend those laws.

The Congressional Budget Justification Transparency Act has passed the House and Senate, going to Pres. Biden’s desk for signature. It has earned bipartisan praise. It requires the publication of an agency’s current and historical Congressional Budget Justifications in a central place online so it is possible to find them easily.

Declassification reforms are classified. Yes, the fixes pushed by Sen. Wyden are contained in the classified annex, so we can’t know what they are. What is classified legislation? Well…..

ODDS AND ENDS
Lobbying. Lobbying by an industry increases when there is greater consolidation (i.e., fewer players) in the industry, according to a new report from the American Economic Liberties Project. The tentative conclusion: monopolies seek to acquire political power through lobbying to avoid competition in the open market.

Endless impeachments from here on out is the premise of Paul Kane’s opinion piece, pointing to Republican calls to impeach Biden over all sorts of stuff, including by Republican notables. He quickly pivots to #bothsides, blaming the bases of both parties, so I don’t exactly recommend his analysis. But Republicans do seem more likely to impeach any Democratic president and Democrats are more likely to impeach Republican presidents who follow in the Trumpian model.

You shouldn’t be afraid at work, but congressional staff are becoming resigned to political violence being part of the job.

Rep. Mooney may have used campaign funds for personal use and used gift cards to hide the recipients of campaign funds, which are no-nos and, according to Roll Call, the topic of an OCE report to the Ethics committee.

ERRATA
The Senate Secretary of the Senate, not the Sergeant at Arms, oversees the Office of Senate Security. I know that, having written a primer on it a while back, but I mixed it up in the last issue.

CALENDAR
Down the road…

• The Library of Congress will host a public forum on Congress.gov on September 2nd from 1 to 4pm ET.

• Make Congress Great Again — the Lincoln Network is hosting a reception on Congressional modernization and reform on September 2nd from 5-7 pm ET. RSVP here.
• Internapalooza, a virtual orientation for interns, will take place on September 9th and 10th.

• The 30th annual LegisTech for Democracy Conference will be held online on September 13th and 14th — save the date now.

• The Senate will return on September 13th.

• Constitution Day is September 17th.