The Library of Congress announced that the legislative information website THOMAS is scheduled to stop functioning on July 5, with Congress.gov to replace its functionality. This will allow the Library to focus all its energy on Congress.gov instead of having also to maintain a very awkward, 21-year-old website.
I’m sure that many news reports will give credit to Newt Gingrich for THOMAS. It is true that he was largely responsible for the political lifting required to build the site, which is a big deal. It was not his brain child, however, and a fair amount of technical work was previously performed under the democrats, who lost power in 1994/5. There were prior efforts to make legislative information available to the general public, including a wrongheaded effort by GPO to sell the data and the clever use of GOPHER to release data, which I dare not try to describe. Continue reading “So Long, THOMAS”→
Politico’s Burgess Everett reports today on Sen. Mike Lee, who intends to run for the number 4 spot in the Republican Party Senate leadership but has become ensnared in a fight over party rules. Sen. Lee says he is running for an open seat because the current holder of that spot, Sen. Barrasso, is term limited under party rules, but Sen. McConnell doesn’t see it the same way, arguing Sen. Barrasso still can run for another term. Politically, running for an open seat is different from challenging an incumbent.
Personnel and process determine policy. How parties choose who serves in leadership roles, as committee chairs, and as members of particular committees matters a lot. To a large extent, the rules of the party conference or caucus control who can serve in leadership, as a committee chair, or on a committee — and lots of other things, too.Continue reading “The Rules That Rule the Rules”→
The OpenGov Foundation hosted the Door Stop Awards yesterday, which recognized the largely (butnotentirely) unsung efforts to open the doors of Congress to the American people.
Last night, at the first ever Door Stop Awards last night, six Members of Congress and congressional staff were honored by the open government community for their tireless efforts to drag Congress into the digital age and make the legislative branch more open, responsive, and accountable.