The Bulk Data Task Force (BDTF) is essentially the justice league of legislative data.
The task force convenes each quarter, bringing together the people in charge of managing Legislative Branch data—like the House Clerk, Secretary of the Senate, GPO, and Library of Congress—as well as outside stakeholders. Together the group works to make legislative data freely accessible to all.
Congress requested a number of improvements to how the legislative branch functions as part of the Legislative Branch Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2019 (and, in one instance, for FY 2018). What happened?
We reviewed the status of requested leg branch projects in the following chart and then provided an issue-by-issue analysis. We expect to have more status updates at this week’s upcoming Legislative Data and Transparency Conference.
On Friday, Sens. Gary Peters (D-MI) and Rob Portman (R-OH) introduced legislation to make it much easier to find how federal agencies propose to spend federal funds. The Congressional Budget Justification Transparency Act of 2019 (S. 2560) requires all agencies to publish a plain language explanation of their funding proposal — known as a Congressional Justification (CJ) — online within two weeks of submitting them to Congress. Users must be able to download reports individually and in bulk, and agencies are encouraged to publish the CJs as structured data.
CONAN is a legal treatise prepared by the Library of Congress’s Congressional Research Service and published by the Government Publishing Office (GPO). The document is a non-partisan and comprehensive analysis of how the Supreme Court has interpreted the U.S. Constitution.
The likelihood of Congress reinstating a science and technology assessment office is at an all time high, but should such an agency be reconstituted, how should it decide what issues to address?
Congress’s other legislative support agencies — the Government Accountability Office, the Congressional Research Service, and the Congressional Budget Office — use various mechanisms to decide where to devote analytic resources. The GAO, for example, prioritizes congressional mandates, then senior leader and committee requests, and then individual member requests, with the practical effect that individual member requests are not usually considered. CRS, by contrast, leaves significant discretion to its analysts concerning which general distribution reports to create, although it does look at frequent requests from members of Congress. (CRS memos, of course, are written at the request of individual members.)Continue reading “How Should the New OTA Decide What To Study?”→
Every year federal agencies explain to Congress their requests for funding in a document known as a Congressional Budget Justification (CBJ). Unlike other budget documents, these requests are written to be read and understood by most people.
Hundreds of agencies and sub-agencies submit these requests and OMB requires executive branch agencies to publish their CBJs online, but there hasn’t been a ‘one-stop-shop’ government database that aggregates all the requests in one place…until now (sort of).