Congress Passes Historic Bipartisan Legislation to Streamline Federal Records Reporting

Bill now goes to President’s desk for signature

WASHINGTON- Today, a bipartisan group of members of Congress highlighted the passage of legislation that modernizes the Federal Records Act and clarifies how former Presidents’ records are to be released to the public. H.R. 1233 would amend the Presidential Records Act of 1978 to establish a process by which incumbent and former Presidents can review Presidential records to determine whether to assert that executive privilege limits the release of those records. H.R. 1233 would also make a number of reforms to the Federal Records Act to modernize federal recordkeeping statutes and additional changes to improve the federal government’s ability to capture and archive electronic records.

H.R. 1233, the Presidential and Federal Records Act was introduced by House Government Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and passed both the Senate and the House with an amendment authored by Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Ranking Member Tom Coburn (R-Okla.). The bill now goes to the President’s desk for his signature.

Senator Carper, Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee: “Congress passed the Presidential Records Act to ensure that Americans have unfettered access to presidents’ files and records and to help preserve our nation’s history. This bipartisan legislation updates the law and creates a more transparent and timely process for the release of these important historical records. I commend my colleagues in Congress for passing this common-sense legislation.”

Representative Darrell Issa, Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform: “Time and again, oversight investigations have uncovered a troubling practice – officials and bureaucrats using personal email accounts to conduct official business. This bill takes an important first step to address this misuse of resources that puts sensitive data at risk and dodges transparency laws. This legislation creates a new dynamic: federal employees must disclose official business conducted on non-official accounts or they will face repercussions.”

Representative Elijah Cummings, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform: “I introduced this legislation to give the American people access to the records presidents create while they are in office, which is an important step forward in protecting our historical record. I appreciate the bipartisan support of this bill – which has passed the House and Senate with no opposition – and look forward to the President signing it into law.”