Nov 02 2007
Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) supported the Plain Language in Government Communications Act of 2007 (S.2291), introduced yesterday by Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii).
The bill will make public documents issued by the federal government easier to use and understand by requiring use of concise, well-organized plain language.
Agencies would be required to write forms for federal taxes, veterans' benefits, Medicare and Social Security, federal college aid, and other crucial federal government programs in language that is clear and understandable.
Sen. Carper, a co-sponsor of the legislation, said: “Federal agency staff should understand that the people they deal with outside of Washington may not be as familiar with complicated agency terms and issues. I join my colleagues in introducing legislation today that will make it easier for citizens to deal with the IRS, the Social Security Administration and other key federal agencies to get the information and help they need with less hassle and confusion.”
By requiring agencies to write in plain language, the legislation’s goal is to provide better constituent service and make the government more efficient, allowing agencies to spend less time answering customer questions and obtain better consumer compliance.
Sen. Akaka is the chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce, and the District of Columbia of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. The other bill co-sponsors are Sens. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Carl Levin (D-Minn.).