House Adopts Open Govt Bills

The House of Representatives yesterday adopted a slate of open government bills by large, veto-proof majorities in the face of sharp opposition from the Bush White House.

“Today, Congress took an important step towards restoring openness and transparency in government,” said Rep. Henry Waxman, who expeditiously moved the bills through his Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

“Over the past six years, the Bush Administration has done everything it can to operate in secret, to avoid public scrutiny, and to limit congressional oversight,” Rep. Waxman said. “I am pleased that Congress is reversing this course by passing four critically important good government bills with strong bipartisan support.”

The vote coincided with Sunshine Week, a national campaign by media organizations and others to promote values of openness and accountability.

The House debate on amendments to the Freedom of Information Act, adopted by a vote of 308-117, is here. The White House statement of opposition is here (pdf).

The debate on provisions to strengthen whistleblower protections (adopted 331-94) is here. The White House opposition is here (pdf).

The House debate on amendments to the Presidential Records Act which, among other things, would nullify President Bush’s executive order on the subject (adopted 333-93) is here. And the White House statement of opposition is here (pdf).

A fourth bill adopted by the House would require increased disclosure of donors to presidential libraries.

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