House to Weigh Overhaul of Open Records Process

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Thumbnail Image - "US Capitol west side" by Martin Falbisoner - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons.

Fifty years after Congress passed a law opening most government records to public scrutiny, the House is expected Tuesday to take up the most important open records overhaul since 2007. Majorities of both Republicans and Democrats are expected to support the legislation.

Republicans in the House, frustrated by what they call the State Department’s incomplete and slow response to inquiries about Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state, have complained that the open records process “is broken” and that the Obama administration has ignored the law. Democrats, while defending the administration, agree that the records law needs strengthening.

The bill already has 54 co-sponsors, including 25 Democrats, making it one of the few pieces of truly bipartisan legislation expected to pass this Congress.

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