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House committee proposes transparency enhancements

The committee tasked with recommending ways to improve the inner workings of Congress approved a first set of policy proposals, focused on increasing the transparency of the lawmaking process.

The five proposed reforms passed Thursday by the bipartisan Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress are intended to improve the public's access to congressional information. The recommendations would:

  • Standardize the format of legislative text, making it easier for the public to access and understand legislation.
  • Create a centralized home to track committee votes.
  • Update both the House and Senate lobbying disclosure systems.
  • Make it easier to track amendments to legislation.
  • Create a database showing which agencies and programs are due for reauthorization.

Democratic Chairman Derek Kilmer said he plans to introduce legislation to reflect the transparency-focused proposals, which the committee passed unanimously.

"Transparency in Congress promotes more accountability to our constituents, and that's a good thing," Kilmer and the Republican vice chairman, Tom Graves, said in a statement. "These bipartisan recommendations are just the first step towards making the legislative branch more effective and accessible for the American people."

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