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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Senate Committee on the Judiciary
  • The house Passed May 6th, 2014
    Passed by Voice Vote
      house Committees
      House Committee on the Judiciary
      The Constitution and Civil Justice
    IntroducedAugust 1st, 2013

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What is it?

Would require the Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS) to prepare a report each year on the amount of fees and other expenses awarded by federal courts to nonfederal entities when they prevail in a case against the United States. The bill also would require the ACUS to create an online searchable database containing information about cases in which fees and expenses were awarded by courts or federal agencies. The ACUS is an independent agency that assists other agencies of the federal government in improving regulatory and other administrative procedures. This bill would amend the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA), legislation  originally passed to ensure that individuals, small businesses, and non-profit organizations are able to recover both attorney’s fees and the costs associated with going to court in suits against the federal government.  

Impact

If enacted, would increase transparency of claims filed against agencies of the federal government.

Cost

$1.00 Million
Based on information from the Administrative Conference of the United States, the CBO estimates that implementing the bill would cost about $1 million in fiscal year 2015 and less than $500,000 each year thereafter.

More Information

Media:

Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) Press Release

Wikipedia: Open Book on Equal Access to Justice Act

Of Note: 

-Much of the to-do on this issue centers on environmental groups, with some in Congress seeing such groups as abusing the provisions of the Equal Access to Justice Act. In 2011, the Government Accountability Office (GAO), an independent, nonpartisan agency, published a report that analyzed cases brought against the Environmental Protection Agency. The GAO found that the majority of suits were brought by trade associations or private companies, and that lawyer fees were awarded in under ten percent of cases. 

AKA

Open Book on Equal Access to Justice Act

Official Title

To amend titles 5 and 28, United States Code, to require annual reports to Congress on, and the maintenance of databases on, awards of fees and other expenses to prevailing parties in certain administrative proceedings and court cases to which the United States is a party, and for other purposes.