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house Bill H.R. 653

Open Government: Should it be Easier for the Public to Request Access to Federal Records?

Argument in favor

Granting public access to government records holds federal agencies accountable for their actions. The current loopholes that allow agencies to withhold documents violate the public’s right to know.

James's Opinion
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03/30/2015
Opponents should remember that the government belongs to the people, so the government's records also belong to the people.
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Spider-Man's Opinion
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05/16/2015
Who would be against this? Oh wait, the government agencies that like hiding stuff. So naturally I'm for anything that makes this stuff public knowledge.
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ThomasParker's Opinion
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05/23/2015
Easier? It should all be open and above board, unless there is a significant national security interest.
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Argument opposed

Federal agencies should be able to disclose information at their own discretion. Making the record-requesting process easier could compromise their decision-making and have dangerous consequences for the public.

Christopher's Opinion
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04/01/2015
Certain records should be available on a "need to know" basis. The American public doesn't need to know as much as it thinks it does.
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VelosaInk's Opinion
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03/31/2015
Voting this down because there are far too many nuances to slate legislation to just blatantly upend confidentiality at any level of government.
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Paul's Opinion
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04/01/2015
Some records need to be secret. I think we say to much now.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on the Judiciary
  • The house Passed January 11th, 2016
    Passed by Voice Vote
      house Committees
      Committee on Oversight and Reform
    IntroducedFebruary 2nd, 2015

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    Opponents should remember that the government belongs to the people, so the government's records also belong to the people.
    Like (27)
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    Who would be against this? Oh wait, the government agencies that like hiding stuff. So naturally I'm for anything that makes this stuff public knowledge.
    Like (10)
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    Easier? It should all be open and above board, unless there is a significant national security interest.
    Like (6)
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    I'll support well-thought-out efforts at increasing government accountability. This bill seems like such an effort.
    Like (4)
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    But Gov will always find away to only give you what they want, they do it to each other internally!
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    Transparency! Make an API please!
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    Certain records should be available on a "need to know" basis. The American public doesn't need to know as much as it thinks it does.
    Like (3)
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    Voting this down because there are far too many nuances to slate legislation to just blatantly upend confidentiality at any level of government.
    Like (3)
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    As a government by the people, the people it represents should make their actions 100% transparent. WE, as citizens, are the ones who are in power, not the government. As those who hold power we have a right to know what those we have chosen to represent us are doing ALL OF THE TIME.
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    Public entities should have public records.
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    Some records need to be secret. I think we say to much now.
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    "For the people," means we can take a look. Now make it easy. Transparency is a good antiseptic.
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    If the media won't be the watchdog of the government then the people that support it must.
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    For the people by the people! We should have access to knowledge and hold our politicians accountable for their actions!
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    The presumption of openness should be the default for a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.
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    The government serves the people, not the other way around. They shouldn't get to hide information.
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    The Government is supposed to work for the Public. Anything that they do is a matter of Public record and Public concern. There are exceptions for National Security, but all other agencies should freely disclose their actions.
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    Put it all online and give it away. We the tax payers bought it all to begin with anyhow.
    Like (1)
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    There are already numerous ways for the government to protect sensitive information & withhold it from the public, the press, foreign dignitaries, diplomats and (even) Congress. The United States government should always be accountable to its citizens & we, the People, need more tools than just being able to vote. In our democracy, we have expressed this in the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) which enhances our ability to both check on our government & balance it's accountability to its citizens. However, FOIA needs to be continually updated to cover new technologies, new forms of communication & to reduce the overhead required to file & process FOIA requests (intelligence, judicial & political manpower; time & other resources).
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    Corruption hates the light, and there will never be an end to government obfuscation & fear mongering. The more accountability the better.
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