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senate Bill S. 787

Phasing Out a Federal Record-Keeping Agency

Argument in favor

Most of the information stored by the NTIS is available elsewhere online for free. There’s no reason for taxpayers to keep funding obsolete organization.

JonRunyan's Opinion
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04/11/2015
Let me see eliminate a Gov agency that is not needed?
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Keventle's Opinion
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05/23/2015
1950s technology agency in the 21 century. Time to eliminate
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John's Opinion
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06/23/2015
Common sense cut. We are 18 TRILLION in debt. STOP SPENDING!!
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Argument opposed

The NTIS provides a single place for people to access government research, and not all of the information stored by the NTIS is available elsewhere.

Mark's Opinion
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02/19/2016
This is idiotic, why would you want to repeal an effective strategy without finding a replacement? I'll tell you who does, the GOP does because they never have a plan to fix anything.
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wpeckham's Opinion
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07/21/2015
I vote against this as written. I would support an effort to put all of the information online, followed by a reduction.
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David's Opinion
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07/25/2015
Program created because Commerce Department no capable. What has changed to make them more capable now?
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The house has not voted
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
    IntroducedMarch 18th, 2015

What is Senate Bill S. 787?

This bill would eliminate the National Technical Information Service (NTIS). Founded in 1950 and containing roughly 3 million bibliographic records, the NTIS, according to their website, "serves as the largest central resource for government-funded scientific, technical, engineering, and business related information available today.”

It would transfer all of the NTIS’s funds to the Department of Commerce in order for Commerce to create a new repository of scientific and technical information that is accessible to the public. Going forward, federal entities must send their non-classified scientific and technical information and research to the Department of Commerce for the new repository.

The bill would also direct other parts of the federal government to find out if the information stored by the NTIS is aiding innovation and economic growth. Additionally, the same people must find out if the information stored by the NTIS is available through other federal agencies.

Impact

The NTIS and its employees; people who want to use NTIS resources.

Cost of Senate Bill S. 787

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In Depth: Sponsoring senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) explained at a hearing that the NTIS is obsolete because most of the information it stores is available for free elsewhere:

“These documents are, of course, available for free online and easy to find with a quick search. The questions these examples raise, of course, are why anyone would buy publications from NTIS when they are available for free elsewhere on the Internet?”

Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) concurred, explaining in a press release why the NTIS should be eliminated:

“there's no justification for continuing to fund an agency whose mission is no longer necessary. It is long past time to eliminate this obsolete agency, which wastes more than a million taxpayer dollars each year to disseminate government reports that are already free and readily available to the public.”

However, government information librarian James R. Jacobs disagrees, writing that without the NTIS, much of its information would no longer be publicly accessible: 

“Google and USA.gov are simply pointing to NTIS, so if NTIS goes away, the reports that his staff found there will go away too. Additionally, Federal agencies — not to mention the public! — sometimes need to pay for these reports because they’re copyrighted.”


Of Note: Bills like this have been introduced to Congress before. In April of 2014, the Let Me Google That For You Act was introduced to the Senate, which aimed to eliminate the NTIS. A similar bill was introduced in the House around the same time, and was reintroduced to Congress a year later.

A 2012 report from the Government Accountability Office studied how much of the NTIS’s information was available elsewhere online. It found that: “Of the reports added to NTIS's repository during fiscal years 1990 through 2011, GAO estimates that approximately 74 percent were readily available from other public source.” […] “Further, GAO estimated that 95 percent of the reports available from sources other than NTIS were available free of charge.”


Media:

Summary by Chris Conrad
(Photo Credit: By Diliff - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=42693401)

AKA

NTIS Elimination Act

Official Title

A bill to streamline the collection and distribution of government information.