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Link to Opening Statement: http://youtu.be/swcZ5azRSck
Link to FOIA Hearing: http://youtu.be/a-EfSDudFpY

Full Committee: FOIA: Examining Transparency Under the Trump Administration
Date:  Wednesday, March 13, 2019 – 9:30am
2154 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515
FOIA: Examining Transparency Under the Trump Administration

The Committee has jurisdiction over FOIA. The hearing will examine the compliance of federal agencies with FOIA, including the extent to which agencies have implemented the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016. 

FOIA fosters government transparency by enabling public access to federal records. The statute requires federal agencies to release records within prescribed time limits upon receiving written requests that reasonably describe the requested records. The Supreme Court has described the purpose of FOIA as “vital to the functioning of a democratic society, needed to check against con-uption and to hold the governors accountable to the governed.

In 2016, Congress passed the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016, which broadened access to records and made the requesting process less burdensome for requesters. The FOIA Improvement Act amended FOIA to require agencies to respond to requests with a presumption of openness, increased the independence of the Office of Government Information Services, and created a Chief FOIA Officers Council, in addition to other changes to strengthen FOIA. 

On March 5, 2019, Chairman Cummings,joined by Senator Patrick Leahy, Senator Chuck Grassley, and Senator John Cornyn, sent a letter to Acting Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) David Bernhardt to express significant concern with the rule recently proposed by DOI concerning its FOIA procedures. That bipartisan letter noted that “the proposed rule would make the process more confusing and potentially expose it to politicization. 

Ms.Melanie Ann Pustay
Director, Office of Information Policy U.S. Department of Justice
Ms. Rachel Spector
Acting Deputy Chief Freedom of Information Act Officer,U.S. Department of the Interior
Mr. Tim Epp
Acting Director, National FOIA Office,U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
116th Congress

Full Committee:Commerce Secretary Wilbur L. Ross, Jr.
Date:  Thursday, March 14, 2019 – 10:00am
2154 Rayburn HOB

The hearing will discuss the ongoing preparations for the 2020 Census and the addition of a citizenship question.

The U.S. Census is required by the Constitution and occurs once a decade. The decennial census counts every resident in the United States, and data collected by the census is used to determine the apportionment of seats in the House of Representatives and the distribution of federal funds to communities across the country.
The census requires years of planning and development to ensure a complete and accurate count. The 2020 Census will be the first decennial census to ever be conducted online. In preparation, the Census Bureaus has designed and implemented many new technologies and systems that require additional oversight.
On March 26, 2018, Secretary Ross announced his decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census in response to a request from the Department of Justice on December 12, 2017.
Wilbur Ross
Secretary, Commerce
116th Congress