On Senate Appropriations Committee Decision To Fund National Archives And Records Administration Office To Process Agency FOIA Requests

The Senate Appropriations Committee today reported a bill to provide $1 million to fund the new Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) in the National Archives and Records Administration.  The action follows action by the Committee last month on the Commerce-Justice-Science appropriations bill, rejecting the Bush administration’s efforts to fund the functions of OGIS in the Department of Justice rather than the National Archives.  The OGIS was established in the Leahy-Cornyn OPEN Government Act that President Bush signed into law onDecember 31, and which made the first reforms to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in over a decade.  The office will be responsible for resolving inter-agency FOIA disputes.  Leahy first blew the whistle on the administration’s attempts to move OGIS from the National Archives to the Justice Department in January.  The President’s February budget proposal outlined the attempted change.  The Senate rejected the move in the budget resolution which passed in March.

“Once again, leaders in the Senate have demonstrated their support for the independent Office of Government Information Services.  I have worked hard with others to establish this office in the National Archives.  Despite efforts of this administration to close the curtains on FOIA, the Senate has shown a commitment to the importance of our premiere open government law.  I look forward to the establishment of OGIS to ensure the timely and fair resolution of Americans’ FOIA requests.”

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