Irony = Consolidated Federal Funds Report discontinued, Senate to hold hearing on transparency of federal fundingSubmitted by jrjacobs on Sat, 2012-07-14 07:13.
We just posted about the impending doom of the Consolidated Federal Funds Report (CFFR). Well guess what I found in my latest weekly email update from the Project on Government Oversight (POGO)? I found an announcement for a hearing of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs on July 18, 2012 (Location: SD-342) entitled -- get this! -- "Show Me the Money: Improving the Transparency of Federal Spending." It seems to me that the quickest and easiest way to improve the transparency in federal funding is to re-fund the Federal Financial Statistics program and the Consolidated Federal Funds Report (CFFR).
I hope all of our readers -- and especially those from states with Senators sitting on that committee (CT, ME, MI, HI, DE, AR, LA, MO, MT, AK, OK, MA, AZ, WI, OH, KY, KS) -- will contact Senator Joe Lieberman (Committee Chairman) and Senator Susan Collins (Ranking member) and ALL of the other Senators and request that the CFFR be reinstated.
Here's sample email text to copy/paste:
Dear Senator ______________,
I see that the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs will be holding a hearing on July 18th entitled "Show Me the Money: Improving the Transparency of Federal Spending." You may be aware that the Census Bureau's Federal Financial Statistics program will be shut down on July 31, 2012 due to budget cuts. This includes the critical publication "Consolidated Federal Funds Report (CFFR)" http://www.census.gov/govs/cffr/. According to the Census Website, the CFFR contains "virtually all Federal expenditures, including grants, loans, direct payments, insurance, procurement, salaries and wages and other awards (such as price supports and research awards). Data represent actual expenditures (or outlays)."
As a government information librarian at _________________________, I can attest that this publication is highly sought after by researchers, faculty, students, and the public looking into federal spending. Reinstating the Federal Financial Statistics Program and continuing publication of the CFFR would be a very large step in the right direction toward greater transparency in federal funding -- which I believe is the goal of this upcoming hearing.
Thank you for your attention to the important issue of government transparency and responsible spending.
Hearing Tuesday 6/19/12 “Economic Impact of Ending or Reducing Funding for the ACS and other Government statistics"Submitted by jrjacobs on Thu, 2012-06-14 13:06.
Finally! I hope all of our DC friends will show up for this Congressional hearing next week entitled, “The Economic Impact of Ending or Reducing Funding for the American Community Survey and other Government Statistics” being held by the Congressional Joint Economic Committee (JEC). As we've argued over and over, these types of data/statistics are critical to a well-functioning democracy. Here's a great chance for the American public to shut down the misguided and unsupported perspectives of Representative Daniel Webster and other politicians of his ilk. Support the ACS and the Census!
The U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee (JEC), will hold a hearing entitled, “The Economic Impact of Ending or Reducing Funding for the American Community Survey and other Government Statistics,” at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 19, 2012, in room 210 of the Cannon House Office Building.
WHAT: Hearing on “The Economic Impact of Ending or Reducing Funding for the American Community Survey and other Government Statistics”
WHO: Mr. Kenneth Simonson, Chief Economist
The Associated General Contractors of America and Vice President,
National Association for Business Economics
The Honorable Vincent P. Barabba, Former Director of the Census Bureau (1973-1976;
1979-1981) and Current Chairman
Market Insight Corporation
The Honorable Keith Hall, Senior Research Fellow
Mercatus Center at George Mason University and former Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor
The Honorable Grant D. Aldonas, Principal Managing Director
Split Rock International
WHEN: 2:30 p.m., Tuesday, June 19, 2012
WHERE: 210 Cannon House Office Building
Daniel Schuman went to the hearing today on budgets for GPO, LoC, GAO, and CBO. On the Sunlight Foundation blog, he reports on the tiny room, the lack of space for the public, and he posts documents that were handed out:
- An almost live look at today's H. Leg Branch Approps hearing, by Daniel Schuman, Sunlight Foundation, (Feb. 7, 2012).
The new acting Public Printer, Davita Vance-Cooks, gives her opening remarks.
Watching Them Watching: Issa Touts Video Archive of Oversight Hearings, by Nick Judd, TechPresident (January 6 2012).
As of today, the House Committee on Government Oversight under Rep. Darrell Issa has released 1,139 videos of hearings going back to the 103rd Congress of 1993-1994, committee staff announced today.
These videos, dusted off from the House committee's archives, join hundreds more going all the way back to 1987 on House.Resource.org, a repository for archived video and hearing transcripts gleaned from C-SPAN, the House and the Internet Archive as part of a collaboration between Carl Malamud's Public.Resource.org and House Speaker John Boehner. At the start of this Congress, Boehner asked Issa's Oversight committee — which had been recording its own video of hearings, doubling up on video already recorded by the House Broadcasting Studio, since the 2010-2011 session of Congress — to take on archiving and publicising video of committee hearings as a pilot project. The House this year also launched its own streaming of floor proceedings.
CapNews.net describes itself this way:
CapNews.Net is an Internet News Service covering Congress, the White House, the Supreme Court and executive agencies.... In 2008 CapNews.Net will launch its full operations and begin offering news video syndication services to media organizations and others, and also continue posting videos directly to the public via YouTube.com and other video platforms.
You can find their YouTube videos here and others on Google Video here. I haven't discovered any comprehensive list or index or indication of what their coverage is or will be, but this looks like a service that could develop into a key resource for fast access to Congressional hearings. See for example The Cyber Initiative hearings, Committee on Homeland Security, Thursday, February 28, 2008. A version is also available on the committee's website, here.
This hearing should be of professional interest to government information specialists!
- Hearing, U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. E-Government 2.0: Improving Innovation, Collaboration, and Access 12/11/07 10:00 AM (EST). [The hearing was broadcast live and will be available for viewing later here.]
In pre-hearing news coverage (Web Leaders Seek More Searchable Government, by Kim Hart, Washington Post, December 11, 2007; page D08), Hart quotes the witnesses as saying that, even though four out of five Web surfers use search engines to find information and bypass the agency's home page, basic government information often does not show up in results provided by search engines run by Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and Ask.com.
Witnesses Testimony is already available online as PDF documents:
- Karen S. Evans, Administrator, Office of Electronic Government and Information Technology , Office of Management and Budget
- John Lewis Needham, Manager, Public Sector Content Partnerships , Google, Inc.
- Ari Schwartz, Deputy Director , Center for Democracy and Technology
- Jimmy Wales, Founder , Wikipedia
The purpose of the hearing is to examine what progress the government has made in getting services and information online and available to the public; what new technologies can be used to enhance the government's ability to collaborate and share information; and what challenges remain five years since the passage of the E-Government Act.
In addition, Senator Lieberman will be announcing at the hearing that he'll be introducing legislation to make CRS reports available to the public, and an initiative to enhance the availability and format of legislative information through THOMAS.
Getting a hearing quickly is difficult if not impossible -- unless you have money. Now, without fanfair, one committee is making it easier. See a list here, and read more about it in Dan Froomkin's article, Citizen Journalists, Start Your Engines! (December 4, 2007).
Major hearings are often transcribed in real-time by CQ Transcripts and the Federal News Service, but those are copyrighted works that are only available to those who pay for them or have a subscription to Nexis.
Up until now, it took more than six months for public-domain transcripts of most hearings to become available. They had to work their way through an arduous proofing and approval process before finally being published by the Government Printing Office.
But now, without any formal announcement, the House Oversight Committee has started Web-publishing the preliminary transcripts prepared by official stenographers as soon as they are available -- typically within a few days of the hearing. In other words, while the news is still fresh.
Let's hope other committees follow its lead.