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WaPo reports: Federal government no longer subscribing to its own journal

Well, that headline is a bit misleading, but also a bit troubling. According to the Washington Post, the White House is ordering federal agencies to cancel print subscriptions to the Federal Register, the government’s own journal of official activities. “The move means that about 4,700 fewer editions of the Federal Register will be printed for executive branch agencies, saving the government at least 4 million annually, according to the White House.”

But this is a little misleading on the cost-saving front, and may mean that in Congress’ zeal to cut budgets, the GPO may not have the funding available to produce the Federal Register and other mandated and vital publications like the Congressional Record. Public Printer Bill Boarman, in a Mar. 17, 2011 Senate Appropriations hearing for the Government Printing Office, stated that 70% of the cost and work of publishing the Congressional Record is done in pre-press, and many of the same duties necessary to publish it in print are still necessary to put it out digitally.

In fact, there’s a new bill working its way through Congress now to further defund GPO’s ability to produce the record of the US government. The bill, H.R. 1626: Prevent the Reckless, Irresponsible, Needless Typography (PRINT) Act of 2011, was introduced 2 weeks ago by Congresswoman Candice Miller (R-MI). Stay tuned for more.

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