Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Sessions Touts Availability of House Rules and Manual

Sessions Touts Availability of House Rules and Manual in XML Format
Committee on Rules

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Sessions Touts Availability of House Rules and Manual in XML Format

Increases transparency and access to Congressional data
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the House Rules Committee made available text of the House Rules and Manual in XML format on the Government Printing Office (GPO) GitHub account, allowing for greater functionality, transparency and better usability. Additionally made available are the Constitution and other support pages that will allow greater functionality with regard to referencing, analysis and indexing:
“House Republicans have taken pride in increased transparency since gaining the majority in 2010, and such advances have gone hand-in-hand with access to Congressional data online,” said House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions. “Technology plays an important role in our daily lives, and it is necessary that the House keep up with the most efficient and effective ways to provide information about Congressional activities. As Chairman of the House Rules Committee, I am committed to the advancement of sharing legislative data online and am confident that our efforts will result in a better informed public.”
“This is a positive step toward a more transparent Congress. The House Rules Committee plays an essential role in how Congress functions, and publishing the Rules of the House in XML will empower the public to more easily access and analyze the House Rules,” said John Wonderlich, executive director of the Sunlight Foundation, a nonpartisan, nonprofit that advocates for transparency in government.
“Chairman Sessions’ decision to publish the Rules as searchable, open XML data is a leap forward - not just for public transparency, but also for the conduct of House business,” said Hudson Hollister, executive director of the Data Coalition, which represents technology companies supporting open data in government. “As Congressional information is increasingly standardized in open formats, technology companies are building new tools that make it easier to work on bills, amendments, and, today, the Rules of the House.”
Chairman Sessions and staff worked with House Parliamentarian Tom Wickham, Clerk of the House Karen Lehman Haas, House Rules Subcommittee on Rules and Organization of the House Chairman Steve Stivers (R-OH) and the U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) to implement these important changes to the formatting of the House Rules and Manual. The Committee plans to continue implementing XML formatting to documents posted on its website throughout the year.
To access the House Rules and Manual for the 114th Congress and supporting documents on GPO’s GitHub account, click here.