Order Code RL30590
Paperwork Reduction Act Reauthorization and
Government Information Management Issues
Updated January 4, 2007
Harold C. Relyea
Specialist in American National Government
Government and Finance Division
Paperwork Reduction Act Reauthorization
and Government Information Management Issues
Replacing the ineffective Federal Reports Act of 1942, the Paperwork Reduction
Act of 1980 (PRA) was enacted largely to relieve the public of the mounting
information collection and reporting requirements of the federal government. It also
promoted coordinated information management activities on a government-wide
basis by the director of the Office of Management and Budget and prescribed
information management responsibilities for the executive agencies. The
management focus of the PRA was sharpened with the 1986 amendments which
refined the concept of “information resources management” (IRM), defined as “the
planning, budgeting, organizing, directing, training, promoting, controlling, and
management activities associated with the burden, collection, creation, use, and
dissemination of information by agencies, and includes the management of
information and related resources such as automatic data processing equipment.”
This key term and its subset concepts received further definition and explanation in
the PRA of 1995, making IRM a tool for managing the contribution of information
activities to program performance, and for managing related resources, such as
personnel, equipment, funds, and technology. The PRA of 1995 authorized
appropriations for the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), located
within OMB, through FY2001 (44 U.S.C. 3520). After a lapse of four years,
reauthorization of OIRA appropriations got underway in March 2006 with an initial
overview hearing on the Paperwork Reduction Act by the House Subcommittee on
Regulatory Affairs. A second hearing by the subcommittee was held in July, but no
further action, including the introduction of reauthorizing legislation, occurred before
the final adjournment of the 109th Congress. A return to reauthorizing the Paperwork
Reduction Act awaits the 110th Congress. This report will be updated as events
Federal Reports Act of 1942 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
Commission on Federal Paperwork . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1980 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
The Paperwork Reduction Reauthorization Act of 1986 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
Information Technology Management Reform Act of 1996 . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
Government Paperwork Elimination Act . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
Government Information Security Amendments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
Reauthorizing the Paperwork Act . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
Paperwork Reduction Act Reauthorization
and Government Information
Since its inception in 1789, the federal government has required paperwork for
a variety of reasons, not the least of which include direction, accountability, and
service delivery. The Constitution mandates one of the largest paperwork
requirements — the decennial census.1 The First Congress set the initial paperwork
obligation in the eleventh law it adopted, an act of September 1, 1789, concerning the
documentation of marine vessels.2
The burdensome nature of paperwork became much more acute with the rise of
the federal administrative state in the early years of the 20th century. The 16th
amendment to the Constitution, adopted in February 1913, authorized Congress to
impose taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment
among the states and without regard to any census or enumeration. The War
Revenue Act of October 1917 made the income tax the chief source of revenue
during the participation of the United States in World War I, and introduced the
American citizenry to the travails of tax reporting.3
Simultaneous with these developments was an increase in federal regulatory and
compliance agencies with new reporting and recordkeeping requirements for
financial, health and safety, and business activities. An autonomous Department of
Labor was established in 1913,4 along with the Federal Reserve System.5 The
Federal Trade Commission was created the following year.6 United States entry into
World War I in 1917 prompted a multiplicity of new regulatory entities to deal with
transportation, shipping, trade, manufacturing, and food and fuel production.
In the years following the end of World War I, the provision of new personal
benefits to the public added to federal reporting and recordkeeping requirements.
Article I, Section 2, prescribes that, “The actual Enumeration shall be made within three
Years after the Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent
Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct.” The first such statute was
an act of Mar. 1, 1790 (1 Stat. 101).
1 Stat. 55.
40 Stat. 300.
37 Stat. 736.
38 Stat. 251.
38 Stat. 717.
First came veterans’ programs and the establishment of the Veterans Administration
in 1930. Next was the arrival of the New Deal in 1933, with the subsequent
provision of a variety of old age security, unemployment, disability, and welfare
benefits. The New Deal also engendered a variety of new financial, banking,
industrial, farming, communications, housing, and public works regulatory programs.
Finally, the outbreak of war in Europe in 1939 and the entry of the United States into
World War II in 1941 brought a variety of new reporting and recordkeeping
requirements for virtually all sectors of the nation and its citizens.
Federal Reports Act of 1942
Federal officials were not unaware of the growing reporting and recordkeeping
burden being generated by new regulatory and personal benefits programs. At the
highest level, President Franklin D. Roosevelt indicated, in a May 16, 1938, letter to
the Central Statistical Board, his concern “over the large number of statistical reports
which Federal agencies are requiring from business and industry.” Informing the
board of his “desire to know the extent of such reports and how far there is
duplication among them,” he tasked the panel “to report to me on the statistical work
of the Federal agencies, with recommendations looking toward consolidations and
changes which are consistent with efficiency and economy, both to the Government
and to private industry.”7
In response, the board indicated that, for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1938,
the executive agencies had collected over 135 million returns from individuals and
businesses, but concluded that most of this information was needed by the
government and that, while such reporting should be coordinated, it should remain
decentralized.8 While this reply apparently ended the matter for the President, there
were those in Congress who remained sensitive to the paperwork issue. Among them
was the Senate Special Committee to Study the Problems of American Small
Business, which developed the draft Federal Reports Act of 1941, empowering the
Bureau of the Budget (BOB) to (1) direct an agency to collect information on behalf
of itself and other agencies, and (2) direct an agency to provide to another agency
data it had collected for itself. A later version of the proposal required BOB
clearance of any agency’s plans or forms for the collection of information from 10
or more persons, authorized BOB to determine whether or not a proposed agency
collection of information was necessary for the performance of its functions, barred
any collection of information which BOB deemed unnecessary for any reason, and
exempted the Department of the Treasury (including the Internal Revenue Service
(IRS)) from the requirements of the measure.
In the House, the legislation was stripped of the Treasury Department
exemption, was amended to except the General Accounting Office (GAO) from its
requirements, and had a provision appended to indicate that persons who failed to
furnish information to an agency could only be subjected to the penalties provided
by statutory law. A conference committee on the measure reinstated, but narrowed,
U.S. Commission on Federal Paperwork, History of Paperwork Reform Efforts, A Report
of the Commission on Federal Paperwork (Washington: July 29, 1977), p. 15.
Ibid., pp. 16-20.
the Treasury exemption to exclude only the IRS, Comptroller of the Currency,
Bureau of the Public Debt, Bureau of Accounts, Division of Foreign Funds Control,
and federal bank supervisory agencies. Sent to the President, the bill was signed into
law on December 24, 1942, as the Federal Reports Act of 1942 (FRA).9
Implementing the FRA, BOB required each agency seeking information from
10 or more persons to submit the proposed questionnaire along with an explanation
of its administration and a full justification for its use, including an estimate of the
time required for completion of the instrument. While BOB devoted almost 50 of its
staff to this area in the immediate post-World War II years, the number fell to some
25 personnel in the 1960s and 1970s. In 1942, the BOB director also inaugurated
the Advisory Council on Federal Reports, composed of representatives from leading
national business organizations, who met quarterly to consider broad questions
concerning federal reporting requirements. However, when representatives from
agencies seeking information subsequently began to meet with council members to
discuss collections, the situation came under criticism and congressional
investigation, and reform legislation — the Federal Advisory Committee Act of 1972
(FACA) — was enacted.10 The council was reconstituted as the Business Advisory
Council on Federal Reports, an industry trade group, rather than as an advisory
committee under FACA.
Some agencies were critical of the length of time the BOB review process
occasionally required before collections could be undertaken. Regulatory agencies
complained that Office of Management and Budget (OMB) refusals to allow them
to collect information from regulated industries infringed upon their statutory
duties.11 In 1973, Congress responded by exempting the independent regulatory
agencies from OMB review.12
Congressional unhappiness with OMB had also been prompted by a 1972 report
by the Senate Select Committee on Small Business, which concluded that there was
“an indifference of OMB officials towards their basic responsibilities .... Since only
a relative handful (between one and five percent) of forms [were] disapproved, [the]
committee [could] only conclude that hundreds of unnecessary or duplicative forms
[were] being imposed on the public.”13 The committee also believed that OMB, “not
knowing the problems of small business respondents,” could not “effectively adapt
‘data requests to respondent’s records’”;14 had “shown a consistent lack of initiative
56 Stat. 1078; 44 U.S.C. 3501-3520 (1982).
86 Stat. 770.
The Office of Management and Budget was the 1970 successor to the Bureau of the
Budget (84 Stat. 2085).
87 Stat. 576.
U.S. Congress, Senate Select Committee on Small Business, The Federal Paperwork
Burden, 93rd Cong., 1st sess., S.Rept. 93-125 (Washington: GPO, 1973), pp. 25-26.
Ibid., p. 30.
in rigorously pursuing the directives of the Federal Reports Act”;15 and had refused
“to adequately staff or properly equip, with data processing tools, its Statistical Policy
Division,” the office that was responsible for administering the FRA.16 Ultimately,
the committee recommended that GAO be given the FRA responsibilities presently
vested in OMB.17 The congressional response to this and similar criticism of OMB
regarding reporting and recordkeeping burdens was the creation of the Commission
on Federal Paperwork in 1974.
Commission on Federal Paperwork
A 14-member temporary national study panel, the Commission on Federal
Paperwork, was statutorily mandated to study, report findings, and make
recommendations concerning the adequacy of laws, regulations, and procedures to
assure that the federal government was obtaining needed information from the private
sector with minimal burden, duplication, and cost.18 The commission was cochaired
by Representative Frank Horton and Senator Thomas J. McIntyre, both of whom had
a longstanding interest in paperwork issues and had championed the creation of the
study panel. Other members of the commission included former IRS Commissioner
Donald C. Alexander, former Senator Bill Brock, Secretary of Health, Education, and
Welfare Joseph A. Califano, Jr., Senator Mark O. Hatfield, OMB Director Bert
Lance, former OMB Director James T. Lynn, Comptroller General Elmer B. Staats,
and Representative Tom Steed, as well as state government, union, and business
leaders. The panel’s director was Warren Buhler, formerly a principal assistant to
Representative Horton from the staff of the House Committee on Government
By the time the commission concluded its work in September 1977, it had
issued 36 reports and had offered 770 recommendations.19 Among its findings, the
commission proffered that “structural and procedural flaws” in the Federal Reports
Act’s clearance process “preclude it from ever being fully successful in controlling
the total paperwork burden on the American public.”20 Among these flaws were the
exemption of IRS and the bank supervisory agencies from the FRA’s requirements,
and the shared jurisdiction of OMB and GAO over the reports clearance process.
The commission determined that insufficient resources had been allocated to the
FRA clearance process, which was seen as being ineffective in the case of new
programs because it occurred too late in the development process.21 The commission
also concluded that information is a valuable resource which government should
Ibid., p. 34.
Ibid., p. 60.
Ibid., p. 63.
88 Stat. 1789.
See U.S. Commission on Federal Paperwork, Final Summary Report, A Report of the
Commission on Federal Paperwork (Washington: Oct. 3, 1977).
Ibid., p. 50.
manage with the same care and responsibility that apply to its management of its
financial, material, physical, and human resources.22
Among its recommendations, the commission called for new legislation,
replacing the FRA, “to regulate the collection, management, and use of Governmentheld information as well as its disclosure.” It also urged the establishment of an
executive office to, among other functions, “coordinate information management
responsibilities ... and to monitor agency compliance with information laws.”23
The commission’s organic statute specified that, upon the submission of the
panel’s final report, OMB was to coordinate and formulate executive branch views
concerning the commission’s recommendations, begin implementing those
recommendations in which the executive concurred, and propose legislation needed
to carry out those recommendations in which the executive concurred.24 A
September 1979 OMB progress report, the third such required semi-annual report,
indicated that more than 50% of the commission’s recommendations pertaining to
the executive branch (269 of 520) had been implemented.25 Six months later,
however, a GAO assessment criticized OMB for overstating the progress that had
been made in implementing the commission’s recommendations. GAO urged
Congress to enact legislation requiring OMB to “establish a legislative program for
those recommendations still pending and create an Office of Federal Information
Policy within OMB.”26
The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1980
Neither the steady flow of paperwork commission reports from mid-1976 into
the early autumn of 1977, nor the panel’s summary final report in October, impelled
Congress to legislate the proffered recommendations in these documents. Instead,
interested members, such as Representative Horton and Senator McIntyre, pursued
a strategy of following, through congressional oversight, OMB activities in
furtherance of implementing commission recommendations. Moreover, paperwork
reduction was only one of several management reforms being entertained by the
Carter Administration and the 95th Congress.
Former Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter had been elected to the presidency in
1976 after conducting a campaign in which, at least in part, he targeted the
bureaucracy and otherwise championed efficient and economical government.
Embarking on his second year in office, he issued E.O. 12044, which required the
executive agencies to use cost-benefit analyses in justifying new regulations, to
Ibid., p. 56.
Ibid., p. 52.
88 Stat. 1790.
U.S. Office of Management and Budget, Paperwork and Red Tape: New Perspectives;
New Directions (Washington: Sept. 1979), p. 5.
U.S. General Accounting Office, Program to Follow-Up Federal Paperwork Commission
Recommendations Is in Trouble, GAO Report GGD-80-36 (Washington: Mar. 14, 1980),
minimize paperwork burdens on the private sector, and to estimate the reporting and
recordkeeping requirements attending significant new regulations prior to their final
adoption.27 In November 1979, he issued E.O. 12174 with a view to minimizing
further the paperwork burden “imposed on persons outside the Federal
government.”28 In his statement accompanying this directive, the President endorsed
a Senate bill responding to the paperwork commission’s recommendation of new
legislation to replace the FRA.29
The legislation President Carter endorsed was the Paperwork and Red Tape
Reduction Act of 1979, developed and introduced in the House by Representative
Jack Brooks and Representative Horton, the chairman and ranking minority member,
respectively, of the House Committee on Government Operations, to which the bill
(H.R. 3570) had been referred. A companion measure (S. 1411) was sponsored in
the Senate by Senator Lawton Chiles and Senator John Danforth, the chairman and
ranking minority member, respectively, of the Subcommittee on Federal Spending
Practices and Open Government of the Committee on Governmental Affairs, to
which the legislation was referred. The Senate bill received a hearing by the Chiles
subcommittee on November 1, 1979.
On February 5, 1980, Representatives Brooks and Horton introduced a new
version of their bill (H.R. 6410), which replaced their initial proposal. The new
measure received a hearing before the Subcommittee on Legislation and National
Security of the Committee on Government Operations on February 7, 21, and 26.
Subsequently, on March 4, it was approved and ordered reported by the full
committee.30 The House passed the bill on March 24 without any member speaking
The House-passed version of the Paperwork Reduction Act was referred to the
Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs on March 26. In August, the committee
reported an amended version of its bill that was very similar to the House measure.32
The Senate subsequently approved an amended version of its bill (S. 1411) on
November 19, then substituted the language of this measure in the House bill (H.R.
3 C.F.R., 1978 Comp., pp. 152-156.
3 C.F.R., 1979 Comp., pp. 462-463.
U.S. General Services Administration, National Archives and Records Service, Office of
the Federal Register, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Jimmy Carter:
1979 (Washington: GPO, 1980), p. 2177.
U.S. Congress, House Committee on Government Operations, Paperwork Reduction Act
of 1980, report to accompany H.R. 6410, 96th Cong., 2nd sess., H.Rept. 96-835 (Washington:
Congressional Record, vol. 126, Mar. 24, 1980, pp. 6212-6214.
U.S. Congress, Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs, Paperwork Reduction Act of
1980, report to accompany S. 1411, 96th Cong., 2nd sess., S.Rept. 96-930 (Washington: GPO,
6410), adopted the latter proposal by acclamation, and sent it back to the House.33
On December 1, the House returned to its bill and, under a suspension of the rules,
concurred in the Senate amendments, clearing the measure for the President’s
signature.34 President Carter signed the legislation into law on December 11, 1980.35
Capitalizing on OMB’s FRA experience and its role in management
improvement and regulatory reform under the Carter Administration, the Paperwork
Reduction Act (PRA) made OMB the principal policymaker and overseer of
government paperwork activities. The statute established a new Office of
Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) within OMB, to which the director of
OMB was to delegate his paperwork functions.36 These functions included:
“reviewing and approving information collection requests proposed
“determining whether the collection of information by an agency is
necessary for the proper performance of [its] functions”;
ensuring that all procedural requirements for collecting information
“designating ... a collection agency to obtain information for two or
“setting goals for reduction of the burdens of Federal information
“overseeing action on the recommendations of the Commission on
Federal Paperwork”; and
“designing and operating ... the Federal Information Locator
The PRA also assigned information management responsibilities to the director
of OMB. Indeed, the statute’s title was somewhat misleading. The director was
broadly mandated to “develop and implement Federal information policies,
principles, standards, and guidelines” and to “provide direction and oversee the
review and approval of information collection requests, the reduction of the
paperwork burden, [and] Federal statistical activities, records management activities,
privacy of records, interagency sharing of information, and acquisition and use of
Congressional Record, vol. 126, Nov. 19, 1980, p. 30193.
Ibid., Dec. 1, 1980, p. 31228.
94 Stat. 2812; 44 U.S.C. 3501-3520 (1982).
44 U.S.C. 3503 (1982).
44 U.S.C. 3504(c).
automatic data processing telecommunications, and other technology for managing
Among the “general information policy functions” enumerated for the director
“developing and implementing uniform and consistent information
resources management policies and overseeing the development of
information management principles, standards, and guidelines and
promoting their use”;
“initiating and reviewing proposals for changes in legislation,
regulations, and agency procedures to improve information
practices, and informing the President and the Congress on the
progress made therein”;
“coordinating, through the review of budget proposals and ...
otherwise ..., agency information practices”;
“promoting, through the use of the Federal Information Locator
System, the review of budget proposals and other methods, greater
sharing of information by agencies”;
“evaluating agency information management practices to determine
their adequacy and efficiency,” as well as their “compliance ... with
the policies, principles, standards, and guidelines promulgated by the
“overseeing planning for, and conduct of research with respect to,
Federal collection, processing, storage, transmission, and use of
Additional functions were specified for “statistical policy and coordination,”40
“records management,”41 personal privacy protection,42 and “Federal automatic data
processing and telecommunications.”43 This last phrase was the reference at the time
for computer systems and digitized information, a burgeoning area that would
command more attention in subsequent overhauls of the PRA.44
44 U.S.C. 3504(a).
44 U.S.C. 3504(b).
44 U.S.C. 3504(d).
44 U.S.C. 3504(e).
44 U.S.C. 3504(f).
44 U.S.C. 3504(g).
By one account, the federal government was operating two computers in 1950, the number
then growing to 45 in 1955, 403 in 1960, 1,826 in 1965, 5,277 in 1970, and, in only a year,
The independent regulatory agencies, which were defined in the statute, and the
Treasury Department were brought within the scope of the PRA and its requirements.
All of the executive agencies were assigned responsibilities as well, largely for
ensuring the elimination of duplicative and unnecessary collections of information.
The statute required each agency head to designate a senior official, who was to
report directly to the agency head, to carry out the agency’s PRA responsibilities.45
The remaining provisions of the new law specified the details of the information
collection clearance process, including the use of a hearing or a statement submission
arrangement;46 the designation of a central collection agency to obtain information
for two or more agencies;47 the directing of information sharing by agencies;48 the
establishment and operation of a Federal Information Locator System to “serve as the
authoritative register of all information collection requests”;49 a selective “review, at
least once every three years, [of] the information management activities of each
agency to ascertain their adequacy and efficiency”;50 and keeping “Congress and its
committees fully and currently informed of the major activities under” the PRA and
reporting annually to both houses in such detail as was specified in the statute.51
Appropriations were authorized through the fiscal year ending September 30, 1983.52
For the first year of PRA implementation, OMB reported that OIRA had been
established prior to the statutory deadline, regulations had been issued to guide the
agencies, and effective progress had been made in realizing compliance with the
act’s procedures and requirements.53 GAO, however, offered a contrary view.
Assessing the first six months of OMB efforts at implementing the PRA, Comptroller
General Charles A. Bowsher told a House oversight subcommittee that OMB had
denied GAO “access to documents and information essential to reaching a full
understanding of its processes and an assessment of its efforts.” Nonetheless, the
5,961 in 1971. By 1980, the total could easily have been double the 1970 or 1971 figures.
Moreover, these were bulky, mainframe computers, the personal computer proliferating in
the federal government after 1980. Alan F. Westin and Michael A. Baker, Databanks in a
Free Society (New York: Quadrangle, 1972), p. 29.
44 U.S.C. 3506.
44 U.S.C. 3507-3508.
44 U.S.C. 3509.
44 U.S.C. 3510.
44 U.S.C. 3511.
44 U.S.C. 3513.
44 U.S.C. 3514.
44 U.S.C. 3520.
U.S. Office of Management and Budget, Managing Federal Information Resources, First
Annual Report Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1980 (Washington: Apr. 1, 1982),
... OMB’s efforts to implement the Paperwork Reduction Act can be
characterized as lacking the visible and forceful leadership necessary to achieve
the Act’s objectives. A sufficiently high priority has not been given to
implementing the Act. Little or no effort has been directed to key requirements
of the Act. As recently as October 16, 1981, OMB had approved no formal plans
for implementing the Act. Resources have been allocated to other functions, and
a growing workload of paperwork clearances is resulting in little or no effort
being devoted to other key requirements of the Act.54
The Comptroller noted that a “substantial portion of OIRA resources have been
devoted to regulatory review activities which are outside the scope of the Act.” He
reported that over 2,000 reviews of regulations pursuant to E.O. 12291 had been
conducted, while only 23 such reviews pursuant to the PRA had occurred.
Consequently, PRA work was backlogged: “a growing workload of individual
paperwork review cases has resulted in delays in completing reviews of agencies’
[PRA] implementation plans.”55
Two years later, GAO found that OMB had been successful in meeting its
requirements to reduce paperwork in terms of total percentages, but had made limited
progress “in information resources management areas other than paperwork
reduction, such as developing uniform information policies, promoting more
effective use of advanced information technology, and overseeing the Federal
statistical system.”56 OIRA’s regulatory review activity remained a problem for PRA
administration. “The act,” GAO pointed out, “provides OIRA neither authority nor
resource authorization for performing reviews of regulations except for assessing
compliance with the act’s objectives for reducing paperwork.” Congressional leaders
were reminded that “both House and Senate Committee reports on the legislation
specifically stated that regulatory reform activities beyond those related to
information and paperwork burden issues should not be assigned to OIRA.”57
The report suggested three options if Congress “decides further action is needed
to require OMB to increase the pace of progress toward achieving the Paperwork
Reduction Act’s objectives”:
“Require OMB to identify the resources needed for fully
implementing the [PRA] and report annually on the resources
expended for that purpose.”
“Provide a separate appropriation for implementing” the PRA.
U.S. Congress, House Committee on Government Operations, Implementation of the
Paperwork Reduction Act of 1980 (Public Law 96-511), hearing, 97th Cong., 1st sess., Oct.
21, 1981 (Washington: GPO, 1982), pp. 3-4, 8-9.
Ibid., pp. 4, 10.
U.S. General Accounting Office, Implementing the Paperwork Reduction Act: Some
Progress, but Many Problems Remain, GAO Report GAO/GGD-83-35 (Washington: Apr.
20, 1983), pp. ii, 10-28.
Ibid., p. iii.
“Provide a separate appropriation for implementing the act and
amend [it] to prohibit OIRA from performing any duties other than
those required by the act.”58
An April 1983 GAO report acknowledged that “OMB has taken several
preliminary steps to implement its responsibilities for controlling Federal
recordkeeping requirements imposed on the public,” but concluded that “these steps
have not produced meaningful retention standards.” Consequently, individuals and
businesses often retained records longer than required, resulting in an increased
paperwork burden. The report indicated that “OMB should address this issue now
and take the action necessary to meet its statutory responsibility for developing
standards to control the length of time records must be retained for the Federal
Government.”59 GAO recommended that OMB work with the General Services
Administration (GSA), which was responsible for various records management
matters at that time,60 to reestablish the previous records retention guide produced by
that agency, and modify its information collection request review process to facilitate
the compiling of the guide.61 OMB evidenced little interest in these suggestions.62
Amidst these GAO criticisms of its implementation of the PRA, OMB
engendered the enmity of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Treasury
Department, which objected to OMB’s attempts to review IRS regulations containing
reporting or recordkeeping requirements. To settle the dispute, OMB sought an
interpretive opinion from the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), Department of Justice,
that would be binding on the agencies. Rendered on June 22, 1982, the OLC opinion
concluded that reporting or recordkeeping requirements set out in prior, existing
regulations were not subject to OMB review under the PRA.63 The opinion was
largely viewed as a substantial defeat for OMB for various reasons, not the least of
which was the fact that IRS regulations accounted for almost half of the federal
government’s paperwork burden.64
Ibid., p. v.
U.S. General Accounting Office, More Guidance and Controls Needed Over Federal
Recordkeeping Requirements Imposed on the Public, GAO Report GAO/GGD-83-42
(Washington: Apr. 28, 1983), p. 8.
GSA’s records management responsibilities resulted from the inclusion of the National
Archives within it at the time of the agency’s establishment in 1949 (63 Stat. 379).
U.S. General Accounting Office, More Guidance and Controls Needed Over Federal
Recordkeeping Requirements Imposed on the Public, p. 9.
After the National Archives separated from GSA and became an independent agency in
April 1985, it published, in 1986, a revised version of the 1981 Guide to Record Retention
Requirements in the Code of Federal Regulations, and reprinted, in 1989, a slightly modified
version of a 1981 records management handbook, Disposition of Federal Records.
U.S. Department of Justice, Office of the Assistant Attorney General, Office of Legal
Counsel, Re: Paperwork Reduction Act of 1980, June 22, 1982, p. 56.
U.S. Office of Management and Budget, Information Collection Budget of the United
States Government: Fiscal Year 1982 (Washington: Dec. 29, 1981), p. 13.
The Paperwork Reduction Reauthorization Act of 1986
As originally enacted, the PRA authorized appropriations for OIRA through the
fiscal year ending September 30, 1983. Implementation difficulties, as revealed by
GAO and the OLC opinion, gave Congress a basis for amending the statute while
reauthorizing OIRA funding. During the 98th Congress, the House adopted such
amendments (H.R. 2718) establishing line item funding for OIRA functions
specifically mandated by the PRA; clarifying OMB’s authority to review information
collection requests in existing, as well as proposed, regulations; and strengthening
congressional oversight of OMB’s PRA mandate. Appropriations for OIRA
operations were extended through FY1988.65
A companion bill (S. 2433) did not fair as well in the Senate. Among other
provisions, it would have required Senate confirmation of the President’s nominee
to head OIRA. The Senate, however, did not complete action on its bill or the House
measure prior to the final adjournment of the 98th Congress. Critics, who felt the
legislation would have given OIRA and OMB too much authority over federal
rulemaking activity, were not unhappy with the inaction.66
Congressional failure to extend the PRA authorization during the 98th Congress
left OIRA dependent upon OMB’s annual general authorization until its own
spending authority could be restored. However, there was a considerable amount of
concern in Congress among members of both parties about OIRA’s ambitious
reviews of all major regulatory actions of other federal agencies. In mid-July 1986,
the House Subcommittee on Treasury, Postal Service, and General Government
denied $5.4 million requested by OMB for OIRA, and the parent Committee on
Appropriations made no attempt to restore the funds at the end of the month when
the bill (H.R. 5294) was reported to the House. It was approved by the House on
August 6, still devoid of OIRA funding, on a 302-118 vote. However, Senate
appropriators declined to endorse the deletion and provided the requested funds.67
Furthermore, delays in obtaining final passage of the 13 regular annual appropriations
bills necessitated resort to a continuing resolution containing these proposals and
other legislation, including the PRA reauthorization and amendments.
Legislation (S. 2887) to reauthorize and amend the PRA was introduced by
Senator William V. Roth, Jr., chairman of the Senate Committee on Governmental
Affairs, for himself and others on September 27, 1986. Referred to the Roth panel,
the bill was reported favorably without amendment and without an accompanying
written report on October 2. The text of the measure was subsequently included, as
Title VIII, in the continuing resolution making appropriations for FY1987.68
Congressional Record, vol. 129, Nov. 7, 1983, pp. 31100-31102.
Julie Rovner, “OMB’s Regulatory Activities Draw Fire in Congress, Courts,”
Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report, vol. 44, June 14, 1986, pp. 1339-1341.
Congressional Quarterly, Congressional Quarterly Almanac, 99th Congress, 2nd Session,
1986 (Washington: Congressional Quarterly, 1987), pp. 22, 195, 325.
100 Stat. 3341-335.
The PRA amendments, among other modifications, refined “information
resources management,” as used in the statute; made future heads of OIRA
presidential appointees subject to Senate approval; revised the statistical policy and
coordination functions of the OMB director; established a chief statistician position;
created a new Information Technology Fund to be administered by GSA; slightly
modified the Federal Information Locator System; set new paperwork reduction goals
of 15% for fiscal years 1987-1989; and authorized appropriations of $5.5 million for
each of the fiscal years 1987, 1988, and 1989. The authorization indicated that such
appropriations were to be used by OIRA to carry out only the functions prescribed
by the PRA, as amended.69
In the months following the reauthorization of the PRA, OIRA review of agency
regulatory actions continued to engender congressional ire. Late in the 101st
Congress, in the face of strong opposition from the George H. W. Bush
Administration, efforts were made to move legislation (H.R. 3695/S. 1742)
reauthorizing the PRA while limiting OIRA’s control over the regulatory review
process. Initially, in March 1990, House managers negotiated with OMB to legislate
a simple three-year reauthorization for OIRA if OMB would accept, separate from
the legislation, an administrative agreement limiting OMB’s regulatory power, to
become effective when the reauthorization was enacted into law. Although the
House managers thought they had administration consent to this arrangement, the
White House withdrew its support in early April, just as the reauthorization measure
was about to be taken to the House floor.70
The Senate bill, unlike its House counterpart, contained many restrictions on
OIRA, and when it was scheduled for consideration by the Committee on
Governmental Affairs in early April, Republican members of the panel, who opposed
the OIRA limitations, boycotted the meeting. Later, in early June, after some
accommodations had been reached, the committee approved the bill on a 14-0 vote.71
Further negotiation with the Bush Administration produced another compromise
during the last week of the 101st Congress. Administration officials agreed to restrain
OMB’s exercise of its regulatory power if Congress would forego writing limits on
OIRA’s review of agency regulatory actions into law.72 Senate committee leaders
indicated they would bring a stripped-down version of their bill to the floor.73
100 Stat. 3341-340.
Congressional Quarterly, Congressional Quarterly Almanac, 101st Congress, 2nd Session,
1990 (Washington: Congressional Quarterly, 1991), pp. 411-413.
Ibid., p. 413.
U.S. Congress, Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs, Federal Information
Resources Management Act, report to accompany S. 1742, 101st Cong., 2nd sess., S.Rept.
101-487 (Washington: GPO, 1990).
In light of this deal, House managers brought their bill to the floor,74 and, on
October 23, after about 15 minutes of debate, it was adopted on a voice vote.75 The
next day, OMB released a statement indicating the Bush Administration strongly
endorsed the Senate reauthorization measure, but several Republican Senators
reportedly placed anonymous holds on the legislation and it failed to receive
consideration prior to the October 28 adjournment.76
With the convening of the 103rd Congress, which coincided with the
inauguration of the Clinton Administration, two similar bills to reauthorize and
amend the PRA were offered in the Senate. The first (S. 560) was introduced by
Senator Sam Nunn, the ranking majority member on the Committee on
Governmental Affairs, on March 10, 1993, for himself and 25 bipartisan cosponsors.
The other measure (S. 681) was introduced by Senator John Glenn, the chairman of
the Committee on Governmental Affairs, on March 31, for himself and two
cosponsors. Both bills were referred to the Glenn committee, which eventually
produced a compromise proposal — “the product of a year-long, bipartisan effort
within the Committee, frequent consultation with staff of the General Accounting
Office (GAO) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and the solicitation
of public comment.”77 The committee conducted an August 2, 1994, markup, with
a unanimous vote in favor of the compromise version, which was substituted for the
original text of the Nunn bill. Called up by unanimous consent, the bill was
considered by the Senate and, as amended, passed on October 6, 1994.78 The House
had inadequate time to consider the bill before the final adjournment of the 103rd
Congress on December 1.
The PRA reauthorization bill approved by the Senate was drafted as a complete
revision of the act due to the number of changes it effected. Some technical
modifications, such as word substitutions, the deletion of obsolete provisions, and
section reorganizations, were included. Appropriations for OIRA were authorized
for eight years at $8 million each year. The 1986 goal of an annual 5% reduction in
public paperwork burdens was continued. One of the most controversial portions of
the bill overturned a Supreme Court ruling that the PRA allowed OMB to review
information collections intended for government use, but did not extend to
regulations intended to force businesses to produce information for a third party, such
as the public or its employees.79 Agencies were required to develop a paperwork
clearance process to review and solicit public comment on proposed information
U.S. Congress, House Committee on Government Operations, Paperwork Reduction and
Federal Information Resources Management Act of 1990, report to accompany H.R. 3695,
101st Congress, 2nd sess., H.Rept. 101-927 (Washington: GPO, 1990).
Congressional Record, vol. 136, Oct. 23, 1990, pp. 32732-32740.
Congressional Quarterly, Congressional Quarterly Almanac, 101st Congress, 2nd Session,
1990, p. 413.
U.S. Congress, Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs, Paperwork Reduction Act of
1994, report to accompany S. 560, 103rd Cong., 2nd sess., S.Rept. 103-392 (Washington:
GPO, 1994), p. 16.
Congressional Record, vol. 140, Oct. 6, 1994, pp. 28303-28308.
See Dole v. United Steelworkers of America, 494 U.S. 26 (1990).
collections prior to their submission for OMB review. OMB was required to disclose
publicly communications it received regarding information collections and to review
the status of any collection upon public request. OMB was also tasked with
developing governmentwide policies and guidelines for information dissemination
and promoting public access to information maintained by federal agencies.
Counterpart responsibilities were prescribed for the executive agencies to ensure that
the public had timely and equitable access to public information, to solicit public
input on their information dissemination activities, and to prohibit restrictions on the
dissemination or redissemination of public information. The bill emphasized
efficient and effective use of new technologies and reliance on a diversity of public
and private sources to promote the dissemination of government information,
particularly in electronic formats. Finally, agency heads were charged with
responsibility to carry out information resources management (IRM) activities to
improve agency productivity, efficiency, and effectiveness, and new IRM
accountability arrangements were established, as well.
The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995
Although the House and Senate majority parties in the 103rd Congress shifted
to minority status in the 104th Congress as a consequence of the 1994 elections,
important groundwork for PRA reauthorization legislation had been laid with the
bipartisan, compromise Senate bill of the prior Congress. The Clinton
Administration restrained OIRA’s review of agency regulatory actions and saw the
PRA as an important part of its efforts at improving customer service.80 Bipartisan
support for reducing the paperwork burden on the public remained strong in both
houses of Congress. The OIRA authorization had lapsed in 1989 and, at a minimum,
legislation to meet that need remained a priority on the congressional agenda.
A PRA reauthorization bill (H.R. 830) was introduced in the House by
Representative William F. Clinger, Jr., chairman of the Committee on Government
Reform and Oversight (successor to the Committee on Government Operations), on
February 6, 1995, for himself and five cosponsors. Referred to his panel, the measure
subsequently received subcommittee consideration and markup on February 8, when
it was forwarded to the full committee. Two days later, the committee ordered the
bill, as amended, reported on a 40-4 vote. Coming to the House floor, the bill,
among other modifications, set an indefinite reauthorization period for OIRA,
authorized no specific dollar amount of appropriations, and established a 10% annual
goal for paperwork reduction.81 The measure was called up by special rule for floor
See Office of the Vice President, From Red Tape to Results, Creating a Government That
Works Better & Costs Less: Improving Customer Service, Accompanying Report of the
National Performance Review (Washington: September 1993), pp. 19-22.
U.S. Congress, House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight, Paperwork
Reduction Act of 1995, report to accompany H.R. 830, 104th Cong., 1st sess., H.Rept. 104-37
(Washington: GPO, 1995).
consideration on February 22 when, after less than three hours of debate and further
amendment, it was passed on a 418-0 recorded vote.82
A PRA reauthorization bill (S. 244) was introduced by Senator Nunn on January
19 for himself and 21 bipartisan cosponsors. Referred to the Committee on
Governmental Affairs, the measure, as amended, was ordered to be reported
favorably on February 1 on an 8-0 vote. Coming to the Senate floor, the bill, unlike
its House counterpart, authorized appropriations for OIRA for five years at $8 million
each year and continued the 5% annual goal for paperwork reduction.83 The
legislation was considered by the Senate on March 7 when, after less than an hour of
discussion and amendment, it was passed on a 99-0 vote.84
On March 10, the Senate-passed version of the reauthorization bill (S. 244) was
called up by unanimous consent in the House. The measure was amended by
substituting the text of the House-approved reauthorization bill (H.R. 830) and was
then passed on a voice vote, clearing the legislation for conference committee
consideration.85 The resulting conference report was filed in the House on April 3.86
By voice vote, the Senate agreed to the conference report on April 6, the House
concurring the same day on a 423-0 vote. The legislation was signed into law by
President Clinton on May 22, 1995.87
The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, like the Senate PRA reauthorization bill
of 1994, was drafted as a complete revision of the act. As in the earlier legislation,
some technical modifications, such as word substitutions, the deletion of obsolete
provisions, and section reorganizations, were included. The administrator of OIRA
was made a presidential appointee subject to Senate confirmation. Appropriations
for OIRA were authorized for six years at $8 million each year. A paperwork
reduction goal of 10% was set for the first two authorization years and 5% thereafter.
The purview of the act was extended to educational and nonprofit institutions, federal
contractors, and tribal governments. The authority and functions of OIRA were
revised, specifying information dissemination and related agency oversight
responsibilities. OMB was required to conduct pilot projects to test alternative
policies and procedures, and to develop a governmentwide strategic information
resources management plan. The OMB director was tasked with establishing an
Interagency Council on Statistical Policy.
Congressional Record, vol. 141, Feb. 22, 1995, pp. 5462-5481.
U.S. Congress, Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs, Paperwork Reduction Act of
1995, report to accompany S. 244, 104th Cong., 1st sess., S.Rept. 104-8 (Washington: GPO,
Congressional Record, vol. 141, Mar. 7, 1995, p. 6994.
Ibid., daily edition, Mar. 10, 1995, pp. H2994-H3015.
U.S. Congress, Conference Committees, 1995, Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995,
conference report to accompany S. 244, 104th Cong., 1st sess., H.Rept. 104-99 (Washington:
109 Stat. 163; 44 U.S.C. 3501-3520 (1997 Supp. III).
The federal agencies were required to establish a process, independent of
program responsibility, to evaluate proposed collections of information, manage
information resources to reduce information collection burdens on the public, and
ensure that the public has timely and equitable access to information products and
services. Except where specifically authorized by statute, the agencies were
prohibited from establishing exclusive, restricted, or other distribution arrangements
that interfere with timely and equitable public availability of public information;
restricting or regulating the use, resale, or redissemination of public information by
the public; charging fees or royalties for resale or redissemination of public
information; or establishing user fees that exceed the cost of dissemination. Actions
that the agencies must take with respect to information technology were specified,
and the Federal Information Locator System was replaced with an agency-based
electronic Government Information Locator Service to identify the major information
systems, holdings, and dissemination products of each agency.
Information Technology Management Reform Act of 1996
The PRA of 1995 was modified the following year with the adoption of new
procurement reform and information technology management legislation. A House
bill (H.R. 1670) was introduced by Representative Clinger, the chairman of the
Committee on Government Reform and Oversight, on May 18, 1995. The measure
was part of a procurement modernization effort that he had undertaken in furtherance
of the reforms realized with the enactment of the Federal Acquisition Streamlining
Act of 1994.88 Referred to the Clinger committee, the bill was marked up by the
panel and ordered to be reported, as amended, on a voice vote on July 27.89 The bill
subsequently was called up by special rule in the House on September 13 and, the
following day, was considered on the floor as unfinished business and, as amended,
was passed on a 423-0 recorded vote.90 The bill was then received in the Senate on
September 18 and was referred to the Committee on Governmental Affairs.
A Senate procurement and information technology management reform bill (S.
946) was introduced by Senator William S. Cohen on June 20, 1995. His bill grew
out of a staff study he had directed during the previous Congress as the ranking
minority member of the Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management of
the Committee on Governmental Affairs.91 The bill was referred to the Committee
on Governmental Affairs. On August 4, during Senate consideration of the
Department of Defense (DOD) authorization bill for FY1996 (S. 1026), Cohen
offered an amendment, based on his procurement reform bill, that was accepted on
108 Stat. 3243.
U.S. Congress, House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight, Federal
Acquisition Reform Act of 1995, report to accompany H.R. 1670, 104th Cong., 1st sess.,
H.Rept. 104-222, Part 1 (Washington: GPO, 1995).
Congressional Record, vol. 141, Sept. 14, 1995, p. 25027.
See William S. Cohen, Computer Chaos: Billions Wasted Buying Federal Computer
Systems, Investigative Report (Washington: Oct. 12, 1994).
a voice vote.92 The Cohen amendment remained in the DOD authorization bill (H.R.
1530 amended with the language of S. 1026) adopted by the Senate on September 6.
The September 28 conference committee meeting on the legislation, with both Cohen
and Clinger participating, provided an opportunity for reconciling their reform
proposals into a mutually agreed upon package. The conferees’ report, filed in the
House on December 13, was approved in the House on December 15 on a 267-149
yea-nay vote, with the Senate agreeing four days later on a 51-43 yea-nay vote.
Although the Clinger-Cohen reforms drew no opposition from the White House,
the President vetoed the DOD authorization bill for other reasons on December 28.
An override attempt in the House on January 3, 1996, failed on a 240-156 yea-nay
vote. On January 5, managers of the DOD authorization legislation turned to one of
three reserved legislative vehicles (S. 1124) created in September when the Senate
completed action on the DOD authorization bill (H.R. 1530 amended with the
language of S. 1026).93 That day, the House passed the reserved bill (S. 1124) on a
voice vote, then notified the Senate of its action and requested a conference, to which
the Senate agreed. The conferees met on January 18; their report was filed in the
House four days later.94 The House agreed to the conference report on January 24 on
a 287-129 yea-nay vote, the Senate giving its approval two days later on a 56-34 yeanay vote. President Clinton signed the legislation on February 10.95
Division D of the statute, concerning “Federal Acquisition Reform,” was
denominated the Federal Acquisition Reform Act of 1996.96 Division E, concerning
“Information Technology Management Reform,” was known as the Information
Technology Management Reform Act of 1996.97 The two divisions were
subsequently denominated the Clinger-Cohen Act.98
The Clinger-Cohen Act contains several provisions which either amend or
modify provisions of the PRA of 1995 as set out in chapter 35 of Title 44 of the U.S.
Code.99 Among the amendments was one establishing a chief information officer
(CIO) in each agency, replacing the designated senior official mandated by the PRA
at 44 U.S.C. 3506. The duties and qualifications of the CIO were prescribed in the
Congressional Record, vol. 141, Aug. 4, 1995, pp. 22154-22158.
See Ibid., Sept. 6, 1995, p. 23629.
U.S. Congress, Conference Committees, 1996, National Defense Authorization Act for
Fiscal Year 1996, conference report to accompany S. 1124, 104th Cong., 2nd sess., H.Rept.
104-450 (Washington: GPO, 1996).
110 Stat. 186.
110 Stat. 642.
110 Stat. 679.
110 Stat. 3009-393.
The Clinger-Cohen Act (110 Stat. 680) also repealed a section of the Federal Property and
Administrative Services Act, popularly known as the Brooks Act (40 U.S.C. 759), which
authorized the Administrator of General Services to coordinate and provide for the
procurement, maintenance, and utilization of automatic data processing equipment.
Clinger-Cohen Act. Another amendment redefined “information technology” as used
in the PRA.
Other Clinger-Cohen Act provisions modified the responsibilities prescribed in
the PRA. The capital planning and investment control duties assigned to the OMB
director by the Clinger-Cohen Act were to be performed, according to that statute,
“in fulfilling the responsibilities under section 3504(h)” of the PRA. Similarly, the
director was to “encourage the use of performance-based and results-based
management in fulfilling the responsibilities assigned under section 3504(h)” of the
PRA. The Clinger-Cohen Act required agency heads, “[i]n fulfilling the
responsibilities assigned under section 3506(h)” of the PRA, to “design and
implement ... a process for maximizing the value and assessing and managing the
risks of the information technology acquisitions of the ... agency” and to perform
certain prescribed duties. Also, agency heads were to “identify in the strategic
information resources management plan required under section 3506(b)(2) ... [of the
PRA] any major information technology acquisition program, or any phase or
increment of such a program, that has significantly deviated from the cost,
performance, or schedule goals established for the program.”100
Government Paperwork Elimination Act
Amendments to the PRA again were enacted in 1998 as the Government
Paperwork Elimination Act (GPEA). The legislation (S. 2107) was introduced by
Senator Spencer Abraham in May and was referred to the Committee on Commerce,
where it was redrafted. According to the committee report, which was filed on
September 17, the revised bill “would require Federal agencies to make electronic
versions of their forms available online and would allow individuals and businesses
to use electronic signatures to file these forms electronically.” Continuing, the report
indicated that the intent of the legislation “is to provide a framework for reliable and
secure electronic transactions with the Federal government while remaining
‘technology neutral’ and not inappropriately favoring one industry over another.”101
The Senate subsequently approved the bill on October 15.
By this time, however, the 105th Congress was moving toward final
adjournment. Consequently, agreement was reached that the language of the
noncontroversial Senate bill would be attached, as Title 17, to the Omnibus
Consolidated and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act, 1999, which cleared
both houses of Congress and was signed into law by President Clinton on October
21, 1998.102 As enacted, the GPEA makes the director of OMB responsible for
providing governmentwide direction and oversight regarding “the acquisition and use
of information technology, including alternative information technologies that
See CRS Report RL30661, Government Information Technology Management: Past and
Future Issues (The Clinger-Cohen Act), by Jeffrey W. Seifert.
U.S. Congress, Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation,
Government Paperwork Elimination Act, a report to accompany S. 2107, 105th Cong., 2nd
sess, S.Rept. 105-335 (Washington: GPO, 1998), p. 1.
See 112 Stat. 2681-749.
provide for electronic submission, maintenance, or disclosure of information as a
substitute for paper and for the use and acceptance of electronic signatures.”103 In
fulfilling this responsibility, the director, in consultation with the National
Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) of the Department of
Commerce, is tasked with developing, in accordance with prescribed requirements,
procedures for the use and acceptance of electronic signatures by the executive
departments and agencies. A five-year deadline is prescribed for the agencies to
implement these procedures.
The director of OMB is also tasked by the GPEA to “develop procedures to
permit private employers to store and file electronically with Executive agencies
forms containing information pertaining to the employees of such employers.”104 In
addition, the director, in cooperation with NTIA, is to conduct an ongoing study of
the use of electronic signatures under the GPEA, with attention to paperwork
reduction and electronic commerce, individual privacy, and the security and
authenticity of transactions. The results of this study are to be reported periodically
Finally, electronic records submitted or maintained in accordance with GPEA
procedures, “or electronic signatures or other forms of electronic authentication used
in accordance with such procedures, shall not be denied legal effect, validity, or
enforceability because such records are in electronic form.” The act further specifies:
“Except as provided by law, information collected in the provision of electronic
signature services for communications with an executive agency ... shall only be used
or disclosed by persons who obtain, collect, or maintain such information as a
business or government practice, for the purpose of facilitating such communications,
or with the prior affirmative consent of the person about whom the information
Government Information Security Amendments
Among the more recent provisions appended to the PRA of 1997 were the
requirements of legislation initially introduced in mid-November 1999 by Senator
Fred Thompson, chairman of the Committee on Governmental Affairs, with Senator
Joseph Lieberman, the committee’s ranking minority member. The report
accompanying the bill when it was reported from committee in April 2000, proffered
the following description.
The Government Information Security Act would provide a comprehensive
framework for establishing and ensuring the effectiveness of controls over
information resources that support Federal operations and assets. It is modeled
on the “best practices” of leading organizations in the area of information
security. It does this by strengthening responsibilities and procedures and
coordinating information policy to ensure better control and oversight of systems.
It also recognizes the highly networked nature of the current Federal computing
44 U.S.C. 3504(a)(1)(B)(vi), as amended.
112 Stat. 2681-750.
112 Stat. 2681-751.
environment and provides for government-wide management and oversight of the
related information security risks including coordination of security efforts
between civilian, national security and law enforcement communities.106
The proposal sought to amend the PRA in four general areas: (1) agency heads
must develop and implement an agency-wide security program, which must include
risk assessment considering internal and external threats, risk-based policies, security
awareness training for personnel, periodic reviews of the effectiveness of security
policies including remedies to address deficiencies, and procedures for detecting,
reporting and responding to security incidents; (2) agency security programs must be
affirmatively approved by the director of OMB, who also would be responsible for
establishing government-wide policies for the management of programs that support
the cost-effective security of Federal information systems by promoting security as
an integral part of each agency’s business operations; (3) each agency must annually
undergo an independent evaluation of its information security program and practices
to be conducted either by the agency’s Inspector General, the General Accounting
Office or an independent external auditor, with the results of same reported to
Congress; and (4) the new security arrangements applied to all information systems,
although responsibility for approving the security plans and realizing an independent
evaluation of national security entities was vested in the Secretary of Defense and the
Director of Central Intelligence.107
During mid-June Senate floor consideration of the Defense Authorization bill
for FY2001, the proposal was attached to that legislation, remained in the final
version approved by the Senate on July 13, and in the subsequent conference
committee version of the legislation, which cleared Congress on October 12 and was
signed by the President on October 30.108
Because the information security amendments had a duration of two years, their
continuation, in some form, was in the purview of the 107th Congress. Ultimately,
an extension was included in the Homeland Security Act,109 and a modified version
of these provisions was included in the E-Government Act.110 Because the latter
statute was signed into law after the former, its information security title supersedes
that of the Homeland Security Act.
U.S. Congress, Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs, Government Information
Security Act of 1999, report to accompany S. 1993, 106th Cong., 2nd sess., S.Rept. 106-259
(Washington: GPO, 2000), pp. 1-2.
Ibid., pp. 2-3.
114 Stat. 1654; the information security amendments may be found at 114 Stat. 1654A266.
116 Stat. 2135 at 2258.
116 Stat. 2899 at 2946.
Reauthorizing the Paperwork Act
When the PRA of 1995 was signed into law, it authorized appropriations for
OIRA through FY2001, which concluded on September 30, 2001.111 Since that time,
OIRA has been funded through appropriations made for OMB. No other aspect of
the administration and operation of the PRA is affected by the expiration of the
authorization of appropriations for OIRA.
As the historical record suggests, the reauthorization of appropriations for OIRA
provides an opportunity and a legislative vehicle for substantively amending the PRA
in furtherance of efficient, economical, and effective government information
After a lapse of fours years, reauthorization of OIRA appropriations got
underway in March 2006 with an initial overview hearing on the Paperwork
Reduction Act by the House Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs. No legislation
was before the subcommittee at the time of this hearing. A second hearing by the
subcommittee occurred in July, but no further action was taken prior to the final
adjournment of the 109th Congress.
44 U.S.C. 3520.