Tag: transparency

Obama Administration Moves to Implement Sunlight Before Signing

I have written here once or twice before—well, 26 times, but whos counting?—about “Sunlight Before Signing“—President Obama’s campaign promise to post bills he receives from Congress online for five days before signing them.

It was his first broken campaign promise, but a presidential term lasts four years, and a pledge like this is redeemable. So I have been delighted to see moves over the past few weeks to implement President Obama’s simple, but important transparency promise.

First, Whitehouse.gov began posting all legislation that comes to the president’s desk from Congress. An early decision to exclude “insignificant” legislation such as bills to rename post offices needlessly drove down the White House’s Sunlight Before Signing average.

Why would the public want to know about such things? Perhaps because the numerous post office renamings passed this year stand in contrast to the budget resolutions not passed this year. Foremost, all bills should be included in Sunlight Before Signing because that was the president’s promise.

More importantly, though, the White House’s web site recently added a section covering something fairly central to the president’s role: legislation! In Whitehouse.gov’s “Briefing Room,” there is now a legislation section, in which you can find lists of pending legislation (the stuff getting its five days of public review),  signed legislation, and vetoed legislation.

(The signed legislation section is a bit of a jumble. It’s in no apparent order, it does not include public law numbers, it has different “signed” dates for some bills than the Thomas system has, and it even lists a few bills that have not been signed into law.)

Crucially, each of these pages has RSS feeds that make it easy for the public to stay informed about what bills have reached the president’s desk to get their five-day review. Voters and bloggers can easily get a quick sense of what Congress and the president are doing. Think of the social studies teacher who might use the bills Congress sends to the president in any given week for a class assignment.

Each time a bill reaches the president, it will pop up in RSS feeds nationwide. A habit of civic awareness can take root thanks to these RSS feeds, and the administration deserves credit for implementing them, even if it has done so tardily.

Thanks to these changes, the Obama administration’s Sunlight Before Signing average is on the rise. When we last reviewed things, just under 10% of bills had received the Sunlight Before Signing treatment, even though many were held for five days at the White House as a matter of course.

In 2009, the administration was 6 for 123 on Sunlight Before Signing, a poor .049 batting average. In 2010 so far, 37 of the 69 bills due for Sunlight Before Signing—there was one emergency bill—got the SBS treatment. That’s a 53.6% rate.  And in the month of June, 16 of 19—84% of bills—got Sunlight Before Signing.

  Number of Bills Bills Held 5 Days Bills Posted Five Days Emergency Bills
Overall 193 140 43 1
2009 123 90 6 0
2010 70 50 37 1

Overall at this point, the Obama administration has complied with the president’s Sunlight Before Signing promise 22.5% of the time. The first year is pulling the numbers down, and things are sure to get better going forward.

We’ll keep reporting on this campaign promise. In the third and fourth year of the term, we expect President Obama to be pretty near 100%. It’s terrific that the population can develop the habit over the next few years of looking at all the bills that get to the president’s desk. We’ll have a more engaged, self-governing citizenry as a result.

Now here’s the table of all bills President Obama has signed into law and their Sunlight Before Signing status.

Public Law Date Presented Date Signed Five Days? Posted [(Linked)]? Posted Five Days?
P.L. 111-2, The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 1/28/2009 1/29/2009 No 1/29/2009* No
P.L. 111-3, The Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009 2/4/2009 2/4/2009 No (2/1/2009)* No
P.L. 111-4, The DTV Delay Act 2/9/2009 2/11/2009 No 2/5/2009* Yes †
P.L. 111-5, The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 2/16/2009 2/17/2009 No (2/13/2009)* No
P.L. 111-6, Making further continuing appropriations for fiscal year 2009, and for other purposes 3/6/2009 3/6/2009 No No No
P.L. 111-7, A bill to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 2105 East Cook Street in Springfield, Illinois, as the “Colonel John H. Wilson, Jr. Post Office Building” 2/26/09 3/9/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-8, The Omnibus Appropriations Act, 2009 3/11/2009 3/11/2009 No (3/5/2009)* No
P.L. 111-9, To extend certain immigration programs 3/18/2009 3/20/2009 No (3/19/2009)* No
P.L. 111-10, To provide for an additional temporary extension of programs under the Small Business Act and the Small Business Investment Act of 1958, and for other purposes 3/19/2009 3/20/2009 No (3/19/2009)* No
P.L. 111-11, The Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 3/30/2009 3/30/2009 No (3/27/2009)* No
P.L. 111-12, The Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act of 2009 3/24/2009 3/30/2009 Yes (3/24/2009)* No ‡
P.L. 111-13, The Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education Act 4/20/2009 4/21/2009 No No No
P.L. 111-14, To designate the United States courthouse under construction at 327 South Church Street, Rockford, Illinois, as the “Stanley J. Roszkowski United States Courthouse” 4/14/2009 4/23/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-15, The Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program Act of 2009 4/14/2009 4/24/2009 Yes (3/27/2009)* No ‡
P.L. 111-16, The Statutory Time-Periods Technical Amendments Act of 2009 4/30/2009 5/7/2009 Yes (4/29/2009)* No ‡
P.L. 111-17, A joint resolution providing for the appointment of David M. Rubenstein as a citizen regent of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution 4/28/2009 5/7/2009 Yes (4/23/2009)* No ‡
P.L. 111-18, A bill to repeal section 10(f) of Public Law 93-531, commonly known as the “Bennett Freeze” 4/28/2009 5/8/2009 Yes (4/23/2009)* No ‡
P.L. 111-19, The Civil Rights History Project Act of 2009 4/30/2009 5/12/2009 Yes (4/29/2009)* No ‡
P.L. 111-20, The Protecting Incentives for the Adoption of Children with Special Needs Act of 2009 5/5/2009 5/15/2009 Yes (5/5/2009)* No ‡
P.L. 111-21, The FERA 5/19/2009 5/20/2009 No (5/15/2009)* No
P.L. 111-22, The Helping Families Save Their Homes Act of 2009 5/20/2009 5/22/2009 No (5/20/2009)* No
P.L. 111-23, The Weapon Systems Acquisition Reform Act of 2009 5/21/2009 5/22/2009 No 5/14/2009* No
P.L. 111-24, The Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights Act of 2009 5/20/2009 5/22/2009 No 5/15/2009* No
P.L. 111-25, The Ronald Reagan Centennial Commission Act 5/21/2009 6/2/2009 Yes (5/28/2009)* No ‡
P.L. 111-26, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 12877 Broad Street in Sparta, Georgia, as the “Yvonne Ingram-Ephraim Post Office Building” 6/9/2009 6/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-27, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 300 East 3rd Street in Jamestown, New York, as the “Stan Lundine Post Office Building” 6/9/2009 6/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-28, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 103 West Main Street in McLain, Mississippi, as the “Major Ed W. Freeman Post Office” 6/9/2009 6/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-29, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 3245 Latta Road in Rochester, New York, as the “Brian K. Schramm Post Office Building” 6/9/2009 6/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-30, The Antitrust Criminal Penalty Enhancement and Reform Act of 2004 Extension Act 6/19/2009 6/19/2009 No No No
P.L. 111-31, The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act 6/16/2009 6/22/2009 Yes (6/12/2009)* No ‡
P.L. 111-32, The Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2009 6/19/2009 6/24/2009 Yes (5/20/2009)* No ‡
P.L. 111-33, The Native American Heritage Day Act of 2009 6/16/2009 6/26/2009 Yes (6/16/2009)* No ‡
P.L. 111-34, To designate the Federal building and United States courthouse located at 306 East Main Street in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, as the “J. Herbert W. Small Federal Building and United States Courthouse” 6/19/2009 6/30/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-35, To designate the Federal building located at 799 United Nations Plaza in New York, New York, as the “Ronald H. Brown United States Mission to the United Nations Building” 6/19/2009 6/30/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-36, The Webcaster Settlement Act of 2009 6/19/2009 6/30/2009 Yes (6/19/2009)* No ‡
P.L. 111-37, The Veterans’ Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2009 6/25/2009 6/30/2009 Yes (6/25/2009)* No ‡
P.L. 111-38, A bill to provide additional personnel authorities for the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction 6/24/2009 6/30/2009 Yes (6/19/2009)* No ‡
P.L. 111-39, To make technical corrections to the Higher Education Act of 1965, and for other purposes 6/26/2009 7/1/2009 Yes (6/26/2009) No ‡
P.L. 111-40, A bill to award a Congressional Gold Medal to the Women Airforce Service Pilots (”WASP”) 6/24/2009 7/1/2009 Yes (6/29/2009)* No ‡
P.L. 111-41, The Korean War Veterans Recognition Act 7/27/2009 7/27/2009 No (7/25/2009)* No
P.L. 111-42, Approving the renewal of import restrictions contained in the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act of 2003, and for other purposes 7/27/2009 7/28/2009 No No No
P.L. 111-43, A bill to provide for an additional temporary extension of programs under the Small Business Act and the Small Business Investment Act of 1958, and for other purposes 7/30/2009 7/31/2009 No No No
P.L. 111-44, The New Frontier Congressional Gold Medal Act 7/27/2009 8/7/2009 Yes (7/27/2009)* No ‡
P.L. 111-45, To authorize the Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office to use funds made available under the Trademark Act of 1946 for patent operations in order to avoid furloughs and reductions-in-force, and for other purposes 7/27/2009 8/7/2009 Yes (7/27/2009)* No ‡
P.L. 111-46, To restore sums to the Highway Trust Fund, and for other purposes 8/4/2009 8/7/2009 No (8/5/09) No
P.L. 111-47, Making supplemental appropriations for fiscal year 2009 for the Consumer Assistance to Recycle and Save Program 8/6/2009 8/7/2009 No (8/5/2009) No
P.L. 111-48, The Miami Dade College Land Conveyance Act 7/31/2009 8/12/2009 Yes (7/31/2009)* No ‡
P.L. 111-49, The Judicial Survivors Protection Act of 2009 8/3/2009 8/12/2009 Yes (8/5/2009) No ‡
P.L. 111-50, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 46-02 21st Street in Long Island City, New York, as the “Geraldine Ferraro Post Office Building” 8/11/2009 8/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-51, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 601 8th Street in Freedom, Pennsylvania, as the “John Scott Challis, Jr. Post Office” 8/11/2009 8/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-52, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 2351 West Atlantic Boulevard in Pompano Beach, Florida, as the “Elijah Pat Larkins Post Office Building” 8/11/2009 8/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-53, The Utah Recreational Land Exchange Act of 2009 8/11/2009 8/19/2009 Yes (8/11/2009) No ‡
P.L. 111-54, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 41 Purdy Avenue in Rye, New York, as the “Caroline O’Day Post Office Building” 8/11/2009 8/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-55, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 431 State Street in Ogdensburg, New York, as the “Frederic Remington Post Office Building” 8/11/2009 8/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-56, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 123 11th Avenue South in Nampa, Idaho, as the “Herbert A Littleton Postal Station” 8/11/2009 8/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-57, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 1300 Matamoros Street in Laredo, Texas, as the “Laredo Veterans Post Office” 8/11/2009 8/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-58, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 702 East University Avenue in Georgetown, Texas, as the “Kyle G. West Post Office Building” 8/11/2009 8/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-59, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 19190 Cochran Boulevard FRNT in Port Charlotte, Florida, as the “Lieutenant Commander Roy H. Boehm Post Office Building” 8/11/2009 8/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-60, To extend the deadline for commencement of construction of a hydroelectric project 8/11/2009 8/19/2009 Yes (8/11/2009) No ‡
P.L. 111-61, Recognizing the service, sacrifice, honor, and professionalism of the Noncommissioned Officers of the United States Army 8/11/2009 8/19/2009 Yes (8/11/09) No ‡
P.L. 111-62, A joint resolution granting the consent and approval of Congress to amendments made by the State of Maryland, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the District of Columbia to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Regulation Compact 8/7/2009 8/19/2009 Yes (8/7/2009) No ‡
P.L. 111-63, The WIPA and PABSS Reauthorization Act of 2009 9/10/2009 9/18/2009 Yes (9/10/2009) No ‡
P.L. 111-64, A joint resolution providing for the appointment of France A. Cordova as a citizen regent of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution 9/11/2009 9/18/2009 Yes (9/11/09) No ‡
P.L. 111-65, To provide for the award of a gold medal on behalf of Congress to Arnold Palmer in recognition of his service to the Nation in promoting excellence and good sportsmanship in golf 9/21/2009 9/30/2009 Yes (9/21/2009) No ‡
P.L. 111-66, To provide for an additional temporary extension of programs under the Small Business Act and the Small Business Investment Act of 1958, and for other purposes 9/30/2009 9/30/2009 No (9/30/2009) No
P.L. 111-67, The Defense Production Act Reauthorization of 2009 9/24/2009 9/30/2009 Yes (9/24/2009) No ‡
P.L. 111-68, The Legislative Branch Appropriations Act, 2010 9/30/2009 10/1/2009 No (10/1/2009)
and
(10/23/09)
No
P.L. 111-69, The Fiscal Year 2010 Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act 9/30/2009 10/1/2009 Yes (9/30/2009) No
P.L. 111-70, To amend the Foreign Affairs Reform and Restructuring Act of 1998 to reauthorize the United States Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy 9/30/2009 10/9/2009 Yes (10/1/2009) No ‡
P.L. 111-71, To amend the United States International Broadcasting Act of 1994 to extend by one year the operation of Radio Free Asia, and for other purposes 9/30/2009 10/9/2009 Yes (10/1/2009) No ‡
P.L. 111-72, To amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to delay the date on which the accreditation requirement under the Medicare Program applies to suppliers of durable medical equipment that are pharmacies 10/7/2009 10/13/2009 Yes (10/7/2009) No ‡
P.L. 111-73, The Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act of 2009 10/5/2009 10/15/2009 Yes (10/2/2009) No ‡
P.L. 111-74, To designate the Federal building and United States courthouse located at McKinley Avenue and Third Street, SW., Canton, Ohio, as the “Ralph Regula Federal Building and United States Courthouse” 10/7/2009 10/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-75, To designate the United States courthouse located at 525 Magoffin Avenue in El Paso, Texas, as the “Albert Armendariz, Sr., United States Courthouse” 10/7/2009 10/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-76, To provide for the transfer of certain Federal Property to the Galveston Historical Foundation 10/7/2009 10/19/2009 Yes (10/7/2009) No ‡
P.L. 111-77, To designate the Federal building located at 844 North Rush Street in Chicago, Illinois, as the “William O. Lipinski Federal Building” 10/7/2009 10/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-78, To designate the United States courthouse located at 301 Simonton Street in Key West, Florida, as the “Sidney M. Aronovitz United States Courthouse” 10/7/2009 10/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-79, The Foreign Evidence Request Efficiency Act of 2009 10/7/2009 10/19/2009 Yes (10/7/2009) No ‡
P.L. 111-80, The Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2010 10/16/2009 10/21/2009 Yes (10/9/2009) No ‡
P.L. 111-81, The Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act of 2009 10/16/2009 10/22/2009 Yes (10/16/2009)* No ‡
P.L. 111-82, A bill to authorize major medical facility leases for the Department of Veterans Affairs for fiscal year 2010, and for other purposes 10/15/2009 10/26/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-83, The Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2010 10/22/2009 10/28/2009 Yes (10/9/2009) No ‡
P.L. 111-84, The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 10/26/2009 10/28/2009 No (10/21/2009)* No
P.L. 111-85, The Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2010 10/21/2009 10/28/2009 Yes (10/21/2009)* No
P.L. 111-86, The Girl Scouts USA Centennial Commemorative Coin Act 10/22/2009 10/29/2009 Yes (10/21/2009)* No ‡
P.L. 111-87, The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act of 2009 10/26/2009 10/30/2009 No (10/21/2009)* No
P.L. 111-88, The Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2010 10/30/2009 10/30/2009 No (10/28/2009)* No
P.L. 111-89, A bill to provide for additional temporary extension of programs under the Small Business Act and the Small Business Investment Act of 1958, and for other purposes 10/30/2009 10/30/2009 No (10/29/2009) No
P.L. 111-90, The Morris K. Udall Scholarship and Excellence in National Environmental Policy Amendments Act of 2009 10/22/2009 11/3/2009 Yes (10/22/2009) No ‡
P.L. 111-91, The Medal of Honor Commemorative Coin Act of 2009 10/29/2009 11/6/2009 Yes (10/29/2009) No ‡
P.L. 111-92, The Unemployment Compensation Extension Act of 2009 11/5/2009 11/6/2009 No (11/5/2009) No
P.L. 111-93, The Credit CARD Technical Corrections Act of 2009 10/30/2009 11/6/2009 Yes (10/30/2009)* No ‡
P.L. 111-94, Proclaiming Casimir Pulaski to be an honorary citizen of the United States posthumously 10/29/2009 11/6/2009 Yes (10/29/2009) No ‡
P.L. 111-95, A bill to amend title 36, United States Code, to grant a Federal charter to the Military Officers Association of America, and for other purposes 10/30/2009 11/6/2009 Yes (10/30/2009)* No ‡
P.L. 111-96, A bill to allow the funding for the interoperable emergency communications grant program established under the Digital Television Transition and Public Safety Act of 2005 to remain available until expended through fiscal year 2012, and for other purposes 10/30/2009 11/6/2009 Yes (10/30/2009) No ‡
P.L. 111-97, The Military Spouses Residency Relief Act 11/4/2009 11/11/2009 Yes (11/4/2009) No ‡
P.L. 111-98, A bill to authorize a major medical facility project at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Walla, Walla, Washington, and for other purposes 11/4/2009 11/11/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-99, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 10355 Northeast Valley Road in Rollingbay, Washington, as the “John ‘Bud’ Hawk Post Office” 11/20/2009 11/30/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-100, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 37926 Church Street in Dade City, Florida, as the “Sergeant Marcus Mathes Post Office” 11/20/2009 11/30/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-101, To name the South Central Agricultural Research Laboratory of the Department of Agriculture in Lane, Oklahoma, and the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 310 North Perry Street in Bennington, Oklahoma, in honor of former Congressman Wesley “Wes” Watkins 11/20/2009 11/30/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-102, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 4282 Beach Street in Akron, Michigan, as the “Akron Veterans Memorial Post Office” 11/20/2009 11/30/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-103, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 140 Merriman Road in Garden City, Michigan, as the “John J. Shivnen Post Office Building” 11/20/2009 11/30/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-104, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 1615 North Wilcox Avenue in Los Angeles, California, as the “Johnny Grant Hollywood Post Office Building” 11/20/2009 11/30/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-105, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 115 West Edward Street in Erath, Louisiana, as the “Conrad DeRouen, Jr. Post Office” 11/20/2009 11/30/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-106, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 867 Stockton Street in San Francisco, California, as the “Lim Poon Lee Post Office” 11/20/2009 11/30/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-107, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 1165 2nd Avenue in Des Moines, Iowa, as the “Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans Memorial Post Office” 11/20/2009 11/30/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-108, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 936 South 250 East in Provo, Utah, as the “Rex E. Lee Post Office Building” 11/20/2009 11/30/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-109, A bill to redesignate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 2777 Logan Avenue in San Diego, California, as the “Cesar E. Chavez Post Office” 1/28/2009 1/29/2009 No No No
P.L. 111-110, A bill to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 60 School Street, Orchard Park, New York, as the “Jack F. Kemp Post Office Building” 11/19/2009 11/30/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-111, A bill to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 630 Northeast Killingsworth Avenue in Portland, Oregon, as the “Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Post Office” 11/19/2009 11/30/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-112, A bill to extend the authority for relocation expenses test programs for Federal employees, and for other purposes 11/19/2009 11/30/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-113, A bill to amend title 36, United States Code, to include in the Federal charter of the Reserve Officers Association leadership positions newly added in its constitution and bylaws 12/2/2009 12/14/2009 Yes (12/2/2009) No ‡
P.L. 111-114, A bill to permit each current member of the Board of Directors of the Office of Compliance to serve for 3 terms 12/2/2009 12/14/2009 Yes (12/2/2009) No ‡
P.L. 111-115, To amend titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act to prohibit retroactive payments to individuals during periods for which such individuals are prisoners, fugitive felons, or probation or parole violators 12/14/2009 12/15/2009 No No No
P.L. 111-116, To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to extend the funding and expenditure authority of the Airport and Airway Trust Fund, to amend title 49, United States Code, to extend authorizations for the airport improvement program, and for other purposes 12/14/2009 12/16/2009 No (12/14/2009) No
P.L. 111-117, The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2010 12/15/2009 12/16/2009 No (12/15/2009) No
P.L. 111-118, Making appropriations for the Department of Defense for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2010, and for other purposes 12/19/2009 12/19/2009 No (12/19/2009) No
P.L. 111-119, A bill to amend the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 to clarify the eligibility requirements with respect to airline flight crews 12/9/2009 12/21/2009 Yes (12/11/2009) Yes
P.L. 111-120, To extend through December 31, 2010, the authority of the Secretary of the Army to accept and expend funds contributed by non-Federal public entities to expedite the processing of permits 12/14/2009 12/22/2009 Yes (12/14/2009) Yes
P.L. 111-121, Appointing the day for the convening of the second session of the One Hundred Eleventh Congress 12/16/2009 12/22/2009 Yes (12/16/2009) Yes
P.L. 111-122, A bill to establish a section within the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice to enforce human rights laws, to make technical and conforming amendments to criminal and immigration laws pertaining to human rights violations, and for other purposes 12/17/2009 12/22/2009 Yes (12/17/2009) Yes
P.L. 111-123, To permit continued financing of Government operations 12/24/2009 12/28/2009 No (12/25/2009) No
P.L. 111-124, To extend the Generalized System of Preferences and the Andean Trade Preference Act, and for other purposes 12/23/2009 12/28/2009 Yes (12/23/2009) Yes
P.L. 111-125, To extend the commercial space transportation liability regime 12/24/2009 12/28/2009 No (12/25/2009) No
P.L. 111-126, To accelerate the income tax benefits for charitable cash contributions for the relief of victims of the earthquake in Haiti 01/22/2010 01/22/2010 No (01/22/2010) No
P.L. 111-127, The Emergency Aid to American Survivors of the Haiti Earthquake Act 01/27/2010 01/27/2010 No n/a E! n/a E!
P.L. 111-128, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 116 North West Street in Somerville, Tennessee, as the “John S. Wilder Post Office Building” 01/20/2010 01/29/2010 Yes No No
P.L. 111-129, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 76 Brookside Avenue in Chester, New York, as the “1st Lieutenant Louis Allen Post Office” 01/20/2010 01/29/2010 Yes No No
P.L. 111-130, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 9810 Halls Ferry Road in St. Louis, Missouri, as the “Coach Jodie Bailey Post Office Building” 01/20/2010 01/29/2010 Yes No No
P.L. 111-131, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 440 South Gulling Street in Portola, California, as the “Army Specialist Jeremiah Paul McCleery Post Office Building” 01/20/2010 01/29/2010 Yes No No
P.L. 111-132, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 427 Harrison Avenue in Harrison, New Jersey, as the “Patricia D. McGinty-Juhl Post Office Building” 01/20/2010 01/29/2010 Yes No No
P.L. 111-133, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 16555 Springs Street in White Springs, Florida, as the “Clyde L. Hillhouse Post Office Building” 01/20/2010 01/29/2010 Yes No No
P.L. 111-134, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 170 North Main Street in Smithfield, Utah, as the “W. Hazen Hillyard Post Office Building” 01/20/2010 01/29/2010 Yes No No
P.L. 111-135, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 3900 Darrow Road in Stow, Ohio, as the “Corporal Joseph A. Tomci Post Office Building” 01/20/2010 01/29/2010 Yes No No
P.L. 111-136, To provide for an additional temporary extension of programs under the Small Business Act and the Small Business Investment Act of 1958, and for other purposes 01/29/2010 01/29/2010 No No No
P.L. 111-137, To amend title 38, United States Code, to expand veteran eligibility for reimbursement by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs for emergency treatment furnished in a non-Department facility, and for other purposes 01/20/2010 02/01/2010 Yes (01/20/2010) Yes
P.L. 111-138, A bill to provide that claims of the United States to certain documents relating to Franklin Delano Roosevelt shall be treated as waived and relinquished in certain circumstances 01/22/2010 02/01/2010 Yes No No
P.L. 111-139, Increasing the statutory limit on the public debt 02/04/2010 02/12/2010 Yes No No
P.L. 111-140, The Nuclear Forensics and Attribution Act 02/04/2010 02/16/2010 Yes No No
P.L. 111-141, An Act to extend expiring provisions of the USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005 and Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 until February 28, 2011 02/26/2010 02/27/2010 No (02/26/2010) No
P.L. 111-142, The Social Security Disability Applicants’ Access to Professional Representation Act of 2010 02/25/2010 02/27/2010 No (02/25/2010) No
P.L. 111-143, The Criminal History Background Checks Pilot Extension Act of 2009 02/17/2010 03/01/2010 Yes No No
P.L. 111-144, The Temporary Extension Act of 2010 03/02/2010 03/02/2010 No (03/03/2010) No
P.L. 111-145, The Capitol Police Administrative Technical Corrections Act of 2009 03/04/2010 03/04/2010 No (02/26/2010)* No
P.L. 111-146, The Trademark Technical and Conforming Amendment Act of 2010 03/17/2010 03/17/2010 No (03/05/2010) Yes †
P.L. 111-147, The Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act 03/17/2010 03/18/2010 No (03/18/2010)* No
P.L. 111-148, The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act 03/22/2010 03/23/2010 No (03/14/2010)* No
P.L. 111-149, To amend the North American Wetlands Conservation Act to establish requirements regarding payment of the non-Federal share of the costs of wetlands conservation projects in Canada that are funded under that Act, and for other purposes 03/15/2010 03/25/2010 Yes (03/15/2010)* Yes
P.L. 111-150, P.L. 111-150, To permit the use of previously appropriated funds to extend the Small Business Loan Guarantee Program, and for other purposes 03/26/2010 03/26/2010 No No No
P.L. 111-151, The Satellite Television Extension Act of 2010 03/26/2010 03/26/2010 No No No
P.L. 111-152, The Reconciliation Act of 2010 03/30/2010 03/30/2010 No No No
P.L. 111-153, The Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act of 2010 03/26/2010 03/31/2010 Yes (03/26/2010)* Yes
P.L. 111-154, The PACT Act 03/19/2010 03/31/2010 Yes (03/18/2010)* Yes
P.L. 111-155, The Prevent Deceptive Census Look Alike Mailings Act 04/01/2010 04/07/2010 Yes No No
P.L. 111-156, Recognizing and honoring the Blinded Veterans Association on its 65th anniversary of representing blinded veterans and their families 04/01/2010 04/07/2010 Yes No No
P.L. 111-157, The Continuing Extension Act of 2010 04/15/2010 04/15/2010 No No No
P.L. 111-158, The Debt Relief for Earthquake Recovery in Haiti Act of 2010 04/15/2010 04/26/2010 Yes (04/15/2010)* Yes
P.L. 111-159, To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to ensure that health coverage provided by the Department of Defense is treated as minimal essential coverage 04/14/2010 04/26/2010 Yes (04/14/2010)* Yes
P.L. 111-160, A joint resolution granting the consent and approval of Congress to amendments made by the State of Maryland, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the District of Columbia to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Regulation Compact 04/16/2010 04/26/2010 Yes (04/16/2010)* Yes
P.L. 111-161, The Airport and Airway Extension Act of 2010 04/29/2010 04/30/2010 No (04/29/2010)* No
P.L. 111-162, A bill to provide for an additional temporary extension of programs under the Small Business Act and the Small Business Investment Act of 1958, and for other purposes 04/29/2010 04/30/2010 No (04/29/2010)* No
P.L. 111-163, The Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2009 04/27/2010 05/05/2010 Yes (04/23/2010) Yes
P.L. 111-164, To designate the Department of Veterans Affairs blind rehabilitation center in Long Beach, California, as the “Major Charles R. Soltes, Jr., O.D. Department of Veterans Affairs Blind Rehabilitation Center” 04/26/2010 05/07/2010 Yes (04/26/2010)* Yes
P.L. 111-165, To provide that Members of Congress shall not receive a cost of living adjustment in pay during fiscal year 2011 05/03/2010 05/14/2010 Yes (05/03/2010)* Yes
P.L. 111-166, The Daniel Pearl Freedom of the Press Act of 2009 05/06/2010 05/17/2010 Yes (05/06/2010)* Yes
P.L. 111-167, The Blue Ridge Parkway and Town of Blowing Rock Land Exchange Act of 2009 05/13/2010 05/24/2010 Yes (05/13/2010) Yes
P.L. 111-168, To provide for the sale of the Federal Government’s reversionary interest in approximately 60 acres of land in Salt Lake City, Utah, originally conveyed to the Mount Olivet Cemetery Association under the Act of January 23, 1909 05/13/2010 05/24/2010 Yes (05/13/2010) Yes
P.L. 111-169, To provide for an extension of the legislative authority of the Adams Memorial Foundation to establish a commemorative work in honor of former President John Adams and his legacy, and for other purposes 05/13/2010 05/24/2010 Yes (05/13/2010) Yes
P.L. 111-170, To amend title 39, United States Code, to clarify the instances in which the term “census” may appear on mailable matter 05/13/2010 05/24/2010 Yes (05/13/2010) Yes
P.L. 111-171, The Haiti Economic Lift Program Act of 2010 05/13/2010 05/24/2010 Yes (05/13/2010) Yes
P.L. 111-172, The Lord’s Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act of 2009 05/17/2010 05/24/2010 Yes (05/18/2010) Yes
P.L. 111-173, To clarify the health care provided by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs that constitutes minimum essential coverage 05/21/2010 05/27/2010 Yes (05/21/2010)* Yes
P.L. 111-174, The Federal Judiciary Administrative Improvements Act of 2009 05/21/2010 05/27/2010 Yes (05/21/2010)* Yes
P.L. 111-175, The Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act of 2010 05/17/2010 05/27/2010 Yes (05/18/2010)* Yes
P.L. 111-176, To designate the Department of the Interior Building in Washington, District of Columbia, as the “Stewart Lee Udall Department of the Interior Building” 05/28/2010 06/08/2010 Yes (06/01/2010) Yes
P.L. 111-177, The Extending Immunities to the Office of the High Representative and the International Civilian Office in Kosovo Act of 2010 05/27/2010 06/08/2010 Yes (05/27/2010) Yes
P.L. 111-178, The FBI Families of Fallen Heroes Act 06/01/2010 06/09/2010 Yes (06/01/2010) Yes
P.L. 111-179, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 1210 West Main Street in Riverhead, New York, as the “Private First Class Garfield M. Langhorn Post Office Building” 06/01/2010 06/09/2010 Yes (06/01/2010) Yes
P.L. 111-180, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 109 Main Street in Swifton, Arkansas, as the “George Kell Post Office” 06/01/2010 06/09/2010 Yes (06/01/2010) Yes
P.L. 111-181, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 101 West Highway 64 Bypass in Roper, North Carolina, as the “E.V. Wilkins Post Office” 06/01/2010 06/09/2010 Yes (06/01/2010) Yes
P.L. 111-182, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 43 Maple Avenue in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, as the “Ann Marie Blute Post Office” 06/01/2010 06/09/2010 Yes (06/01/2010) Yes
P.L. 111-183, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 9727 Antioch Road in Overland Park, Kansas, as the “Congresswoman Jan Meyers Post Office Building” 06/01/2010 06/09/2010 Yes (06/01/2010) Yes
P.L. 111-184, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 7464 Highway 503 in Hickory, Mississippi, as the “Sergeant Matthew L. Ingram Post Office” 06/01/2010 06/09/2010 Yes (06/01/2010) Yes
P.L. 111-185, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 45300 Portola Avenue in Palm Desert, California, as the “Roy Wilson Post Office” 06/01/2010 06/09/2010 Yes (06/01/2010) Yes
P.L. 111-186, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 930 39th Avenue in Greeley, Colorado, as the “W.D. Farr Post Office Building” 06/01/2010 06/09/2010 Yes (06/01/2010) Yes
P.L. 111-187, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 2-116th Street in North Troy, New York, as the “Martin G. ‘Marty’ Mahar Post Office” 06/01/2010 06/09/2010 Yes (06/01/2010) Yes
P.L. 111-188, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 119 Station Road in Cheyney, Pennsylvania, as the “Captain Luther H. Smith, U.S. Army Air Forces Post Office” 06/01/2010 06/09/2010 Yes (06/01/2010) Yes
P.L. 111-189, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 216 Westwood Avenue in Westwood, New Jersey, as the “Sergeant Christopher R. Hrbek Post Office Building” 06/01/2010 06/09/2010 Yes (06/01/2010) Yes
P.L. 111-190, To amend the Antitrust Criminal Penalty Enhancement and Reform Act of 2004 to extend the operation of such Act for a 5-year period ending June 22, 2015, and for other purposes 06/01/2010 06/09/2010 Yes (06/01/2010) Yes
P.L. 111-191, A bill to amend the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 to authorize advances from Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill 06/14/2010 06/15/2010 No (06/10/2010) No
P.L. 111-192, The Preservation of Access to Care for Medicare Beneficiaries and Pension Relief Act 06/24/2010 06/25/2010 No No No
P.L. 111-193, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 2000 Louisiana Avenue in New Orleans, Louisiana, as the “Roy Rondeno, Sr. Post Office Building” 06/17/2010 06/28/2010 Yes [06/17/2010] Yes
P.L. 111-194, A joint resolution to provide for the reconsideration and revision of the proposed constitution of the United States Virgin Islands to correct provisions inconsistent with the Constitution and Federal law 06/30/2010 06/30/2010 No No No

(Parentheses indicate a separate Whitehouse.gov page with a link to Thomas legislative database)
* Page now gone, but it was either directly observed, evidence of it appears in Whitehouse.gov search, or White House says it existed.
[Brackets indicate a link from Whitehouse.gov to Thomas legislative database]

† Bill was posted for five days after final passage, though not formal presentment. Counted as “Yes.”

‡ Link to final version of bill on impossible-to-find page.

E! Emergency legislation not subject to five-day posting

John Brennan on Countering Terrorism

Earlier today, I attended a lecture at CSIS by John Brennan, a leading counterterrorism and homeland security adviser to President Obama. His speech highlighted some of the key elements of the administration’s counterterrorism strategy, in advance of tomorrow’s release of the National Security Strategy (NSS).

I hope that many people will take the opportunity to read (.pdf) or listen to/watch Brennan’s speech, as opposed to merely reading what other people said that he said. Echoing key themes that Brennan put forward last year, also at CSIS, today’s talk reflected a level of sophistication that is required when addressing the difficult but eminently manageable problem of terrorism.

Brennan was most eloquent in talking about the nature of the struggle. He declared, with emphasis, that the United States is indeed at war with al Qaeda and its affiliates, but not at war with the tactic of terrorism, nor with Islam, a misconception that is widely held both here in the United States and within the Muslim world. He stressed the positive role that Muslim clerics and other leaders within the Muslim community have played in criticizing the misuse of religion to advance a hateful ideology, and he lamented that such condemnations of bin Laden and others have not received enough exposure in the Western media. This inadequate coverage of the debate raging within the Muslim community contributes to the mistaken impression that this is chiefly a religious conflict. It isn’t; or, more accurately, it need not be, unless we make it so.

I also welcomed Brennan’s unabashed defense of a counterterrorism strategy that placed American values at the forefront. These values include a respect for the rule of law, transparency, individual liberty, tolerance, and diversity. And he candidly stated what any responsible policymaker must: no nation can possibly prevent every single attack. In those tragic instances where a determined person slips through the cracks, the goal must be to recover quickly, and to demonstrate a level of resilience that undermines the appeal of terrorism as a tactic in the future.

I had an opportunity to ask Brennan a question about the role of communication in the administration’s counterterrorism strategy. He assured me that there was such a communications strategy, that elements of the strategy would come through in the NSS, and that such elements have informed how the administration has addressed the problem of terrorism from the outset.

This was comforting to hear, and it is consistent with what I’ve observed over the past 16 months. Members of the Obama administration, from the president on down, seem to understand that how you talk about terrorism is as important as how you disrupt terrorist plots, kill or capture terrorist leaders, and otherwise enhance the nation’s physical security. On numerous occasions, the president has stressed that the United States cannot be brought down by a band of murderous thugs. Brennan reiterated that point today. This should be obvious, and yet such comments stand in stark contrast to the apolocalytpic warnings from a few years ago of an evil Islamic caliphate sweeping across the globe.

Talking about terrorism might seem an esoteric point. It isn’t. Indeed, it is a key theme in our just released book, Terrorizing Ourselves: Why U.S. Counterterrorism Policy Is Failing and How to Fix It. Because the object of terrorism is to terrorize, to elicit from a targeted state or people a response, and to (in the terrorists’s wildest dreams) cause the state to waste blood and treasure, or come loose from its ideological moorings, a comprehensive counterterrorism strategy should aim at building a psychologically resilient society. Such a society should possess an accurate understanding of the nature of the threat, a clear sense of what policies or measures are useful in mitigating that threat, and an awareness of how overreaction does the terrorists’s work for them. The true measure of a resilient society, one that isn’t in thrall to the specter of terrorism, is the degree to which it can conduct an adult conversation about the topic.

We aren’t there yet, but I’m encouraged by what I’ve seen so far, and by what I heard today.

Federal Spending Transparency: Unlocking the Power of Abstraction

I’ll present a short paper and lead some discussion on federal spending transparency today at an OMB Watch conference entitled “Strengthening Federal Spending Transparency: A Working Conference to Develop a Plan of Action.”

My paper is called “Federal Spending Transparency: Unlocking the Power of Abstraction.” It builds on lessons I learned from developing the Earmarkdata.org model aimed at getting earmark information out of Congress.

Information scientists will find the paper amateurish and riddled with imperfections. Policy people will find it obscure and dense. That’s what you get when you translate between two languages and cultures.

The goal:

Each piece of the policy making process—the budgets, bills, votes, etc.—should originate as structured data, feeding directly into the information infrastructure that the transparency community creates. A budget should come out not just in paper and PDF versions, but as a data set containing all the meaning that exists in the physical documents.

Make sense? If not, you’ll want to get yourself to where it does.

Sunlight Before Signing: Slow Improvement

It’s about time for an update on President Obama’s Sunlight Before Signing promise. On the campaign trail and on his campaign web site, the president said he would post all bills he received from Congress online for five days before he signed them.

He hasn’t fulfilled that promise every time. In fact, so far in 2010 he’s only done it about a quarter of the time, but that’s a big improvement over 2009!

Here’s a table that summarizes the Sunlight Before Signing status of the 163 bills President Obama has signed.

Number of Bills Bills Held 5 Days Bills Posted Five Days Emergency Bills
Overall 163 113 16 1
2009 123 90 6 0
2010 40 23 10 1

Of 163 bills, 113 have been held for five days as a matter of course, but only 16 have been posted on Whitehouse.gov for five days before signing. Five of the six bills posted for five days were in December, after Whitehouse.gov put a link on its home page pointing to pending legislation. The remaining ten so far in 2010 bring the president’s overall Sunlight Before Signing average to .098. Let’s round it up to 10%.

If you drop the administration’s first year, things start to look pretty good. (Hey, everything is relative…) The president is 10 for 40 in 2010—a straight .250 batting average. There have been 23 bills held five days, of course. The average could be above 50%!

Part of what is dragging the numbers down is the policy not to post bills that rename post offices. They’re not very important—that’s for sure—but the president’s promise wasn’t to post just the important bills online.

The public might benefit from knowing that Congress and the president spent time naming a post office in Saint Louis after Coach Jodie Bailey. (Coach Bailey had a record of 828 wins and 198 losses in his 42 seasons—quite a bit better than President Obama’s record on Sunlight Before Signing!)

Interestingly, the most recent new law—renaming a Department of Veterans Affairs facility—was posted online for five days. Perhaps the White House is going to start going after Sunlight Before Signing’s lowest-hanging fruit. Then things will really pick up!

After the jump, the  table showing the Sunlight Before Signing treatment for all 163 laws President Obama has signed.

Public Law Date Presented Date Signed Five Days? Posted (Linked)? Posted Five Days?
P.L. 111-2, The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 1/28/2009 1/29/2009 No 1/29/2009* No
P.L. 111-3, The Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009 2/4/2009 2/4/2009 No (2/1/2009)* No
P.L. 111-4, The DTV Delay Act 2/9/2009 2/11/2009 No 2/5/2009* Yes †
P.L. 111-5, The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 2/16/2009 2/17/2009 No (2/13/2009)* No
P.L. 111-6, Making further continuing appropriations for fiscal year 2009, and for other purposes 3/6/2009 3/6/2009 No No No
P.L. 111-7, A bill to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 2105 East Cook Street in Springfield, Illinois, as the “Colonel John H. Wilson, Jr. Post Office Building” 2/26/09 3/9/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-8, The Omnibus Appropriations Act, 2009 3/11/2009 3/11/2009 No (3/5/2009)* No
P.L. 111-9, To extend certain immigration programs 3/18/2009 3/20/2009 No (3/19/2009)* No
P.L. 111-10, To provide for an additional temporary extension of programs under the Small Business Act and the Small Business Investment Act of 1958, and for other purposes 3/19/2009 3/20/2009 No (3/19/2009)* No
P.L. 111-11, The Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 3/30/2009 3/30/2009 No (3/27/2009)* No
P.L. 111-12, The Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act of 2009 3/24/2009 3/30/2009 Yes (3/24/2009)* No ‡
P.L. 111-13, The Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education Act 4/20/2009 4/21/2009 No No No
P.L. 111-14, To designate the United States courthouse under construction at 327 South Church Street, Rockford, Illinois, as the “Stanley J. Roszkowski United States Courthouse” 4/14/2009 4/23/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-15, The Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program Act of 2009 4/14/2009 4/24/2009 Yes (3/27/2009)* No ‡
P.L. 111-16, The Statutory Time-Periods Technical Amendments Act of 2009 4/30/2009 5/7/2009 Yes (4/29/2009)* No ‡
P.L. 111-17, A joint resolution providing for the appointment of David M. Rubenstein as a citizen regent of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution 4/28/2009 5/7/2009 Yes (4/23/2009)* No ‡
P.L. 111-18, A bill to repeal section 10(f) of Public Law 93-531, commonly known as the “Bennett Freeze” 4/28/2009 5/8/2009 Yes (4/23/2009)* No ‡
P.L. 111-19, The Civil Rights History Project Act of 2009 4/30/2009 5/12/2009 Yes (4/29/2009)* No ‡
P.L. 111-20, The Protecting Incentives for the Adoption of Children with Special Needs Act of 2009 5/5/2009 5/15/2009 Yes (5/5/2009)* No ‡
P.L. 111-21, The FERA 5/19/2009 5/20/2009 No (5/15/2009)* No
P.L. 111-22, The Helping Families Save Their Homes Act of 2009 5/20/2009 5/22/2009 No (5/20/2009)* No
P.L. 111-23, The Weapon Systems Acquisition Reform Act of 2009 5/21/2009 5/22/2009 No 5/14/2009* No
P.L. 111-24, The Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights Act of 2009 5/20/2009 5/22/2009 No 5/15/2009* No
P.L. 111-25, The Ronald Reagan Centennial Commission Act 5/21/2009 6/2/2009 Yes (5/28/2009)* No ‡
P.L. 111-26, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 12877 Broad Street in Sparta, Georgia, as the “Yvonne Ingram-Ephraim Post Office Building” 6/9/2009 6/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-27, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 300 East 3rd Street in Jamestown, New York, as the “Stan Lundine Post Office Building” 6/9/2009 6/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-28, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 103 West Main Street in McLain, Mississippi, as the “Major Ed W. Freeman Post Office” 6/9/2009 6/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-29, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 3245 Latta Road in Rochester, New York, as the “Brian K. Schramm Post Office Building” 6/9/2009 6/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-30, The Antitrust Criminal Penalty Enhancement and Reform Act of 2004 Extension Act 6/19/2009 6/19/2009 No No No
P.L. 111-31, The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act 6/16/2009 6/22/2009 Yes (6/12/2009)* No ‡
P.L. 111-32, The Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2009 6/19/2009 6/24/2009 Yes (5/20/2009)* No ‡
P.L. 111-33, The Native American Heritage Day Act of 2009 6/16/2009 6/26/2009 Yes (6/16/2009)* No ‡
P.L. 111-34, To designate the Federal building and United States courthouse located at 306 East Main Street in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, as the “J. Herbert W. Small Federal Building and United States Courthouse” 6/19/2009 6/30/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-35, To designate the Federal building located at 799 United Nations Plaza in New York, New York, as the “Ronald H. Brown United States Mission to the United Nations Building” 6/19/2009 6/30/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-36, The Webcaster Settlement Act of 2009 6/19/2009 6/30/2009 Yes (6/19/2009)* No ‡
P.L. 111-37, The Veterans’ Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2009 6/25/2009 6/30/2009 Yes (6/25/2009)* No ‡
P.L. 111-38, A bill to provide additional personnel authorities for the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction 6/24/2009 6/30/2009 Yes (6/19/2009)* No ‡
P.L. 111-39, To make technical corrections to the Higher Education Act of 1965, and for other purposes 6/26/2009 7/1/2009 Yes (6/26/2009) No ‡
P.L. 111-40, A bill to award a Congressional Gold Medal to the Women Airforce Service Pilots (”WASP”) 6/24/2009 7/1/2009 Yes (6/29/2009)* No ‡
P.L. 111-41, The Korean War Veterans Recognition Act 7/27/2009 7/27/2009 No (7/25/2009)* No
P.L. 111-42, Approving the renewal of import restrictions contained in the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act of 2003, and for other purposes 7/27/2009 7/28/2009 No No No
P.L. 111-43, A bill to provide for an additional temporary extension of programs under the Small Business Act and the Small Business Investment Act of 1958, and for other purposes 7/30/2009 7/31/2009 No No No
P.L. 111-44, The New Frontier Congressional Gold Medal Act 7/27/2009 8/7/2009 Yes (7/27/2009)* No ‡
P.L. 111-45, To authorize the Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office to use funds made available under the Trademark Act of 1946 for patent operations in order to avoid furloughs and reductions-in-force, and for other purposes 7/27/2009 8/7/2009 Yes (7/27/2009)* No ‡
P.L. 111-46, To restore sums to the Highway Trust Fund, and for other purposes 8/4/2009 8/7/2009 No (8/5/09) No
P.L. 111-47, Making supplemental appropriations for fiscal year 2009 for the Consumer Assistance to Recycle and Save Program 8/6/2009 8/7/2009 No (8/5/2009) No
P.L. 111-48, The Miami Dade College Land Conveyance Act 7/31/2009 8/12/2009 Yes (7/31/2009)* No ‡
P.L. 111-49, The Judicial Survivors Protection Act of 2009 8/3/2009 8/12/2009 Yes (8/5/2009) No ‡
P.L. 111-50, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 46-02 21st Street in Long Island City, New York, as the “Geraldine Ferraro Post Office Building” 8/11/2009 8/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-51, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 601 8th Street in Freedom, Pennsylvania, as the “John Scott Challis, Jr. Post Office” 8/11/2009 8/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-52, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 2351 West Atlantic Boulevard in Pompano Beach, Florida, as the “Elijah Pat Larkins Post Office Building” 8/11/2009 8/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-53, The Utah Recreational Land Exchange Act of 2009 8/11/2009 8/19/2009 Yes (8/11/2009) No ‡
P.L. 111-54, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 41 Purdy Avenue in Rye, New York, as the “Caroline O’Day Post Office Building” 8/11/2009 8/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-55, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 431 State Street in Ogdensburg, New York, as the “Frederic Remington Post Office Building” 8/11/2009 8/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-56, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 123 11th Avenue South in Nampa, Idaho, as the “Herbert A Littleton Postal Station” 8/11/2009 8/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-57, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 1300 Matamoros Street in Laredo, Texas, as the “Laredo Veterans Post Office” 8/11/2009 8/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-58, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 702 East University Avenue in Georgetown, Texas, as the “Kyle G. West Post Office Building” 8/11/2009 8/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-59, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 19190 Cochran Boulevard FRNT in Port Charlotte, Florida, as the “Lieutenant Commander Roy H. Boehm Post Office Building” 8/11/2009 8/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-60, To extend the deadline for commencement of construction of a hydroelectric project 8/11/2009 8/19/2009 Yes (8/11/2009) No ‡
P.L. 111-61, Recognizing the service, sacrifice, honor, and professionalism of the Noncommissioned Officers of the United States Army 8/11/2009 8/19/2009 Yes (8/11/09) No ‡
P.L. 111-62, A joint resolution granting the consent and approval of Congress to amendments made by the State of Maryland, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the District of Columbia to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Regulation Compact 8/7/2009 8/19/2009 Yes (8/7/2009) No ‡
P.L. 111-63, The WIPA and PABSS Reauthorization Act of 2009 9/10/2009 9/18/2009 Yes (9/10/2009) No ‡
P.L. 111-64, A joint resolution providing for the appointment of France A. Cordova as a citizen regent of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution 9/11/2009 9/18/2009 Yes (9/11/09) No ‡
P.L. 111-65, To provide for the award of a gold medal on behalf of Congress to Arnold Palmer in recognition of his service to the Nation in promoting excellence and good sportsmanship in golf 9/21/2009 9/30/2009 Yes (9/21/2009) No ‡
P.L. 111-66, To provide for an additional temporary extension of programs under the Small Business Act and the Small Business Investment Act of 1958, and for other purposes 9/30/2009 9/30/2009 No (9/30/2009) No
P.L. 111-67, The Defense Production Act Reauthorization of 2009 9/24/2009 9/30/2009 Yes (9/24/2009) No ‡
P.L. 111-68, The Legislative Branch Appropriations Act, 2010 9/30/2009 10/1/2009 No (10/1/2009)
and
(10/23/09)
No
P.L. 111-69, The Fiscal Year 2010 Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act 9/30/2009 10/1/2009 Yes (9/30/2009) No
P.L. 111-70, To amend the Foreign Affairs Reform and Restructuring Act of 1998 to reauthorize the United States Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy 9/30/2009 10/9/2009 Yes (10/1/2009) No ‡
P.L. 111-71, To amend the United States International Broadcasting Act of 1994 to extend by one year the operation of Radio Free Asia, and for other purposes 9/30/2009 10/9/2009 Yes (10/1/2009) No ‡
P.L. 111-72, To amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to delay the date on which the accreditation requirement under the Medicare Program applies to suppliers of durable medical equipment that are pharmacies 10/7/2009 10/13/2009 Yes (10/7/2009) No ‡
P.L. 111-73, The Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act of 2009 10/5/2009 10/15/2009 Yes (10/2/2009) No ‡
P.L. 111-74, To designate the Federal building and United States courthouse located at McKinley Avenue and Third Street, SW., Canton, Ohio, as the “Ralph Regula Federal Building and United States Courthouse” 10/7/2009 10/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-75, To designate the United States courthouse located at 525 Magoffin Avenue in El Paso, Texas, as the “Albert Armendariz, Sr., United States Courthouse” 10/7/2009 10/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-76, To provide for the transfer of certain Federal Property to the Galveston Historical Foundation 10/7/2009 10/19/2009 Yes (10/7/2009) No ‡
P.L. 111-77, To designate the Federal building located at 844 North Rush Street in Chicago, Illinois, as the “William O. Lipinski Federal Building” 10/7/2009 10/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-78, To designate the United States courthouse located at 301 Simonton Street in Key West, Florida, as the “Sidney M. Aronovitz United States Courthouse” 10/7/2009 10/19/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-79, The Foreign Evidence Request Efficiency Act of 2009 10/7/2009 10/19/2009 Yes (10/7/2009) No ‡
P.L. 111-80, The Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2010 10/16/2009 10/21/2009 Yes (10/9/2009) No ‡
P.L. 111-81, The Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act of 2009 10/16/2009 10/22/2009 Yes (10/16/2009)* No ‡
P.L. 111-82, A bill to authorize major medical facility leases for the Department of Veterans Affairs for fiscal year 2010, and for other purposes 10/15/2009 10/26/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-83, The Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2010 10/22/2009 10/28/2009 Yes (10/9/2009) No ‡
P.L. 111-84, The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 10/26/2009 10/28/2009 No (10/21/2009)* No
P.L. 111-85, The Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2010 10/21/2009 10/28/2009 Yes (10/21/2009)* No
P.L. 111-86, The Girl Scouts USA Centennial Commemorative Coin Act 10/22/2009 10/29/2009 Yes (10/21/2009)* No ‡
P.L. 111-87, The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act of 2009 10/26/2009 10/30/2009 No (10/21/2009)* No
P.L. 111-88, The Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2010 10/30/2009 10/30/2009 No (10/28/2009)* No
P.L. 111-89, A bill to provide for additional temporary extension of programs under the Small Business Act and the Small Business Investment Act of 1958, and for other purposes 10/30/2009 10/30/2009 No (10/29/2009) No
P.L. 111-90, The Morris K. Udall Scholarship and Excellence in National Environmental Policy Amendments Act of 2009 10/22/2009 11/3/2009 Yes (10/22/2009) No ‡
P.L. 111-91, The Medal of Honor Commemorative Coin Act of 2009 10/29/2009 11/6/2009 Yes (10/29/2009) No ‡
P.L. 111-92, The Unemployment Compensation Extension Act of 2009 11/5/2009 11/6/2009 No (11/5/2009) No
P.L. 111-93, The Credit CARD Technical Corrections Act of 2009 10/30/2009 11/6/2009 Yes (10/30/2009)* No ‡
P.L. 111-94, Proclaiming Casimir Pulaski to be an honorary citizen of the United States posthumously 10/29/2009 11/6/2009 Yes (10/29/2009) No ‡
P.L. 111-95, A bill to amend title 36, United States Code, to grant a Federal charter to the Military Officers Association of America, and for other purposes 10/30/2009 11/6/2009 Yes (10/30/2009)* No ‡
P.L. 111-96, A bill to allow the funding for the interoperable emergency communications grant program established under the Digital Television Transition and Public Safety Act of 2005 to remain available until expended through fiscal year 2012, and for other purposes 10/30/2009 11/6/2009 Yes (10/30/2009) No ‡
P.L. 111-97, The Military Spouses Residency Relief Act 11/4/2009 11/11/2009 Yes (11/4/2009) No ‡
P.L. 111-98, A bill to authorize a major medical facility project at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Walla, Walla, Washington, and for other purposes 11/4/2009 11/11/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-99, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 10355 Northeast Valley Road in Rollingbay, Washington, as the “John ‘Bud’ Hawk Post Office” 11/20/2009 11/30/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-100, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 37926 Church Street in Dade City, Florida, as the “Sergeant Marcus Mathes Post Office” 11/20/2009 11/30/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-101, To name the South Central Agricultural Research Laboratory of the Department of Agriculture in Lane, Oklahoma, and the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 310 North Perry Street in Bennington, Oklahoma, in honor of former Congressman Wesley “Wes” Watkins 11/20/2009 11/30/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-102, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 4282 Beach Street in Akron, Michigan, as the “Akron Veterans Memorial Post Office” 11/20/2009 11/30/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-103, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 140 Merriman Road in Garden City, Michigan, as the “John J. Shivnen Post Office Building” 11/20/2009 11/30/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-104, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 1615 North Wilcox Avenue in Los Angeles, California, as the “Johnny Grant Hollywood Post Office Building” 11/20/2009 11/30/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-105, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 115 West Edward Street in Erath, Louisiana, as the “Conrad DeRouen, Jr. Post Office” 11/20/2009 11/30/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-106, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 867 Stockton Street in San Francisco, California, as the “Lim Poon Lee Post Office” 11/20/2009 11/30/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-107, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 1165 2nd Avenue in Des Moines, Iowa, as the “Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans Memorial Post Office” 11/20/2009 11/30/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-108, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 936 South 250 East in Provo, Utah, as the “Rex E. Lee Post Office Building” 11/20/2009 11/30/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-109, A bill to redesignate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 2777 Logan Avenue in San Diego, California, as the “Cesar E. Chavez Post Office” 1/28/2009 1/29/2009 No No No
P.L. 111-110, A bill to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 60 School Street, Orchard Park, New York, as the “Jack F. Kemp Post Office Building” 11/19/2009 11/30/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-111, A bill to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 630 Northeast Killingsworth Avenue in Portland, Oregon, as the “Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Post Office” 11/19/2009 11/30/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-112, A bill to extend the authority for relocation expenses test programs for Federal employees, and for other purposes 11/19/2009 11/30/2009 Yes No No
P.L. 111-113, A bill to amend title 36, United States Code, to include in the Federal charter of the Reserve Officers Association leadership positions newly added in its constitution and bylaws 12/2/2009 12/14/2009 Yes (12/2/2009) No ‡
P.L. 111-114, A bill to permit each current member of the Board of Directors of the Office of Compliance to serve for 3 terms 12/2/2009 12/14/2009 Yes (12/2/2009) No ‡
P.L. 111-115, To amend titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act to prohibit retroactive payments to individuals during periods for which such individuals are prisoners, fugitive felons, or probation or parole violators 12/14/2009 12/15/2009 No No No
P.L. 111-116, To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to extend the funding and expenditure authority of the Airport and Airway Trust Fund, to amend title 49, United States Code, to extend authorizations for the airport improvement program, and for other purposes 12/14/2009 12/16/2009 No (12/14/2009) No
P.L. 111-117, Making appropriations for the Departments of Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2010, and for other purposes 12/15/2009 12/16/2009 No (12/15/2009) No
P.L. 111-118, Making appropriations for the Department of Defense for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2010, and for other purposes 12/19/2009 12/19/2009 No (12/19/2009) No
P.L. 111-119, A bill to amend the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 to clarify the eligibility requirements with respect to airline flight crews 12/9/2009 12/21/2009 Yes (12/11/2009) Yes
P.L. 111-120, To extend through December 31, 2010, the authority of the Secretary of the Army to accept and expend funds contributed by non-Federal public entities to expedite the processing of permits 12/14/2009 12/22/2009 Yes (12/14/2009) Yes
P.L. 111-121, Appointing the day for the convening of the second session of the One Hundred Eleventh Congress 12/16/2009 12/22/2009 Yes (12/16/2009) Yes
P.L. 111-122, A bill to establish a section within the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice to enforce human rights laws, to make technical and conforming amendments to criminal and immigration laws pertaining to human rights violations, and for other purposes 12/17/2009 12/22/2009 Yes (12/17/2009) Yes
P.L. 111-123, To permit continued financing of Government operations 12/24/2009 12/28/2009 No (12/25/2009) No
P.L. 111-124, To extend the Generalized System of Preferences and the Andean Trade Preference Act, and for other purposes 12/23/2009 12/28/2009 Yes (12/23/2009) Yes
P.L. 111-125, To extend the commercial space transportation liability regime 12/24/2009 12/28/2009 No (12/25/2009) No
P.L. 111-126, To accelerate the income tax benefits for charitable cash contributions for the relief of victims of the earthquake in Haiti 01/22/2010 01/22/2010 No (01/22/2010) No
P.L. 111-127, The Emergency Aid to American Survivors of the Haiti Earthquake Act 01/27/2010 01/27/2010 No n/a E! n/a E!
P.L. 111-128, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 116 North West Street in Somerville, Tennessee, as the “John S. Wilder Post Office Building” 01/20/2010 01/29/2010 Yes No No
P.L. 111-129, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 76 Brookside Avenue in Chester, New York, as the “1st Lieutenant Louis Allen Post Office” 01/20/2010 01/29/2010 Yes No No
P.L. 111-130, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 9810 Halls Ferry Road in St. Louis, Missouri, as the “Coach Jodie Bailey Post Office Building” 01/20/2010 01/29/2010 Yes No No
P.L. 111-131, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 440 South Gulling Street in Portola, California, as the “Army Specialist Jeremiah Paul McCleery Post Office Building” 01/20/2010 01/29/2010 Yes No No
P.L. 111-132, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 427 Harrison Avenue in Harrison, New Jersey, as the “Patricia D. McGinty-Juhl Post Office Building” 01/20/2010 01/29/2010 Yes No No
P.L. 111-133, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 16555 Springs Street in White Springs, Florida, as the “Clyde L. Hillhouse Post Office Building” 01/20/2010 01/29/2010 Yes No No
P.L. 111-134, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 170 North Main Street in Smithfield, Utah, as the “W. Hazen Hillyard Post Office Building” 01/20/2010 01/29/2010 Yes No No
P.L. 111-135, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 3900 Darrow Road in Stow, Ohio, as the “Corporal Joseph A. Tomci Post Office Building” 01/20/2010 01/29/2010 Yes No No
P.L. 111-136, To provide for an additional temporary extension of programs under the Small Business Act and the Small Business Investment Act of 1958, and for other purposes 01/29/2010 01/29/2010 No No No
P.L. 111-137, To amend title 38, United States Code, to expand veteran eligibility for reimbursement by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs for emergency treatment furnished in a non-Department facility, and for other purposes 01/20/2010 02/01/2010 Yes (01/20/2010) Yes
P.L. 111-138, A bill to provide that claims of the United States to certain documents relating to Franklin Delano Roosevelt shall be treated as waived and relinquished in certain circumstances 01/22/2010 02/01/2010 Yes No No
P.L. 111-139, Increasing the statutory limit on the public debt 02/04/2010 02/12/2010 Yes No No
P.L. 111-140, The Nuclear Forensics and Attribution Act 02/04/2010 02/16/2010 Yes No No
P.L. 111-141, An Act to extend expiring provisions of the USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005 and Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 until February 28, 2011 02/26/2010 02/27/2010 No (02/26/2010) No
P.L. 111-142, The Social Security Disability Applicants’ Access to Professional Representation Act of 2010 02/25/2010 02/27/2010 No (02/25/2010) No
P.L. 111-143, The Criminal History Background Checks Pilot Extension Act of 2009 02/17/2010 03/01/2010 Yes No No
P.L. 111-144, The Temporary Extension Act of 2010 03/02/2010 03/02/2010 No (03/03/2010) No
P.L. 111-145, The Capitol Police Administrative Technical Corrections Act of 2009 03/04/2010 03/04/2010 No (02/26/2010)* No
P.L. 111-146, The Trademark Technical and Conforming Amendment Act of 2010 03/17/2010 03/17/2010 No (03/05/2010) Yes †
P.L. 111-147, The Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act 03/17/2010 03/18/2010 No (03/18/2010)* No
P.L. 111-148, The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act 03/22/2010 03/23/2010 No (03/14/2010)* No
P.L. 111-149, To amend the North American Wetlands Conservation Act to establish requirements regarding payment of the non-Federal share of the costs of wetlands conservation projects in Canada that are funded under that Act, and for other purposes 03/15/2010 03/25/2010 Yes (03/15/2010)* Yes
P.L. 111-150, P.L. 111-150, To permit the use of previously appropriated funds to extend the Small Business Loan Guarantee Program, and for other purposes 03/26/2010 03/26/2010 No No No
P.L. 111-151, The Satellite Television Extension Act of 2010 03/26/2010 03/26/2010 No No No
P.L. 111-152, The Reconciliation Act of 2010 03/30/2010 03/30/2010 No No No
P.L. 111-153, The Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act of 2010 03/26/2010 03/31/2010 Yes (03/26/2010)* Yes
P.L. 111-154, The PACT Act 03/19/2010 03/31/2010 Yes (03/18/2010)* Yes
P.L. 111-155, The Prevent Deceptive Census Look Alike Mailings Act 04/01/2010 04/07/2010 Yes No No
P.L. 111-156, Recognizing and honoring the Blinded Veterans Association on its 65th anniversary of representing blinded veterans and their families 04/01/2010 04/07/2010 Yes No No
P.L. 111-157, The Continuing Extension Act of 2010 04/15/2010 04/15/2010 No No No
P.L. 111-158, The Debt Relief for Earthquake Recovery in Haiti Act of 2010 04/15/2010 04/26/2010 Yes (04/15/2010)* Yes
P.L. 111-159, To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to ensure that health coverage provided by the Department of Defense is treated as minimal essential coverage 04/14/2010 04/26/2010 Yes (04/14/2010)* Yes
P.L. 111-160, A joint resolution granting the consent and approval of Congress to amendments made by the State of Maryland, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the District of Columbia to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Regulation Compact 04/16/2010 04/26/2010 Yes (04/16/2010)* Yes
P.L. 111-161, The Airport and Airway Extension Act of 2010 04/29/2010 04/30/2010 No (04/29/2010)* No
P.L. 111-162, A bill to provide for an additional temporary extension of programs under the Small Business Act and the Small Business Investment Act of 1958, and for other purposes 04/29/2010 04/30/2010 No (04/29/2010)* No
P.L. 111-163, The Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2009 04/27/2010 05/05/2010 Yes (04/23/2010) Yes
P.L. 111-164, To designate the Department of Veterans Affairs blind rehabilitation center in Long Beach, California, as the “Major Charles R. Soltes, Jr., O.D. Department of Veterans Affairs Blind Rehabilitation Center” 04/26/2010 05/07/2010 Yes (04/26/2010)* Yes


* Page now gone, but it was either directly observed, evidence of it appears in Whitehouse.gov search, or White House says it existed.

† Bill was posted for five days after final passage, though not formal presentment. Counted as “Yes.”

‡ Link to final version of bill on impossible-to-find page.

E! Emergency legislation not subject to five-day posting.

HouseLive.gov Video: Wait and See

The potential of streaming video from the House of Representatives is so great that my first impression of the House’s new video offering, HouseLive.gov, has been disappointment. There is much room to improve HouseLive.gov, and I hope it will improve.

At first, I couldn’t find any video that was actually live. (That would inject a bit of irony into the name, eh?) But there is live video: On the homepage, scroll down to the top of the “Most Recent Sessions” chart. If the top of the list has an item called “In Progress,” the House is in session. Clicking the video link will get you live video from the House floor.

(Don’t be fooled by the “Subscribe to Live Feeds” box. Those are RSS feeds, which are “live”—as in regularly updated. They’re not live video or audio.)

Most people will probably access this from the House clerk’s familiar “Floor Summary” page, which has near-real-time updates about House activity. But that page says “Streaming video is not available for this session.” That’s a hiccup that should be easy to fix.

Selecting a past day, one can watch the video of that day, but in my early tests, you had to watch the video from the beginning. I don’t think many people are going to watch 10 hours of video to pick up their representative’s remarks on the bill to congratulate Camp Dudley of Westport, New York, on its 125th anniversary.

I’ve been testing in Firefox. In Internet Explorer, I got some links that do things. It appears you will be able to navigate around a day’s video based on the activity of the House. That is, you can jump to where the House began debate on the Camp Dudley bill.

Hopefully, the system will work in standards-compliant browsers, not only Microsoft’s. I note that the video currently plays only in Windows Media Player or Microsoft’s Silverlight. I’ll leave it to friends better versed in video to critique the selection of formats, but I have doubts about these two as being the best, and most open, available.

Beyond junctures in House debate, there should be more tagging to make the video useful. Not only should you be able to navigate via House activity, you should be able to navigate by bill number, and by member of Congress.

When you do navigate around, I don’t see that the “share” link changes. This needs fixing so that people can direct friends and colleagues to key portions of debates. In fact, you should be able to link to any point in the video. Ideally, there should be an embed function that allows defined segments of video to go into blog posts and such. That latter one is a big ask, but Congress is a big, important institution.

It’s early yet. Maybe these things are in the works or on the drawing board. Rolling HouseLive.go out in “beta,” getting feedback, and fixing it is A-OK. But sometimes government agencies set a course and have a hard time changing after that. The Thomas legislative system, brilliant as it was for 1995, still isn’t publishing bill data in good formats, and a private provider has had to take up the slack.

HouseLive.gov is better than nothing. It can be much, much better than it is.

It’s Not the Crime, It’s the Cover-Up

Secrecy breeds suspicion, and little in the intellectual property area has garnered more suspicion than ACTA, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement.

ACTA is a multilateral trade agreement that has been under negotiation since 2007. But the negotiations haven’t been public, and access to key documents has only been provided to people willing to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

It is inconsistent with the U.S. public’s expectations to have government officials negotiate public policies without providing public access to the deliberations and the documents. There are some limitations and exceptions to this principle. Generic diplomatic relations probably develop best in an environment where candor can prevail. Issues related to national security may require secret negotiations. But intellectual property issues affect all Americans’ communications, commerce, entertainment, expression, access to knowledge, medical care, privacy, and more.

The good news is that a text of the current draft agreement has now been released. According to James Love of Knowledge Ecology International, ACTA “goes way beyond counterfeiting and copyright piracy, into several categories of intellectual property rights, including patents, semi conductor chip designs, pharmaceutical test data and other topics.”

Public debate on ACTA can now begin, but it begins with doubts surrounding it, doubts that were sown by the non-public process in which ACTA has developed so far.

How Much Government Snooping? Google It Up!

The secrecy surrounding government surveillance is a constant source of frustration to privacy activists and scholars: It’s hard to have a serious discussion about policy when it’s like pulling teeth to get the most elementary statistics about the scope of state information gathering, let alone any more detailed information. Even when reporting is statutorily required, government agencies tend to drag their heels making statistics available to Congress – and it can take even longer to make the information more widely accessible. Phone and Internet companies, even when they join the fight against excessive demands for information, are typically just as reluctant to talk publicly about just how much of their customers’ information they’re required to disclose. That’s why I’m so pleased at the news that Google has launched their Government Requests transparency tool.  It shows a global map on which users can see how many governmental demands for user information or content removal have been made to Google’s ever-growing empire of sites – now including Blogger, YouTube, and Gmail – starting with the last six months.

So far, the information up there is both somewhat limited and lacking context.  For instance, it might seem odd that Brazil tops the list of governmental information hounds until you bear in mind that Google’s Orkut social network, while little-used by Americans, is the Brazilian equivalent of Facebook.

There are also huge gaps in the data: The United States comes in second with 3,580 requests from law enforcement at all levels, but that doesn’t include intelligence requests, so National Security Letters (tens of thousands of which are issued every year) and FISA warrants or “metadata” orders (which dwarf ordinary federal wiretaps in number) aren’t part of the tally. And since China considers all such government information requests to be state secrets – whether for criminal or intelligence investigations – no data from the People’s Republic is included.

Neither is there any detail about the requests they have counted – how many are demands for basic subscriber information, how many for communications metadata, and how many for actual e-mail or chat contents. The data on censorship is similarly limited: They’re counting governmental but not civil requests, such as takedown notices under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

For all those limits – and the company will be striving to provide some more detail, within the limits of the law – this is a great step toward bringing vital transparency to the shadowy world of government surveillance, and some nourishment to the data-starved wretches who seek to study it. We cannot have a meaningful conversation about whether censorship or invasion of privacy in the name of security have gone too far if we do not know, at a minimum, what the government is doing. So, for a bit of perspective, we know that U.S. courts reported a combined total of 1,793 (criminal, not intel) wiretaps sought by both federal and state authorities. Almost none of these (less than 1 percent) were for electronic interception.

This may sound surprising, unless you keep in mind that federal law establishes a very high standard for the “live” interception of communications over a wire, but makes it substantially easier – under some circumstances rather terrifyingly easy – to get stored communications records. So there’s very little reason for police to jump through all the hoops imposed on wiretap orders when they want to read a target’s e-mails.

If and when Google were to break down that information about requests – to show how many were “full content” as opposed to metadata requests – we would begin to have a far more accurate picture of the true scope of governmental spying. Should other major players like Yahoo and Facebook be inspired to follow Google’s admirable lead here, it would be better still.  Already, though, that one data point from a single company – showing more than twice as many data requests as the total number of phone wiretaps reported for the entire country – suggests that there is vastly more actual surveillance going on than one might infer from official wiretap numbers.