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house Bill H.R. 1615

Should it be Easier to Ask the DHS for Freedom of Information Act Requests?

Argument in favor

Freedom of Information Act requests play an integral role in ensuring that citizens can get a clear understanding how their government operates. DHS has been flooded with FOIA requests, and improving response times will help make the agency more transparent.

Loraki's Opinion
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10/10/2016
Not a bad idea! As Countable said: "Wondering what kinds of things FOIA requests can bring to light? One FOIA request caused the State Department to begin publishing emails sent by Hillary Clinton while she was Secretary of State, after it was revealed that a large number of her business-related emails that were stored on a personal server were deleted." http://www.wsj.com/articles/hillary-clintons-state-department-staff-kept-tight-rein-on-records-1432081701 http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2015/03/28/hillary-clinton-emails/70583404/ My question is this: Why has the Senate Judiciary Committee been sitting on this bill for over a year after it passed the House?! Date Chamber All Actions 07/07/2015 Senate Received in the Senate and Read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary. Type of Action: Introduction and Referral 06/25/2015-10:58am https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/1615/all-actions?overview=closed Perhaps no action is needed because of this report that was submitted by the DHS Chief FOIA Officer in March 2015 to the AG. I don't know. The report is 65 pages long, and I haven't read it yet. But you know what? I don't trust the DHS any more than I trust the DOJ, the EPA, TSA, BLM, FDA, FBI, or any other part of the Obama Administration! Anyway, here's a link to the report: https://www.ice.gov/sites/default/files/documents/FOIA/2016/2015ChiefFOIAOfficerReport.pdf
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Argument opposed

This bill doesn’t provide DHS with any additional resources to deal with increased numbers of FOIA requests and a growing backlog of unresolved requests. The legislators who wrote this bill shouldn’t be surprised if the backlog continues to grow in fiscal year 2015.

Mickb's Opinion
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07/25/2015
You cant ask people to do more with less. We need to provide more resources for handling requests if we want them handled faster.
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    Not a bad idea! As Countable said: "Wondering what kinds of things FOIA requests can bring to light? One FOIA request caused the State Department to begin publishing emails sent by Hillary Clinton while she was Secretary of State, after it was revealed that a large number of her business-related emails that were stored on a personal server were deleted." http://www.wsj.com/articles/hillary-clintons-state-department-staff-kept-tight-rein-on-records-1432081701 http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2015/03/28/hillary-clinton-emails/70583404/ My question is this: Why has the Senate Judiciary Committee been sitting on this bill for over a year after it passed the House?! Date Chamber All Actions 07/07/2015 Senate Received in the Senate and Read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary. Type of Action: Introduction and Referral 06/25/2015-10:58am https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/1615/all-actions?overview=closed Perhaps no action is needed because of this report that was submitted by the DHS Chief FOIA Officer in March 2015 to the AG. I don't know. The report is 65 pages long, and I haven't read it yet. But you know what? I don't trust the DHS any more than I trust the DOJ, the EPA, TSA, BLM, FDA, FBI, or any other part of the Obama Administration! Anyway, here's a link to the report: https://www.ice.gov/sites/default/files/documents/FOIA/2016/2015ChiefFOIAOfficerReport.pdf
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    Bureaucracy is often a great obstacle to freedom of information.
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    People have a right to be informed about their government's actions. This bill increases that transparency.
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    We need to understand how government spends our money
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    In light of the certainty of stonewalling of FOIA requests on a wholesale basis by the IRS and VA, the erasure of data sources, and the intransigence of the DOJ in doing its job, we need more than FOIA. We need special prosecutorial jurisdiction with subpoena power authorized by Congress and not voidable by the pooper scooper Attorney General and need to preemptively raid and secure servers on which the subpoenaed material resides.
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    Secrecy in all branches of government is already too extensive leading to corruption and cover up. DHS/TSA blacklists people for no obvious reason and refuses to make corrections ow explanations.
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    FOIA is the law. It's up to DHS to comply. I don't think we need a bill to get them to comply with the law. Perhaps fining the head or employees for causing delays.
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    SCRAP DHS!
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    This department shouldn't exist. I don't see them doing the job they were created to do.
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    What "other" purposes?
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    Transparency is a good thing.
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    Absolutely Yes, Yes, Yes. Transparency is the only way to ensure free and fair government.
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    Critics of this bill are correct, in the without providing more resources for handling request backlog is likely to increase. But it does enable and reinforce the efforts already on going to reduce the backlog
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    Freedom of Information Act should be watched and their need an upgrade for computers so information will be provided faster. Just my opinion
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    You cant ask people to do more with less. We need to provide more resources for handling requests if we want them handled faster.
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    Another venue other than the FOIA would be good.
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    Yes. The public should know as soon as possible what their government is up to.
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    It's the People's House
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