Senate Passes Peters & Collins Bipartisan Bill to Improve Efficiency of the Legislative Process

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Bipartisan legislation authored by U.S. SenatorsGary Peters (D-MI), Chairman of the Homeland and Governmental Affairs Committee, and Susan Collins (R-ME) to provide the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) with timely access to information they need to complete estimates on the budgetary impacts of legislation has passed the Senate. CBO estimates are required to advance almost all legislation through Congress, however, procedural issues can delay this office’s ability to obtain information they need from federal agencies to complete these analyses. The delays in CBO’s receipt of agency information and data can also adversely impact their ability to provide the most accurate analyses. The senators’ legislation would make the legislative process more efficient by reducing the time it takes for CBO to obtain data from federal agencies.

“CBO provides critical information for lawmakers to better understand the financial impacts of legislation, and by providing CBO with timely access to data we can ensure Congress is efficiently advancing bills that work for the American people,” said Senator Peters. “This bipartisan legislation will remove roadblocks for CBO to access information, issue reports, and inform Congress on the budgetary impacts of proposed reforms.”

“The research conducted by the CBO is indispensable to the legislative process,” Senator Collins said. “Ensuring the CBO promptly receives all the information from federal agencies required for their analyses allows members of Congress to make informed decisions. This bipartisan bill will enhance the efficiency and accuracy of this process, benefiting all Americans.”

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) Data Access Act would eliminate procedural delays in CBO’s ability to access information from federal agencies by providing CBO with the same exemption to the Privacy Act granted to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and both chambers of Congress. Similar to the GAO’s exemption, CBO would still be required to maintain agencies’ data at the same level of confidentiality that is required of the agency from which the data originated.