Legislation that would give the American people more visibility into how government representatives use their time has gained no support since it was introduced by Congresswoman Katie Porter and referred to the House Committee on House Administration more than a month ago.
“The American people deserve to know how Congressmembers are working on their behalf—or not,” Porter said. “Increasing transparency on how we spend our time will empower Americans to better hold Congressmembers accountable when they prioritize meeting with special interests over everyday people.”
The Congress at Work Act would require that all members of Congress disclose the names of groups and people with whom they have met in their official capacity, their attendance and votes in committee meetings, their voting record on legislation that comes to the House floor, and the bills they’ve sponsored or cosponsored.
Members would have to post this information to their public websites within 60 days of the end of the month.
Porter said the legislation will make government work better and help earn back the people’s trust.
“Congresswoman Porter leads by example by being one of the most transparent Members of Congress and her Congress at Work Act would require every Member to be open and accountable to their constituents,” said Tiffany Muller, President of End Citizens United / Let America Vote Action Fund. “We thank Congresswoman Porter for her continued leadership in trying to bring much-needed sunshine into the halls of Congress.”
“There are many reasons why Congress has a dismal 17% approval rating from the American public and a lack of transparency is just one of them,” said Dylan Hedtler-Gaudette, Government Affairs Manager at the nonpartisan Project On Government Oversight.
“Constituents want to know what their members of Congress are doing to represent them and who they are advocating for,” said Hedtler-Gaudette. “Rep. Porter clearly takes this notion seriously and requiring members of Congress to publicly post essential information on their website, such as what votes they have taken, what committee hearings they have participated in, and which stakeholders they are meeting with, is an excellent step toward bringing about a more effective and responsive legislative branch.”
Porter has been a consistent advocate for government transparency.
On a monthly basis, she releases her own calendar publicly on her website. She previously authored legislation to expose members of Congress who abuse official funds and helped introduce a bill that would prohibit them from trading individual stocks and require that they disclose when they receive federal benefits.
She led a successful effort to implement a new rule to shed light on conflicts of interest in congressional hearings.