STATEMENT OF SALLY KATZEN
OFFICE OF INFORMATION AND REGULATORY AFFAIRS
OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET
COMMITTEE ON RULES AND ADMINISTRATION
UNITED STATES SENATE
April 30, 1997
I am pleased to appear before this Committee once again to discuss the
future role of the Government Printing Office (GPO) and ways of more
effectively managing the Government's printing and information dissemination
activities. I want to join those who have expressed appreciation for this
series of hearings and for your leadership in beginning work on a piece of
legislation that can serve as a basis for long-needed reform.
The Administration strongly endorses the Committee's resolve to update
the printing and related provisions of Title 44 to assure that Congress'
mandate for an informed citizenry is met in the face of advancing technology.
In his recent report "Access America: Reengineering Through Information
Technology," Vice-President Gore stated that information technology "will make
it easier for users of information, including citizens, scientists, resource
managers, and private industry" to find the specific government information
This Committee clearly recognizes that information technology is
changing the way words and images are put on paper and in many instances
eliminating the paper altogether. Electronic databases, personal computers,
off-the-shelf software, laser printers and other, more sophisticated technology
provide the creators of information increasing flexibility to deliver it when
and where it is needed. Our present challenge is to develop a management
structure to ensure that government information is handled and disseminated to
the maximum benefit of the taxpayers. This draft legislation is a positive step
toward meeting this challenge.
Solving the problem
The printing provisions now contained in Title 44 of the United States
Code date back to a time when economies of industrial scale dictated a large
centralized printing plant to serve all of the government. They also reflect a
time when government information existed solely in paper form, justifying tying
the centralized printing to a centralized distribution system where the
publications would be physically assembled and shipped to libraries nationwide.
Today, there is a highly competitive printing industry available to
serve the government's needs in a cost effective manner. Advances in
information technology are not only improving the efficiency of this industry
but also improving the government's information dissemination practices.
Notwithstanding the benefits of these technological advances, however, we
continue to want paper. The need then is to update the system, not discard or
dismantle it. And in doing so we must recognize the important equities of labor
organizations, Congress's own printing customs, the depository libraries, the
private sector printing industry, the information industry, and the general
public. Reform also presents the opportunity to put to rest longstanding
separation of powers concerns.
As former OMB Director Alice Rivlin testified in 1994, and as I
testified in 1995 and again in 1996, three problems must be addressed if we are
to have a successful transition:
-- the Constitutional issues described by the Justice Department must be
-- the Government Printing Office must be put on a firmer and more
businesslike footing; and,
-- mechanisms must be developed to preserve and enhance the role of the
Depository Library Program.
The Administration believes that the draft legislation goes a long way
towards solving these problems.
First, by establishing the Government Printing Office as an agency that
is not controlled by Congress, the long-standing separation of powers issue can
be resolved. This point will be discussed further by my colleague from the
Second, by permitting the Executive branch to determine its own printing
policies, there will be greater flexibility to transition carefully, humanely,
and cost- effectively to a more electronic way of doing business. The
Government Printing Office has often been criticized as old-fashioned in its
business practices, and too often not able to adequately understand and hence
respond to the needs of its client agencies.
This legislation would lead to Executive branch printing policy that is
developed in closer cooperation with the customer agencies. We expect that the
policy would also include a strong commitment to use the cost-effective
services of the private sector through an open and competitive bidding process
that permits direct consultation between vendors and the customer agencies. One
salutary effect will be to facilitate downsizing and consolidating the in-house
printing and duplicating capacity of the government.
More generally, the advisory council structure envisioned by Section 205
of the draft legislation would serve as a mechanism for all interested parties
-- including the agencies, the printing industry, labor, and the library
community -- to have input into policy development and implementation. This
will help a reconstituted Government Printing Office to be much more responsive
to both business requirements and technological change.
Third, and of equal importance to the first two, by emphasizing the
importance of access to government information, and by reaffirming the function
performed by the Superintendent of Documents, Congress is signaling its intent
to preserve the Depository Library Program. This is, in fact, the greatest
challenge we face with any comprehensive reform of Title 44 -- namely, to
ensure that the electronic bookshelves of the 21st Century are continuously
restocked. Simply stated, the program must be redefined to permit us to migrate
toward a more electronic government, while solving the "fugitive" document
The task is to develop a framework to enable this transition. The single
sentence in the draft legislation requiring that all government information of
informative value to the public must be accessible through the library program
is not sufficient. At the other end of the spectrum, the legislation should not
specify the particular technologies and standards to be used. Rather, we
believe that the Congress should articulate in the draft legislation a vision
of the Depository Library Program and the way it will look several decades from
now, providing Congressional imprimatur to a flexible framework within
which agencies can operate now and in the future.
We look to a future that relies at least in part on distributed
network-based information dissemination -- for example by using the Internet
and the World-Wide Web -- in lieu of physically handling and housing great
volumes of paper publications. We need not be threatened by decentralized
dissemination, aided by advanced search capabilities, data warehousing, and
distributed networks, so long as there is an appropriate coordinating
and oversight mechanism.
The result may look similar to the government's new information
technology model itself -- centralized policy oversight with distributed
management, operations, and accountability. The Information Technology
Management Reform Act of 1996 (P.L.104-106, Div. E)(ITMRA) replaced a
thirty-year system of centralized policy and operational micro management with
a system empowering agencies to manage their own information technology
investments, while at the same time holding them accountable. The Act
established agency Chief Information Officers -- who report directly to
their agency heads -- as the responsible focal points for information resources
management, including compliance with statutory public information
Based on our initial experience under ITMRA, we would suggest that the
draft legislation should link the requirements regarding printing and
information dissemination to the other information resources management
responsibilities of the Chief Information Officer. Within that framework,
Executive branch printing policy implementing the legislation could require the
agencies to cooperate with the Superintendent of Documents so that adequate
copies of all appropriate government documents would be available for
distribution to the Depository Library Program.
Finally, I note that the draft legislation would retain the present
approach of annual appropriations to support the operation of the program. The
Superintendent of Documents would make appropriate arrangements to ride agency
print and other orders in precisely the same manner as is done today with the
printing operations at the Government Printing Office.
Perfecting the draft legislation
In addition to our interest in working with you to assist in helping the
depository library program transition to a more electronic environment in a
manner that best serves the needs of the citizenry, there are a number of
specific areas that need to be addressed in the draft legislation.
- We have strong concerns that Sections 104 and 105 would have a chilling effect on government information production and dissemination. For example, the science agencies point out that the Section 104 prohibition on government employees receiving a "benefit" including "personal attribution or personal recognition" would stifle scientific research by prohibiting their staff from submitting work to even the most respected journals and receiving well deserved professional recognition for it. We believe an approach to accountability such as that outlined above would be preferable.
The Administration is concerned that Section 202 would grant the public
printer a five year term of office, during which the printer would be removable
only "for cause, including incompetence, neglect of duty, or malfeasance." One
of the important goals of this Administration has been to reinvent the federal
government to make it more accountable to the public. Indeed, the very
structure of our Constitution is designed to achieve accountability in
government action.(2) Granting a federal
official "for cause" removal protection actually insulates the official from
any requirement that he or she be responsive to public concerns and
extinguishes an important mechanism -- the threat of removal by the President
-- for bringing public opinion and accountability to bear in government
decisionmaking. This concern is particularly relevant where, as here, the
public interest at stake is access by the citizenry to government information.
Section 207 of the draft legislation would require a reconstituted GPO,
as an Executive branch agency, to submit its annual budget request concurrently
to the President and Congress. The Administration opposes this provision
because it runs counter to the Executive budget process as codified in the
Budget and Accounting Act of 1921, as amended, and could limit the flexibility
of the President in allocating resources in light of Administration priorities
for the Government as a whole.
Section 203 raises an issue of potential overlap of GPO's
responsibilities with those of the National Archives and Records Administration
(NARA) under Title 44 for ensuring adequate and proper documentation of the
policies and transactions of the Federal government; and for preserving those
records determined as having continuing value. We must ensure that the
definitions in the draft legislation not be subject to differing
interpretations, and that NARA's authorities are not compromised.
Section 402 seems to provide that the Federal Acquisition Regulation
(FAR) would not apply to acquisition of printing. As I have testified before,
we see no reason that printing should not be procured like any other goods or
services. To the extent that there may be particular printing issues, e.g.
dollar thresholds for small purchases, these can be addressed specifically.
Indeed, the FAR has recently been amended to provide for Electronic Commerce in
procurement, so the stage is already set for improved efficiencies.
44 U.S.C. 303 now provides for pay for the Public Printer at Level III
of the Executive Schedule and for the Deputy Public Printer at Level IV of the
Executive Schedule. Should GPO become an Executive branch agency, 5 U.S.C. 5314
would need to be amended to include the Public Printer at Level III of the
Executive Schedule. Further, since the Deputy Public Printer position would
meet the requirements for inclusion in the SES, 44 U.S. C. 303 can be repealed.
In addition, other sections of Title 44 dealing with GPO personnel,
particularly sections 305, 306, and 316, will need to be reviewed and possibly
Again, thank you for the opportunity to share my views on this important
legislative initiative. I look forward to working with you towards our shared
1. "Access America: Reengineering through Information Technology," National Performance Review, February 3, 1993.
2. See, e.g., Myers v. United States</ u>, 272 U.S. 52 (1926); New York v. United States, 505 U.S. 144 (1992); Freytag v. Commissioner, 501 U.S. 864, 884 (1991); see also The Federalist No. 70, at 476 (Alexander Hamilton)(Jacob E. Cooke ed., 1961).