CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
The House is scheduled to consider H.R. 292 on January 18, 2011, under a motion to suspend the rules, requiring a two-thirds majority vote for passage. The bill was introduced on January 12, 2011, by Rep. Christopher Lee (R-NY) and referred to the Committee on Administration.
H.R. 292 would eliminate a current requirement that copies of all bills and resolutions introduced by Members of Congress automatically be printed upon introduction. Instead, H.R. 292 would require that bills and resolutions be made available in electronic format accessible on the Internet.
If a committee in the House or Senate requested printed copies, H.R. 292 would make an exception to the printing ban and authorize the public printer to provide the committee with up to 75 copies. In addition, if a Member of Congress requested copies of a specific bill or resolution, the public printer would be required to provide the Member with an unrestricted amount of copies.
Current law requires the Government Printing Office to print hard copies of all bills and resolutions introduced in Congress. Whenever a Member of Congress introduces a bill or resolution, the Government Printing Office prints 200 paper copies. In the 110th Congress, Members introduced 14,042 bills and resolutions. That amounts to 2.8 million paper copies, many of which are simply thrown away for a lack of use. This year Congress will spend approximately $7 million printing bills and resolutions. By eliminating the mandatory printing of every introduced bill, and instead using technology to ensure that bills are available online for anyone to examine, we can achieve significant savings to taxpayers, while still ensuring accountable and open government. In the 111th Congress, House Republicans proposed this measure as part of the YouCut program. According to the office of then Minority Whip Cantor, ending the mandatory printing requirement would save $35 million over ten years.
A CBO cost estimate for H.R. 292 was not available as of press time. However, an identical program introduced last year was estimated to save $35 million over ten years.