Federal - HR 4174

A bill to amend titles 5 and 44, United States Code, to require Federal evaluation activities, improve Federal data management, and for other purposes.

Introduced

October 31, 2017

Description

A bill to amend titles 5 and 44, United States Code, to require Federal evaluation activities, improve Federal data management, and for other purposes.

Our Position

Oppose

Original Sponsor 1

Co-Sponsors 3

Latest Actions See More/Less

  • Jan. 14, 2019 — Became Public Law, PL 115-435, 132 Stat. 5529.

  • Jan. 14, 2019 — Signed by the president.

  • Jan. 8, 2019Wenstrup, R-Ohio, House speech: Personal explanation for roll call vote no.484, and would have voted yea if present. Congressional Record p. E23

  • Jan. 2, 2019Rosen, D-Nev., House speech: Personal explanation for roll call vote no.484, and would have voted yea if present. Congressional Record p. E1743

  • Jan. 2, 2019Shea-Porter, D-N.H., House speech: Personal explanation for roll call vote no.484, and would have voted yea if present. Congressional Record p. E1743

  • Dec. 21, 2018House Vote 484 Agency Data Use — Passage
    Walker, R-N.C., motion to suspend the rules and concur in the Senate amendment to the bill that would require each federal agency to develop and make public a comprehensive inventory of its data assets, and would direct the Government Accountability Office to establish a public online catalogue of this data. It would require each agency to submit an annual policy plan to the Office of Management and Budget, including the agency's plans to develop evidence supporting its policymaking, and would create an interagency advisory committee on agency data use for evidence-building. Motion agreed to 356-17. Note: A two-thirds majority of those present and voting (249 in this case) is required for passage under suspension of the rules.

  • Dec. 21, 2018 — Measure cleared for the president.

  • Dec. 21, 2018 — Measure passed in the House by roll call vote, 356-17, under suspension of the rules (two-thirds vote required).

  • Dec. 21, 2018 — Walker, R-N.C., motion to suspend the rules and concur in the Senate amendment to the bill, agreed to by roll call vote, 356-17.

  • Dec. 19, 2018 — Measure, as amended, passed in the Senate by unanimous consent. Congressional Record p. S7878

  • Dec. 19, 2018 — McConnell, R-Ky., for Johnson, R-Wis., amendment adopted by unanimous consent. Congressional Record p. S7871

  • Dec. 19, 2018 — Considered by the Senate. Congressional Record p. S7870-S7878

  • Dec. 19, 2018 — Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee discharged by unanimous consent. Congressional Record p. S7870

  • Dec. 19, 2018 — McConnell, R-Ky., amendment introduced in the Senate: amendment no 4171. Congressional Record p. S7933, S7936-S7944

  • Nov. 16, 2017 — Received in the Senate and referred to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Congressional Record p. S7295

  • Nov. 15, 2017 — Measure, as amended, passed in the House by voice vote, under suspension of the rules (two-thirds vote required). Congressional Record p. H9291

  • Nov. 15, 2017 — Farenthold, R-Texas, motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill, as amended, agreed to by voice vote. Congressional Record p. H9281-H9291

  • Nov. 15, 2017 — Reported to the House by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and placed on the Union Calendar. H Rept 115-411Congressional Record p. H9375

  • Nov. 2, 2017 — Full committee consideration and markup held by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

    Nov. 2, 2017 — Committee Vote: Evaluation of Federal Data Management — Vote to Report

    Create a federal data collection system to assist federal departments and agencies in the efficient collection of data that helps them better assess the effectiveness of their programs.

    It would require development of individual agency evidence-building plans, as well as a single government-wide plan, and make most federal data that is collected by the government available to the public. The bill also would permit federal agencies to come up with plans to determine which data would not be allowed to be open and require the open government data assets that are published to be easily readable by machines.

    Specifically, it would require agency leaders, by the first Monday in February of each year, to submit to the director of the Office of Management and Budget and Congress a systemic plan for addressing policy questions relevant to the agency's programs, policies and regulations.

    It would require such plans to look ahead at the next four years and agencies to make such plans publicly available on their websites. It would require the plan to include the following:

    • A list of policy-relevant questions in which the agency intends to develop evidence to support policymaking;
    • A list of data that agency intends to collect and use to facilitate the use of evidence in policymaking; and
    • A list of methods and analytical approaches agencies could use to create evidence to support its policymaking.

    It would require the OMB director to use the agencies' plans to combine all of the agency evidence-building plans into one unified government-wide plan.

    It would require the director to tell those agency leaders of potentially overlapping or duplicative data acquisition plans and begin interagency evidence gathering and sharing. It would allow agency leaders to incorporate any interagency coordination results and update their plan. It also would allow the director to add those updates to the overall unified plan.

    The bill would create an Interagency Council on Evaluation Policy to help the director support the unified plan. It would make the council the primary interagency forum for coordinating cross-agency evaluation activities and enhancing agency practices concerning program activities. It would direct the council to:

    • Foster capacity for program evaluation across the various federal agencies by working on a set of government-wide human capital strategies that create and maintain agencies capacity for program evaluation; and
    • Advise on the creation of department-wide evaluation policies and the systematic plans for figuring out and addressing priority policy questions explained in agency evaluation-building plans.

    It would stipulate that the council consist of agency chief evaluation officers and chief statisticians. It would require the council to meet at least twice per fiscal year, to submit an annual report on its work to certain congressional committees and to make the report publicly available.

    It would require each agency leader to appoint or designate an agency employee as its chief evaluation officer whom would be an expert in evaluation methodology and practices. It would bar the chief evaluation officer from simultaneously serving as an agency's chief financial officer, chief information officer, chief human capital officer, chief acquisition officer or inspector general.

    It would direct the chief evaluation officer to continually assess the coverage, quality, methodology, consistency, effectiveness and independence of the portfolio evaluations, policy research and current agency evaluation activities. It also require the chief evaluation officer to assess an agency's capacity to handle the development and use of evaluation as well as create and implement an agency evaluation policy. It also would require the officer to coordinate, develop and implement an agency's evidence-building plan.

    The bill would require each agency leader to designate the head of any statistical entity within the agency or a senior official with expertise if the agency doesn't have a statistical agency as a statistical official to advise on statistical policy, techniques and procedures. It would require each agency's designated statistical official to be a member of the council.

    It would require the OMB director or agency leader to create an Advisory Committee on Data for Evidence Building to review, analyze and make recommendations on how create more access to and use of federal data for evidence building.

    It would require the committee, during its first year, to evaluate and provide recommendations to the OMB director on the creation of a shared service to facilitate data sharing, enable data linkage and create privacy enhancing techniques. In the second and any subsequent years, it would require the committee to review the coordination of data sharing or availability for evidence building across all agencies.

    Concerning agency strategic plans, it would require an agency leader to include an assessment of the coverage, quality, methodology, effectiveness and independence of the statistics, evaluation, research and analysis efforts of the agency. It would require the assessment to include:

    • A list of the agency activities and operations that are currently being evaluated and analyzed; and
    • The level to which the agency evaluations, research and analysis support the needs of various agency divisions.

    It would require the OMB director to oversee the use of information resources to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of governmental operations to serve agency missions. In doing the oversight, it would require the director to issue guidance for agencies to implement the acquisition and use of information technology, including alternative information technologies that provide for electronic submission, maintenance, or disclosure of information as a substitute for paper and for the use and acceptance of electronic signatures that would include:

    • Risks and restrictions concerning the disclosure of personable identifiable information;
    • Security considerations; and
    • The costs and benefits to the public of converting a group of data sets into a machine-readable format that is accessible and useful to the public.

    The bill would require agencies, in accordance with the director, to develop and maintain a strategic information resources management plan that would describe how information resources management activities help accomplish agency missions and include an open data plan that would require the agency to develop procedures that require data collection mechanisms to be in an open format. It also would require the open data plan to identify and implement ways to collect and analyze digital information on data asset usage by users inside and outside of the agency. It also would require the resources management plan to be updated annually and publicly available on the agency's website.

    The bill would require each agency data asset available in an open format and under an open license; make each agency public data asset available as an open government data asset; and make each open government data asset created by or for the agency under an open license.

    The bill would require agencies to ensure that any public data asset is machine-readable and engages the public in using public data assets and encourage collaboration by publishing regularly on the agency's website information on the usage of the assets by non-government users and providing the public with the ability to ask for specific data assets to be prioritized for disclosure and to provide suggestions to develop agency criteria to help prioritize data assets for disclosure.

    The bill would require agency leaders to create and maintain a comprehensive data inventory that accounts for all data assets created and collected by and under the control or direction of or maintained by the agency. It would require the leader to make sure that the inventory provides a comprehensive understanding of the data assets possessed by the agency.

    It would require the OMB director to create guidance for agencies to develop and maintain comprehensive data inventories. It would require the guidance to include several things, including a requirement that inventory have certain metadata on each agency data asset and a requirement agency leaders exclude from the inventory any data that would be considered part of national security systems.

    It also would require the guidance to include a requirement for the agency leader to submit for inclusion in the federal data catalogue the data inventory created by the bill. It also would require the guidance to specify criteria for the leader to use to determine whether certain data should not be made publicly available because of the risks and restrictions concerning the disclosure of personally identifiable information.

    It also would require agency leaders to update the agency inventory within 90 days of the creation or identification of the data asset.

    It would direct the administrator of the General Services Administration to maintain a single online public interface as an entry point dedicated to publicly sharing agency data assets and could be called the federal data catalogue. It would direct the GSA and OMB to make sure that agencies are able to submit public data assets or that links to them to be published and made publicly available on the interface.

    It would require the OMB director to collaborate with the Office of Government Information Services and the GSA to create and maintain an online repository of tools, best practices and schematics to help with the adoption of open data practices across the federal government. It would require the director to make sure that the catalogue would provide information on how the public can access the data assets in the inventory that are not yet available on the catalogue.

    The bill also would require agency leaders to designate a career civil service employee as its chief data officer. It would require the officer to be an expert in data management, collection, analysis, protection, use and dissemination of data. It would prohibit the officer from serving simultaneously as an agency's chief financial officer, chief human capital officer, chief acquisition officer, inspector general or performance improvement officer. It would require the chief data officer to:

    • Coordinate with any agency official responsible for using, protecting, disseminating and generating data to make sure that the agency's data needs are met;
    • Manage the agency's data assets;
    • Make sure that the agency data complies with data management best practices;
    • Review the impact of the agency's infrastructure on data asset accessibility and coordinate with the agency chief information officer to enhance the infrastructure to limit barriers that inhibit data asset accessibility; and
    • Serve as the agency liaison to other agencies and OMB on the best way to use existing agency data for statistical purposes.

    The bill would create, within the OMB, a chief data officer council to establish government-wide best practices for the use, protection, dissemination and generation of data, promote data sharing agreement between agencies, come up with ways that agencies can enhance the production of evidence to use in policymaking and identify and evaluate new technology solutions to enhance data collection and usage.

    It would require each agency's chief data officer to be a member of the council. It also would require the council to submit to certain congressional committees a biennial report on the council's work.

    Within one year of the bill's enactment and biennially thereafter, the bill would require the OMB director to electronically publish a report on agency performance and compliance with the bill's provisions.

    It would require the OMB director to coordinate and manage the confidentiality and disclosure policies of certain information. It would allow the director to create regulations or provide guidance to make sure there is consistent interpretation of the bill by affected agencies. It also would require the director to create a process for the OMB to designate agencies or other entities as statistical agencies and units.

    It would direct the OMB to create rules to implement the process. It also would require each designated statistical agency to report annually to certain congressional committees on the actions it has taken concerning the sharing of business data between certain federal statistical bureaus to do statistical analyses as well as reducing the amount of paperwork imposed on businesses which provide information to the federal government.

    The bill would define a statistical agency or unit as an executive branch entity who main job is to collect, compile, process and analyze information for statistical purposes.

    It also would require each statistical agency and unit to produce and disseminate timely statistical information, conduct objective, credible and accurate statistical activities, and protect information providers by ensuring the confidentiality and exclusive statistical use of their responses.

    It would stipulate that the bill would not diminish the authority of certain agencies to disclose information related to various issues such as energy and pension and health care financing issues. It also would clarify that the bill would not preempt applicable state laws concerning the confidentiality of data collected by the states.

    It would allow information collected by an agency for statistical purposes under a pledge of confidentiality to be given to a law enforcement agency for the prosecution of false statistical information submissions with civil or criminal penalties that could be applied to violators.

    The bill would stipulate certain purposes of confidential information protection such as ensuring that information supplied by individuals or organizations to an agency for statistical purposes under a pledge of confidentiality would be used only for statistical purposes. It also would make sure that individuals or organizations who supply confidential information to agencies for statistical purposes will neither have that information disclosed in identifiable form to anyone not authorized nor have information used for any other reason besides for statistical purposes. The bill would specify that confidential data or information gathered by an agency for exclusive statistical purposes could be used by agency officers, employees or agents only for those purposes.

    The measure would specify that confidential data or information acquired by an agency for statistical purposes would not be disclosed by an agency in identifiable form unless agreed to by the respondent. It would authorize a disclosure only when an agency leader approves the disclosure and the disclosure is allowed by law.

    It would require a statistical agency or unit to clearly distinguish any data or information it gathers for nonstatistical purposes and would require the agency to provide public notice, before the data or information is collected, that the data or information could be used for nonstatistical purposes. It would subject to Any agency officer, employee or agent who knowingly discloses collected confidential statistical information on an illegal basis would be subject to a felony and imprisoned for up to five years or fined up to $250,000 or both.

    The bill would stipulate certain purposes of designated statistical agencies such as authorizing the sharing of business data among those agencies defined as the Census Bureau, Bureau of Economic Analysis and Bureau of Labor Statistics for statistical purposes as well as to reduce the paperwork imposed on businesses that provide requested information to the federal government.

    It would require each designated statistical agency leader to find opportunities to eliminate duplication and lessen reporting requirements and costs in the public in providing information for statistical purposes. It would allow the leader to enter into joint statistical projects to increase quality and reduce cost of statistical programs as well as to protect confidentiality of individual identifiable information acquired for statistical purposes by incorporating certain safeguards, such as:

    • Emphasizing to the agency officers, employees and agents the importance of protecting confidential information in cases where the identity of individual respondents can reasonably inferred by director or indirect means;
    • Training the agency officers, employees and agents in their legal obligations to protect the confidential individually identifiable information and in the procedures used to protect access to the information;
    • Implementing certain measures to assure physical and electronic security of confidential data; and
    • Establishing a records system that identifies individuals accessing the confidential data and the project for which the data were required.

    It would allow designated statistical agencies to provide business data in an identifiable format to another designated statistical agency through a written agreement that specifies certain things such as the business data to be shared, the statistical purposes in which the data is to be used, the agency officials authorized to look at the data to be shared as well as certain security procedures to safeguard the confidentiality of the data.

    The bill would stipulate that the examination of business data in identifiable form would be limited to designated statistical agency officers, employees and agents authorized to examine the individual reports. It would subject these individuals to the same legal provisions, including penalties, concerning any unlawful provision or disclosure of business data.

    It would require business data provided to a designated statistical agency be used exclusively for statistical purposes and require that publication of such data occur in a way where the data provided by a respondent could not be in identifiable form.

    It would require a federal agency leader to make any data asset maintained by the agency available to any statistical agency or unit in order to develop evidence with certain limitations.

    It would direct each statistical agency to expand access to data assets acquired to be used to develop evidence while protecting the assets from inappropriate access and use. It would require the OMB director to create regulations for statistical agencies and units to allow for expanded secure access to those data assets. It also would require the director to make public all standards and policies related to the regulations and ensure that the statistical agencies and units have the ability to make the information public on the federal data catalogue.

    It would require the director to create a process through which agencies, the Congressional Budget Office, state, local and tribal government, researchers and other individuals could apply to access the data assets accumulated by the statistical agency. The process would include the following:

    • Sufficient detail to make sure that each statistical agency or unit establishes an identical process;
    • A common application form;
    • Criteria for the agencies to determine whether to grant an applicant access to a data asset; and
    • Transparency standards including making certain information public such as each application received, its status and the determination decided for each application.

    It would require statistical agency leaders to implement the process created by the OMB director regarding access to data assets.

    Except where otherwise stipulated, the bill would go into effect 180 days after it is enacted.

    Create a federal data collection system to assist federal departments and agencies in the efficient collection of data that helps them better assess the effectiveness of their programs.

    It would require development of individual agency evidence-building plans, as well as a single government-wide plan, and make most federal data that is collected by the government available to the public. The bill also would permit federal agencies to come up with plans to determine which data would not be allowed to be open and require the open government data assets that are published to be easily readable by machines.

    Specifically, it would require agency leaders, by the first Monday in February of each year, to submit to the director of the Office of Management and Budget and Congress a systemic plan for addressing policy questions relevant to the agency's programs, policies and regulations.

    It would require such plans to look ahead at the next four years and agencies to make such plans publicly available on their websites. It would require the plan to include the following:

    • A list of policy-relevant questions in which the agency intends to develop evidence to support policymaking;
    • A list of data that agency intends to collect and use to facilitate the use of evidence in policymaking; and
    • A list of methods and analytical approaches agencies could use to create evidence to support its policymaking.
    • It would require the OMB director to use the agencies' plans to combine all of the agency evidence-building plans into one unified government-wide plan.

      It would require the director to tell those agency leaders of potentially overlapping or duplicative data acquisition plans and begin interagency evidence gathering and sharing. It would allow agency leaders to incorporate any interagency coordination results and update their plan. It also would allow the director to add those updates to the overall unified plan.

      The bill would create an Interagency Council on Evaluation Policy to help the director support the unified plan. It would make the council the primary interagency forum for coordinating cross-agency evaluation activities and enhancing agency practices concerning program activities. It would direct the council to:

    • Foster capacity for program evaluation across the various federal agencies by working on a set of government-wide human capital strategies that create and maintain agencies capacity for program evaluation; and
    • Advise on the creation of department-wide evaluation policies and the systematic plans for figuring out and addressing priority policy questions explained in agency evaluation-building plans.
    • It would stipulate that the council consist of agency chief evaluation officers and chief statisticians. It would require the council to meet at least twice per fiscal year, to submit an annual report on its work to certain congressional committees and to make the report publicly available.

      It would require each agency leader to appoint or designate an agency employee as its chief evaluation officer whom would be an expert in evaluation methodology and practices. It would bar the chief evaluation officer from simultaneously serving as an agency's chief financial officer, chief information officer, chief human capital officer, chief acquisition officer or inspector general.

      It would direct the chief evaluation officer to continually assess the coverage, quality, methodology, consistency, effectiveness and independence of the portfolio evaluations, policy research and current agency evaluation activities. It also require the chief evaluation officer to assess an agency's capacity to handle the development and use of evaluation as well as create and implement an agency evaluation policy. It also would require the officer to coordinate, develop and implement an agency's evidence-building plan.

      The bill would require each agency leader to designate the head of any statistical entity within the agency or a senior official with expertise if the agency doesn't have a statistical agency as a statistical official to advise on statistical policy, techniques and procedures. It would require each agency's designated statistical official to be a member of the council.

      It would require the OMB director or agency leader to create an Advisory Committee on Data for Evidence Building to review, analyze and make recommendations on how create more access to and use of federal data for evidence building.

      It would require the committee, during its first year, to evaluate and provide recommendations to the OMB director on the creation of a shared service to facilitate data sharing, enable data linkage and create privacy enhancing techniques. In the second and any subsequent years, it would require the committee to review the coordination of data sharing or availability for evidence building across all agencies.

      Concerning agency strategic plans, it would require an agency leader to include an assessment of the coverage, quality, methodology, effectiveness and independence of the statistics, evaluation, research and analysis efforts of the agency. It would require the assessment to include:

    • A list of the agency activities and operations that are currently being evaluated and analyzed; and
    • The level to which the agency evaluations, research and analysis support the needs of various agency divisions.
    • It would require the OMB director to oversee the use of information resources to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of governmental operations to serve agency missions. In doing the oversight, it would require the director to issue guidance for agencies to implement the acquisition and use of information technology, including alternative information technologies that provide for electronic submission, maintenance, or disclosure of information as a substitute for paper and for the use and acceptance of electronic signatures that would include:

    • Risks and restrictions concerning the disclosure of personable identifiable information;
    • Security considerations; and
    • The costs and benefits to the public of converting a group of data sets into a machine-readable format that is accessible and useful to the public.
    • The bill would require agencies, in accordance with the director, to develop and maintain a strategic information resources management plan that would describe how information resources management activities help accomplish agency missions and include an open data plan that would require the agency to develop procedures that require data collection mechanisms to be in an open format. It also would require the open data plan to identify and implement ways to collect and analyze digital information on data asset usage by users inside and outside of the agency. It also would require the resources management plan to be updated annually and publicly available on the agency's website.

      The bill would require each agency data asset available in an open format and under an open license; make each agency public data asset available as an open government data asset; and make each open government data asset created by or for the agency under an open license.

      The bill would require agencies to ensure that any public data asset is machine-readable and engages the public in using public data assets and encourage collaboration by publishing regularly on the agency's website information on the usage of the assets by non-government users and providing the public with the ability to ask for specific data assets to be prioritized for disclosure and to provide suggestions to develop agency criteria to help prioritize data assets for disclosure.

      The bill would require agency leaders to create and maintain a comprehensive data inventory that accounts for all data assets created and collected by and under the control or direction of or maintained by the agency. It would require the leader to make sure that the inventory provides a comprehensive understanding of the data assets possessed by the agency.

      It would require the OMB director to create guidance for agencies to develop and maintain comprehensive data inventories. It would require the guidance to include several things, including a requirement that inventory have certain metadata on each agency data asset and a requirement agency leaders exclude from the inventory any data that would be considered part of national security systems.

      It also would require the guidance to include a requirement for the agency leader to submit for inclusion in the federal data catalogue the data inventory created by the bill. It also would require the guidance to specify criteria for the leader to use to determine whether certain data should not be made publicly available because of the risks and restrictions concerning the disclosure of personally identifiable information.

      It also would require agency leaders to update the agency inventory within 90 days of the creation or identification of the data asset.

      It would direct the administrator of the General Services Administration to maintain a single online public interface as an entry point dedicated to publicly sharing agency data assets and could be called the federal data catalogue. It would direct the GSA and OMB to make sure that agencies are able to submit public data assets or that links to them to be published and made publicly available on the interface.

      It would require the OMB director to collaborate with the Office of Government Information S e rvices and the GSA to create and maintain an online repository of tools, best practices and schematics to help with the adoption of open data practices across the federal government. It would require the director to make sure that the catalogue would provide information on how the public can access the data assets in the inventory that are not yet available on the catalogue.

      The bill also would require agency leaders to designate a career civil service employee as its chief data officer. It would require the officer to be an expert in data management, collection, analysis, protection, use and dissemination of data. It would prohibit the officer from serving simultaneously as an agency's chief financial officer, chief human capital officer, chief acquisition officer, inspector general or performance improvement officer. It would require the chief data officer to:

    • Coordinate with any agency official responsible for using, protecting, disseminating and generating data to make sure that the agency's data needs are met;
    • Manage the agency's data assets;
    • Make sure that the agency data complies with data management best practices;
    • Review the impact of the agency's infrastructure on data asset accessibility and coordinate with the agency chief information officer to enhance the infrastructure to limit barriers that inhibit data asset accessibility; and
    • Serve as the agency liaison to other agencies and OMB on the best way to use existing agency data for statistical purposes.
    • The bill would create, within the OMB, a chief data officer council to establish government-wide best practices for the use, protection, dissemination and generation of data, promote data sharing agreement between agencies, come up with ways that agencies can enhance the production of evidence to use in policymaking and identify and evaluate new technology solutions to enhance data collection and usage.

      It would require each agency's chief data officer to be a member of the council. It also would require the council to submit to certain congressional committees a biennial report on the council's work.

      Within one year of the bill's enactment and biennially thereafter, the bill would require the OMB director to electronically publish a report on agency performance and compliance with the bill's provisions.

      It would require the OMB director to coordinate and manage the confidentiality and disclosure policies of certain information. It would allow the director to create regulations or provide guidance to make sure there is consistent interpretation of the bill by affected agencies. It also would require the director to create a process for the OMB to designate agencies or other entities as statistical agencies and units.

      It would direct the OMB to create rules to implement the process. It also would require each designated statistical agency to report annually to certain congressional committees on the actions it has taken concerning the sharing of business data between certain federal statistical bureaus to do statistical analyses as well as reducing the amount of paperwork imposed on businesses which provide information to the federal government.

      The bill would define a statistical agency or unit as an executive branch entity who main job is to collect, compile, process and analyze information for statistical purposes.

      It also would require each statistical agency and unit to produce and disseminate timely statistical information, conduct objective, credible and accurate statistical activities, and protect information providers by ensuring the confidentiality and exclusive statistical use of their responses.

      It would stipulate that the bill would not diminish the authority of certain agencies to disclose information related to various issues such as energy and pension and health care financing issues. It also would clarify that the bill would not preempt applicable state laws concerning the confidentiality of data collected by the states.

      It would allow information collected by an agency for statistical purposes under a pledge of confidentiality to be given to a law enforcement agency for the prosecution of false statistical information submissions with civil or criminal penalties that could be applied to violators.

      The bill would stipulate certain purposes of confidential information protection such as ensuring that information supplied by individuals or organizations to an agency for statistical purposes under a pledge of confidentiality would be used only for statistical purposes. It also would make sure that individuals or organizations who supply confidential information to agencies for statistical purposes will neither have that information disclosed in identifiable form to anyone not authorized nor have information used for any other reason besides for statistical purposes. The bill would specify that confidential data or information gathered by an agency for exclusive statistical purposes could be used by agency officers, employees or agents only for those purposes.

      The measure would specify that confidential data or information acquired by an agency for statistical purposes would not be disclosed by an agency in identifiable form unless agreed to by the respondent. It would authorize a disclosure only when an agency leader approves the disclosure and the disclosure is allowed by law.

      It would require a statistical agency or unit to clearly distinguish any data or information it gathers for nonstatistical purposes and would require the agency to provide public notice, before the data or information is collected, that the data or information could be used for nonstatistical purposes. It would subject to Any agency officer, employee or agent who knowingly discloses collected confidential statistical information on an illegal basis would be subject to a felony and imprisoned for up to five years or fined up to $250,000 or both.

      The bill would stipulate certain purposes of designated statistical agencies such as authorizing the sharing of business data among those agencies defined as the Census Bureau, Bureau of Economic Analysis and Bureau of Labor Statistics for statistical purposes as well as to reduce the paperwork imposed on businesses that provide requested information to the federal government.

      It would require each designated statistical agency leader to find opportunities to eliminate duplication and lessen reporting requirements and costs in the public in providing information for statistical purposes. It would allow the leader to enter into joint statistical projects to increase quality and reduce cost of statistical programs as well as to protect confidentiality of individual identifiable information acquired for statistical purposes by incorporating certain safeguards, such as:

    • Emphasizing to the agency officers, employees and agents the importance of protecting confidential information in cases where the identity of individual respondents can reasonably inferred by director or indirect means;
    • Training the agency officers, employees and agents in their legal obligations to protect the confidential individually identifiable information and in the procedures used to protect access to the information;
    • Implementing certain measures to assure physical and electronic security of confidential data; and
    • Establishing a records system that identifies individuals accessing the confidential data and the project for which the data were required.
    • It would allow designated statistical agencies to provide business data in an identifiable format to another designated statistical agency through a written agreement that specifies certain things such as the business data to be shared, the statistical purposes in which the data is to be used, the agency officials authorized to look at the data to be shared as well as certain security procedures to safeguard the confidentiality of the data.

      The bill would stipulate that the examination of business data in identifiable form would be limited to designated statistical agency officers, employees and agents authorized to examine the individual reports. It would subject these individuals to the same legal provisions, including penalties, concerning any unlawful provision or disclosure of business data.

      It would require business data provided to a designated statistical agency be used exclusively for statistical purposes and require that publication of such data occur in a way where the data provided by a respondent could not be in identifiable form.

      It would require a federal agency leader to make any data asset maintained by the agency available to any statistical agency or unit in order to develop evidence with certain limitations.

      It would direct each statistical agency to expand access to data assets acquired to be used to develop evidence while protecting the assets from inappropriate access and use. It would require the OMB director to create regulations for statistical agencies and units to allow for expanded secure access to those data assets. It also would require the director to make public all standards and policies related to the regulations and ensure that the statistical agencies and units have the ability to make the information public on the federal data catalogue.

      It would require the director to create a process through which agencies, the Congressional Budget Office, state, local and tribal government, researchers and other individuals could apply to access the data assets accumulated by the statistical agency. The process would include the following:

    • Sufficient detail to make sure that each statistical agency or unit establishes an identical process;
    • A common application form;
    • Criteria for the agencies to determine whether to grant an applicant access to a data asset; and
    • Transparency standards including making certain information public such as each application received, its status and the determination decided for each application.
    • It would require statistical agency leaders to implement the process created by the OMB director regarding access to data assets.

      Except where otherwise stipulated, the bill would go into effect 180 days after it is enacted.

      Ordered reported favorably to the full House by voice vote.

  • Oct. 31, 2017Draft bill text released by Rep. P. Ryan, R-Wis., House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

  • Oct. 31, 2017 — Original cosponsor(s): 3

    Farenthold, (R-Texas)Gowdy, (R-S.C.)Kilmer, (D-Wash.)
  • Oct. 31, 2017 — Read twice and referred to: House Oversight and Government Reform.Congressional Record p. H8293