U.S. Sen. John Cornyn announced plans Tuesday to push for federal legislation to make government spending information more accessible to the public, much like what Comptroller Susan Combs has done in Texas.
Cornyn is proposing an expansion of the national government spending Web site that allows people to search federal contracts and grants. A pilot program would allow searches of such expenditures as government staff salaries and travel costs.
The national Web site http://www.usaspending.gov resulted from the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006, which had bipartisan backing in Congress.
Combs and Laura Lee Prather, vice president of the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas, joined Cornyn at a University of Texas news conference, where he touted his work in sponsoring recently signed legislation toughening the federal Freedom of Information Act.
Along with establishing a hot line service and ombudsman to help information seekers, the law also places a 20-day time limit for federal agencies to respond to requests and places a presumption that agencies should release information on request unless there is a finding that disclosure could do harm.
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