“As we explore ways to modernize Congressional printing, let’s make sure we don’t somehow treat [the] GPO as villains,” Honda said. “We could not function without the Congressional Record every morning, in both printed and electronic form, and other Congressional documents too.”
While the Congressional Record is expensive, 68 percent of the cost is incurred before a single page is printed. Moreover, the GPO prints bills at about 5 cents per page, while House offices would pay 7 cents per page — a cost Honda said could add up if offices were left to their own devices.
Rep. Zoe Lofgren, ranking member on the House Administration Subcommittee on Oversight, also suggested that for meaningful reform both chambers would have to be on board.
“If the Senate doesn’t join us in modernizing, the value in cost savings are going to be more limited than they otherwise would be,” the California Democrat said. “I think in addition to reaching out to users, we really need to reach out also to the U.S. Senate, which may be a little behind us in the embracing of technology.”
Hoeven indicated that will be taken into consideration when the appropriations process moves to his chamber.
“Let’s look at where we can do it and make sure people feel good about it, honor some of the traditions, but find some ways to save some cost,” he said.
Later this month, the results of a House survey on digitization will come in. Offices were asked which publications they think should stop being published and to rank each from one to five in order of importance.