Librarian of Congress James Billington, flanked by Reps. Gregg Harper and Dan Lungren at the Library of Congress on Wednesday, says Congress.gov will be a vital new legislative information resource for the public.
Many lawmakers support making the LOC's legislative information available in database form, but the initiative has stalled because of lingering concerns about cost and the need to protect government documents from manipulation by outside groups.
Jim Karamanis, chief of web services at the LOC, told Roll Call that Congress has the authority to tell the LOC to make a legislative database available to the public. Should that time come, the new Congress.gov is well-equipped to support that, he said.
As for input from the public, Karamanis explained that Congress.gov will be in "beta" status for at least a year, meaning the content and design of the site will continue to evolve as user feedback streams in.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.