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May 25, 1999

The Honorable Jo Ann Emerson
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Representative Emerson:

Thank you for your letter of May 6, 1999, seeking our views about language contained in House Report 105-592, accompanying the Fiscal Year 1999 Omnibus Appropriation concerning the "Reliability and Dissemination of Information." (Pages 49-50).

The goal of the report language is to maximize the quality of publicly-disseminated information. Federal agencies have for decades released a vast array of public information on a variety of subjects, ranging from economic statistics to weather reports, from agricultural forecasts to public health advisories. Agencies have been and are committed to ensuring timely and accurate information dissemination as part of their basic missions, as well as part of their responsibilities under the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA). Over the years, OMB and the agencies have worked to ensure the utility and accuracy of public information through the rigorous PRA review of regulations, surveys, and forms which collect the information that is subsequently disseminated.

We are following up on the concerns outlined in the House report by consulting with agency Chief Information Officers to assess their views regarding the nature and extent of information quality and reliability and are reviewing current practices in the area to determine what changes if any are necessary. In addition, we are reviewing the report prepared by the Center for Regulatory Effectiveness to which you refer. Because it focuses on a specific Environmental Protection Agency program, we are discussing this matter with EPA to better understand the issues raised by the report.

Thank you for your interest in this matter.


Jacob Lew
Jacob J. Lew