Open Government Bills Pass House

In a bipartisan confrontation with the White House over executive branch secrecy, the House ignored a stern veto threat and overwhelmingly passed a package of open-government bills yesterday that would roll back administration efforts to shield its workings from public view.

Even top Republicans supported three bills that would streamline access to records in presidential libraries, expand safeguards for government whistle-blowers, and strengthen the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), which guides public requests for government documents. All were approved with veto-proof majorities...The showdown was the latest in a series of efforts by Congress to force accountability from an administration that has been unresponsive to questions from lawmakers and the public about its decision-making. Introduced for government "Sunshine Week," an effort by the American Society of Newspaper Editors and other open-government groups to protest what they consider excessive government secrecy, the bills took on added heat as lawmakers called the White House to account for its role in the firings of U.S. attorneys and the FBI's mishandling of national security letters.