Paperwork Reduction Act Reauthorization and Government Information Management Issues

Publication Date: January 2007

Publisher: Library of Congress. Congressional Research Service


Research Area: Government



Replacing the ineffective Federal Reports Act of 1942, the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1980 (PRA) was enacted largely to relieve the public of the mounting information collection and reporting requirements of the federal government. It also promoted coordinated information management activities on a government-wide basis by the director of the Office of Management and Budget and prescribed information management responsibilities for the executive agencies. The management focus of the PRA was sharpened with the 1986 amendments which refined the concept of "information resources management" (IRM), defined as "the planning, budgeting, organizing, directing, training, promoting, controlling, and management activities associated with the burden, collection, creation, use, and dissemination of information by agencies, and includes the management of information and related resources such as automatic data processing equipment." This key term and its subset concepts received further definition and explanation in the PRA of 1995, making IRM a tool for managing the contribution of information activities to program performance, and for managing related resources, such as personnel, equipment, funds, and technology. The PRA of 1995 authorized appropriations for the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), located within OMB, through FY2001 (44 U.S.C. 3520). After a lapse of four years, reauthorization of OIRA appropriations got underway in March 2006 with an initial overview hearing on the Paperwork Reduction Act by the House Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs. A second hearing by the subcommittee was held in July, but no further action, including the introduction of reauthorizing legislation, occurred before the final adjournment of the 109th Congress. A return to reauthorizing the Paperwork Reduction Act awaits the 110th Congress. This report will be updated as events warrant.