Senate bill eliminates agency that sells free reports

Sens. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) introduced a bill Thursday that was inspired by the satirical web tool, Let Me Google That For You — www. lmgtfy.com.

S. 2206, the Let Me Google That For You Act, would eliminate the National Technical Information Service (NTIS), which is charged with trying to sell government report that are available online for free.

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“This is the ‘let me Google that for you’ office of the federal government,” Coburn said. “Nearly all of the reports being sold are already available for free on other government websites, including my own.”

The senators cited a Government Accountability Office report saying the NTIS has lost at least $1.3 million during the last decade and runs a deficit on its document production.

“This agency has clearly outlived its usefulness,” McCaskill said. “I find it staggering that the agency is selling government reports both to the public and to other federal agencies that are widely available for free and easy to find with a simple Google search — and the agency is still losing money."

McCaskill and Coburn said it should be a top priority for Congress to reduce spending and eliminate the unnecessary agency.

“I think Americans would gain a little more confidence that their tax dollars are being spent wisely if we ended this display of waste and inefficiency,” McCaskill said. “This is a government office performing a function that the advent of the Internet has made outdated, and it’s past time we eliminate it.”

Reps. Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.) and Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) have a companion measure in the House.

“Only the federal government would attempt to sell what you can get for free, make no money, then subsidize the failure,” Bridenstine said.