Lawmakers want more e-signatures

A bipartisan trio of lawmakers wants to know why people can’t sign more federal government forms electronically.

Sens. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenHouse panel advances key portion of Democrats' .5T bill Advocates call on top Democrats for 0B in housing investments Lobbying world MORE (D-Ore.), John McCainJohn Sidney McCain20 years after 9/11, US foreign policy still struggles for balance What the chaos in Afghanistan can remind us about the importance of protecting democracy at home 'The View' plans series of conservative women as temporary McCain replacements MORE (R-Ariz.) and Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) wrote to Commerce Secretary Penny PritzkerPenny Sue PritzkerThe Hill's Morning Report - Sanders steamrolls to South Carolina primary, Super Tuesday Biden's new campaign ad features Obama speech praising him Obama Commerce secretary backs Biden's 2020 bid MORE on Monday asking for an update on what the government is doing to get rid of wasteful and redundant paper signatures.

ADVERTISEMENT

“The acceptance of electronic documents has become a cornerstone of Internet commerce and is vital to our country’s economy,” they wrote. “We are concerned about the extent of the adoption of electronic signatures within the federal government.”

In 2000, the three lawmakers helped enact the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce (E-SIGN) Act, which made electronic signatures legally similar to handwritten ones.

But federal government agencies have been slacking on the switch over to electronic forms, they said.

“Electronic signatures have reduced paper burdens for consumers and streamlined business operations throughout the United States, providing remarkable consumer gains in terms of convenience, ease of use, transaction speed and reduced costs,” Eshoo, McCain and Wyden wrote.

“We believe the federal government can experience similar benefits by expanding the use of electronic signatures to improve efficiency, productivity and accountability throughout the government.”

They asked for a status update from the Commerce Department to determine how well agencies are implementing electronic signatures and how to encourage more to get onboard.