CongressHub: accountable, public collaboration for Congress.

Our laws start as bills in Congress. The Library of Congress has a good resource, THOMAS, enabling citizens to search the text of Congressional bills. But THOMAS could be radically improved if Congressional bills were stored there in a GitHub-like fashion. The complete textual history of a bill, from its introduction and all subsequent modifications, should be recorded. Every change to the text should have the name of the Member who approved the change and the name of the staff member who entered the change into the record. The full textual history of every bill should be completely visible to the public. Only bills whose introductory text to final version can be completely traced, with names and dates, should be eligible to become law.

Sunlight is the best disinfectant

Congress should not be some insular club whose Members work in closed rooms or who outsource the text of bills to lobbyists. All changes to bills should be a matter of public record, searchable, and attributable to Members and their staff. Citizens should be able to see the progress and process of our Representatives, and access to the full textual history of a bill will enable better feedback from the public to their Representatives. We shouldn’t expect any less from our Representatives in this computer age.

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