House makes entire legal code available for download

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) recently announced that the House of Representatives is making the United States Code downloadable in XML format.

The Office of Law Revision Counsel compiles, updates and publishes the data. People can download the complete code or seek out individual titles and supporting documentation.

“Providing free and open access to the U.S. Code in XML is another win for open government, and we want to thank the Office of Law Revision Counsel for all of their work to make this project a reality,” Boehner and Cantor said. “Whether it’s our ‘read the bill’ reforms, streaming debates and committee hearings live online, or providing unprecedented access to legislative data, we’re keeping our pledge to make Congress more transparent and accountable to the people we serve.”

Boehner and Cantor said in 2011 that new electronic data standards should be implemented to make congressional information more open and accessible. The House created the Legislative Branch Bulk Data Task Force in 2012 to provide access to legislative information and increase transparency. The XML version of the U.S. Code will be updated quickly, on an ongoing basis, as new laws are enacted.

House Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) praised the GOP leadership of the House for ushering in a new standard for open government that includes live-streaming hearings on the Internet and engaging constituents online.

“Opening the entire US Code in bulk XML format is a critical advancement in open government,” Issa said. “By broadening access to public, government data we give civic engineers and developers the ability to create new, innovative ways of sharing this information with the American people.”