Internet-sarcasm-savvy Senators Tom Coburn and Claire McCaskill introduced a new bill this week called the "Let Me Google That For You Act." Really. The bill could also have been called #cancelNTIS.
Let Me Google That For You, for the uninitiated, is a site you can use to mock your friends whenever they ask you a simple question they could easily answer themselves with any web browser. It's a good way to make yourself feel superior and your friend feel like an idiot.
Basically, the bill argues that government documents that were once only accessible via the National Technical Information Service (NTIS) can now be found and accessed via a simple Google search. The bill cites a 2012 GAO review of the NTIS that found that:
(A) `Of the reports added to NTIS's repository during fiscal years 1990 through 2011, GAO estimates that approximately 74 percent were readily available from other public sources.'. (B) `These reports were often available either from the issuing organization's website, the Federal Internet portal (http://www.USA.gov) or from another source located through a web search.'. (C) `The source that most often had the report [GAO] was searching for was another website located through http://www.Google.com.'. (D) `95 percent of the reports available from sources other than NTIS were available free of charge.'
According to McCaskill and Coburn (who has made wasteful Washington spending his biggest crusade), NTIS is now little more than a drain on taxpayer money (around $67 million is earmarked for the service) and that it's time has come and gone. In a statement, 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. 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.
Plus, the bill will do wonders for her and Coburn's Klout Score.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.