06.22.15

Senators Kirk, Ayotte, Cotton, Perdue Introduce Just Google It Act to End Wasteful Printing of Government Documents Found Online

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL), along with U.S. Senators Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Tom Cotton (R-AR), and David Perdue (R-GA), today announced the introduction of the Just Google It Act, which would eliminate the National Technical Information Service (NTIS), an outdated and duplicative government agency that prints and sells copies of government documents that can be found for free online through a simple Google search. The Department of Commerce estimates that NTIS will have an operating cost of $170 million this fiscal year. 

“Instead of wasting millions of dollars to buy and sell printed documents, the federal government should join the 21st Century and just Google it,” Senator Kirk said. “Eliminating a wasteful, duplicative government agency that has been obsolete since the Internet was invented is the right thing to do for the taxpayers.”

“As we look for ways to address our $18 trillion debt and find cost savings across government, there's no justification for continuing to fund an agency whose mission is no longer necessary. It is long past time to eliminate this obsolete agency, which wastes more than a million taxpayer dollars each year to disseminate government reports that are already free and readily available to the public,” said Senator Ayotte.

“The NTIS is a prime example of government waste. This bill is exactly the kind of efficiency we need more of in government,” Senator Cotton said. 

“Georgians are frustrated by the federal government because it is plagued by wasteful spending and redundancy, and the National Technical Information Service is a perfect example of both,” said Senator Perdue. “Eliminating this obsolete program is an important step on the long but essential road of making the federal government more efficient, effective, and accountable.”

The NTIS, which was established in 1950, compiles federal reports and sells copies of these documents to other agencies and the public upon request. The original purpose of the NTIS – to increase government transparency and make documents available to federal agencies and the public – has been largely displaced by the Internet. A 2014 GAO study found that three-quarters of the documents added to the NTIS collection over the last two decades were available elsewhere, of which 95 percent could be found for free online through a search on Google or another search engine.

The Just Google It Act, S.1636, would repeal the National Technical Information Act and dismantle the NTIS over the course of a year. The Secretary of Commerce would work with other agencies to identify any critical functions of the NTIS and transfer them to other offices within the Commerce Department.