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GPO Adapts to Needs of Congress for Congressional Record

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Press release from the issuing company

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) has been producing the Congressional Record since 1873. With origins in the requirement of Article I of the Constitution that "Congress shall keep a journal of its proceedings...and from time to time publish the same," the Congressional Record contains the proceedings and debates of the Senate and House of Representatives. It has been called "a symbol of our democracy through which the people may observe the making of their laws and may hold their lawmakers accountable for their words and deeds."

Throughout GPO's history, its employees have adapted to the various needs of Congress and technology changes to produce this important publication in both online and print formats. Whenever Congress is in session, GPO employees in a matter of hours take those debates and turn stacks of manuscript into the digital files that are then made available online via GPO's Federal Digital System (www.fdsys.gov) and in print. Technology changes over the past generation have reduced the cost of this publication by more than two thirds, and today the vast majority of the cost to produce it -- nearly 70% -- is in the creation of the digital file for dissemination online and in print. For those print copies needed by Congress, Federal agencies, and the public, production is on 100% recycled newsprint with vegetable oil-based ink.

Watch a short video on the steps GPO employees go through to produce the Congressional Record during the early morning hours: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPC5B-jUTsE&feature=channel_video_title



By Clint Bolte on May 10, 2011

Converting to electronic presentment of any publication will save over the ink on paper version. However, there has been an agonizing waste of tax payers' money on the print production of both the Senate Journal and Congressional Legislative Calendar for more than a half a century. And the waste rests solely at the feet of our elected officials in the Senate.

The waste centers around the Senate's refusal to change the trim size of these publications to fit the more cost effective web presses and/or 40" sheetfed presses that produce 95+% of all their conventional printing. (Certain Senate members want to maintain the same over- sized trim size that these titles have had since 1873 so that these publications look the same lined up on the library shelves that no body visits.)

The trim size is so large that the GPO has been forced to keep a half dozen old 60" Miehle sheetfed presses to accommodate this absurd trim size. Several of these presses are used solely for cannabilization of spare parts to keep the remaining couple of Miehles functional.

This type of sentimental logic is why our elected officials cannot seem to come to a consensus on reducing our nation's debt load .


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