July 17, 2018

HOUSE PASSES KENNEDY, GRAVES BILL TO MODERNIZE CONSTITUENT SERVICES

Washington, D.C. - Congressman Joe Kennedy III (D-MA) and Congressman Garret Graves (R-LA) applauded the bipartisan passage of their Creating Advanced Streamlined Electronic Services (CASES) for Constituents Act of 2017. Modernizing a core function of constituent services for Congressional offices, the CASES Act would give constituents the option to electronically authorize their members of Congress to engage a federal agency on their behalf – a federally-required privacy protection process currently done on paper.

“Although it doesn’t receive headlines or airtime, one of our greatest responsibilities is helping constituents in need,” said Congressman Kennedy. “Through the CASES Act, we can not only modernize our constituent services, but become more efficient as we seek to lift a burden off our neighbors’ shoulders. I thank Congressman Graves for his leadership on this issue and look forward to seeing this legislation pass the Senate.”

“Let’s be honest, we’re not splitting atoms or reinventing the wheel here; everybody knows we’re a long way from government being able to keep up with the private sector when it comes to innovation, customer-focus or speed – but this bill helps to solve the problem,” said Congressman Graves. “More than 80% of American adults have smartphones and nearly all of them use the internet – there’s just no excuse for the fact that it’s business-as-usual since 1974 for the federal government.”

The Privacy Act of 1974 requires that members of Congress or their staff have written authorization before they can obtain information about an individual's case. Currently, constituents in need of assistance to resolve issues with the VA, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid or other federal agencies must physically print, sign and fax, mail or hand deliver a “privacy release form” to their congressional office before the office can take action. This process is archaic, an inconvenience to constituents and can cause unnecessarily delayed issue resolution.

The CASES Act integrates modern technology into a necessary process by allowing people to grant congressional offices electronic authorization, while retaining the option of a paper submission. It would direct the Trump Administration to develop a streamlined and consistent process across all agencies while ensuring the necessary privacy protections stay intact.

The legislation is cosponsored by Representatives Brian Babin (R-TX), Barbara Comstock (R-VA), Drew Ferguson (R-GA), Greg Gianforte (R-MT), Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Gene Green (D-TX), Glenn Grothman (R-WI), Richard Hudson (R-NC), Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO), Mark Meadows (R-NC), Richard Nolan (D-MN), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Thomas Rooney (R-FL), Mimi Walters (R-CA), and Daniel Webster (R-FL).

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For Immediate Release:
July 17, 2018 

Contact:
Dan Black (202) 225-5931

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