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Reps. Gallego and Murphy Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Increase Transparency and Reduce FOIA Request Backlog at VA

April 21, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) and Rep. Greg Murphy, M.D. (R-NC) introduced the VA FOIA Reform Act to increase transparency at the Department of Veterans Affairs by addressing the VA’s backlog of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. The bill was included in a House Veterans Affairs’ Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations legislative hearing which occurred today.

The bill would direct the Department to establish and carry out a plan to meet requirements of the Freedom of Information Act, conduct an analysis of the root causes of the backlog, and identify technology needs and procedural changes that could speed up the fulfillment of requests. The bill also directs the Department to request that the National Archives and Records Administration conduct a review of VA’s FOIA process and assess their compliance in addition to reporting its plan and findings to Congress.

“A critical part of making sure that VA is effectively serving veterans, their caregivers, and their families is ensuring transparency and easy, timely access to information about  VA for veterans, VSOs, and the public,” said Rep. Gallego, a Marine combat veteran and member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee. “I’m proud today to introduce this bipartisan bill to require  VA address its FOIA backlog and increase transparency, efficiency, and accountability at VA.”

“For veterans, dealing with the VA can be a headache and a great source of frustration," said Rep. Murphy, a member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee. “This problem is made even worse when veterans can’t access the information they need to understand their case. There are thousands of outstanding FOIA requests and over 100 backlogged appeals on veterans’ cases. I am proud to join Congressman Gallego in this bipartisan effort to get veterans the information they’ve been waiting on. Without it, most of them are stuck in bureaucratic limbo. Our nation’s veterans deserve better.”