Senate bill would give GPO new name

New bipartisan legislation is aiming to rebrand the 153-year-old Government Printing Office.

But that doesn’t mean you’ll stop seeing the GPO initials stamped on government documents any time soon. The bill, introduced by Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) last week, would retain GPO’s familiar initials, but change the official name of the agency to the “Government Publishing Office.”

The legislation is slated to be taken up by the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration.

Public Printer Davita Vance-Cooks, who was confirmed by the Senate to lead the agency last August after serving as acting public printer for 18 months, has long pushed for the name change.

The change would reflect the increasing number of digital projects the agency is undertaking, she told Federal News Radio last year. In fact, 95 percent of the government’s publishing now happens digitally, she said. That includes FDSys portal, a digital database of hundreds of thousands of government documents that boasts as many as 45 million downloads a month, as well as mobile apps and e-books.

“Publishing defines a broad range of services that includes print, digital, and future technological advancements,” Vance-Cooks said in a statement. “The name Government Publishing Office better reflects the services that GPO currently provides and will provide in the future. “I appreciate the efforts of Senators Klobuchar and Chambliss for introducing and supporting this bill. GPO will continue to meet the information needs of Congress, federal agencies, and the public and carry out our mission of keeping America informed.”

In addition to rebranding the agency at large, the “Government Publishing Office Act” would also update Vance-Cooks’ title: from “public printer” to “director” of the Government Publishing Office.

The bill also strikes out outdated language from the original legislation creating the agency requiring the President’s pick for GPO director to “be a practical printer and versed in the art of bookbinding.”

In addition, the bill removes repeated male references in the original legislation, such as “his” and “he” used to describe the public printer.

Vance-Cooks is the first woman to lead the GPO.


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