WASHINGTON, DC – Senator Dan Coats (R-Ind.), the Chairman of the Joint Economic Committee, today delivered his twenty-second “Waste of the Week” speech and highlighted the National Technical Information Service (NTIS). The NTIS is an agency within the United States Department of Commerce that was created during the Truman Administration to keep all the reports produced by the federal government in a central location and make them available for sale.
“The NTIS was created with good intentions,” said Coats. “Long before the first personal computers, it served as a clearinghouse for the federal government’s scientific, technical and business documents. NTIS made sure that all Americans could learn and benefit from federally-funded work, opening up resources to the public across the United States. But times have changed.”
Last year, the Government Accountability Office found that three quarters of the documents added to the NTIS collection in the past 20 years could be found elsewhere, and 95 percent of them could be found for free by doing a basic search on Google.
“Today, the American people access information and conduct research using a variety of tools and methods, largely online and for free. This abundance of free information has greatly decreased the need for the NTIS,” said Coats. “Does the federal government really need a pay-for service like NTIS when NTIS’s own website acknowledges most of the information it provides can be accessed for free?”
Coats called for passage of the Just Google It Act, legislation that would give the NTIS one year to wind down its operations.
“If the Senate were to pass this legislation and dismantle or sunset NTIS, we could save as much as $880 million over ten years,” added Coats.
Click here to watch Coats speak on the Senate floor.