Library of Congress

Vote Explanation for H.R. 1695 — Register of Copyrights Selection Accountability Act

After two weeks away from Washington, Members of Congress returned to the nation’s capital just in time to negotiate a deal to avoid a government shutdown. As discussions continue about how to fund the federal government, including Trump’s insistence on a useless wall along the United States-Mexico border, the House passed H.R. 1695 with strong, bipartisan support.

The Register of Copyrights Selection Accountability Act makes all future Registers of Copyrights within the Library of Congress subject to a Presidential nomination with the advice and consent of the Senate for a 10-year term. The bill will also create a panel consisting of Congressional Leadership and the Librarian of Congress to develop a nominee slate containing at least three names from which the President will choose.

While there is some concern that this legislation would limit the influence of the Librarian of Congress, the bill is far preferable to current law, which would allow the President to terminate the Librarian at will and install whomever he wanted as Copyright Register without any Senate confirmation process, or any other input from Congress.

Elevating the stature of the Copyright Register makes the position directly accountable to Congress, which is appropriate given that the U.S. Copyright Office is central to the $1.2 trillion creative industry and is responsible for more than 5 million U.S. jobs.

That is why I supported this legislation, which passed the House 378–48.