WASHINGTON, D.C. – A bill introduced by Congressman Garret Graves (South Louisiana) to make the federal government a little more user-friendly was signed into law Thursday by President Donald Trump. The Creating Advanced Streamlined Electronic Services for Constituents Act (or CASES Act) modernizes the process for constituents who want help from their members of Congress to resolve issues with a federal agency.
Because of a provision in the Privacy Act of 1974, people in need of assistance to resolve issues with the VA, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid or other federal agencies have had to physically print, sign and fax, mail or hand deliver a “privacy release form” to their congressional office before the office can take action – a burdensome obstacle that often extends the time it takes to reach a resolution. Not anymore, thanks to the new law.
As Graves’ CASES Act is implemented, the public will have the option to use the internet – with all the necessary privacy protections intact – to give their congressperson e-authorization to engage agencies.
“Let’s be honest, we’re not splitting atoms with this one; 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 new law is a small step toward helping solve the problem. 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 has been business-as-usual since 1974 for the federal government,” said Graves.
CASES also requires the White House Office of Management and Budget to create one, standardized release to be used across all federal agencies and a system for the electronic submission of that form.