Burgess in the News

Burgess: ‘Executive agencies must respond promptly to congressional inquiries’ Burgess: ‘Executive agencies must respond promptly to congressional inquiries’


To effectively serve his home state constituents, U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) and other members of Congress often must reach out to executive agencies for information. And when he receives an out-of-office message or no response from these agencies, he’s not happy about it.

“It is unacceptable,” said Rep. Burgess, because it is “inhibiting members of Congress from serving the American people.” 

To rectify the situation, Rep. Burgess on Jan. 25 sponsored the bipartisan Response from Executive Agencies to Congress on Time (REACT) Act, H.R. 504, with original cosponsor U.S. Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL) to require executive agencies to respond to inquiries from lawmakers in a timely manner, according to a bill summary provided by Rep. Burgess’s office.

“This legislation will help members receive more timely responses to aid in their ability to serve their constituents more effectively,” Rep. Burgess said. “Unelected agency personnel must be held accountable to the people’s elected representatives. By expanding the ‘rule of seven’ in the House or ‘the rule of five’ in the Senate, every member will have the ability to receive swift answers for their constituents.”

Specifically, Rep. Burgess is referring to the fact that H.R. 504 would amend title 5 of the United States Code to require an executive agency to submit information to any committee of the U.S. House of Representatives upon the request of seven of the members of the committee, and to submit information to any U.S. Senate committee upon the request of five of the members of the committee, if the information relates to any matter under the jurisdiction of the committee, per the congressional record bill summary.

“This bill strengthens the congressional oversight function by allowing members who serve on committees with expertise in certain policy areas to obtain information from the executive branch that they cannot easily acquire currently,” added Rep. Davis. “I am proud to join Dr. Burgess on this good-government bill.”

If enacted, H.R. 504 also would give executive agencies 45 days to respond to a request for information from any seven or five members of the House or Senate authorizing committees, respectively; and clarify that any seven or five members of the House and Senate, respectively, have a cause of action in the appropriate district court, the lawmaker’s summary says.