Passage - The FOIA was enacted in 1966 despite the opposition of President
Johnson to the legislation. Prior to enactment, there were several
years of congressional hearings about the need for a disclosure law.
The FOIA went into effect in 1967. To learn more about the enactment
of the FOIA, Click here.
Amendment - In the wake of the Watergate scandal and several court decisions,
Congress sought to amend the FOIA. After negotiations between
Congress and the Ford Administration broke down, Congress passed significant
amendments to the FOIA. President Ford vetoed the amendments and
Congress swiftly voted to override the veto. To learn more about
the 1974 Amendments to the FOIA,
Rep. No. 93-876 ( H.R. 12471) (Comm. on Gov't Op.)
Rep. No. 93-854 (S. 2543) (Comm. on the Judiciary)
Rep. No. 93-1380 and S. Rep. 93-1200 (Comm. of Conference)
March 14, considered and passed House, 120 Cong. Rec. H1787-H1803
30, considered and passed Senate, amendment in lieu of S. 2543,
120 Cong. Rec. S9310-S9343 (1974)
1, Senate agreed to conference report, 120 Cong. Rec. S17828-S17830,
7, House agreed to conference report, 120 Cong. Rec. H10001-H10009
Ford's Veto Message
17, vetoed; Presidential message, H. Doc. 93-383 (Nov. 18, 1974)
Discussion of Veto:
18, Preliminary House action on Presidential Veto, 120 Cong. Rec.
20, House Action and Vote on Presidential Veto, 120 Cong. Rec.
21, Senate Action and Vote on Presidential Veto, 120 Cong. Rec.
Amendment - In 1976, as part of the Government in Sunshine Act, Exemption
3 of the FOIA was amended.
Amendment - In 1986 Congress amended FOIA to address the fees charged
by different categories of requesters and the scope of access to law
enforcement and national security records. The FOIA amendments
were a small part of the bipartisan Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986.
The amendments are not referenced in the congressional reports on the
Act, so the floor statements provide an indication of Congressional
25, Senate bill introduced, 132 Cong. Rec. S13648, 13660-61 (1986)
27, Senator Leahy Amendment and Statement, 132 Cong. Rec. S14033
September 27, Senator Hatch Statement, 132 Cong. Rec. S14038-40
30, Senator Denton Statement, 132 Cong. Rec. S14252 (1986)
30, Senator Leahy Statement, 132 Cong. Rec. S14295-300 (1986)
30, Senate Technical Amendments, 132 Cong. Rec. S14277-78 (1986)
8, Reps. English and Kindness Statements, 132 Cong. Rec. H9462-68
8, House approves amendments, 132 Cong. Rec. H9497-98 (1986)
10, Senate Amendment to House Amendment, 132 Cong. Rec. S15956
10, Senator Leahy-Kerry Colloquy, 132 Cong. Rec. S16496-97 (1986)
15, Senate approves amendments, 132 Cong. Rec. S16502 (1986)
15, Senator Hatch Statement, 132 Cong. Rec. S16504-05 (1986)
17, House Amendment to Senate Amendment, 132 Cong. Rec. SH11233-34
17, House approves amendments, 132 Cong. Rec. H10787 (1986)
17, Senate concurs in House amendments, 132 Cong. Rec. S16921
Amendment - The FOIA was significantly amended in 1996 with the Electronic
Freedom of Information Act Amendments of 1996. There were separate
Senate and House bills that were reconciled by their sponsors.
The public law includes a "Findings and Purposes" section that was not
codified into the FOIA's text.
Amendment - In 2002, in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, the FOIA was amended
to limit the ability of foreign agents to request records from U.S.
2007 Amendment - The FOIA was amended in 2007 with the OPEN Government Act of 2007, was passed unanimously by both the House and the Senate in December. The new law aimed to fix some of the most persistent problems in the FOIA system, including excessive delay, lack of responsiveness, and litigation gamesmanship by federal agencies.
1. Introduced in house: January 17, introduced in House and referred to Oversight and Government Reform. H.R.541, 110 cong. (2007)
2. Referred in Senate: March 15, Introduction and Referral Senate H.R. 1309. 110 Cong. (2007)
3. Introduced in house: March 5, Introduced in House Referred to Subcommittee. H.R.1326. 110 Cong. (2007)
4. Reported in Senate:August 3, considered and passed in Senate. Amend. (S11071-11073). S. Rept. 110-59. (2007)
5. Introduced in Senate: December 6, Introduced to Senate, 110 Cong. Rec. S.2427 (2007)
6. Enrolled Bill: Considered and passed Senate, December 13, 110 Cong. Public Law No: 110-175. (2007)