Senators Push Bill to Rename Government Printing Office

The change, says GPO’s leader, Davita Vance-Cooks, would better reflect the increasingly digital nature of GPO’s operations. The change, says GPO’s leader, Davita Vance-Cooks, would better reflect the increasingly digital nature of GPO’s operations. GPO file photo

The Government Printing Office clearly does not want to be tethered to the notion that’s it’s all about putting ink on paper -- so much so that it wants a new name.

On Wednesday, Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., introduced legislation (S. 1947) that would formally change GPO’s name to the Government Publishing Office. The change, says GPO’s leader, Davita Vance-Cooks, would better reflect the increasingly digital nature of GPO’s operations. The agency now not only prints federal documents, but provides access to them via its Federal Digital System and through apps and ebooks.

Vance-Cooks (whose formal title, “public printer,” also reflects GPO’s traditional role) has been pushing for the name change since her confirmation hearing last summer. If GPO’s moniker were modified, Klobuchar said at the hearing, “people will stop saying, ‘Well, why do you have to exist when you are the printing office?’ ”

Tweaking just a single word in the name would allow GPO to maintain its current acronym. That’s similar to what happened to the then-General Accounting Office in 2004, when Congress changed its name to the Government Accountability Office.

“Publishing defines a broad range of services that includes print, digital and future technological enhancements,” Vance-Cooks said in a statement Wednesday. “The name Government Publishing Office better reflects the services that GPO provides and will provide in the future.”

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