U.S. Senate Aging Committee Chairman Bob Casey (D-PA) and Ranking Member Tim Scott (R-SC), as well as Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) announced Monday that the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has committed to prepare and submit to Congress a report on web accessibility across the federal government, after the Senators pushed for transparency.
In June, Casey led a group of bipartisan colleagues who sent a letter to DOJ urging the Attorney General to restart federally mandated reports on the federal government’s compliance with accessibility standards for people with disabilities. This week, DOJ sent a letter to Senator Casey stating that it is currently preparing a Section 508 report based on the most recent data analysis conducted by the Government Services Administration (GSA) and that they “anticipate that report will be available in the coming weeks.”
“We welcome the Department of Justice’s pledge to restart its monitoring of federal websites and technology for compliance with accessibility laws and look forward to receiving a robust, comprehensive report in the coming weeks. Earlier this year, we called on the Department of Justice to take immediate steps to issue these statutorily required biennial reports that provide taxpayers with transparent information about the accessibility of federal technology for older adults, people with disabilities, and veterans. Despite legal requirements, these reports had not been issued for a decade, leaving Congress without critical information about how the federal government addresses accessibility of its technology. We have a long way to go to make all aspects of the federal government accessible for older adults, people with disabilities, and veterans, but getting this information from DOJ is a critical first step,” Senators Casey, Scott, Durbin, and Duckworth said in a joint statement.
Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act requires the federal government to make all its information technology accessible to people with disabilities and requires DOJ to publicly report on the federal government’s compliance with accessibility standards every two years. However, DOJ has not provided a publicly available report since 2012, and that report reflected serious gaps in accessibility across the federal government.
The letter to DOJ was sent along with Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Ranking Member Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Chair Patty Murray (D-WA) and Ranking Member Richard Burr (R-NC), as well as Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL).
Read the letter from the Department of Justice here.