Frequently Asked Questions
Government Printing Office (GPO)
What does GPO do?
Answer: The U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) is the Federal Government's primary centralized resource for gathering, cataloging, producing, providing, authenticating, and preserving published information in all its forms. GPO is responsible for the production and distribution of information products and services for all three branches of the Federal Government. GPO's main mission is to ensure the American public has access to Government information. GPO operates much like a business, as it is reimbursed by agencies for a percentage of the cost of work performed.
What is the Joint Committee on Printing?
Answer: The Joint Committee on Printing (JCP), Congress of the United States, established by law, consists of members of the House of Representatives and the Senate. This committee promulgates its basic regulations and instructions in the publication entitled Government Printing and Binding Regulations, identified by revision date and numerical series number. These regulations are applicable to and are mandatory for use by all departments of the Federal Government, unless otherwise authorized by the committee.
What is the Federal Depository Library Program?
Answer: Established by the Congress to ensure the American public has access to its Government's information, the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) involves the acquisition, format conversion, and distribution of depository materials and the coordination of Federal depository libraries across the country. The mission of the FDLP is to disseminate information products from all three branches of the Government to more than 1,250 libraries nationwide. Libraries that have been designated as Federal depositories maintain these information products as part of their existing collections and are responsible for assuring that the public has free access to the material provided by the FDLP.
What is GPO Access?
Answer: GPO Access is a service of the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) that provides free electronic access to a wealth of important information products produced by the Federal Government. This free service is funded by the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) and has grown out of Public Law 103-40, known as the Government Printing Office Electronic Information Enhancement Act of 1993.
What is a GPO BAC?
Answer: A GPO BAC is a 6-digit (alphanumeric) billing address code that identifies an agency/bureau and the unit's mailing address for billing documents for all U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) orders.
Where can I find my agency/bureau GPO BAC?
Answer: If you do not know your agency/bureau GPO BAC, first contact personnel in your agency/bureau responsible for placing printing jobs with the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO). You may also contact your GPO Agency Publishing Specialist for this information.
Where can I find a glossary of printing terms specific to GPO's printing procurement program?
Answer: A link to the U.S. Government Printing Office's (GPO) Glossary of Procurement Terminology is provided for informational purposes only.
Federal Register (FR)
What is the Federal Register?
Answer: The Federal Register is a legal newspaper published every business day by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). It contains Federal agency regulations; proposed rules and notices; and Executive Orders, proclamations, and other Presidential documents. The Federal Register informs citizens of their rights and obligations and provides access to a wide range of Federal benefits and opportunities for funding. NARA's Office of the Federal Register prepares the Federal Register for publication in partnership with the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO), which distributes it in paper and on the World Wide Web.
Code of Federal Regulations (CFR)
What is the Code of Federal Regulations?
Answer: The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) is the codification of the general and permanent rules published in the Federal Register by the executive departments and agencies of the Federal Government. It is divided into 50 titles that represent broad areas subject to Federal regulation. Each volume of the CFR is updated once each calendar year and is issued on a quarterly basis. Note: All CFR titles are currently available electronically through GPO Access. The Internet address is: http://www.gpoaccess.gov/cfr/index.html.
Explain briefly how the CFR program works.
Answer: The CFR is comprised of articles that are submitted to the Office of the Federal Register (OFR) for publishing in the Federal Register and which are ultimately "codified" and then printed as the official regulation in the CFR publication. When the OFR puts together each Title for the next calendar year, they (OFR) decide which Titles require a complete printing based on the changes that were made since the last publishing.
In some instances, it could be as simple as a sentence or two changing from the previous year to require a complete printing of the Title; if no changes are significant enough, OFR directs GPO to publish just a cover for the Titles, (This is rare in regards to the programs that DOI operates).
The costs that GPO charges for publishing a CFR are NOT for the costs associated for an actual printed copy(s), but merely for the costs associated to take the electronic content that OFR provides and format accordingly and costs associated to publishing a particular CFR Title and Part.
How are costs calculated for publishing the CFR?
Answer: The charges are based on the number of pages within the Title(s) and/or Part(s) that are specific to your organization. The total number of pages "x" times the GPO page rate, currently $85.00/pages in 2014. (i.e., 135 pages x $85 = $11,475.00 CFR charge that GPO will bill for your portion of the CFR.
Will GPO charge me each year that same amount for publishing the CFR?
Answer: The charges will most likely vary slightly from year to year based on the total number of pages that are specific to your organization. If your organization has more notices that fiscal year that ultimately become "codified" then depending on the number of pages the content of the regulation covers within the CFR will increase the total number of your pages count and thusly increase your total amount due for that fiscal year.
When does GPO IPAC our office for any potential CFR charges?
Answer: The period of being IPAC varies for each CFR Title and Part based on several factors outside our control and can even cross fiscal years depending on where a particular CFR is in the cycle of being updated by the OFR and release to GPO to then be in the cycle for being compiled in the format for publishing and then released. Basically, there is no fixed schedule that you can expect from one year to another.
Do I need to budget for the costs annually?
Answer: Absolutely. You should look across the average of your past three years to determine the best amount to use as your baseline and then working with your Federal Register liaison try and look across those three years and gauge the percentage of cost increase that you encountered on average. Once you establish a baseline you have an annual budget for the CFR and then you will need to forecast budget increase for the out years.
If my organization does not request any hard copies of the CFR during a fiscal year, are we still
billed for the CFR?
Answer: The request for hard copies and the potential charges associated for any hard copies are not linked to the outcome of your organization being charged for the "publishing" of the CFR. The printed copies cost is completely separate from the CFR Publishing charges. The GPO will charge all federal agencies at a fixed per page rate for the content published in the Code of Federal Regulations regardless if your office orders zero, one or a hundred hard copies.
What is GPO's authority for publishing the CFR's each year?
Answer: The GPO is mandated by law to publish both the Federal Register and the Code of Federal Regulation; Chapter 15, Title 44, United States Code. See specifically sections 1502, 1504 and 44 U.S.C. § 1509: (a) The cost of printing, reprinting, wrapping, binding, and distributing the Federal Register and the Code of Federal Regulations, and, except as provided in subsection (b), other expenses incurred by the Government Printing Office in carrying out the duties placed upon it by this chapter shall be charged to [GPO's] revolving fund provided in section 309. Reimbursements for such costs and expenses shall be made by the Federal agencies and credited, together with all receipts, as provided in section 309(b).
If GPO sells printed copies of the CFR and makes a profit or recovers their cost from that, why are we paying for their upfront costs? Why is our cost not offset?
Answer: GPO recoups its cost and any additional funds that are generated are used to finance additional Federal Register and Code of Federal Regulations projects (such as the online application ecfr.gov; federalregister.gov, etc…) which further the reach of this published information.
Is my organization able to receive copies of particular CFR Title/Part?
Answer: Yes, the Department of the Interior is entitled to 300 free copies per CFR Title/Part. Each year an annual survey is conducted through your respective Printing Official on-behalf of your organization.
In accordance with Title1—General Provision, Chapter I—Administrative Committee of the Federal Register, Part 12—Official Distribution Within Federal Government, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) section 12.2. (a)(4):
"Each Federal executive agency will be provided with the number of copies needed for official use, not to exceed 300 copies of individual titles per agency, based on a written request from the agency Federal Register authorizing officer…"
If you have any questions on the Department's 300 free CFR copies, please contact Reclamation's Printing Officer. While we are able to receive printed copies at no cost to the organization, we strongly recommend that where possible to consider using the electronic versions of the CFR as they are kept current and promotes the mandates to reduce printing and go green.