Here's a report from boing boing discussing the death of the FOIA amendments in the House of Representatives. The report discusses a Washington Post article that says that agencies, including the Department of Justice (DOJ) lobbied lawmakers to kill the bill because making the "foreseeable harm" test statutory would lead to more FOIA litigation.
This argument is merely that, an argument. There is no proof that making the standard statutory would lead to more FOIA litigation. FOIA litigation is expensive for requesters to bring - the cost of filing a suit is $450 plus the cost of counsel. In fact, the opposite argument could be made - by making the standard statutory, less litigation would occur because agencies would make the analysis and would release more material.
The "foreseeable harm" test is DOJ's official FOIA policy. Thus, by using it as a reason to kill FOIA legislation, DOJ is repudiating its own policy. DOJ's official position has not yet been released to the public. The new Congress should hold hearings and make DOJ FOIA officals swear under oath what their position is, rather than allowing back channel maneuvers to kill bipartisan legislation.