Congressional Research Service Reports

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Contents

Introduction

The following materials pertain to questions around the public availability of Congressional Research Service Reports. Some information on CRS is available at the Congressional Research Service website. Here's the shortlink to this page: http://bit.ly/CRSReports

Background Articles/ Papers

Sunlight Foundation

  • "It's time to Give the Public Access to CRS Reports" - Matt Rumsey (3/7/2013)
  • "New Bill would Open CRS Reports to Public" - Daniel Schuman (7/10/2012)
  • “CRS Reports Should Be Publicly Available” - Daniel Schuman (5/6/2009)
  • “S. Res. 118 – Free CRS Reports” - Ellen Miller (4/20/2009)
  • The Open House Project Recommendations Report: Congressional Research Service (5/8/2007)
  • "Across the Hill: The congressional research service and providing research for congress-A retrospective on origins," Harold C Relyea, Government Information Quarterly, Volume 26, Issue 3, Pages 414-422 (2009 ($))

Other Organizations

Project on Government Oversight

  • “Hopefully Coming Soon: CRS Access For All, and Other Opengov Initiatives from Congress” - Lauren Perry (4/6/2010)
  • Press Release: “POGO joins coaliton calling for Senators to allow public access of CRS reports” 5/4/2009
  • Report: “Congressional Research Service Products: Taxpayers Should Have Easy Access” (2/10/2003)

Center for Democracy and Technology

Members of Congress and Organizational Letters

  • Coalition of organizations letter to Reps. Issa and Cummings on public availability of CRS Reports, April 5, 2011 (PDF)
  • Coalition of organizations letter to Sens. Lieberman and Collins on public availability of CRS Reports, April 5, 2011 (PDF)
  • Coalition of organizations letter to Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee Members on Library of Congress Appropriations, April 5, 2011 (PDF)
  • Coalition of organization letter to Librarian of Congress regarding the selection of the next CRS Director, February 25, 2010 (PDF)
  • Sen. Lieberman Urges Better Public Access to CRS Reports In Letter to Sen. Schumer, Chairman, Committee on Rules and Administration (4/9/2009)
  • Sen. Lieberman Calls for Wider, Easier, Timely Access to CRS Reports in Letter to Sen. Feinstein, Chairman, Committee on Rules and Administration (2/27/2008)
  • Congressional Accountability Project letter advocating that CRS reports should be placed online (8/6/1997)

Other

  • Federal News Radio: Interview - Daniel Schuman - (1/23/2012)
  • Huffington Post: "Congressional Research Service Public Database Pushed in House Measure" - Nate Willis (7/11/2012)
  • Fierce Government IT: "House Proposal would make CRS reports available online" - David Perera (7/11/2012)
  • Quigley, Lance Push to Grant Public Access to Congressional Research - Rep. Quigley website (7/10/2012)
  • Roll Call: "Advocates Push for Transparency at CRS" - Jonathan Easley (8/19/2011)
  • The New York Times: “Group Seeks Public Access to Congressional Research” - Stephanie Strom (5/4/2009)
  • Accuracy in Media: “CRS Reports Should Be Available to the Public” - Paul Weyrich (3/6/2007)
  • “Guide to CRS Reports on the Web” - Stephen Young (9/17/2006)
  • "How to Establish a Parliamentary Research Service" (66th IFLA Council and General Conference)
  • Federal Judicial Citation of CRS 1973-2010 (XLS file)

Publication Policy Issues

"Speech or Debate Clause" and other legal considerations

  • Legal Issues Presented by Proposals for the General Release of CRS Products to the Public (2000-12-14) (PDF) 
  • Former House of Representatives General Counsel Stanley Brand Letter arguing that making CRS reports publicly available raises no legal issues (responding to CRS' internal memo dated 1/2/1998) (1/27/1998) (PDF)
  • CRS's discussion of the legal issues surrounding public release of its reports (1/2/1998) (PDF) 

CRS Policy Statement on Distribution of Reports to Non-Congressional Staff

  • CRS Memo: "Discussion of the implicatations of direct public access to all crs reports" (2009-05-28) (PDF)
  • CRS Memo: “Distribution of CRS Products to Non-Congressionals” (3/20/2007)(PDF)
  • CRS internal memo on on publication of CRS products (2003)
  • Letter from James H. Billington, Librarian of Congress, to Mr. Ari Schwartz and Mr. Rick Blum (10/3/1999)

Public Sources for CRS Reports

Nonprofit websites (free to use)


Government Websites

For-profit websites

Examples of other countries who make CRS-like reports publicly available

According to the World e-Parliament Report 2010, page 110:

47% of parliaments make research and analyses from subject matter experts available to the public on the parliament or library website.

legislative_research_agency_reports.png


85% of the G-20 members whose chambers have subject matter experts (11 out of 13) make those reports available to the public.

Of all the countries that have subject matter experts on public policy issues who provide research and analysis for members and committees, nearly half (47%) make the results of that research and analysis available to the public.

CRS Review

In the 1980s and early 1990s, CRS published the "CRS Review," which analyzed issues before Congress and was distributed to congressional staff and members of the public. Here are a few examples of the CRS Reviews. Here is how CRS described the document:

The CRS Review is a digest of selected policy research and analysis for the United States Congress and its legislative staff. It is issued periodically and comprised of analytical articles summarizing and highlighting CRS products on substantive policy issues. The Review is distributed to Members of Congress, their staffs, congressional committees, and other offices of the legislative branch. It is also available through Government Printing Office stores. CRS products cited in the CRS Review are available only to congressional offices.

Here are some sample editions:

  • Congressional Research Service Review: 1983 Space Activities and a Look Forward, Volume 5 No. 3 (March 1984)  
  • Congressional Research Service Review: United States Withdrawal from World Court Jurisdiction, Volume 6 No. 4 (April 1985)
  • Congressional Research Service Review: Major Issue Forum: Arms Control, Volume 8 No. 6 (June 1987)
  • CRS Review: Major Issue Forum: Japan-U.S. Relations, Volume 10 No. 6 (July 1989)
  • CRS Review: Major ISsues: Second Session, Volume 13 No. 1 (January 1992)

Legislation Pertaining to CRS

Legislation Requiring CRS Reports Be Made Publicly Available

113th Congress

  • H.Res 110: Congressional Research Service Electronic Accessibility Resolution of 2013.  

112th Congress

  • H. Res 727: Congressional Research Service Electronic Accessibility Resolution of 2012

111th Congress

  • H.R.4983: Transparency in Government Act of 2010 (introduced 3/25/2010) Sponsors: Reps. Quigley, Speier.
  • H.R.3762: Congressional Research Service Electronic Accessibility Act of 2009 (introduced 10/8/2009) Sponsors: Kratovil, Lance, Polis.
  • S.Res.118: A resolution to provide Internet access to certain Congressional Research Service publications. (introduced 4/29/2009) Sponsors: Sens. Lieberman, Collins, Feingold, Harkin, Leahy, Lugar, McCain.

110th Congress

  • S.Res401: A resolution to provide Internet access to certain Congressional Research Service publications. (introduced 12/11/2007). Sponsors: Sens. Lieberman, Collins, Cornyn, Feingold, Harkin, Leahy, Lugar, McCain, McCaskill.
  • H.R.2545: Congressional Research Accessibility Act (introduced 5/24/2007). Sponsors: Reps. Shays, Inslee, Price.

109th Congress

  • None found.

108th Congress

  • H.R.3630: Congressional Research Accessibility Act (introduced 11/21/2003). Sponsors: Reps. Shays, Green, Inslee, Price.
  • S.Res.54: A resolution to provide Internet access to certain Congressional documents, including certain Congressional Research Service publications, certain Senate gift reports, and Senate and Joint Committee documents. (introduced 2/11/2003). Sponsors: Sens. McCain, Cornyn, Corzine, Feingold, Harkin, Leahy, Lieberman.

107th Congress

  • S.Res.21: A resolution directing the Sergeant-at-Arms to provide Internet access to certain Congressional documents, including certain Congressional Research Service publications, Senate lobbying and gift report filings, and Senate and Joint Committee documents. (introduced 2/14/2001). Sponsors: Sens. McCain, Harkin, Leahy, Lieberman, Lott.

106th Congress

  • H.R.4582: Citizen Legislature Empowerment through Access to Resources (CLEAR) Act (introduced 6/6/2000). Sponsors: Reps. DeMint, Canady, Chenoweth-Hage, Coburn, English, Green, Hill, Metcalf, Salmon, Sanford, Schaffer, Shays, Tancredo, Toomey.
  • S.393: Congressional Openness Act (introduced 2/9/1999). Sponsors: Sens. McCain, Abraham, Ashcroft, Enzi, Feingold, Leahy, Lincoln, Lott, Robb, Sessions.
  • H.R.654: Congressional Research Accessibility Act (introduced 2/9/1999). Sponsors: Says, Baldwin, Boehlert, Brown, Campbell, DeMint, Dreier, Green, Hobson, Horn, Inslee, Luther, Nussle, Pallone, Price, Salmon, Shows, Slaughter, Stark, Towns, Udall, Upton.

105th Congress

  • S.1578: A bill to make available on the Internet, for purposes of access and retrieval by the public, certain information available through the Congressional Research Service web site. (introduced 1/28/1998). Sponsors: Sens. McCain, Abraham, Ashcroft, Coats, Enzi, Faircloth, Feingold, Kerrey, Leahy, Lott, Robb, Wyden.
  • H.R.3131: To make available on the Internet, for purposes of access and retrieval by the public, certain information available through the Congressional Research Service web site. (introduced 1/28/1998). Sponsors: Reps. Shays, Barrett, Berman, Boehlert, Boucher, Campbell, Clyburn, Conyers, Davis, DeFazio, Dooley, Doyle, Dreier, English, Frost, Furse, Greenwood, Hefner, Hobson, Hulshof, Lantos, Lowey, McHale, Meehan, Morella, Pallone, Price, Salmon, Stark, Torres, Towns, Underwood, White, Woolsey.

Legislative Resources On CRS Appropriations

CRS Annual Reports

  • CRS Annual Report Fiscal Year 2011 (PDF)
  • CRS Annual Report Fiscal Year 2010 (PDF)
  • CRS Annual Report Fiscal Year 2009 (PDF)
  • CRS Annual Report Fiscal Year 2008 (PDF)
  • CRS Annual Report Fiscal Year 2007 (PDF)
  • CRS Annual Report Fiscal Year 2006 (PDF)
  • CRS Annual Report Fiscal Year 2005 (PDF)
  • CRS Annual Report Fiscal Year 2004 (PDF)
  • CRS Annual Report Fiscal Year 2003 (PDF)
  • CRS Annual Report Fiscal Year 2002 (PDF)
  • CRS Annual Report Fiscal Year 2001 (PDF)

Library of Congress Annual Reports

  • FY 2000- FY2008 (link) (contains sections on CRS) (from LOC)
  • FY 1866-2007 (not inclusive) (link)

Library of Congress Financial Statements

  • FY 1996-2009 (link)

Congressional Budget Justifications

These justifications are submitted to the Appropriations Subcommittee for the Legislative Branch

Appropriations

FY 2011

  • None yet.

FY 2010

  • Legislative Branch Appropriations Act, FY 2010 (link)
  • House Report 111-160 (link)
  • Conference Report aka House Report 111-265 (link)

FY 2009

  • Omnibus Appropriations Act, FY 2009 ([1])
  • Joint Explanatory Statement -- from House Rules website (link)

FY 2008

  • Consolidated Appropriations Act, FY 2008 (link)
  • House Report 110-198 (link)
  • Senate Report 110-089 (link) -- criticizes CRS for holding expensive offsite management retreats; castigates CRS for acting as an independent agency from LOC

FY 2007

  • Revised Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2007 (link)
  • House Report 109-485 (link)
  • Senate Report 109-267 (link)

FY 2006

  • Legislative Branch Appropriations Act, FY 2006 ([2])
  • House Report 109-139 (link) - extra money for research materials
  • Senate Report 109-89 (link) - additional requirements for a study on resources drained by assisting other parliaments; to conduct a study of staff salaries
  • Conference Report: House Report 108-189 (link)

FY 2005

  • Consolidated Appropriations Act, FY 2005 (link)
  • House Report 108-577 (link) - requires report on duplications of services between CRS and LOC on issues including technology
  • Senate Report 108-307 (link) - funding for add'l security and XML capabilities

FY 2004

  • Legislative Branch Appropriations Act, 2004 (link)
  • House Report 108-186 (link)
  • Senate Report 108-88 (link) - tells CRS to hire its allocated full time employees and reduce use of contractors
  • Conference Report: House Report 108-279 (link)

FY 2003

  • Consolidated Appropriations Resolution, FY 2003 (link)
  • House Report 107-576 ([3]) - denies request for FTEs b/c work can be done by contractors
  • Senate Report 107-209 ([4])
  • Conference Committee (for Omnibus): House Report 108-10 (link)
  • Emergency Wartime Supplemental Appropriation Act, FY 2003 (link) -- adds another 1.8m
  • House Report 108-55 ([5]) -- recommends creation of alternate computing facility
  • Senate Report 108-33 (link) -- for mirroring online critical information
  • Conference Report: House Report 108-76 ([6]) - $1.8m for salaries

FY 2002

  • Legislative Branch Appropriations Act, FY 2002 ([7])
  • House Report 107-169 ([8]) - funds mass transit benefit program
  • Senate Report 107-03 (link) - more money to acquire technical staff and tools
  • Conference Report: House Report 107-259 (link)

FY 2001

  • Consolidated Appropriations Act, FY 2001 (link)
  • Conference Report: House Report 106-1033 (link)

FY 2000

  • Legislative Branch Appropriations Act, FY 2000 (link)
  • House Report 106-156 (link)
  • Senate Report 106-75 (link)

FY 1999

  • Legislative Branch Appropriations Act, FY 1999 (link)
  • House Report 105-595 ([9]) - discussion of how to deal with impending retirement of many senior staff and job opportunities for non-professional staff.
  • Conference Report: House Report 105-734 (link). Adds unique provision: "Provided further, That, notwithstanding any other provision of law, the compensation of the Director of the Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, shall be at an annual rate which is equal to the annual rate of basic pay for positions at level IV of the Executive Schedule under section 5315 of title 5, United States Code."

FY 1998

  • Legislative Branch Appropriations Act, FY 1998 ([10]) -- adds: "Provided further, <<NOTE: 2 USC 166 note.>> That, notwithstanding any other provision of law, the compensation of the Director of the Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, shall be at an annual rate which is equal to the annual rate of basic pay for positions"
  • House Report 105-196 (link)
  • Senate Report 105-047 (link) - Adds provision: "Provided further, That, notwithstanding any other provision of law, the compensation of the Director of the Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, shall be at an annual rate which is equal to the annual rate of basic pay for positions at level IV of the Executive Schedule under section 5315 of title 5, United States Code."

Legislative Appropriations Letters to Congress - April 2011

Letters sent in April 2011 signed by a number of organizations urging Congress to allow CRS to have the option of allocating funds to make its reports publicly available. Signatories include: OpenTheGovernment.org, the Sunlight Foundation, the Federation of American Scientists, iSolon.org, OMB Watch, and many others. 

  • Letter to Rep. Sanford Bishop (PDF)
  • Letter to Sen. Sherrod Brown (PDF)
  • Letter to Rep. Ken Calvert (PDF)
  • Letter to Rep. Ander Crenshaw (PDF)
  • Letter to Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (PDF)
  • Letter to Sen. Lindsey Graham (PDF)
  • Letter to Sen. John Hoeven (PDF)
  • Letter to Rep. Mike Honda (PDF)
  • Letter to Rep. Steven LaTourette (PDF)
  • Letter to Sen. Ben Nelson (PDF)
  • Letter to Rep. David Price (PDF)
  • Letter to Rep. Denny Rehberg (PDF)
  • Letter to Sen. Jon Tester (PDF)

Frequently Used Appropriations Language

Used with the Legislative Branch Appropriations Act of 1954, P.L. 83-470, and in appropriations language going forward; available here.

"Salaries and expenses: For expenses necessary to carry out the provisions of section 203 of the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946 (2 U. S. C. 166); $875,000: Provided, That no part of this appropriation may be used to pay any salary or expense in connection with any publication, or preparation of material therefor (except the Digest of Public General Bills), to be issued by the Library of Congress unless such publication has obtained prior approval of either the Committee on House Administration or the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration."

Used with the Legislative Branch Appropriations Act of 1953, P.L. 82-471, available here.

"Salaries and expenses: For necessary personal services to enable the Librarian to carry out the provisions of section 203 of the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946, including not to exceed $20,000 for employees engaged by the day or hour at rates to be fixed by the Librarian; services as authoriezed by section 15 of the Act of August 2, 1946 (5 U. S. C. 55a); printing and binding; and supplies and materials; $891,159: Provided, That no part of this appropriation may be used to pay any salary or expense in connection with any publication, or preparation of material therefor (except the Digest of Public General Bills), to be issued by the Library of Congress."

Used in the Legislative Branch Appropriations Act of 1952, P.L. 82-168, available here.

"Salaries and expenses: For necessary personlal services to enable the Librarian to carry out the provisions of section 203 of the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946, including not to exceed $20,000 for employees engaged by the day or hour at rates to be fixed by the Library; services as authorized by section 15 of the Act of August 2, 1946 (5 U. S. C. 55a); printing and binding; and supplies and materials; $800,000: Provided, That no part of this appropriation may be used to pay any salary or expense in connection with any publication, or preparation of material therefor (except the Digest of Public General Bills), to be issued by the Library of Congress."

Committee language accompanying the Legislative Branch Appropriation Bill Report from 1952, available here.

"The 1952 budget estimates for the operations of the Library of Congress total $9,438,200  and involve proposed increases in all but two appropriation items. The Committee has approved none of the icnreases requested and has recommended a total of $8,455,280. This is $100,000 less than the appropriations for 1952 and $982,920 less than the 1952 estimates. The Library of Congress should be maintained as a repository of recorded knowledge second to none, but the current natinoal financial situation will not permit the increased expenses contemplated by the Library. Increased emphasis on preserving the materials entrusted to the care of the Library and greater concentration on the activities of classification and cataloging to facilite use of materials in the Library by the Congress and the public will permit the Library to be maintained in the finest manner with appropriations contained in the bill. Use for research and related purposes of the Library's facilities can be financed by public and private agencies having programs requiring such activities, rather than by appropriations made to the Library.
The Committee has provided $700,000 for the Legislative Reference Service instead of the $922,100 as requested, and a provision in the bill prevents the use of that appropriation for financing the preparation of materials for publication or to be issued by the Library of Congress, and no funds are approved for printing and binding by the Legislative Reference Service. This provision will in no way interfere with the publication by Committee or Members of either House of Congress of material prepared by the Legislative Reference Service. 
The Legislative Reference Service can carry out the needs of Congress with the appropriation contained in the bill by limiting its services to those expressly requested by Members and Committees....
The following limitation not heretofore carried in the bill is recommended:
On page 16, in connection with Legislative Reference Service, beginning at line 9:
Provided, That no part of this appropriation may be used to pay any salary or expense in connection with any publication, or prepration of material therefor, to be issued by the Library of Congress."
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