Bipartisan House Bill Would Open Congressional Research Service Reports to the Public

Friday, July 13, 2012
Reports produced by Congress’ think tank would become available to the public under bipartisan legislation introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The Public Access to Congressional Research Service Reports Resolution of 2012 (H. Res 727) would require most of the work of the Congressional Research Service (CRS), which is administered by the Library of Congress, to be accessible by all Americans.
While some CRS reports have been made available, it is only after members of Congress have released them to the media or the public. Often by the time this occurs, the reports are out of date.
Under the proposed legislation, CRS would make all of its reports available for download through the Internet. Confidential memoranda between CRS and lawmakers would continue to be kept confidential.
“American taxpayers spend more than $100 million a year supporting the work of the Congressional Research Service,” Representative Leonard Lance (R-New Jersey), a cosponsor of the bill, said in a prepared statement. “It is good public policy to allow educators, students, members of the news media and everyday citizens access to CRS' non-partisan taxpayer-funded reports. What is good for Congress should be good for the general public.”
This is not the first time someone has proposed opening up CRS reports to the public. According to the Sunlight Foundation, which has asked for CRS access for years, legislation has been sponsored in the House or Senate nearly every Congress going back for more than a decade.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
To Learn More:
New Bill Would Open CRS Reports to Public (by Daniel Schuman, Sunlight Foundation)


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