Utah Taxonomy

U.S. Congressional Research Service

U.S. Congressional Research Service
The Congressional Research Service (CRS) is the public policy research arm of Congress. Along with two other congressional support agencies, the Congressional Budget Office and the Government Accountability Office, the Congressional Research Service offers research and analysis to Congress on all current and emerging issues of national policy. CRS analysts work exclusively for Congress, providing assistance in the form of reports, memoranda, customized briefings, seminars, digitally recorded presentations, information obtained from governmental and nongovernmental databases, and consultations in person and by telephone. This work is governed by requirements for confidentiality, timeliness, accuracy, objectivity, balance, and nonpartisanship.

The CRS works exclusively for the United States House and Senate, providing policy and legal analysis to members, committees, and their staffs regardless of party affiliation. As a legislative branch agency within the Library of Congress, CRS has been a valued and respected resource on Capitol Hill for more than a century. CRS is well-known for analysis that is authoritative, confidential, objective and nonpartisan. Its highest priority is to ensure that Congress has 24/7 access to the nation’s best thinking.

CRS employs more than 400 policy analysts, attorneys and information professionals across a variety of disciplines in five research divisions. The breadth and depth of this expertise — from law, economics and foreign affairs to defense and homeland security, public administration, education, health care, immigration, energy, environmental protection, science and technology — enables CRS quickly to mobilize flexible groups that provide integrated analyses of complex issues facing the Congress.

Longstanding congressional policy allows Members and committees to use their websites to disseminate CRS products to the public, although CRS itself may not engage in direct public dissemination. CRS plays a vital role in our legislative process by informing lawmakers and staff about important policy issues. CRS reports are non-confidential, but other CRS products, such as memoranda, are confidential. CRS reports are widely available on Capitol Hill to staff and lobbyists alike, and could be of immense value to the general public. Longstanding congressional policy allows Members and committees to distribute CRS products to the public, which they do in a variety of ways. In addition, CRS provides reports upon request to the judicial branch, to journalists, and to the executive branch, which often publishes them on agency websites. Members of the public can freely access only a subset of CRS reports, usually via third parties. CRS staffers believe Congress should provide a central online source for timely public access to CRS reports. Other legislative support agencies, i.e., the Congressional Budget Office and the Government Accountability Office, publish non-confidential reports on their websites as a matter of course.

In 2014 CRS completed over 1,000 new reports and updated over 2,500 existing products. (CRS also produced nearly 3,000 confidential memoranda in 2014). CRS policy allows the agency to directly provide reports to executive and judiciary offices and employees, state and local government officials, members of the media and foreign embassies upon request, and sometimes research divisions will provide reports to the public upon request.

In March 2016 the "Equal Access to Congressional Research Service Reports Act of 2016" was introduced into the House (H.R. 4702) and the Senate (S.2369) to direct the GPO to provide free access to Congressional Research Reports on a publicly available website.

The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) reported in July 2017 that the day anyone can access a CRS report may soon be here. In the proposed appropriations for the CRS released on June 28, 2017, the House Appropriations Committee directed the CRS to “make available to the public, all non-confidential reports." Because this mandate is in a Legislative Branch Appropriations bill, these reports are only one successful House vote away from being publicly release. The legislation, called the Equal Access to Congressional Research Service Reports Act of 2016, was introduced by Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and John McCain (R-AZ) in the Senate and by Representatives Leonard Lance (R-NJ) and Mike Quigley (D-IL) in the House.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018 directed the Library to make CRS reports publicly available online. The result was the new public website for CRS reports released to the public on September 18, 2018. Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden wrote on 9/18/18 that "Moving forward, all new or updated reports will be added to the website as they are made available to Congress. The Library is also working to make available the back catalog of previously published reports as expeditiously as possible."

CRS reports, as works of the United States Government, are not subject to copyright protection in the United States. Any CRS report may be reproduced and distributed in its entirety without permission from CRS. However, as a CRS report may include copyrighted images or material from a third party, you may need to obtain the permission of the copyright holder if you wish to copy or otherwise use copyrighted material.
Essay on history, role of CRS in Washington Monthly, "Why I Quit the Congressional Research Service"
Building upon a concept developed by the New York State Library and then the Wisconsin legislative reference department, Wisconsin’s Senator Robert LaFollette and Representative John M. Nelson led an effort to direct the establishment of a special reference unit within the Library of Congress in 1914. Later known as the Legislative Reference Service, it was charged with responding to congressional requests for information. For more than 50 years, this department assisted Congress primarily by providing facts and publications and by transmitting research and analysis done largely by other government agencies, private organizations, and individual scholars. In 1970, Congress enacted a law transforming the Legislative Reference Service into the Congressional Research Service (CRS) and directing CRS to devote more of its efforts and increased resources to performing research and analysis that assists Congress in direct support of the legislative process.

with the PURL being https://purl.fdlp.gov/GPO/gpo109124. Click "search" to receive all results within a discovery layer. It can be filtered to the most recently published reports. Search results link to prior versions of the report. It searches topic metadata, but by clicking a checkbox you can have the search applied to full text. You can bulk download search results in a CSV file, but it's NOT a zip file with the PDFs and the only metadata are report date, report title, report number, and PDF URL and the URL is not a persistent URI (PURL). The reports have the author's names redacted, but strangely, the names appear in the search results but not in the CSV download. So you still have to go to one of the other sources to have the actual report with author names.

WARNINGS: The PDF reports are only accessible through this database search. There is no index page or sitemap linking to them. The Internet Archive bot is incapable of harvesting from the database so the reports are not archived in the Wayback Machine. Also, during the government shutdown of Dec 2018-Jan 2019 the portal was shutdown and unavailable.

https://digitalcommons.ilr.cornell.edu/crs/ (Cornell, ILR)
EveryCRSReport.com (free access in HTML and PDF formats and bulk downloading to 8,255 CRS reports, every CRS report that’s available on Congress’s internal website, with the phone number, email address, and names of virtually all the analysts redacted from the reports; not a CRS or government website; developed by Josh Tauberer). A CSV complete listing of reports for bulk downloading.

CRS Reports: https://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/ (by Steve Aftergood, Federation of American Scientists)

http://congressionalresearch.com/ (site owned by Mark Falvo, The Montrose Group, 7 007 Road 50 NW, Starbuck Manitoba R0G 2P0 CA)
http://opencrs.com (by Josh Ruihley, no longer operating)
https://crsreports.com/ (a digital library of older CRS reports built by Antoine McGrath)
CRS Report. Researching Current Federal Legislation and Regulations:
CRS Report. Legislative Research for Congressional Staff: How to Find Documents:
University of North Texas Library, CRS report digital library:
http://digital.library.unt.edu/explore/collections/CRSR/ (search
R Street CRS Annual Reports (Scribd):
https://www.scribd.com/collections/14362884/Congressional-Research-Service-Annual-Reports (about)

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