Daniel Schuman from the Sunlight Foundation has the details about the new legislation in a new blog post.
Representatives Leonard Lance (R-NJ) and Mike Quigley (D-NJ) introduced legislation today that will help the American people, the media, and government employees better understand important public policy issues. The bipartisan “Public Access to Congressional Research Service Reports Resolution of 2012” (aka H. Res 727) would ensure that reports by Congress’s $100 million-a-year think tank become available to the public on a website maintained by the House Clerk.
The legislation is careful to ensure that confidential memoranda between CRS and individual members of Congress are kept confidential — only the reports that CRS makes generally available to the 10,000+ hill staffers will be online. While it requires reports be searchable and downloadable, the resolution also ensures that confidential and copyrighted information will be redacted, along with the names and contact information for the report’s authors.
Over the years, many members of Congress and organizations have called for public access to CRS Reports. The Sunlight Foundation has asked for this for years. Public access legislation has been sponsored in the House or Senate nearly every Congress going back for more than a decade. And in other countries, public access is routine: 85% of G-20 countries whose parliaments have subject matter experts make CRS-like reports available to the public.
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