The Project On Government Oversight has long advocated for free and open public access to the publicly funded Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports, and is happy to say that the day anyone can access a CRS report may soon be here.
In the proposed appropriations for the CRS released yesterday, the House Appropriations Committee directed the CRS to “make available to the public, all non-confidential reports,” and because the mandate is in a Legislative Branch Appropriations bill, these reports are only one successful House vote away from being publicly released.
Unfortunately, House sources indicate that an amendment may be introduced by Representative Betsy McCollum (D-MN) to weaken the bill’s language, undermining public access to CRS reports. Passing this amendment would be a mistake. Weakening this long-overdue transparency measure perpetuates the harmful opacity and misinformation surrounding government, and harms the public’s general understanding of the issues facing the nation today.
Two Notes From infoDOCKET Founder/Editor, Gary Price:
1. Being able to access CRS reports directly from the organization would be wonderful. The EU and UK are examples of legislative research organizations that have provided open-web access to their reports for many years.
2. Access to reports direct from the CRS is important and LONG overdue, however access to a growing number of CRS materials can be accessed online (for free) via EveryCRSReport.com and the Federation of American Scientists, and others.