“New Bill Would Open CRS Reports to Public” is a recent post over at Sunlight Foundation. It provides a bit of background on some recent legislation that would make these wonderful reports available to the public. Two issues spring to mind:
1) CRS reports are outstanding sources. CRS reports are: usually fairly brief (under 30 pages); written in plain English; meticulously researched; and heavily footnoted. If you are looking into a federal legislative history question or a public-policy issue that is of interest to Congress, you would be remiss if you didn’t check for a CRS Report. If you don’t find a report, noting that absence in your research log makes you look like you know what you’re doing, research-wise. And if you do find one, it’s guaranteed to clarify your issues and lead you to other sources.
UCI Students can search for CRS Reports in ProQuest Congressional.
2) Most CRS reports are not freely available. ProQuest Congressional does indeed include a comprehensive set of non-classified CRS reports. But this access is subscription-based — you’re out of luck if you’re not a member of the UCI community. The new bill would change that. So if you’ve found CRS reports valuable in the past, and if you’d support making them more widely available, this is a great time to contact your representative and let him or her know.