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Main article: "CRS Report

The most commonly requested CRS product is the general congressional distribution reports, known as "CRS Reports". The purpose of a report is to clearly define the issue in the legislative context.[21] The types of CRS reports include Issue Briefs (IB), Research Memos (RM), and Reports, which appear in both Short (RS) and Long (RL) formats.[22]

Over 700 new CRS reports are produced each year and made available to Congressionals at[21] 566 new products were prepared in Fiscal Year 2011.[23] Nearly 7,800 are in existence as of the end of 2011.[23]

Other than a passing generic reference to "reports" in its statutory charter, CRS has no mandate for these products.[24] They are created in the context of the overall mission of CRS to provide research support to Congress.[9]

The reports may take many forms, including policy analysis, economic studies, statistical reviews, and legal analyses.[21]

CRS reports are considered in-depth, accurate, objective, and timely, and topped the list of the "10 Most-Wanted Government Documents" survey by the "Center for Democracy and Technology in 1996.[25]

Copyright status[edit]

The "New York Times has written that the reports contain neither "classified information nor "copyrighted information.[26]

The CRS has written:[27] "CRS may incorporate preexisting material in its written responses to congressional requests. Although such material is often from public domain sources, in certain instances the material, appropriately credited, may be from copyrighted sources. To the extent that the material is copyrighted, CRS either: obtains permission for the use; [Footnote: Although CRS obtains permission to reproduce certain copyrighted works, the permissions are generally based on legislative use and the expectation that dissemination is limited to Members of Congress.] considers its information-gathering function protected by the speech or debate clause; or believes that the use falls under the '"fair use' doctrine of the Copyright Act as applied in the context of the legislative process."

Public access to CRS Reports[edit]

Congressional Research Service reports

While CRS products are already available electronically to members of Congress, Congressional committees, and CRS's sister agencies (CBO and GAO) through the internal CRS Web system, there is no official public access,[21] except in certain circumstances.[28] For example, specifically identified individual products have been furnished to executive and judicial branch officials and employees, and state and local government officials. Products have been distributed when it has been deemed to enhance CRS service to Congress. Products have also been furnished to members of the media and foreign embassies on request, but only if the requester can make specific reference to the product number or title of the report. On occasion, CRS researchers have provided reports to non-congressional sources including individual researchers, corporations, law offices, private associations, libraries, law firms, and publishers.

Only Members and their staffs can place requests and attend most seminars. While some CRS research and reports may reach the American public, dissemination is at the discretion of congressional clients,[4] except as described above.

Many are available; sources are listed in the external links section below. As with other documents produced by the U.S. Government, the documents are in the public domain in the United States, and not subject to copyright.[29]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b S. Rept. 114-258 - LEGISLATIVE BRANCH APPROPRIATIONS, 2017
  2. ^ a b Office of the Director, Library of Congress
  3. ^ Elizabeth Williamson (2007-03-21). "You'd Know if You Were Congressional". Retrieved 2009-11-14. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r "The Congressional Research Service and the American Legislative Process" (PDF). Congressional Research Service. 2008. Retrieved 2009-07-25. 
  5. ^ "CRS Memo on Distribution of Reports to Non-Congressionals"
  6. ^ "Congressional Research Service Electronic Accessibility Resolution of 2012" (H. Res 727)
  7. ^ The 1914 legislative, executive, and judicial appropriations act -- ch. 141, July 16, 1914. (or possibly 38 STAT 962, 1005). A Google search for these terms reveals "July 16, 1914, ch. 141, Sec. 5(a), (b), (e), 38 Stat. 508; restated Aug. 2, 1946, ch. 744, Sec. 16(a), 60 Stat. 810, 811." The appropriations language read; "Legislative Reference: To enable the Librarian of Congress to employ competent persons to gather, classify, and make available, in translations, indexes, digests, compilations, and bulletins, and otherwise, data for or bearing upon legislation, and to render such data serviceable to Congress and committees and Members thereof, $25,000."
  8. ^ ch. 753, title II, sec. 203, August 2, 1946, 60 Stat. 812, 836
  9. ^ a b c Government Information Quarterly Volume 26, Issue 3, July 2009, Pages 437-440
  10. ^ See 65 Stat. 398.
  11. ^ P.L. 91-510, title III, sec. 321(a), October 26, 1970, 84 Stat. 1181; 2 U.S.C. 166.
  12. ^ Miriam A. Drake (2003). "Congressional Research Service". Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science: Lib-Pub. 3 (2 ed.). CRC Press. "ISBN "978-0-8247-2079-7. 
  13. ^ "What is the Congressional Research Service". Archived from the original on October 27, 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-14. 
  14. ^ Congressional Research Service FY2007 Annual Report, (PDF), Congressional Research Service Home Page, 18 April 2008
  15. ^ "Annual Report of the Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress for Fiscal Year 2010", p. 33
  16. ^ <"Annual Report of the Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress for Fiscal Year 2010" p. 34
  17. ^ a b "Congressional Research Service Products: Taxpayers Should Have Easy Access". Project on Government Oversight. February 10, 2003. Retrieved 2009-07-27. 
  18. ^ "A-Z Site Index," Legislative Information System of the U.S. Congress.
  19. ^ "Congressional Staff Guide to Resources in CRS Research Centers and the La Follette Congressional Reading Room," Congressional Research Service, February 8, 2001, p. CRS-4.
  20. ^ "Comparison of LIS and THOMAS,", downloaded June 28, 2002.
  21. ^ a b c d e "Guide to CRS Reports on the Web". Retrieved 2009-11-14. 
  22. ^ "How do I locate copies of Congressional Research Service Reports?". Loyola University Chicago Law Library. August 2005. Retrieved 2013-07-06. 
  23. ^ a b Annual Report of the Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress for Fiscal Year 2011, p. 2
  24. ^ See 2 U.S.C. § 166(d)(4).
  25. ^ "10 Most Wanted Government Documents" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on March 17, 2011. Retrieved 2009-11-14. 
  26. ^ STROM, STEPHANIE (May 4, 2009). "Group Seeks Public Access to Congressional Research". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-11-14. 
  27. ^ "Congressional Policy Concerning the Distribution of CRS Written Products to the Public". Congressional Research Service. March 9, 1999. Retrieved 2009-07-27. 
  28. ^ CRS Memo: Distribution of CRS Reports to Non-Congressionals
  29. ^ National Library for the Environment of the National Council for Science and the Environment (a NGO, not an official government agency)

External links[edit]

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