Victory for Access to CRS Reports

July 3, 2017 at 12:06 pm | Posted in Advocacy and Gov't Relations | Leave a comment

Please read below about a significant development in the quest to make all Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports available to the public:

Dear Advocates,

I’m happy to report that the House Appropriations Committee just took a giant leap toward making Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports available to the public. During its mark up of the Fiscal Year 2018 Legislative Branch Appropriations bill, the full Committee approved language directing CRS to report back to the Committee within 90 days of enactment with a plan to make its non-confidential reports available to the public.

This has been more than 20 years in the making, and it was only possible thanks to the hard work of the many advocates−including many of you–who have written, called, tweeted, and spoken to their members of Congress about CRS over the years.

While there are still some hurdles to get over (namely, the bill must pass the House, and there must be a companion bill in the Senate), the report language in legislative branch appropriations bills is generally adhered to even if not passed into law.

Please join us in celebrating this win for public access! AALL will continue to work hard to make sure public access to these valuable reports becomes a reality in the coming months. We’ll will provide more analysis and information about next steps in the July Washington eBulletin, out on Monday.

Here is the appropriations report language:

“Public Access to CRS Reports: The Committee directs the Library of Congress’s Congressional Research Service (CRS) to make available to the public, all non-confidential reports. The Committee has debated this issue for several years, and after considering debate and testimony from entities inside the legislative branch and beyond the Committee believes the publishing of CRS reports will not impede CRS’s core mission in any impactful way and is in keeping with the Committee’s priority of full transparency to the American people. Within 90 days of enactment of this act CRS is directed to submit a plan to its oversight committees detailing its recommendations for implementing this effort as well as any associated cost estimates. Where practicable, CRS is encouraged to consult with the Government Publishing Office (GPO) in developing their plan; the Committee believes GPO could be of assistance in this effort.”

This message was posted by Mary Langman from the MLA national office.

 

[Submitted by Gary Atwood, Chair, NAHSL Govt. Relations Comm.]

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