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On July 10, Representative Mike Quigley (D-IL) and Representative Leonard Lance (R-NJ) introduced a bill, H.Res 727, that would give the public access to widely distributed reports prepared by the Congressional Research Service (CRS).
CRS is sometimes referred to as Congress' "think tank;" its team of researchers produce detailed, objective, reports relevant to current political events for lawmakers. American taxpayers spend over $100 million a year to fund the CRS, but while the reports are non-classified and play a critical role in our legislative process, they have never been made available in a consistent and official way to members of the public.
Various bills have been introduced to open access to CRS reports over the last decade, but the proposals have never gained much traction. In fact, legislators have repeatedly inserted language into annual spending bills that bars CRS from using funds to make reports publicly available. Reports from other legislative support entities like the Government Accountability Office (GAO) are freely available (and in an increasingly more useful format). It is beyond time for CRS reports to be treated similarly.
OpenTheGovernment.org and several of our coalition partners have joined in endorsing the measure.