Last week, H.R. 4702 and S.2639, the “Equal Access to Congressional Research Service Reports Act” was introduced in both chambers of Congress by a bipartisan group of members including Congressman Leonard Lance (R-N.J.), Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.), Congressman Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), and Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.).
This legislation directs the Government Publishing Office (GPO) to create a publicly accessible database of Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports and give taxpayers access to the reports they fund. ATR urges full support for this common sense proposal.
Each year, experts at CRS complete 1,000 new reports and update 2,500 more. This service is invaluable to the thousands of Congressional staffers who have easy access to this resource.
For taxpayers, it is a different story. Despite providing $100 million in financing for CRS research each year, the public does not have easy access to these reports.
CRS is an outlier when it comes to public access – other agencies like the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) already make their research freely available to the public.
Making these reports available is common sense. Copies of CRS reports are already widely found on the web and frequently sent to curious constituents, so there is no rationale to denying taxpayers easy access.
All Congressman and Senators should have no hesitation supporting, co-sponsoring, and voting for the Equal Access to Congressional Research Service Reports Act.