After 20 years of advocacy by ALA, the public will soon have access to reports by the Congressional Research Service (CRS). A provision requiring public access to CRS reports was included in the omnibus appropriations law signed by the President on March 23.
Library supporters can celebrate this long-sought victory. ALA has advocated for online public access to CRS reports since Council adopted a resolution on the topic in 1998.
CRS is an agency, housed within the Library of Congress, that prepares public policy research for members of Congress, including nonconfidential reports about a range of policy topics. These reports have not been routinely published – meaning that taxpayers funded these reports, but were not generally able to read them.
However, soon this will change. The newly-enacted appropriations law for fiscal year 2018 includes a provision directing the Library of Congress to establish a public website for free access to CRS reports within 90 days.
ALA appreciates the leadership of the bipartisan group of champions who secured the inclusion of this important provision, including Reps. Kevin Yoder (R-KS), Tim Ryan (D-OH), Mike Quigley (D-IL), Leonard Lance (R-NJ), and Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and John McCain (R-AZ). This will enable libraries to provide their users with free, authentic copies of these useful public policy reports.
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