It’s Time for Congress to Publish CRS Reports

This morning the New York Times editorialized in favor of public access to Congressional Research Service reports.

Given the extreme partisanship and gridlock in Congress, it’s more crucial than ever to have an informed electorate. Putting these reports in the public domain is an important step toward that goal.

Over the years our coalition has submitted testimony in favor of public access to these reports, most recently in March. In summary, the reports explain current legislative issues in language that everyone can understand, are written by a federal agencies that receives more than $100 million annually, and there is strong public demand for access. A detailed description of the issues at play is available hereContinue Reading

House Appropriators Look at Legislative Branch Transparency

At last week’s full committee markup of the Legislative branch’s appropriations bill, Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL) offered an amendment that set the stage for more transparency around Congressional Research Service reports; Rep. Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) successfully pushed for an amendment to create a House Technology Task Force; and Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA) offered and withdrew an amendment to create a task force on establishing a bicameral chief technology officer.

Also debated were cuts in funding to the Government Publishing Office’s online document repository FDSys and the defunding of the Open World Leadership Council, an international legislative exchange program. Included in the final appropriations bill was the continuation of a cost-savings effort to limit or ban the distribution of print copies of documents to congressional offices, including bills and resolutions, the Congressional Record, the U.S. Code, Reports of Disbursements, and the Daily Calendar, in favor of online access.Continue Reading