Congressional Research Service
ABOUT SITE & FAQs
About this Collection
This collection provides the public with access to research products produced by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) for the United States Congress. By law, CRS works exclusively for Congress, providing timely, objective, and authoritative research and analysis to committees and Members of both the House and Senate, regardless of political party affiliation. As a legislative branch agency within the Library of Congress, CRS has been a valued and respected resource on Capitol Hill for more than a century.
The products in this collection were created for the sole purpose of supporting Congress in its legislative, oversight, and representational duties. New products are regularly produced to anticipate and respond to issues of interest to Congress on a timely basis. As these issues develop, so do our products, which may be updated to reflect new information, developments, and emergent needs of Congress. The products are not designed to provide comprehensive coverage of the academic literature or address issues that are outside the scope of congressional deliberations. They are marked as “new,” “updated,” or “archived” to indicate their status.
In 2018, Congress passed a law directing the creation of this site and ending the legal requirement prohibiting CRS from providing its products to the public. In response, the Library immediately started work to ensure all products required under this new law would be available at launch, as well as add as many additional products as possible (see the FAQ for details and a timeline on the distribution of additional products).
Public Release FAQ
What is the Congressional Research Service (CRS)?
The Congressional Research Service (CRS), a federal legislative branch agency located within the Library of Congress, serves as shared staff exclusively to congressional committees and Members of Congress. CRS experts assist at every stage of the legislative process — from the early considerations that precede bill drafting, through committee hearings and floor debate, to the oversight of enacted laws and various agency activities.
CRS approaches complex topics from a variety of perspectives and examines all sides of an issue. Staff members analyze current policies and present the impact of proposed policy alternatives. CRS services come in many forms:
- reports on major policy issues
- tailored confidential memoranda, briefings and consultations
- seminars and workshops
- expert congressional testimony
With public policy issues growing more complex, the need for insightful and comprehensive analysis has become vital. Congress relies on CRS to marshal interdisciplinary resources, encourage critical thinking and create innovative frameworks to help legislators form sound policies, reach decisions on a host of difficult issues and address their constituents’ concerns and needs. These decisions will guide and shape the nation today and for generations to come.
What are CRS reports?
CRS reports provide Congress with both anticipatory and on-demand research and analysis to support their legislative, oversight, and representational duties. All reports adhere to the core values of CRS; they are authoritative, objective and nonpartisan. Reports range in length from several pages to more than one-hundred pages and cover the full breadth of topics of interest to Congress.
What is the Appropriations Status Table?
The Appropriations Status Table provides timely information on legislative activity related to the appropriations and budget process. It includes updates on the status of each of the regular appropriations bills, continuing resolutions, supplemental appropriations bills (e.g., disaster assistance supplemental appropriations legislation), omnibus appropriations measures and budget resolutions. It also provides links to related resources for appropriations legislation, such as legislative text, committee prints, and press releases.
What do “new,” “updated,” and “archived” mean?
Products marked as “New” indicate that the document is being published for the first time. When any content within a report is revised or updated, then the report status changes to “Updated”, and its new “Version” number is noted. “Archived” products contain material that was current as of their date of publication but have not been subsequently updated. As such, their content may be dated. Similar, but more current, material may be found in new or updated CRS products.
When will additional reports be available?
CRS offers a variety of written products to Congress, including its well-known reports that provide in-depth research and analysis (internally defined as R-series reports), In Focus executive-level briefing documents, and shorter-form Insights. For the initial public release, the Library will make available in PDF format all of CRS’s R-series of “active” reports that were published since the enactment date, as well as the Appropriations Status Table. The publication directive specifically mandates that the public website is to be “updated contemporaneously, automatically, and electronically, to include each new or updated CRS report released on or after” the date on which the Library makes the website available for public access. The Library and CRS will ensure that every CRS report that is published or updated once the public website is active will be so included. The Library and CRS are additionally committed to presenting the full inventory of reports appearing on CRS public website as soon as is practicable (with a full migration targeted for completion by spring 2019). After the R-series reports are published, the Library will work to make other written products, such as In Focus products, available.
May I republish or use content from a report?
CRS reports, as works of the United States Government, are not subject to copyright protection in the United States. Any CRS report may be reproduced and distributed in its entirety without permission from CRS. However, as a CRS report may include copyrighted images or material from a third party, you may need to obtain the permission of the copyright holder if you wish to copy or otherwise use copyrighted material.
How can I contact the author of a report?
By law, CRS staff are only available to assist Members, committees and staff of Congress and respond to their congressional requests. Inquiries from the media should be directed to [email protected]