The Congressional Research Service
(CRS) is the public policy
research arm of the United States Congress
. As a legislative branch agency within the Library of Congress
, CRS works exclusively and directly for Members of Congress, their Committees and staff on a confidential, nonpartisan basis. In fiscal year 2003, CRS had a budget of $86,386,812 funded mostly by taxpayer dollars.1
CRS reports are not made directly available to members of the public. Instead, the public must request individual reports from their Senators and Representatives in Congress, or purchase them from private vendors such as Penny Hill Press.2
A limited number of reports have been made freely available on the web by federal agencies, Members of Congress, educational institutions, and nongovernmental organizations.3
History and mission
Congress created CRS in order to have its own source of nonpartisan, objective analysis and research on all legislative issues. Indeed, the sole mission of CRS is to serve the United States Congress. CRS has been carrying out this mission since 1914, when it was first established as the Legislative Reference Service
. Renamed the Congressional Research Service by the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1970
, CRS is committed to providing the Congress, throughout the legislative process, comprehensive and reliable analysis, research and information services that are timely, objective, nonpartisan, and confidential, thereby contributing to an informed national legislature.
Copyright status and availability
As products of the federal government, reports prepared by the Congressional Research Service are in the public domain
. While CRS itself does not make reports directly available to the public, many reports have been posted on the Internet through the cooperation of members of Congress. Open CRS
serves as a portal to many posted reports.