Back in March, “Nota Bene” featured a post about finding Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports online. Last month, a new collection of CRS reports was published as a committee print by Congress. This new publication is noteworthy because, as we pointed out in our earlier post, CRS reports are typically made available only to members of Congress and their staffs, who rely on them for background information when considering new bills. While a handful of libraries and other institutions have made a limited number of CRS reports available online, the government has yet to provide free public access to the reports, even though they are not classified or protected by copyright.
The new collection of reports is called “The Evolving Congress,” and it was produced to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the CRS. As the title implies, the collection focuses on the ways in which Congress has evolved over time. Part I provides an overview of the history of Congress in the modern era. Part II, “The Members of Congress,” looks at various aspects of the members’ lives, including their use of social media, their election campaigns, and changing demographics among the members themselves. Part III examines changes in the legislative process, and Part IV is devoted to a number of case studies in policymaking, including the creation of the Department of Homeland Security and Congressional responses to financial crises.
For more information about the CRS, see the Library of Congress website or revisit our earlier post.