Looking for a resource that approaches complex topics from a variety of perspectives and examines all sides of an issue? Look no further than the free U.S. government resource– CRS Reports. CRS Reports are United States government documents that are created by the Congressional Research Service.
What is the Congressional Research Service (CRS)?
The Congressional Research Service (CRS) is a federal legislative branch agency located within the Library of Congress. The CRS serves 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 staff analyze current policies and present the impact of proposed policy alternatives.
Free Access for All
In 2018, Congress passed Public Law 115-141, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018, [Sec. 154, Equal Access to Congressional Research Service Reports] which directed the Librarian of Congress to establish and maintain a public website containing CRS Reports and an index of all CRS Reports contained on the website. This ended the former legal requirement that prohibited the Congressional Research Service from providing CRS products to the public.
Five Types of CRS Reports
- R-Series Reports: The main content type that populates the CRS database. The R- series provides in-depth research analysis. Reports run from 20 to 30-plus pages long.
- In Focus Reports: 2-page executive-level briefing documents covering a wide range of policy issues.
- Insight Reports: Two to seven pages of short-form analysis on fast moving or focused issues.
- Legal Sidebar : Two to four page reports prepared by CRS legislative attorneys.
- CRS Testimony : Transcripts of CRS staff testimony before Congress
How to Find CRS Reports
The CRS Reports database is designed to be as user-friendly as possible, allowing reports to be found by using common keywords.
Just hit the search key to see a list of all available CRS reports.
All search results can be filtered using the search refinement feature in the left-hand column of the results page.
Locating CRS Reports using the New Jersey State Library’s catalog
The United States Government Publishing Office (GPO) distributes CRS Reports in electronic format to Federal Depository Libraries like the New Jersey State Library. CRS Reports can be accessed online in the New Jersey State Library’s catalog. Search by Series Keyword.
See the latest Browse List
“Series Keyword” and CRS
To view more NJSL public policy databases, see A-Z Databases: Public Policy.