Cooper Pushes to Unmask Congressional Research
WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (TN-05) today announced his support of a bipartisan bill that would allow the public to view Congressional research and agency reports.
The Public Access to Congressional Research Service Reports Act would grant public access to taxpayer-funded research that, by law, is only available to members of Congress and their staffs. The legislation finally would let all Americans see the research Congress uses to draft bills, take votes and shape policy.
Cooper also co-sponsored the bill last Congress.
“Everyone should be able to read what Congress is reading,” Cooper said. “There’s a mountain of information that folks would find useful.”
The Congressional Research Service (CRS) is a division of the Library of Congress. CRS is staffed by policy experts who draft nonpartisan reports and analyses that are considered authoritative and objective on a range of topics.
As a dedicated Congressional support agency, CRS is joined by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) in providing Congress with objective information and analysis. While GAO and CBO reports are already publicly available, CRS reports remain shielded from public view.
Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ) and Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL) are the bill’s lead sponsors. Numerous good-government groups and transparency watchdogs have endorsed their efforts, including the Sunlight Foundation, American Association of Law Libraries, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), Center for Effective Government (formerly OMB Watch), OpentheGovernment.org, Center for Responsive Politics, and Project on Government Oversight (POGO).