The Congressional Research Service plays an essential role in policymaking and oversight. It makes Congress smarter about issues and teaches new legislators how to legislate. I would not have spent 11 years working at CRS if I did not think very highly of the institution.
But there is one topic on which the widely esteemed and nonpartisan agency has been embarrassingly biased: the proposals to make its reports more equitably available to the public.
As a practical matter, CRS reports are available – 27,000 copies can be found on government and private-sector websites. EveryCRSReport.com, for example, has more than 8,000 reports. But official congressional policy does not provide for consistent public release of the reports, which explain the workings of Congress, agencies and myriad public policies….