Congressional Research Service

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Congressional Research Service

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) is a branch of the Library of Congress that provides objective, nonpartisan research, analysis, and information to assist Congress in its legislative, oversight, and representative functions. U.S. senators and representatives, and their staffs consult the CRS for timely and accurate information regarding major issues and policies. The CRS researches and advises on questions and concerns related to many subject areas. It is organized into six interdisciplinary research divisions: American Law; Domestic Social Policy; Foreign Affairs, Defense and Trade; Government and Finance; Information Research; and Resources, Science and Industry. Each division is organized into smaller sections, which focus on specific areas of public policy. The work of these divisions is supported by five offices: Congressional Affairs and Counselor to the Director; Finance and Administration; Information Resources Management; Legislative Information; and Workforce Development.

The CRS is made up of two reference divisions: the Congressional Reference Division and the Library Services Division. These provide reference, bibliographic, and other information services using advanced methods of computerized searching.

The CRS conducts a host of other support activities for Congress. It develops specialized reading lists for members of Congress and their staffs. It operates the Library of Congress's automated legislative information systems, including digests of all public bills and briefing papers on major legislative issues. It also attempts to anticipate congressional research needs, and it develops seminars that allow members of Congress, their staffs, CRS researchers, and outside experts to exchange ideas on timely issues. The CRS has produced programs on the congressional Cable Television system, and it provides language service support and translations for members of Congress.

The CRS is governed by a director, a deputy director, and a management team. The highest-level researchers are called senior specialists. They are often nationally and internationally recognized experts in their field of study. CRS offices include Special Programs, Operations, Policy, and Research Coordination.

The Congressional Research Service evolved from the Legislative Reference Service, which was created by the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946 (codified as amended at Act of Aug. 2, 1946, ch. 753, 60 Stat. 812), and the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1970 (codified as amended at Act of Oct. 26, 1970, Pub. L. No. 91-510, 84 Stat. 1140). In the beginning of the twenty-first century, the CRS experienced tremendous growth as Congress sought to respond to the increasing scope and complexity of public policy issues. Specifically, the service expanded its website to enhance on-line research. In 2001, over 540,000 users accessed the CRS site to obtain reports and briefs. The CRS anticipates expanding web services as Congress demands 24-hour access to its research data.

Further readings

Congressional Research Service. 2001 Annual Report. Available online at <> (accessed May 20, 2003).

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
CALL THE Congressional Research Service (CRS), and a chirpy automated assistant offers five options to start your data search.
EBSCO Publishing now offers GalleryWatch CRS Reports through its EBSCOhost platform, providing researchers with access to CRS (Congressional Research Service) reports online.
The Congressional Research Service estimates that the bill would affect about 96,000 students, increasing their grant total by an average of $108.
Source: "Conventional Arms Transfers to Developing Nations, 1998-2005," by the Congressional Research Service.
Commenting on the magnitude of the nation's coal reserves, the Congressional Research Service reports: "U.S.
According to a Congressional Research Service (CRS) Report for Congress, The Alternative Minimum Tax for Individuals (RL30149), the effects of the legislative reductions in the regular income tax due to the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 (EGTRRA) and the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003 (JGTRRA) have caused more middle-income taxpayers to be subject to AMT.
He added that "appropriate members of Congress have been kept informed," but the Congressional Research Service studied this and concluded that Bush did not fully inform the intelligence committees and thus acted in a way "inconsistent with the law."
A Congressional Research Service report notes that "of particular concern were consumption allowances for developing countries, some of which compete directly with U.S.
The site links more than a half-dozen existing collections of nearly 8,000 reports from the Congressional Research Service (CRS) and centrally indexes them so visitors can find reports containing specific terms or phrases.
The text of two relevant sections of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 (Sections 310 and 313) is set forth in the appendices, along with a list of other Congressional Research Service products pertaining to reconciliation procedures.
(9) Audrey Kurth Cronin, CRS Report for Congress, Congressional Research Service, Terrorists and Suicide Attacks, August 28, 2003; retrieved on February 2, 2004, from
Religious Right leaders insist that the measure is constitutional, but the Congressional Research Service, a branch of the Library of Congress that provides non-partisan research to members of Congress, said there is no precedent for a bill like it.

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