United States Code

USC most recently checked for updates: Feb 28, 2020

§ 166a.
Equal access to Congressional Research Service Reports
(a)
Definitions
(1)
CRS product

In this section, the term “CRS product” means any final written work product of CRS containing research or analysis in any format that is available for general congressional access on the CRS Congressional Intranet.

(2)
CRS Report
(A)
In general
In this section, the term “CRS Report” means any written CRS product, including an update to a previous written CRS product, consisting of—
(i)
a Congressional Research Service Report; or
(ii)
a Congressional Research Service Authorization of Appropriations Product and Appropriations Product, which is available for general congressional access on the CRS Congressional Intranet.
(B)
Exclusions
The term “CRS Report” does not include—
(i)
any CRS product that is determined by the CRS Director to be a confidential product or service because it was prepared in response to a congressional request or requests for confidential analysis or research and is not available for general congressional access on the CRS Congressional Intranet;
(ii)
any Congressional Research Service Report or any Congressional Research Service Authorization of Appropriations Product and Appropriations Product reported or produced before the effective date of this Act which, as of such effective date, is not available for general congressional access on the CRS Congressional Intranet; or
(iii)
a written CRS product that has been made available by CRS for publication on a public website maintained by the GPO Director (other than the Website) or the Library of Congress.
(3)
Other definitions
In this section—
(A)
the term “CRS” means the Congressional Research Service;
(B)
the term “CRS Congressional Intranet” means the Website maintained by CRS at www.crs.gov, or a successor website, for the purpose of providing to Members and employees of Congress access to information from CRS;
(C)
the term “CRS Director” means the Director of CRS;
(D)
the term “Librarian of Congress” means the Librarian of Congress appointed pursuant to 2 U.S.C. 136–1; 1
1
 See References in Text note below.
(E)
the term “Member of Congress” includes a Delegate or Resident Commissioner to Congress; and
(F)
the term “Website” means the website established and maintained under subsection (b).
(b)
Availability of CRS Reports through Library of Congress Website
(1)
Website
(A)
Establishment and maintenance

The Librarian of Congress, in consultation with the CRS Director, shall establish and maintain a public website containing CRS Reports and an index of all CRS Reports contained on the website, in accordance with this subsection.

(B)
Format

On the Website, CRS Reports shall be searchable, sortable, and downloadable, including downloadable in bulk.

(C)
Free access

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Librarian of Congress may not charge a fee for access to the Website.

(2)
Updates; disclaimer
The Librarian of Congress, in consultation with the CRS Director, shall ensure that the Website—
(A)
is updated contemporaneously, automatically, and electronically to include each new or updated CRS Report released on or after the effective date of this section;
(B)
shows the status of each CRS Report as new, updated, or archived; and
(C)
displays the following statement in reference to the CRS Reports included on the Website: “These documents were prepared by the Congressional Research Service (CRS). CRS serves as nonpartisan shared staff to congressional committees and Members of Congress. It operates solely at the behest of and under the direction of Congress. Information in a CRS Report should not be relied upon for purposes other than public understanding of information that has been provided by CRS to Members of Congress in connection with CRS’s institutional role. CRS Reports, as a work of the United States Government, are not subject to copyright protection in the United States. Any CRS Report may be reproduced and distributed in its entirety without permission from CRS. However, as a CRS Report may include copyrighted images or material from a third party, you may need to obtain the permission of the copyright holder if you wish to copy or otherwise use copyrighted material.”.
(3)
Furnishing of necessary information and technology
The CRS Director shall consult with and provide assistance to the Librarian of Congress to ensure—
(A)
that the Librarian of Congress is provided with all of the information necessary to carry out this section, including all of the information described in clauses (i) through (iv) of subsection (c)(1)(A), in such format and manner as the Librarian of Congress considers appropriate; and
(B)
that CRS makes available any information and assistance as may be necessary to facilitate the contemporaneous, automatic, and electronic provision of CRS Reports to the Librarian of Congress as required under this section.
(4)
Nonexclusivity

The Librarian of Congress may publish other information on the Website.

(5)
Alternative techniques

The Librarian of Congress and the CRS Director may use additional techniques to make CRS Reports available to the public, if such techniques are consistent with this section and any other applicable laws.

(6)
Additional information

The CRS Director is encouraged to make additional CRS products that are not confidential products or services available to the Librarian of Congress for publication on the Website, and the Librarian of Congress is encouraged to publish such CRS products on the Website.

(7)
Omitted
(c)
Website contents
(1)
Specific requirements for Reports posted on Website
(A)
Responsibilities of Librarian of Congress
With respect to each CRS Report included on the Website, the Librarian of Congress shall include—
(i)
the name and identification number of the CRS Report;
(ii)
an indication as to whether the CRS Report is new, updated, or archived;
(iii)
the date of release of the CRS Report; and
(iv)
any other information the Librarian of Congress, in consultation with the CRS Director, considers appropriate.
(B)
Responsibilities of CRS Director
With respect to each CRS Report included on the Website, the CRS Director shall, prior to transmitting the Report to the Librarian of Congress—
(i)
at the discretion of the CRS Director, remove the name of and any contact information for any employee of CRS; and
(ii)
include in the CRS Report the following written statement: “This document was prepared by the Congressional Research Service (CRS). CRS serves as nonpartisan shared staff to congressional committees and Members of Congress. It operates solely at the behest of and under the direction of Congress. Information in a CRS Report should not be relied upon for purposes other than public understa
(2)
Specific requirements for index on Website
The Librarian of Congress shall ensure that the index of all CRS Reports published on the Website is—
(A)
comprehensive;
(B)
contemporaneously updated;
(C)
searchable;
(D)
sortable;
(E)
maintained in a human-readable format;
(F)
maintained in a structured data format;
(G)
downloadable; and
(H)
inclusive of each item of information described in paragraph (1)(A) with respect to each CRS Report.
(d)
Omitted
(e)
Rules of construction
(1)
No effect on Speech or Debate Clause

Nothing in this section may be construed to diminish, qualify, condition, waive, or otherwise affect the applicability of clause 1 of section 6 of article I of the Constitution of the United States (commonly known as the “Speech or Debate Clause”) or any other privilege available to Congress or Members, offices, or employees of Congress with respect to any CRS Report made available online under this section.

(2)
Confidential communications

Nothing in this section may be construed to waive the requirement that any confidential communication by CRS to a Member, office, or committee of Congress shall remain under the custody and control of Congress and may be released only by Congress and its Houses, Members, offices, and committees, in accordance with the rules and privileges of each House and the requirements of this section.

(3)
Dissemination of CRS products

Nothing in this section may be construed to limit or otherwise affect the ability of a Member, office, or committee of Congress to disseminate CRS products on a website of the Member, office, or committee or to otherwise provide CRS products to the public, including as part of constituent service activities.

(f)
Effective date
(1)
In general

Except as provided in paragraph (2)(C), this section and the amendments made by this section shall take effect 90 days after the date on which the Librarian of Congress submits the certification described in paragraph (2)(B).

(2)
Provision of information and technology
(A)
CRS deadline

Not later than 90 days after March 23, 2018, the CRS Director shall provide the Librarian of Congress with the information necessary for the Librarian of Congress to begin the initial operation of the Website.

(B)
Certification

Upon provision of the information described in subparagraph (A), the Librarian of Congress shall submit to Congress a certification that the CRS Director has provided the information necessary for the Librarian of Congress to begin the initial operation of the Website.

(C)
Technical delays

In the event of technical difficulties encountered in planning or implementing the requirements of this section and the amendments made by this section, upon providing a detailed report submitted by the Librarian of Congress or the CRS Director to the Committees on Appropriations of the House and the Senate detailing the nature of the technical difficulties and the timeline for resolving such technical difficulties, the effective date established by subsection (f)(1) shall be extended for up to 90 additional days.

(Pub. L. 115–141, div. I, title I, § 154, Mar. 23, 2018, 132 Stat. 787.)
cite as: 2 USC 166a