Rep. Frank Kratovil and Rep. Leonard Lance have introduced The Congressional Research Service Electronic Accessibility Act of 2009 (HR 3762).
Here's an excerpt from the press release:
In an effort to make sure the public has access to the same research reports and analysis Members of Congress use to make decisions, Rep. Frank Kratovil today introduced HR 3762, The Congressional Research Service Electronic Accessibility Act of 2009. This bipartisan legislation, introduced with fellow freshman Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ), would make published Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports available to the public in an effort to increase transparency and help citizens become more informed and engaged advocates.
"Across the country, citizens are deeply and passionately engaged in debates about the future of our country and the significant challenges we face at home and abroad," said Rep. Kratovil. "As the public debate has become increasingly partisan and polarized, it is more important than ever for citizens to have full access to the same neutral, unbiased information that many of us rely on to help us formulate important decisions."
The lawyers, economists, reference librarians, and social, natural, and physical scientists of CRS offer invaluable research and analysis to Members of Congress on all current and emerging issues of national policy. CRS has a responsibility to ensure that Members of the House and Senate have available the best possible information and analysis on which to base the policy decisions.
CRS is governed by requirements for accuracy, objectivity, balance, and nonpartisanship — the very sort of analysis sought and valued by engaged constituents. 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 information and analysis that is unequaled by any other national legislature. While GAO and CBO reports are already available to the public, CRS reports are not.
"Making taxpayer-funded research available to the American people is good government," said Congressman Leonard Lance (R-NJ). "Our bill will allow for greater transparency and ensure that non-partisan, public policy reports that are prepared with taxpayer funds for members of Congress be available to educators, students, members of the news media and every citizen across the country." "When citizens are engaged and informed, we have a better chance of elevating our national discourse and cutting through the misinformation and spin that threatens progress," said Rep. Kratovil. "We must do everything we can to empower Americans to play an active role in the legislative process."