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Government Documents - Congress, Laws, and Legislation: Congressional Research Service

This guide provides information about how to find laws, legislative history, U.S. Congressional publications, and the publications of Congressional agencies.

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About the agency

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) was established in 1914 as the Legislative Reference Bureau (later the Legislative Reference Service (LRS)). In 1970, the Legislative Reorganization Act transformed LRS into the CRS and gave it broader responsibility. It prepares reports for Congress about a wide variety of policy matters and legal issues, prepares bill tracking and status reports, and issues "purpose and effect" reports on legislation.

Availability of CRS reports and publications

Major legislation of the Congress A description of the Congressional Research Service and the work it does for members of Congress is available in this whitepaper by Andrea Sevetson of ProQuest. Although it is essentially an advertisement for ProQuest's products, it provides a good overview of the types of information that may be found in CRS reports.

In 2018, the Library of Congress made CRS reports available on its web site for the first time. Many are also available through various online repositories:

Subscription services for CRS reports exist, but UHM Library does not have access to them:CQ Roll Call Legislative Services, Penny Hill Press, and ProQuest® Congressional Research Digital Collection.

You can also ask your representative in Congress to provide you with a copy of a particular report. Be aware that some CRS reports contain sensitive information and are not available to the public.

The Government Documents Collection has a small selection of CRS documents in print:

Bulletin (Legislative Reference Service) (LC 14.9:)

Public affairs abstracts (LC 14.14:)

Abstracts of postwar literature (LC 14.16/2:)

Subject Guide

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Gwen Sinclair
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