Sen. Lieberman wants congressional research to be public
- By Matthew Weigelt
- Feb 28, 2008
Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) urged Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) to let the public access Congressional Research Service reports over the Web.
Lieberman, chairman of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, asked the chairwoman of the Senate Rules and Administration Committee to make unclassified CRS reports available on a public database, where the reports would be automatically posted after CRS publishes or updates them, according to a Feb. 27 letter.
“CRS reports play an important role in informing members of Congress and their staff on critical issues but are also of interest to the public,” Lieberman wrote. “I believe the new system should provide constituents with tools similar to what congressional staff has.”
In a Feb. 28 letter to Lieberman, Feinstein wrote that CRS and the Secretary of the Senate are developing a program, similar to one the House uses, that would allow senators to choose the reports they would like to post on their official Web sites. The reports then would be updated automatically when new versions become available. As the program is developed, she said CRS and the secretary would consider Lieberman’s thoughts on making the reports public.
Lieberman wrote, “There is uneven access among the public, with many companies now profiting from selling CRS reports to those who can afford to pay.”
Lieberman, along with eight other senators, introduced a resolution Dec. 11 to make publicly accessible CRS reports, issue briefs and appropriations information, according to the resolution.
The resolution was referred to Feinstein’s committee, but it has yet to act on it.
Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.