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Political Science & International Relations: Congressional Research Service/CRS

Political science or international relations are two of the most interesting subjects one can study in college. Use this page to find out why.

Congressional Research Service/CRS

What is the Congressional Research Service (CRS)?
The Congressional Research Service (CRS), a federal legislative branch agency located within the Library of Congress, serves as shared staff exclusively to congressional committees and Members of Congress. CRS experts assist at every stage of the legislative process — from the early considerations that precede bill drafting, through committee hearings and floor debate, to the oversight of enacted laws and various agency activities.

CRS approaches complex topics from a variety of perspectives and examines all sides of an issue. Staff members analyze current policies and present the impact of proposed policy alternatives. CRS services come in many forms:

  • reports on major policy issues
  • tailored confidential memoranda, briefings and consultations
  • seminars and workshops
  • expert congressional testimony

 

With public policy issues growing more complex, the need for insightful and comprehensive analysis has become vital. Congress relies on CRS to marshal interdisciplinary resources, encourage critical thinking and create innovative frameworks to help legislators form sound policies, reach decisions on a host of difficult issues and address their constituents’ concerns and needs. These decisions will guide and shape the nation today and for generations to come.

What are CRS reports?
CRS reports provide Congress with both anticipatory and on-demand research and analysis to support their legislative, oversight, and representational duties. All reports adhere to the core values of CRS; they are authoritative, objective and nonpartisan. Reports range in length from several pages to more than one-hundred pages and cover the full breadth of topics of interest to Congress.

What sorts of reports does the CRS produce?

All sorts of things:  weapons, terrorism, environment, education, security, law enforcement, health care, education.  For examples, see https://fas.org/sgp/crs/.