Skip to Main Content

Federal Legislative History Research Guide: Congressional Research Service

Finding federal legislative history.

US Capitol through the trees


CRS logo blue background with white U.S. Capitol with words Congressional Research Service Informing the legislative debate since 1914The Congressional Research Service (CRS) publishes over 3,000 studies and reports each year in its role as the research and analysis arm of the Library of Congress. CRS Reports are available from the Library of Congress and through the subscription and free services listed below. 

CRS was established within the Library of Congress to provide members, committees, and congressional staff with nonpartisan and objective research and analysis on all public policy issues. Originally established in 1914 as the Legislative Reference Division, CRS was originally organized as a typical library reference service. Under the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946, it was officially named the Legislative Reference Service, given permanent status as a separate department within the Library, and directed to employ senior specialists in various program areas. The Legislative Reference Service was renamed Congressional Research Service under the Legislative Reference Act of 1970.

Currently, the CRS research divisions are: American Law; Domestic Social Policy; Foreign Affairs, Defense and Trade; Government and Finance; Knowledge Services; and Resources, Science and Industry. Many CRS reports are updated at varying intervals, so it is always important to note the exact date of issuance rather than just the title and the year of publication.

CRS Reports

You can search for any reports located in the Boley Law Library or Watzek Library using the Primo catalog.  Search for "Congressional Research Service" and [topic].  Most of the results will be from the microfiche set "Major Studies and Issue Briefs of the Congressional Research Service" from 1976-2007. This set is located in cabinet #32 of our microform collection. There is a paper index that goes with the set on top of the cabinet.

The law library also subscribes to the databases below which include digitized versions of CRS Reports:

Free Online Collections

Specialized Online Collections

Research Help

We're here to help. Contact a research librarian for help with an assignment, project, or resource. 

Mon-Fri, 11am

Reference Hours