Whay is a congressional support agency and what is its function?

A congressional support agency is a term used to refer to various specialized agencies that provide assistance to the United States Congress in their legislative duties. These agencies are established by Congress to offer nonpartisan expertise, research, analysis, and advice on specific topics.

There are several well-known congressional support agencies, including the Congressional Research Service (CRS), the Government Accountability Office (GAO), and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). Each of these agencies has a distinct role and function:

1. Congressional Research Service (CRS): The CRS provides comprehensive research and analysis on various legislative issues, including policy analysis, legal research, and background information to assist members of Congress in making informed decisions. They prepare reports, memoranda, and briefings that cover a wide range of policy topics.

To access the CRS reports, you can visit the official website of the Library of Congress, which makes most of them publicly available. Additionally, many non-profit organizations and think tanks archive and distribute CRS reports on their websites.

2. Government Accountability Office (GAO): The GAO is responsible for ensuring accountability and efficiency in government operations. It conducts audits, evaluations, and investigations of federal programs, agencies, and policies. The GAO's reports help Congress identify problems, measure performance, and make informed policy decisions.

You can access GAO reports on their official website, where they publish their findings and recommendations on a wide range of issues.

3. Congressional Budget Office (CBO): The CBO provides Congress with objective and nonpartisan analysis of budgetary and economic issues. It assesses the cost and impacts of legislative proposals, produces economic and budget projections, and evaluates the long-term fiscal outlook for the nation. The CBO's work helps Congress understand the potential consequences of policy decisions on the economy and the budget.

The CBO publishes reports and cost estimates on their official website, allowing the public to access their analyses and projections.

In summary, congressional support agencies play crucial roles in providing expertise, research, and analysis to Congress. Their function is to assist members of Congress in their legislative work by offering nonpartisan information, evaluating policies, and ensuring accountability in government operations. The reports and analysis produced by these agencies are valuable resources for policymakers, researchers, and the general public to understand and engage in the legislative process.