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Congressionally Mandated Reports: Overview and Considerations for Congress

LC CRS Reports – Congressionally Mandated Reports: Overview and Considerations for Congress, May 14, 2020: “Congress frequently requires the President, departments, agencies, and other entities of the federal government to transmit reports, notifications, studies, and other information on a specified timeline. Reporting requirements may direct agency officials to notify Congress or its committees of forthcoming actions or decisions, describe actions taken on a particular matter, establish a plan to accomplish a specified goal, or study a certain problem or concern.

Reporting requirements may be designed to serve a range of purposes that facilitate congressional oversight of the executive branch and inform congressional decision making. Required reports may help legislators monitor executive activity, ensure compliance with legislative intent, focus agency attention on matters of importance to Congress, and assess the effectiveness of existing programs and policies.Certain reports on complex or emerging issues may also help originate or inform legislative proposals.

This report discusses the potential benefits and challenges of reporting requirements, and analyzes a number of statutory reporting requirements enacted during the 115th Congress. (Patterns gleaned from these data may not be generalizable to requirements enacted in other years.) This report analyzes features common to legislative language establishing reporting requirements…

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