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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Congressional Franking Privilege: Background and Recent Legislation

Congressional Franking Privilege: Background and Recent Legislation

Date: August 20, 2010
Creator: Glassman, Matthew E.
Description: This report discusses the congressional franking privilege, which dates from 1775 and allows Members of Congress to transmit mail matter under their signature without postage.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Navy Aegis Cruiser and Destroyer Modernization: Background and Issues for Congress

Navy Aegis Cruiser and Destroyer Modernization: Background and Issues for Congress

Date: June 10, 2010
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald
Description: The Navy has begun a multi-billion dollar program to modernize its 84 existing Aegis cruisers and destroyers over a period of more than 20 years. This report explores this program in detail, including the reasons for the program and the oversight issues it poses for Congress.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Congressional Official Mail Costs

Congressional Official Mail Costs

Date: August 16, 2010
Creator: Glassman, Matthew Eric
Description: The congressional franking privilege allows Members of Congress to send official mail via the U.S. Postal Service at government expense. This report provides information and analysis on the costs of franked mail in the House of Representatives and Senate.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Proposed Train and Equip Authorities for Syria: In Brief

Proposed Train and Equip Authorities for Syria: In Brief

Date: October 27, 2014
Creator: Blanchard, Christopher M. & Belasco, Amy
Description: This report reviews the authority granted in H.J.Res. 124 and explores similarities and differences among the H.J.Res. 124 authority, the President's requests, and other proposals that may be considered by Congress, including during anticipated consideration of FY2015 full-year appropriations or defense authorization (H.R. 4435/S. 2410) legislation.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Election Year Restrictions on Mass Mailings by Members of Congress: How H.R. 2056 Would Change Current Law

Election Year Restrictions on Mass Mailings by Members of Congress: How H.R. 2056 Would Change Current Law

Date: August 20, 2010
Creator: Glassman, Matthew E.
Description: Current law prohibits the franking of mass mailings by Senators fewer than 60 days, and by House Members fewer than 90 days, prior to any primary or general election in which the Member is a candidate. This report discusses H.R. 2056, which would amend Title 39, United States Code, by altering the prohibition for both Senators and House Members to the period starting 90 days prior to any primary and ending on the day of the general election, unless the Member has made a public announcement that the Member will not be a candidate for reelection to any federal office.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Navy Aegis Cruiser and Destroyer Modernization: Background and Issues for Congress

Navy Aegis Cruiser and Destroyer Modernization: Background and Issues for Congress

Date: December 22, 2009
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald
Description: The Navy has begun a multi-billion dollar program to modernize its 84 existing Aegis cruisers and destroyers over a period of more than 20 years. This report explores this program in detail, including the reasons for the program and the oversight issues it poses for Congress.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The Committee Markup Process in the House of Representatives

The Committee Markup Process in the House of Representatives

Date: November 28, 2014
Creator: Schneider, Judy
Description: This report focuses on the markup stage of the legislative process in committee. It discusses the selection of the text to be marked up, the procedures for proposing and debating amendments to that text, the voting and quorum procedures that govern markups, and the final stages of ordering the marked-up text reported to the House for its consideration.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Speed of Presidential and Senate Actions on Supreme Court Nominations, 1900-2010

Speed of Presidential and Senate Actions on Supreme Court Nominations, 1900-2010

Date: August 6, 2010
Creator: Garrett, R. S. & Rutkus, Denis S.
Description: This report provides information on the amount of time taken to act on all Supreme Court nominations occurring between 1900 and the present. It focuses on the actual amounts of time that Presidents and the Senate have taken to act (as opposed to the elapsed time between official points in the process). This report focuses on when the Senate became aware of the President's selection (e.g., via a public announcement by the President).
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Committee Types and Roles

Committee Types and Roles

Date: November 10, 2014
Creator: Heitshusen, Valerie
Description: This report briefly describes the function and types of congressional committees and subcommittees.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Navy Aegis Cruiser and Destroyer Modernization: Background and Issues for Congress

Navy Aegis Cruiser and Destroyer Modernization: Background and Issues for Congress

Date: September 18, 2009
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald
Description: The Navy has begun a multi-billion dollar program to modernize its 84 existing Aegis cruisers and destroyers over a period of more than 20 years. This report explores this program in detail, including the reasons for the program and the oversight issues it poses for Congress.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The Budget Reconciliation Process: The Senate's "Byrd Rule"

The Budget Reconciliation Process: The Senate's "Byrd Rule"

Date: July 2, 2010
Creator: Keith, Robert
Description: Reconciliation is a procedure under the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 by which Congress implements budget resolution policies affecting mainly permanent spending and revenue programs. The principal focus in the reconciliation process has been deficit reduction, but in recent years reconciliation has encompassed revenue reduction generally and spending increases in selected program areas. This report discusses the Byrd rule, which provides six definitions of what constitutes extraneous matter for purposes of the rule (and several exceptions thereto), but the term is generally described as covering provisions unrelated to achieving the goals of the reconciliation instructions.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Navy Aegis Cruiser and Destroyer Modernization: Background and Issues for Congress

Navy Aegis Cruiser and Destroyer Modernization: Background and Issues for Congress

Date: March 31, 2010
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald
Description: The Navy has begun a multi-billion dollar program to modernize its 84 existing Aegis cruisers and destroyers over a period of more than 20 years. This report explores this program in detail, including the reasons for the program and the oversight issues it poses for Congress.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
How Legislation Is Brought to the House Floor: A Snapshot of Recent Parliamentary Practice

How Legislation Is Brought to the House Floor: A Snapshot of Recent Parliamentary Practice

Date: December 2, 2010
Creator: Davis, Christopher M.
Description: The House of Representatives has several different parliamentary procedures through which it can bring legislation to the chamber floor. Which of these will be used in a given situation depends on many factors, including the type of measure being considered, its cost, the amount of political or policy controversy surrounding it, and the degree to which members want to debate it and propose amendments. This report provides a snapshot of the forms and origins of measures which, according to the Legislative Information System of the U.S. Congress (LIS), received action on the House floor in the 110th Congress (2007-2008) and the parliamentary procedures used to bring them up.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Salaries of Members of Congress: Congressional Votes, 1990-2014

Salaries of Members of Congress: Congressional Votes, 1990-2014

Date: October 27, 2014
Creator: Brudnick, Ida A.
Description: The report contains information on the pay procedure for members of Congress and recent adjustments. It provides information on previous actions and votes by year.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Navy Aegis Cruiser and Destroyer Modernization: Background and Issues for Congress

Navy Aegis Cruiser and Destroyer Modernization: Background and Issues for Congress

Date: October 22, 2009
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald
Description: The Navy has begun a multi-billion dollar program to modernize its 84 existing Aegis cruisers and destroyers over a period of more than 20 years. This report explores this program in detail, including the reasons for the program and the oversight issues it poses for Congress.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The Office of the Parliamentarian in the House and Senate

The Office of the Parliamentarian in the House and Senate

Date: July 14, 2010
Creator: Heitshusen, Valerie
Description: This report discusses the Office of the Parliamentarian, which provides expert advice and assistance on questions relating to the meaning and application of that chamber's legislative rules, precedents, and practices, in both the House and Senate. The Speaker began naming a parliamentarian in 1927; the Senate first recognized its parliamentarian in 1935.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Ebola: 2014 Outbreak in West Africa

Ebola: 2014 Outbreak in West Africa

Date: August 8, 2014
Creator: Cook, Nicolas & Salaam-Blyther, Tiaji
Description: This report gives a overview of the West African Ebola outbreak that began in March, 2014. The report discusses the nature of the disease as well as local and international responses to it. The report also briefly examines U.S policy and congressional actions in the wake of the outbreak.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Reauthorization of the FISA Amendments Act

Reauthorization of the FISA Amendments Act

Date: January 2, 2013
Creator: Liu, Edward C.
Description: This report describes the changes that were made by the Foreign Intelligence Suveillance Act (FISA) Amendments Act within the context of the government's authority to conduct surveillance for foreign intelligence purposes.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Congressional Redistricting and the Voting Rights Act: A Legal Overview

Congressional Redistricting and the Voting Rights Act: A Legal Overview

Date: April 2, 2013
Creator: Whitaker, L. Paige
Description: This report provides a legal overview of two key provisions of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) affecting congressional redistricting — Sections 2 and 5 — and selected accompanying Supreme Court case law. It examines a pending Supreme Court case, Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder, challenging the constitutionality of Section 5. It also provides a summary of selected legislation in the 112th and 113th Congresses that would establish additional requirements and standards for congressional redistricting.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Insourcing Functions Performed by Federal Contractors: Legal Issues

Insourcing Functions Performed by Federal Contractors: Legal Issues

Date: February 22, 2013
Creator: Manuel, Kate M. & Maskell, Jack
Description: "This report provides a brief overview of key legal issues related to recent insourcing initiatives. While agencies are prohibited by federal law and policy from contracting out functions that are "inherently governmental," other functions could potentially be contracted out. There has long been debate over both general government policies promoting the use of the private sector to perform "commercial functions," and whether specific functions should be performed by government personnel or contractors. However, since 2008, the insourcing initiatives of recent Congresses and the Obama Administration have generated particular controversy.5 Several lawsuits have been filed challenging agencies' determinations to insource particular functions,and broader questions have been raised as to whether agencies' implementation of insourcing runs afoul of civil service, ethics, or small business laws." (p. 1).
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The Military Commissions Act of 2009 (MCA 2009): Overview and Legal Issues

The Military Commissions Act of 2009 (MCA 2009): Overview and Legal Issues

Date: May 13, 2013
Creator: Elsea, Jennifer K.
Description: This report provides a background and analysis comparing military commissions as envisioned under the revised Military Commissions Act (MCA) to those established by the MCA 2006. After reviewing the history of the implementation of military commissions in the armed conflict against Al Qaeda and associated forces, the report provides an overview of the procedural safeguards provided in the MCA. Finally, the report provides two charts comparing the MCA as amended by the MCA 2009 to the original MCA enacted in 2006 and to general courts-martial.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Federalism, State Sovereignty, and the Constitution: Basis and Limits of Congressional Power

Federalism, State Sovereignty, and the Constitution: Basis and Limits of Congressional Power

Date: February 1, 2008
Creator: Thomas, Kenneth R.
Description: The report discusses state and federal legislative power generally, and focuses on a number of these "federalism" cases. Issues addressed include congressional power under the Commerce Clause and the Fourteenth Amendment; limits on congressional powers, such as the Tenth Amendment; and state sovereign immunity under the Eleventh Amendment.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The U.S. Secret Service: An Examination and Analysis of Its Evolving Missions

The U.S. Secret Service: An Examination and Analysis of Its Evolving Missions

Date: July 31, 2008
Creator: Reese, Shawn
Description: This report frames potential policy questions concerning the U.S. Secret Service's (USSS) mission and organization through an examination of the USSS history and its statutory authorities, mission, and present activities within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
House Standing Committee Chairs and Ranking Minority Members: Rules Governing Selection Procedures

House Standing Committee Chairs and Ranking Minority Members: Rules Governing Selection Procedures

Date: October 7, 2014
Creator: Schneider, Judy
Description: This report discusses house rules, Republican Conference rules, and Democratic Caucus rules each detail aspects of the procedures followed in selecting standing committee chairs and ranking minority members. This report summarizes those procedures and lists membership on each party's steering committee.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department