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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
House Committee on Ethics: A Brief History of Its Evolution and Jurisdiction
This report briefly outlines the background of ethics enforcement in the House of Representatives, including the creation of both the Select Committee on Ethics and the Committee on Ethics. The report also focuses on various jurisdictional and procedural changes that the House Committee on Ethics has experienced since 1967, and discusses the committee's current jurisdiction and procedures. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc287957/
Proposals to Reform “Holds” in the Senate
This report examines, over a more than three decade period, a wide range of proposals to reform holds. In general, the objective of these recommendations is not to abolish holds but to infuse more accountability, uniformity, and transparency in their use and to make it clear that holds are not a veto on the majority leader's prerogative of calling up measures or matters. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc93963/
Sovereign Debt in Advanced Economies: Overview and Issues for Congress
This report discusses sovereign debt, which is also called public debt or government debt, and refers to debt incurred by governments. The first section provides background information on sovereign debt, including why governments borrow, how sovereign debt differs from private debt, why governments repay their debt (or not), and how sovereign debt is measured. The second section examines the shift of concerns over sovereign debt sustainability from emerging markets in the 1990s and 2000s to advanced economies following the global financial crisis of 2008-2009, and the challenges posed by high debt levels. The third section analyzes the different policy options governments have for lowering debt levels. It also discusses the current strategy being used by most advanced economies -- fiscal austerity -- and concerns that have been raised about its global impact. Finally, the fourth section analyzes issues of particular interest to Congress, including comparisons between U.S. and European debt levels, how efforts to reduce debt levels could impact the U.S. economy, and policy options available to Congress for engaging on this issue. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc267837/
Commitee Assignment Process in the U.S. Senate: Democratic and Republican Party Procedures
Because of the importance of committee work, Senators consider desirable committee assignments a priority. After general elections are over, one of the first orders of business for Senate leaders is setting the sizes and ratios of committees. This report describes the process of creating Senate committees, including the nomination process and rules and regulations specifically pertaining to said process. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26304/
House Rules Manual: Summary of Contents
This report provides a description of house rules and manuals. The first section of the House Manual identifies the more substantive rules changes made by the House resolution adopting the rules of the current Congress. Also identified are citations to volumes of precedents referenced in the parliamentarian's annotations. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc267875/
Salaries of Members of Congress: Congressional Votes, 1990-2013
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, from 1990-2010. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc282341/
Reducing Cost-of-Living Adjustments for Military Retirees and the Bipartisan Budget Act: In Brief
This report discusses the reduction of cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) for military retirees through the Bipartisan Budget Act (BBA). It includes an overview of the changes, demographics of military retirees, and potential effects of the changes. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc282295/
Venezuela: Issues for Congress
This report covers the issues Venezuela poses for Congress. It examines the Venezualian political situation, its economic conditions, the United States policy toward Venezuela, and the legislative initiatives of the 111th Congress regarding this foreign nation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc98952/
"Holds" in the Senate
This report discusses a wide range of proposals aimed at reforming holds (an informal practice among Senators to communicate policy views and scheduling preferences) to infuse more accountability, uniformity, and transparency in their use and to make it clear that holds are not a veto on the majority leader's prerogative of calling up measures or matters. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc306510/
H.R. 3080 and S. 601: Comparison of Select Provisions and Conference Developments
This report discusses the conference report H.Rept. 113-449 that would resolve differences between H.R. 3080, the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2013 (WRRDA 2013), and S. 601, the Water Resources Development Act of 2013 (WRDA 2013). Both bills represented omnibus authorization legislation for water resource activities, principally associated with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc306555/
Congressional Liaison Offices of Selected Federal Agencies
This list of about 150 congressional liaison offices is intended to help congressional offices in placing telephone calls and addressing correspondence to government agencies. In each case, the information was supplied by the agency itself and is current as of the date of publication. Entries are arranged alphabetically in four sections: legislative branch; judicial branch; executive branch; and agencies, boards, and commissions. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc83850/
Congressional Liaison Offices of Selected Federal Agencies
This list of about 150 congressional liaison offices is intended to help congressional offices in placing telephone calls and addressing correspondence to government agencies. In each case, the information was supplied by the agency itself and is current as of the date of publication. Entries are arranged alphabetically in four sections: legislative branch; judicial branch; executive branch; and agencies, boards, and commissions. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc83848/
Congressional Liaison Offices of Selected Federal Agencies
This list of about 150 congressional liaison offices is intended to help congressional offices in placing telephone calls and addressing correspondence to government agencies. In each case, the information was supplied by the agency itself and is current as of the date of publication. Entries are arranged alphabetically in four sections: legislative branch; judicial branch; executive branch; and agencies, boards, and commissions. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc83849/
Sovereign Debt in Advanced Economies: Overview and Issues for Congress
Sovereign debt, also called public debt or government debt, refers to debt incurred by governments. Since the global financial crisis of 2008-2009, public debt in advanced economies has increased substantially. A number of factors related to the financial crisis have fueled the increase, including fiscal stimulus packages, the nationalization of private-sector debt, and lower tax revenue. Even if economic growth reverses some of these trends, such as by boosting tax receipts and reducing spending on government programs, aging populations in advanced economies are expected to strain government debt levels in coming years. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc83966/
The Congressional Appropriations Process: An Introduction
Congress annually considers several appropriations measures, which provide funding for numerous activities, for example, national defense, education, and homeland security, as well as general government operations. Congress has developed certain rules and practices for the consideration of appropriations measures, referred to as the congressional appropriations process. This report looks at this process as well as the three types of appropriates measures: regular appropriations bills, continuing resolutions, and supplemental appropriations bills. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc83836/
Omnibus Appropriations Acts: Overview of Recent Practices
This report discusses Omnibus appropriations acts, which have become a significant feature of the legislative process in recent years as Congress and the President have used them more frequently to bring action on the regular appropriations cycle to a close. Following a discussion of pertinent background information, this report reviews the recent enactment of such measures and briefly addresses several issues raised by their use. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc93987/
Regulatory Reform Legislation in the 112th Congress
In the 112th Congress, a number of bills have been introduced that would, if enacted, change current requirements in the federal rulemaking process. This report describes each of those bills, notes whether similar legislation has been introduced or acted upon in the past, summarizes the comments of those supporting and opposing the proposed legislation, and provides other relevant information. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc93873/
Congressional Oversight and Related Issues Concerning International Security Agreements Concluded by the United States
This report looks at issues arising from disputes between Congress and the executive branch. It begins by providing a general background on the types of international agreements that are binding upon the United States, as well as considerations affecting whether they take the form of a treaty or an executive agreement. Next, the report discusses historical precedents as to the role that security agreements have taken, with specific attention paid to past agreements entered with Afghanistan, Germany, Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, and Iraq. The report discusses the oversight role that Congress exercises with respect to entering and implementing international agreements involving the United States. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc93817/
The Legislative Process on the House Floor: An Introduction
This report is an introductory and selective explanation of the rules, procedures, and practices by which the House of Representatives considers public bills and resolutions on the floor. After discussions of the nature of House rules, the differences between the House and the Committee of the Whole, and limitations on debate, the report describes five different ways in which the House may consider, perhaps debate and amend, and then vote on whether to pass legislation. The report also discusses the House's calendars and its order of business, the special rules reported by the Rules Committee, House consideration of Senate amendments and conference reports, and the rules and constitutional requirements affecting voting and quorum procedures. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26099/
Committee Numbers, Sizes, Assignments, and Staff: Selected Historical Data
The development of today's committee system is a product of internal congressional reforms, but national forces also have played a role. This report contains data on the numbers and sizes of committees and subcommittees and on Members' assignments since 1945. This report also contains data on committee staff sizes from 1979 through 1995. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26109/
Social Security's Treatment Under the Federal Budget: A Summary
The treatment of Social Security in the federal budget is often confusing. In legislation enacted in 1983, 1985, and 1990, Social Security was excluded from official budget calculations and largely exempted it from congressional procedures for controlling budget revenues and expenditures. However, because Social Security represents more than a fifth of federal revenues and expenditures, it often is included in summaries of the government's financial flows, or what is referred to as the "unified" budget. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26075/
Speed of Presidential and Senate Actions on Supreme Court Nominations, 1900 - 2009
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). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26230/
House Resolutions of Inquiry
The resolution of inquiry is a simple House resolution that seeks factual information from the executive branch. This report explains the history, procedure, specific uses of resolutions of inquiry, and notes recent increases in their usage. The examples in this report demonstrate that, historically, even when a resolution of inquiry is reported adversely from a committee and tabled on the floor, it has frequently led to the release of a substantial amount of information from the Administration. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26207/
War Powers Resolution: Presidential Compliance
Two separate but closely related issues confront Congress each time the President introduces armed forces into a situation abroad that conceivably could lead to their involvement in hostilities. One issue concerns the division of war powers between the President and Congress, whether the use of armed forces falls within the purview of the congressional power to declare war and the War Powers Resolution. The other issue is whether or not Congress concurs in the wisdom of the action. A longer-term issue is whether the War Powers Resolution is an appropriate and effective means of assuring congressional participation in actions that might get the United States involved in war. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc33055/
How Legislation Is Brought to the House Floor: A Snapshot of Recent Parliamentary Practice
The House of Representatives has several different parliamentary procedures through which it can bring legislation to the chamber floor. Which 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 statistical snapshot of the forms, origins, and party sponsorship of these measures, and of the parliamentary procedures used to bring them to the chamber floor during their initial consideration. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc33011/
Party Leaders in the House: Election, Duties, and Responsibilities
Each major party in the House has a leadership hierarchy. This report summarizes the election, duties, and responsibilities of the Speaker of the House, the majority and minority leaders, and the whips and whip system. For a listing of all past occupants of congressional party leadership positions, see CRS Report RL30567, Party Leaders in the United States Congress, 1789-2011, by Valerie Heitshusen. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc33089/
Duration of Continuing Resolutions in Recent Years
This report provides information on congressional practices with respect to the duration of continuing resolutions, including the use of full-year measures, and focuses particularly on the period covering FY1998-FY2010. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc33045/
Legislative Procedures for Adjusting the Public Debt Limit: A Brief Overview
Almost all borrowing by the federal government is conducted by the Treasury Department, within the restrictions established by a single, statutory limit on the total amount of debt that may be outstanding at any time.1 In a few instances, agencies such as the Tennessee Valley Authority operate within their own borrowing limits established separately in law. For years, the public debt limit has been codified in Section 3101(b) of Title 31, United States Code. Periodic adjustments in the debt limit take the form of amendments to 31 U.S.C. 3101(b), usually by striking the current dollar limitation and inserting a new one. In the past, such changes to the debt limit have been either permanent or temporary. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc40254/
Sovereign Debt in Advanced Economies: Overview and Issues for Congress
Sovereign debt, also called public debt or government debt, refers to debt incurred by governments. Since the global financial crisis of 2008-2009, public debt in advanced economies has increased substantially. A number of factors related to the financial crisis have fueled the increase, including fiscal stimulus packages, the nationalization of private-sector debt, and lower tax revenue. Even if economic growth reverses some of these trends, such as by boosting tax receipts and reducing spending on government programs, aging populations in advanced economies are expected to strain government debt levels in coming years. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc40171/
Department of Defense Energy Initiatives: Background and Issues for Congress
This report gives an overview of fuel use by the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) and its pursuit of numerous initiatives for reducing its fuel needs and changing the mix of energy sources that it uses. The report includes an extensive background on DOD fuel use including how the DOD uses and buys fuel, challenges and risks associated with the DOD's fuel use, DOD energy initiatives, and past legislation that addressed DOD energy use; it also presents issues for Congress and legislative action to be addressed during FY2013. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc96725/
Congressional Liaison Offices of Selected Federal Agencies
This list of about 200 congressional liaison offices is intended to help congressional offices in placing telephone calls and addressing correspondence to government agencies. In each case, the information was supplied by the agency itself and is current as of the date of publication. Entries are arranged alphabetically in four sections: legislative branch; judicial branch; executive branch; and agencies, boards, and commissions. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc96666/
Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) and the Role of Congress in Trade Policy
This report presents background and analysis on the development of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), which expired on July 1, 2007. The report also includes a summary of the major provisions under the recently expired authority and a discussion of the issues that have arisen in the debate over TPA renewal. It also explores the policy options available to Congress and will be updated as the congressional debate unfolds. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29683/
Administrative Issues Related to a Change in Majority in the House of Representatives
This report briefly describes how a change in majority leadership in the House of Representatives -- such as the incoming new majority that will assume control of House operations at the beginning of the 112th Congress in January 2011 -- could affect House rules, committees, and administrative and legislative operations. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29682/
Procedures for Contested Election Cases in the House of Representatives
Under the U.S. Constitution, each House of Congress has the express authority to be the judge of the "elections and returns" of its own Members. Although initial challenges and recounts for the House are conducted at the state level, under the state's authority to administer federal elections, continuing contests may be presented to the House, which, as the final arbiter, may make a conclusive determination of a claim to the seat. This report describes these procedures. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29688/
Navy Aegis Cruiser and Destroyer Modernization: Background and Issues for Congress
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. This report will be updated as events warrant. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29747/
Presidential Appointments to Full-Time Positions in Executive Departments During the 110th Congress, 2007-2008
This report explains the process for filling positions to which the President makes appointments with the advice and consent of the Senate (PAS positions). It also identifies, for the 110th Congress, all nominations to executive-level full-time positions in the 15 departments. Profiles of the departments provide information regarding their full-time PAS positions and related appointment activity during the 110th Congress. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29638/
Omnibus Appropriations Acts: Overview of Recent Practices
This report discusses Omnibus appropriations acts, which have become a significant feature of the legislative process in recent years as Congress and the President have used them more frequently to bring action on the regular appropriations cycle to a close. Following a discussion of pertinent background information, the report reviews the recent enactment of such measures and briefly addresses several issues raised by their use. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462299/
The Congressional Appropriations Process: An Introduction
Congress annually considers several appropriations measures, which provide discretionary funding for numerous activities--such as national defense, education, and homeland security--as well as general government operations. Appropriations acts are characteristically annual and generally provide funding authority that expires at the end of the federal fiscal year, September 30. These measures are considered by Congress under certain rules and practices, referred to as the congressional appropriations process. This report discusses the various aspects of this process. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491371/
Rules and Practices Governing Consideration of Revenue Legislation in the House and Senate
This report provides an overview and analysis of the most consequential revenue-specific rules that apply during the process of developing and considering revenue legislation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491283/
Congressional Budget Office: Appointment and Tenure of the Director and Deputy Director
This report discusses the means through which the Director and Deputy Director of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) are appointed and briefly lists the people who have held the two positions. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491313/
Deprivation of Honest Services as a Basis for Federal Mail and Wire Fraud Convictions
The United States Supreme Court in Skilling v. United States construed the honest services branch of the federal mail and wire fraud statutes to reach no more than cases involving bribery or kickbacks. The mail and wire fraud statutes, 18 U.S.C. §§ 1341 and 1343, impose criminal penalties for the use of mail or interstate wire communications to deprive another of money or property through a "scheme or artifice to defraud." This report discusses wire and mail fraud and examines relevant court cases. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491069/
Congressional Franking Privilege: Background and Recent Legislation
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491206/
Navy Aegis Cruiser and Destroyer Modernization: Background and Issues for Congress
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491409/
Congressional Official Mail Costs
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491523/
Proposed Train and Equip Authorities for Syria: In Brief
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491440/
Election Year Restrictions on Mass Mailings by Members of Congress: How H.R. 2056 Would Change Current Law
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491122/
Navy Aegis Cruiser and Destroyer Modernization: Background and Issues for Congress
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491450/
The Committee Markup Process in the House of Representatives
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491641/
Speed of Presidential and Senate Actions on Supreme Court Nominations, 1900-2010
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). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491564/
Committee Types and Roles
This report briefly describes the function and types of congressional committees and subcommittees. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491566/