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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
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.
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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.
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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).
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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
Congressional Review Act: Disapproval of Rules in a Subsequent Session of Congress

Congressional Review Act: Disapproval of Rules in a Subsequent Session of Congress

Date: September 3, 2008
Creator: Copeland, Curtis W. & Beth, Richard S.
Description: This report addresses some of the implications of the CRA with regard to agency rulemaking in the final months of a presidential administration. It first notes the practice of increased rulemaking activity during this period, and describes how this practice has been addressed by two White House memoranda issued during the current Bush Administration. The report then briefly identifies key elements of the complex set of time periods established by the CRA — elements that define points during the disapproval process at which various actions may occur. This discussion focuses on the CRA provisions for carrying over the disapproval process into a subsequent session of Congress, and indicates how rules submitted at the end of a Congress may be affected by these provisions. Then, the report identifies the dates in previous sessions of Congress after which rules have (since the enactment of the CRA) been subject to these carryover provisions, and identifies some of the rules that may be issued in the final months of the current Bush Administration.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Medical Loss Ratio Requirements Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA): Issues for Congress

Medical Loss Ratio Requirements Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA): Issues for Congress

Date: August 26, 2014
Creator: Kirchhoff, Suzanne M.
Description: This report provides a detailed description of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA, P.L. 111-148) requirements for Medical Loss Ratio (MLR) reporting and rebates as specified in regulations, including components of the MLR formula, state flexibility and waivers, and the nature of rebates to policyholders. The report also addresses issues that have been raised about the MLR provisions since the ACA was enacted, namely the treatment of insurance commissions paid to brokers and agents.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Role of Home State Senators in the Selection of Lower Federal Court Judges

Role of Home State Senators in the Selection of Lower Federal Court Judges

Date: February 11, 2013
Creator: Rutkus, Denis Steven
Description: This report examines the role that home state Senators, historically and in the contemporary era, have played in the selection of nominees to U.S. district court and circuit court of appeals judgeships. It also identifies issues that have arisen in recent years over the role of home state Senators in the selection process for federal judges.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
How Legislation Is Brought to the House Floor: A Snapshot of Parliamentary Practice in the 112th Congress (2011-2012)

How Legislation Is Brought to the House Floor: A Snapshot of Parliamentary Practice in the 112th Congress (2011-2012)

Date: April 15, 2013
Creator: Davis, Christopher M.
Description: 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.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Congress as a Consumer of Intelligence Information

Congress as a Consumer of Intelligence Information

Date: January 15, 2009
Creator: Cumming, Alfred
Description: This report examines the role of Congress as a consumer of national intelligence and examines several issues that Congress might address in the 111th Congress.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Congress as a Consumer of Intelligence Information

Congress as a Consumer of Intelligence Information

Date: January 28, 2010
Creator: Cumming, Alfred
Description: This report examines the role of Congress as a consumer of national intelligence and examines several issues that Congress might address during the second session of the 111th Congress.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
An Overview of the Presidential Pardoning Power

An Overview of the Presidential Pardoning Power

Date: January 7, 2009
Creator: Burrows, Vanessa K.
Description: This report provides an overview of the scope of the President's pardoning power, the legal effects of a pardon, and the procedures that have traditionally been adhered to in the consideration of requests for pardons.
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: December 3, 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
Navy Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Program: Background, Issues, and Options for Congress

Navy Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Program: Background, Issues, and Options for Congress

Date: June 21, 2010
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald
Description: This report provides background information and potential issues for Congress on the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), a relatively inexpensive Navy surface combatant equipped with modular "plug-and-fight" mission packages. The Navy's proposed FY2012 budget requests funding for the procurement of four LCSs. Current issues for Congress concerning the LCS program include changes or potential changes to the composition of LCS mission modules announced by the Navy in January 2011, the combat survivability of the LCS, and hull cracking on LCS-1. Congress's decisions on the LCS program could affect Navy capabilities and funding requirements, and the shipbuilding industrial base.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Congressional Roll Call Votes on the Keystone XL Pipeline

Congressional Roll Call Votes on the Keystone XL Pipeline

Date: January 22, 2015
Creator: Cunningham, Lynn J. & Cook, Beth
Description: This report provides roll call vote data related to the proposed TransCanada Keystone XL Pipeline that would transport oil sands crude from Canada and shale oil produced in North Dakota and Montana to a market hub in Nebraska for further delivery to Gulf Coast refineries. Voting information is listed chronologically and broken down by chamber, Congress, and type of legislation.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department