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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Guiding a Bill Through the Legislative Process
This report describes each stage of the legislative process that legislative assistants may find helpful as they seek to further the progress of a specific bill. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs99/
Investigative Oversight: An Introduction to the Law, Practice and Procedure of Congressional Inquiry
This report will provide an overview of some of the more common legal, procedural and practical issues, questions, and problems that committees have faced in the course of an investigation. Following a summary of the case law developing the scope and limitations of the power of inquiry, the essential tools of investigative oversight--subpoenas, staff interviews and depositions, grants of immunity, and the contempt power -- are described. Next, some of the special problems of investigating the executive are detailed, with particular emphasis on claims of presidential executive privilege, the problems raised by attempts to access information with respect to open or closed civil or criminal investigative matters, or to obtain information that is part of the agency deliberative process, and the effect on congressional access of statutory prohibitions on public disclosure. The discussion then focuses on various procedural and legal requirements that accompany the preparation for, and conduct of, an investigative hearing, including matters concerning jurisdiction, particular rules and requirements for the conduct of such proceedings, and the nature, applicability and scope of certain constitutional and common law testimonial privileges that may be claimed by witnesses. The case law and practice respecting the rights of minority party members during the investigative process is also reviewed. The report concludes with a description of the roles played by the offices of House General Counsel and Senate Legal Counsel in such investigations. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs184/
The Legislative Process on the House Floor: An Introduction
This report discusses the complicated body of rules, precedents, and practices that governs the legislative process on the floor of the House of Representatives. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs302/
The Committee System in the U.S. Congress
Due to the high volume and complexity of its work, Congress divides its tasks among approximately 44 committees with 154 subcommittees. The House and Senate each has its own committee systems, which are similar. Within chamber guidelines, however, each committee adopts its own rules; thus, there is considerable variation among panels. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs183/
The Legislative Process on the House Floor: An Introduction
This report discusses the complicated body of rules, precedents, and practices that governs the legislative process on the floor of the House of Representatives. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs3946/
Staff Depositions in Congressional Investigations
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Term Limits for Members of Congress: State Activity
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Voting and Quorum Procedures in the Senate
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The Legislative Process on the Senate Floor: An Introduction
This report discusses the legislative process on the senate floor; the right of extended debate that permits filibusters that can be brought to an end if the Senate invokes cloture, usually by a vote of three-fifths of all Senators. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs2256/
Congress' Early Organization Meetings
The purposes of these meetings are both educational and organizational. Educational sessions range from legislative procedures and staff hiring to current issues. Organizational sessions elect class officers, party leaders, and chamber officers; name committee representatives and other party officials; and select committee chairmen and often committee members. Such actions are officially ratified at the start of the new Congress. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs303/
How Measures Are Brought to the House Floor: A Brief Introduction
This report presents a brief description of the five methods used to bring proposed legislation to the House floor for consideration. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs404/
Conference Committee and Related Procedures: An Introduction
Conference committees generally are free to conduct their negotiations as they choose, but they are to address only the matters on which the House and Senate have disagreed. Moreover, they are to propose settlements that represent compromises between the positions of the two houses. When they have completed their work, they submit a conference report and joint explanatory statement, and the House and Senate vote on accepting the report without amendments. Sometimes conference reports are accompanied by amendments that remain in disagreement. Only after the two houses have reached complete agreement on all provisions of a bill can it be sent to the President for his approval or veto. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs304/
Congressional Statistics: Bills Introduced and Laws Enacted, 1947-2003
This report is designed to fill the need for a simple tabulation of legislative workload. It provides the numbers of bills and joint resolutions introduced, and the numbers of public and private laws enacted, from the 80' Congress through the 108th Congress, first session (1947-2003). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs5760/
House Administrative Reorganization: 104th Congress
This report discusses the management responsibility for financial, security, and legislative operations. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs305/
Casework in a Congressional Office
This report and its appendices present a general overview of congressional office procedures associated with handling casework and the assistance provided by a Member of Congress to help constituents in their dealings with federal agencies. It discusses options for assisting Members’ constituents and the role of Members and staff in providing casework services. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs307/
Special Rules in the House of Representatives
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House and Senate Vacancies: How Are They Filled?
Vacancies in Congress occur due to the death, resignation, or declination (refusal to serve) of a Senator or Representative, or as the result of expulsion or exclusion by either house. The Constitution requires that vacancies in both houses be filled by special election, but in the case of the Senate, it empowers state legislatures to provide for temporary appointments by the state governor until special elections can be scheduled. This report describes this process. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs3948/
Salaries of Members of Congress: A List of Payable Rates and Effective Dates, 1789-2003
This report contains information on the pay procedure and recent adjustments. It also contains historical information on the rate of pay for Members of Congress since 1789. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs3949/
Salaries of Members of Congress: A List of Payable Rates and Effective Dates, 1789-2003
This report summarizes by what measures the Constitution requires Congress to determine its own pay, the annual payment adjustment procedure, changes in pay over time since 1789, and related legislation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs3950/
Salaries of Members of Congress: A List of Payable Rates and Effective Dates, 1789-2006
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Grants Work in a Congressional Office
Members of Congress often get requests from constituents for information and help in obtaining funds for projects. Many state and local governments, nonprofit social service and community action organizations, private research groups, small businesses, and individuals approach congressional offices to find out about funding, both from the federal government and from the private sector. The success rate in obtaining federal assistance is not high, given the competition for federal funds. A grants staff’s effectiveness often depends on both an understanding of the grants process and on the relations it establishes with agency and other contacts. The following report does not constitute a blueprint for every office involved in grants and projects activity, nor does it present in-depth information about all aspects of staff activity in this area. The discussion is aimed at describing some basics about the grants process and some of the approaches and techniques used by congressional offices in dealing with this type of constituent service. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs405/
Grants Work in a Congressional Office
Members of Congress often get requests from constituents for information and help in obtaining funds for projects. Many state and local governments, nonprofit social service and community action organizations, private research groups, small businesses, and individuals approach congressional offices to find out about funding, both from the federal government and from the private sector. The success rate in obtaining federal assistance is not high, given the competition for federal funds. A grants staff’s effectiveness often depends on both an understanding of the grants process and on the relations it establishes with agency and other contacts. The following report does not constitute a blueprint for every office involved in grants and projects activity, nor does it present in-depth information about all aspects of staff activity in this area. The discussion is aimed at describing some basics about the grants process and some of the approaches and techniques used by congressional offices in dealing with this type of constituent service. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs2257/
Grants Work in a Congressional Office
Members of Congress often get requests from constituents for information and help in obtaining funds for projects. Many state and local governments, nonprofit social service and community action organizations, private research groups, small businesses, and individuals approach congressional offices to find out about funding, both from the federal government and from the private sector. The success rate in obtaining federal assistance is not high, given the competition for federal funds. A grants staff’s effectiveness often depends on both an understanding of the grants process and on the relations it establishes with agency and other contacts. The following report does not constitute a blueprint for every office involved in grants and projects activity, nor does it present in-depth information about all aspects of staff activity in this area. The discussion is aimed at describing some basics about the grants process and some of the approaches and techniques used by congressional offices in dealing with this type of constituent service. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs2258/
Grants Work in a Congressional Office
Members of Congress often get requests from constituents for information and help in obtaining funds for projects. Many state and local governments, nonprofit social service and community action organizations, private research groups, small businesses, and individuals approach congressional offices to find out about funding, both from the federal government and from the private sector. The success rate in obtaining federal assistance is not high, given the competition for federal funds. A grants staff’s effectiveness often depends on both an understanding of the grants process and on the relations it establishes with agency and other contacts. The following report does not constitute a blueprint for every office involved in grants and projects activity, nor does it present in-depth information about all aspects of staff activity in this area. The discussion is aimed at describing some basics about the grants process and some of the approaches and techniques used by congressional offices in dealing with this type of constituent service. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs3951/
Floor Procedure in the House of Representatives: A Brief Overview
The House considers bills and resolutions on the floor under several different sets of procedures governing the time for debate and the opportunities for amendment. Some procedures allow 40 or 60 minutes for debate; others permit debate to continue until a majority of Members vote to end it. Some procedures prohibit most or all floor amendments; others allow Members to offer any amendments that meet the requirements of the House’s rules and precedents. Notwithstanding these differences, the rules, precedents, and practices of the House generally are designed to permit the majority to work its will in a timely manner. This report provides a brief overview of this procedure. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs1464/
Floor Procedure in the House of Representatives: A Brief Overview
The House considers bills and resolutions on the floor under several different sets of procedures governing the time for debate and the opportunities for amendment. Some procedures allow 40 or 60 minutes for debate; others permit debate to continue until a majority of Members vote to end it. Some procedures prohibit most or all floor amendments; others allow Members to offer any amendments that meet the requirements of the House’s rules and precedents. Notwithstanding these differences, the rules, precedents, and practices of the House generally are designed to permit the majority to work its will in a timely manner. This report provides a brief overview of this procedure. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs3952/
Floor Procedure in the House of Representatives: A Brief Overview
The House considers bills and resolutions on the floor under several different sets of procedures governing the time for debate and the opportunities for amendment. Some procedures allow 40 or 60 minutes for debate; others permit debate to continue until a majority of Members vote to end it. Some procedures prohibit most or all floor amendments; others allow Members to offer any amendments that meet the requirements of the House’s rules and precedents. Notwithstanding these differences, the rules, precedents, and practices of the House generally are designed to permit the majority to work its will in a timely manner. This report provides a brief overview of this procedure. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs6148/
The House's Corrections Calendar
This report discusses the establishment of the “Corrections Day”, a concept credited to Michigan Governor John Englerwhich, which is a procedure for repealing “the dumbest things the federal government is currently doing and just abolish them.” digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs1465/
House Rules Affecting Committees
House Rules, especially Rules X-XIII, govern the authority and operations of its committees and subcommittees. This report identifies and summarizes these and other rules and directives affecting committee powers, authority, activities, and operations. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs897/
Senate Floor Procedure: A Summary
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Asian Pacific Americans in the United States Congress
This report provides information on the 33 Asian Pacific Americans who have served in the United States Congress from 1903 to the present, including 13 Resident Commissioners from the Philippine Islands. These Resident Commissioners served from 1907-1946 while the Philippines were a U.S. territory and commonwealth (all were Philippine born). Information on Members and territorial delegates includes party affiliations, length and dates of service, and committee assignments. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs2259/
Asian Pacific Americans in the United States Congress
This report provides information on the 33 Asian Pacific Americans who have served in the United States Congress from 1903 to the present, including 13 Resident Commissioners from the Philippine Islands. These Resident Commissioners served from 1907-1946 while the Philippines were a U.S. territory and commonwealth (all were Philippine born). Information on Members and territorial delegates includes party affiliations, length and dates of service, and committee assignments. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs3953/
Legislative Powers of Congress: A Brief Reference Guide
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The Discharge Rule in the House: Principal Features and Uses
The “discharge rule” of the House of Representatives allows a measure to come to the floor for consideration, even if the committee of referral does not report it and the leadership does not schedule it. To initiate this action, a majority of House Members must first sign a petition for that purpose. The rule permits either (1) the committee of referral to be discharged from the measure itself; or (2) the Committee on Rules to be discharged from a special rule for considering the measure. Layover periods required by the rule permit the Committee on Rules to preempt a discharge attempt, and recover control of the floor agenda, by securing adoption of an alternative special rule for considering the measure. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs1466/
The Congressional Appropriations Process: An Introduction
This report describes the annual appropriations cycle from the President’s submission of his annual budget through enactment of the appropriations measures. It describes the three types of appropriations measures—regular appropriations bills, continuing resolutions, and supplemental bills. It explains the spending ceilings for appropriations bills that are associated with the budget resolution and the sequestration process, including a description of the mechanisms used to enforce the ceilings. It also explains the authorization appropriations process, which prohibits certain provisions in some of the appropriations bills. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs898/
The Congressional Appropriations Process: An Introduction
This report describes the annual appropriations cycle from the President’s submission of his annual budget through enactment of the appropriations measures. It describes the three types of appropriations measures—regular appropriations bills, continuing resolutions, and supplemental bills. It explains the spending ceilings for appropriations bills that are associated with the budget resolution and the sequestration process, including a description of the mechanisms used to enforce the ceilings. It also explains the authorization appropriations process, which prohibits certain provisions in some of the appropriations bills. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs3954/
The Congressional Appropriations Process: An Introduction
This report describes the annual appropriations cycle from the President’s submission of his annual budget through enactment of the appropriations measures. It describes the three types of appropriations measures—regular appropriations bills, continuing resolutions, and supplemental bills. It explains the spending ceilings for appropriations bills that are associated with the budget resolution and the sequestration process, including a description of the mechanisms used to enforce the ceilings. It also explains the authorization appropriations process, which prohibits certain provisions in some of the appropriations bills. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs5761/
Congressional Campaign Spending: 1976-1996
The data in this report reflect spending by congressional candidates from funds donated by individuals, political action committees (PACs), parties, and candidates. Thus, it includes expenditures under candidate control and does not reflect spending on their behalf, with or without their cooperation, by parties, PACs, and other groups. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs406/
Agriculture and Fast Track or Trade Promotion Authority
New “fast track” (or, trade promotion) authority (TPA) is at issue in the 107th Congress. Such authority could enable the Administration to submit negotiated foreign trade agreements to Congress for consideration under expedited procedures. Efforts to renew this authority, which expired in 1994, have not succeeded since then. Many agricultural and food industry interests are among the export-oriented enterprises that support TPA, arguing that foreign trading partners will not seriously negotiate with an Administration that lacks it. However, some farm groups argue that fast track ultimately will lead to new agreements that could have adverse effects on U.S. producers, at least in some commodity sectors. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs1468/
Agriculture and Fast Track or Trade Promotion Authority
New “fast track” (or, trade promotion) authority (TPA) is at issue in the 107th Congress. Such authority could enable the Administration to submit negotiated foreign trade agreements to Congress for consideration under expedited procedures. Efforts to renew this authority, which expired in 1994, have not succeeded since then. Many agricultural and food industry interests are among the export-oriented enterprises that support TPA, arguing that foreign trading partners will not seriously negotiate with an Administration that lacks it. However, some farm groups argue that fast track ultimately will lead to new agreements that could have adverse effects on U.S. producers, at least in some commodity sectors. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs2260/
Agriculture and Fast Track or Trade Promotion Authority
New “fast track” (or, trade promotion) authority (TPA) is at issue in the 107th Congress. Such authority could enable the Administration to submit negotiated foreign trade agreements to Congress for consideration under expedited procedures. Efforts to renew this authority, which expired in 1994, have not succeeded since then. Many agricultural and food industry interests are among the export-oriented enterprises that support TPA, arguing that foreign trading partners will not seriously negotiate with an Administration that lacks it. However, some farm groups argue that fast track ultimately will lead to new agreements that could have adverse effects on U.S. producers, at least in some commodity sectors. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs2261/
Agriculture and Fast Track or Trade Promotion Authority
New “fast track,” or trade promotion, authority (TPA), legislation to implement trade agreements is at issue in the 107th Congress. Such authority would enable the Administration to submit negotiated foreign trade agreements to Congress for consideration under expedited procedures. Many agricultural and food industry interests are among the export-oriented enterprises that support TPA, arguing that foreign trading partners will not seriously negotiate with an Administration that lacks it. However, some farm groups argue that fast track ultimately will lead to new agreements that could have adverse effects on U.S. producers, at least in some commodity sectors. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs2262/
Agriculture and Fast Track or Trade Promotion Authority
New “fast track,” or trade promotion, authority (TPA) cleared the 107th Congress for the President’s expected signature in August 2002. Such authority enables the Administration to submit negotiated foreign trade agreements to Congress for consideration under expedited procedures. Many agricultural and food industry interests were among the export-oriented enterprises that supported TPA, arguing that foreign trading partners would not seriously negotiate with an Administration that lacked it. However, some farm groups argued that fast track ultimately will lead to new agreements that have adverse effects on U.S. producers, at least of some commodities. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs2263/
Agriculture and Fast Track or Trade Promotion Authority
New “fast track,” or trade promotion, authority (TPA) cleared the 107th Congress, and was signed into law (P.L. 107-210) on August 6, 2002. Such authority enables the Administration to submit negotiated foreign trade agreements to Congress for consideration under expedited procedures. Many agricultural and food industry interests were among the export-oriented enterprises that supported TPA, arguing that foreign trading partners would not seriously negotiate with an Administration that lacked it. However, some farm groups argued that fast track ultimately will lead to new agreements that have adverse effects on U.S. producers, at least of some commodities. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs2264/
Agriculture and Fast Track Trade Legislation
The 107th Congress is expected to consider new "fast track" (or, Presidential trade promotion) authority, which could enable the Administration to submit trade agreements negotiated with foreign countries to Congress for consideration under expedited procedures. Many agricultural and food industry interests are among the export-oriented enterprises that support fast track authority, arguing that foreign trading partners will not seriously negotiate with an Administration that lacks it. However, some agricultural groups argue that fast track ultimately will lead to new agreements that deliver more benefits to foreign than to U.S. producers, at least in some commodity sectors. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs1469/
Agriculture and Fast Track Trade Legislation
Senate and House committees in October reported legislation for new fast track authority enabling the Administration to negotiate trade agreements with foreign countries and to submit them to Congress for consideration under expedited procedures. Many agricultural and food industry interests are among the export-dependent enterprises that support new fast track authority, arguing that foreign trading partners will not seriously negotiate with an Administration that lacks it. However, some agricultural groups argue that fast track provides them with inadequate opportunities for dealing with their issues, and that it ultimately will lead to new agreements that benefit foreign more than U.S. producers, at least in some commodity sectors. Neither bill was taken to the floor in 1997 because of insufficient votes for passage in the House. However, the President is expected to seek approval in 1998. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs407/
The Discharge Rule in the House: Recent Use in Historical Context
The discharge rule of the House of Representatives affords a way for Members to bring to the floor a measure not reported from committee. Before a motion to discharge may be made, 218 Members must sign a petition for that purpose. This report provides summary data on discharge petitions filed since adoption of the present form of discharge rule in 1931. It also identifies the 32 occasions since 1967 on which a committee report or floor action occurred on a measure against which a petition was filed (or an alternative measure on the same subject). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs1470/
The Discharge Rule in the House: Recent Use in Historical Context
The discharge rule of the House of Representatives affords a way for Members to bring to the floor a measure not reported from committee. Before a motion to discharge may be made, 218 Members must sign a petition for that purpose. This report provides summary data on discharge petitions filed since adoption of the present form of discharge rule in 1931. It also identifies the 32 occasions since 1967 on which a committee report or floor action occurred on a measure against which a petition was filed (or an alternative measure on the same subject). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs3955/
Points of Order in the Congressional Budget Process
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Environment in Fast Track Trade Authority: Summary of the Clinton Administration Proposal
President Clinton has asked Congress for "fast track" authority for implementing future trade agreements; this authority would limit congressional debate and prevent amendments to implementing legislation. Delays in completing this proposal were attributed to difficulties in reconciling conflicting pressures over environment and labor concerns. The President's proposal contains references to environmental concerns, but various interests are likely to seek clarification on these points. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs408/