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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Types of Committee Hearings

Types of Committee Hearings

Date: August 10, 2015
Creator: Heitshusen, Valerie
Description: This report describes the four types of congressional committee hearings: legislative, oversight, investigative, and confirmation. Hearings may be held on Capitol Hill or elsewhere (e.g., a committee member's district or state, or a site related to the subject of the hearing). These latter hearings are often referred to as field hearings.
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Legislative Procedures for Adjusting the Public Debt Limit: A Brief Overview

Legislative Procedures for Adjusting the Public Debt Limit: A Brief Overview

Date: August 6, 2015
Creator: Heniff, Bill, Jr.
Description: This report discusses the procedure for adjusting the public debt limit. Nearly all of the outstanding debt of the federal government is subject to a statutory limit, which is set forth as a dollar limitation in 31 U.S.C. 3101(b). From time to time, Congress considers and passes legislation to adjust or suspend this limit.
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How Measures Are Brought to the Senate Floor: A Brief Introduction

How Measures Are Brought to the Senate Floor: A Brief Introduction

Date: August 5, 2015
Creator: Davis, Christopher M.
Description: This report discusses the two basic methods that are used by the Senate to bring legislation to the floor for consideration: The Senate, at the majority leader's request, (1) grants unanimous consent to take up a matter, or (2) agrees to his motion to proceed to consider it. Both methods are derived from the basic premise that the Senate as a body may decide what matters it considers. The Senate may also use the same two methods to bring up executive business (nominations and treaties).
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Filling the Senate "Amendment Tree"

Filling the Senate "Amendment Tree"

Date: July 28, 2015
Creator: Davis, Christopher M.
Description: This report discusses the filing process of "Amendment trees": diagrams that have developed over decades of Senate practice as a way of visualizing certain principles of precedence that govern the offering of, and voting on, amendments in the chamber.
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Defense Spending and the Budget Control Act Limits

Defense Spending and the Budget Control Act Limits

Date: July 22, 2015
Creator: Belasco, Amy
Description: This report discusses the Budget Control Act, which sets limits on defense spending between fiscal years 2012 and 2021 and possible measures to avoid a sequester. The current debate in Congress has centered on whether to adjust the BCA defense caps upward; move base budget spending to accounts designated for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) that are not subject to spending limits; reduce the defense spending in the Administration's request to comply with BCA revised caps; or use some combination of these approaches.
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House Office of Congressional Ethics: History, Authority, and Procedures

House Office of Congressional Ethics: History, Authority, and Procedures

Date: July 22, 2015
Creator: Straus, Jacob R.
Description: This report describes the history and rationale behind the creation of the House Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE), its operations, and its relationship with the House Committee on Ethics, and potential options available for Congress if further amendments to the House ethics process are desired.
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Omnibus Appropriations Acts: Overview of Recent Practices

Omnibus Appropriations Acts: Overview of Recent Practices

Date: July 15, 2015
Creator: Tollestrup, Jessica
Description: Omnibus appropriations acts have become a significant feature of the legislative process in recent years as Congress and the President have resorted more frequently to their use to bring action on the regular appropriations cycle to a close. Following a discussion of pertinent background information, this report reviews the recent use of such measures and briefly addresses several issues that their use raises.
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Trade Promotion Authority (TPA): Frequently Asked Questions

Trade Promotion Authority (TPA): Frequently Asked Questions

Date: July 2, 2015
Creator: Fergusson, Ian F. & Beth, Richard S.
Description: The issue of TPA reauthorization raises a number of questions regarding TPA itself and the pending legislation. This report addresses a number of those questions that are frequently asked, including the following: What is trade promotion authority? Is TPA necessary? What are trade negotiating objectives and how are they reflected in TPA statutes? What requirements does Congress impose on the President under TPA? Does TPA affect congressional authority on trade policy?
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Appointment and Confirmation of Executive Branch Leadership: An Overview

Appointment and Confirmation of Executive Branch Leadership: An Overview

Date: June 22, 2015
Creator: Hogue, Henry B. & Carey, Maeve P.
Description: This report begins by explaining the three distinct stages that comprise the advice and consent process, which is the means through which most of these positions are filled. The report then provides an overview of recess appointments and briefly discusses other options that are available to Presidents for temporarily filling vacant advice and consent positions. Finally, it discusses certain types of statutory provisions that Congress has applied selectively to specific advice and consent positions in the executive branch.
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Legislative Research for Congressional Staff: How to Find Documents and Other Resources

Legislative Research for Congressional Staff: How to Find Documents and Other Resources

Date: June 22, 2015
Creator: Cornell, Ada S.; Greene, Michael & Hanson, Laura A.
Description: This report is one of a series of reports on legislative process and research; it is intended to serve as a finding aid to sources of information, such as documents, news articles, analysis, contacts and services, used in legislative research.
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