House Resolutions of Inquiry Page: 2 of 29
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House Resolutions of Inquiry
The resolution of inquiry is a simple House resolution that seeks factual
information from the executive branch. Such resolutions are given privileged status
under House rules and may be considered at any time after being properly reported
or discharged from committee. Such resolutions apply only to requests for facts -
not opinions - within an Administration's control. This report explains the history,
procedure, specific uses of resolutions of inquiry, and notes recent increases in their
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. Data from more recent Congresses suggest a potential change in the
use and efficacy of these privileged resolutions.
For other CRS reports regarding legislative techniques for obtaining information
from the executive branch, see CRS Report 95-464, Investigative Oversight: An
Introduction to the Law, Practice and Procedure of Congressional Inquiry, by
Morton Rosenberg, and CRS Report RL30240, Congressional Oversight Manual, by
Frederick M. Kaiser, Walter J. Oleszek, T. J. Halstead, Morton Rosenberg, and Todd
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House Resolutions of Inquiry, report, November 25, 2008; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc815792/m1/2/: accessed February 17, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.