Congressional Research Service Reports - Browse

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Speaker Hastert's Plan to Offset Spending: A Procedural Perspective
No Description Available.
Legislative Procedures for Adjusting the Public Debt Limit: A Brief Overview
No Description Available.
Appropriations Bills: What is Report Language?
When the Senate or House Appropriations Committee reports an appropriations bill to the full Senate or House, respectively, the committee typically publishes a committee report explaining the bill. This fact sheet provides a brief overview of what these reports entail and the language used within them.
Consolidating Intelligence Appropriation and Authorization in a Single Committee: 9/11 Commission Recommendation and Alternatives
This report focuses on the commission’s proposal, to consolidate appropriation and authorization functions in the existing Senate and House Select Intelligence Committees. The report (1) describes the proposal; (2) compares it to the existing committee system; (3) describes a 19th century precedent for consolidation; (4) provides selected arguments in favor of consolidation as well as against; (5) discusses two alternatives to consolidating authorization and appropriation functions: a Joint Committee on Intelligence and separate intelligence appropriations subcommittees in the Senate and House Committees on Appropriations; and (6) describes current legislation.
Senate Rule XIV Procedures for Placing Measures Directly on the Senate Calendar
This report describes the Senate Rule XIV, para. 2, which requires that bills and resolutions have three readings before passage, and that they be read twice before being referred to committee.
Congressional Budget Resolutions: Revisions and Adjustments
Following a brief discussion of budget resolutions and the congressional budget process, this report examines the several ways in which budget levels and other matters included in budget resolutions may be revised or adjusted, the authorities that underpin the making of such revisions and adjustments, and actual practices of the House and Senate in this regard.
Homeland Security Act of 2002: Legislative History and Pagination Key
No Description Available.
Congress and the Courts: Current Policy Issues
The purposes of this report are to examine the Congress-court connection along several discrete, but overlapping, dimensions. First, the constitutional authority of Congress and the judiciary is summarized briefly. Second, the report highlights the court’s role as legislative-executive “umpire” and federal-state “referee” in our constitutional system. Third, the report discusses the court’s part in statutory interpretation as well as the diverse ways Congress may “check and balance” the judiciary. Fourth, the paper reviews several current controversies associated with the judicial nominations process. Fifth, the state of play with respect to the so-called “nuclear” or “constitutional” option for ending judicial filibusters is discussed along with the compromise that so far has averted use of this procedural maneuver in the Senate. Finally, the report closes with several observations about the judicial nominations process.
House Committee Funding Requests and Authorizations, 104th-109th Congresses
No Description Available.
Senate Committee Funding Resolutions, 109th Congress, and Funding Authorizations 104th-109th Congresses
No Description Available.
Appropriations Subcommittee Structure: History of Changes from 1920-2005
This report details the evolution of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees’ subcommittee structure from the 1920s to the present.
Informing Congress: The Role of the Executive in Times of War and Military Conflict, 1941-2001
No Description Available.
Omnibus Appropriations Act: Overview of Recent Practices
No Description Available.
Presidential Advisers' Testimony Before Congressional Committees: An Overview
No Description Available.
Biennial Budgeting: Issues and Options
Biennial budgeting is a concept that may include several variations. It may involve multiyear authorizations, two-year budget resolutions, or two-year appropriations, or some combination of the three. Most proposals incorporate all three factors. This report presents the view of proponent and critics of biennial budgeting.
Debt-Limit Legislation in the Congressional Budget Process
The gross federal debt consists of the debt held by the public plus the debt held by government accounts. Almost all of the gross federal debt is subject to a public debt limit, as set forth in statute (31 U.S.C. 3101).This report considers legislation needed to change the public debt limit.
House Rules Changes Affecting the Congressional Budget Process in the 109th Congress (H.Res.5)
No Description Available.
Committee System Rules Changes in the House, 109th Congress
This fact sheet details changes in the committee system contained in H.Res. 5, the rules of the House for the 109th Congress, agreed to by the House January 4, 2005, and the Speaker’s announced policies.
Availability of Legislative Proposals in the House of Representatives (The "Three-Day Rule")
House rules govern the length of time legislative proposals must be available to Members prior to being considered on the floor. For measures reported from committee, the committee report must have been available for three calendar days. Conference reports must also have been available for three calendar days, and special rules for considering measures for one legislative day. The House, however, also has several means by which it can choose to waive these availability requirements and call up, debate, and vote on a measure in a single calendar day, even if the text of the measure was not made available prior to consideration.
Revenue Reconciliation Directives to the Senate Finance Committee in Congressional Budget Resolutions
No Description Available.
Revenue Reconciliation Directives to the Senate Finance Committee in Congressional Budget Resolutions
No Description Available.
The Congressional Budget Process: A Brief Overview
The term “budget process,” when applied to the federal government, actually refers to a number of processes that have evolved separately and that occur with varying degrees of coordination. This overview, and the accompanying flow chart, are intended to describe in brief each of the parts of the budget process that involve Congress, clarify the role played by each, and explain how they operate together. They include the President’s budget submission, the budget resolution, reconciliation, sequestration, authorizations, and appropriations.
Climate Change Legislation in the 109th Congress
Climate change and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are a continuing issue in the 109th Congress. Bills directly addressing climate change issues range from those focused primarily on climate change research to comprehensive emissions cap-and-trade programs. Additional bills focus on GHG reporting and registries, or on power plant emissions of carbon dioxide, as part of wider controls on pollutant emissions. The bills vary in their approaches to climate change issues. This report briefly discusses the basic concepts on which these bills are based and compares major provisions of the bills in each of the following categories: climate change research, technology deployment, GHG reporting and registries, and emissions reduction programs.
PAYGO Rules for Budget Enforcement in the House and Senate
No Description Available.
House Rules Changes Affecting Floor Procedures in the 109th Congress
No Description Available.
Changing Senate Rules: The "Constitutional" or "Nuclear" Option
This report indicates possible attempts to curtail the use of filibusters in the Senate, perhaps in the 109th Congress. Some have suggested that proponents of this idea may invoke something called the “nuclear” or “constitutional” option in Senate floor procedure to try to end a filibuster without the need for 60 votes or to amend the cloture rule (Rule XXII) itself. This report presents several possible scenarios that would require one or more of the Senate’s precedents be overturned or interpreted otherwise than in the past.
Pakistan's Domestic Political Developments
No Description Available.
Pakistan's Domestic Political Developments
No Description Available.
Pakistan's Domestic Political Developments
No Description Available.
The Mid-Session Review of the President’s Budget: Timing Issues
No Description Available.
Congress’s Power Under the Commerce Clause: The Impact of Recent Court Decisions
This report will first review the current Supreme Court case law with respect to the Commerce Clause. Second, it will examine the analysis used and the results of the three lower court opinions. Finally, two areas of tension that appear to exist within the Court’s jurisprudence, and the potential implications that resolution of these conflicts may have on congressional power under the Commerce Clause will be examined.
Congressional Budget Actions in 2004
During the second session of the 108th Congress, the House and Senate considered many different budgetary measures. Most of them pertained to FY2005 (referred to as the “budget year”) and beyond. In addition, some made adjustments to the budget for FY2004 (referred to as the “current year”). This report describes House and Senate action on major budgetary legislation within the framework of the congressional budget process and other procedural requirements.
Proposals to Amend the Senate Cloture Rule
No Description Available.
Congressionally Chartered Nonprofit Organizations ("Title 36 Corporations"): What They Are and How Congress Treats Them
This report discusses a category of congressionally chartered nonprofit organizations that have as their purpose the promotion of patriotic, charitable, educational, and other eleemosynary activities . Title 36 of the United States Code, where such corporate organizations are listed with their charters, was re-codified by law in 1998 (EL 105-225).
Clean Water Act Issues in the 109th Congress
Congress has recently focused legislative attention on narrow bills to extend or modify selected Clean Water Act (CWA) programs, rather than taking up comprehensive proposals. In the 109th Congress, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee has approved S. 1400, a bill authorizing $20 billion in federal grants to capitalize state clean water infrastructure loan programs. Also, a House committee has approved bills to reauthorize several Clean Water Act programs: H.R. 624 would provide $1.5 billion in grants over six years for sewer overflow projects; H.R. 1359 would extend a pilot program for alternative water source projects; H.R. 1721 would reauthorize coastal water quality programs; and H.R. 3963 would extend the Long Island Sound Program.
Clean Water Act Issues in the 109th Congress
Congress has recently focused legislative attention on narrow bills to extend or modify selected Clean Water Act (CWA) programs, rather than taking up comprehensive proposals. In the 109th Congress, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee has approved S. 1400, a bill authorizing $20 billion in federal grants to capitalize state clean water infrastructure loan programs. Also, a House committee has approved bills to reauthorize several Clean Water Act programs: H.R. 624 would provide $1.5 billion in grants over six years for sewer overflow projects; H.R. 1359 would extend a pilot program for alternative water source projects; H.R. 1721 would reauthorize coastal water quality programs; and H.R. 3963 would extend the Long Island Sound Program.
Clean Water Act Issues in the 109th Congress
Congress has recently focused legislative attention on narrow bills to extend or modify selected Clean Water Act (CWA) programs, rather than taking up comprehensive proposals. In the 109th Congress, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee has approved S. 1400, a bill authorizing $20 billion in federal grants to capitalize state clean water infrastructure loan programs. Also, a House committee has approved bills to reauthorize several Clean Water Act programs: H.R. 624 would provide $1.5 billion in grants over six years for sewer overflow projects; H.R. 1359 would extend a pilot program for alternative water source projects; H.R. 1721 would reauthorize coastal water quality programs; and H.R. 3963 would extend the Long Island Sound Program.
Clean Air Act Issues in the 109th Congress
Major amendments to the Clean Air Act were among the first items on the agenda of the 109th Congress, with S. 131 (the Clear Skies Act) scheduled for markup by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee March 9. The most prominent air quality issues discussed in this report are; Clear Skies / Multi-Pollutant Legislation, Mercury from Power Plants, New Source Review (NSR), MTBE and Ethanol, Ozone Nonattainment Area Deadlines, Conformity of Transportation Plans and SIPs.
Trade Promotion Authority: Possible Vote on Two-Year Extension
No Description Available.
Agricultural Issues in the 109th Congress
A number of issues affecting U.S. agriculture are receiving attention during the 109th Congress. Some are related to new initiatives or to unfinished legislation from the 108th Congress; others have been the focus of ongoing congressional oversight. The agriculture committees are required by the FY2006 budget resolution to report legislation this year that reduces spending on mandatory food and agriculture support programs by $3 billion over the next five years. Other issues of importance to agriculture during the 109th Congress include the possible reauthorization of an expiring dairy support program; multilateral and bilateral trade negotiations; concerns about agroterrorism, food safety, and animal and plant diseases (e.g., “mad cow” disease and Asian soybean rust); high energy costs; environmental issues; and a number of agricultural marketing matters. Although the current (2002) farm bill (P.L. 107-171) generally does not expire until 2007, the agriculture committees could begin hearings on a new measure later this year. This report will be updated if significant developments ensue.
Membership of the 109th Congress: A Profile
No Description Available.
Department of Homeland Security: Options for House and Senate Committee Organization
With the passage of H.R. 5710, to create a new Department of Homeland Security, Congress has begun discussions regarding the appropriate congressional structure to conduct oversight and fund the new department. Section 1503 of the legislation states the sense of Congress that each chamber should review its committee structure in light of the reorganization of the executive branch. This report addresses some of the options currently being discussed and provides information on legislation in the 107th Congress that attempts to alter the current committee system.
The First Day of a New Congress: A Guide to Proceedings on the Senate Floor
No Description Available.
Executive Order 12919: Emergency Powers of the President
Executive Order 12919 concerns industrial preparedness during times of war and national emergency. This brief report uses simple language to describe what Executive Order 12919 does. It is intended to clarify common misunderstandings about the Order’s purpose and scope.
Suspension of Budget Enforcement Procedures During Hostilities Abroad
No Description Available.
The Budget Reconciliation Process: House and Senate Procedures
The budget reconciliation process is an optional procedure that operates as an adjunct to the budget resolution process established by the Congressional Budget Act of 1974. The chief purpose of the reconciliation process is to enhance Congress’s ability to change current law in order to bring revenue, spending, and debt-limit levels into conformity with the policies of the annual budget resolution. Reconciliation is a two-stage process. First, reconciliation directives are included in the budget resolution, instructing the appropriate committees to develop legislation achieving the desired budgetary outcomes. The second step involves consideration of the resultant reconciliation legislation by the House and Senate under expedited procedures.
Commonly Used Motions and Requests in the House of Representatives
This report identifies the most commonly used motions and requests available to Members during proceedings in the House of Representatives. The report divides the motions and requests into seven broad categories, based on when the motion or request is in order and who can make the motion or request. Daily Business is the category that includes items that are routine to the conduct of business in the House each day, such as the motion to adjourn. Decorum and Privilege covers issues of the rights and privileges of Members and the House and how Members conduct themselves on the floor.
The Capitol Visitor Center: An Overview
This report presents the cost of the center, the most extensive addition to the Capitol since the Civil War, and the largest in the structure’s more than 200-year history, is now estimated to be at least $555 million. The project is being financed with appropriated funds, and a total of $65 million from private donations and revenue generated by the sale of commemorative coins.
Congressional Access to Executive Branch Information: Legislative Tools
This report begins by reviewing the precedents established during the Washington Administration for withholding documents from Congress. Close examination reveals that the scope of presidential privilege is often exaggerated. Congress had access to more documentation than is commonly believed and might have had more had it pressed for it. Subsequent sections focus on various forms of congressional leverage: the power of the purse, the power to impeach, issuing congressional subpoenas, holding executive officials in contempt, House resolutions of inquiry, GAO investigations, and blocking nominations, all of which may force executive officials to release documents they would otherwise want to keep private and confidential. Even if Presidents announce perfectly plausible grounds for withholding documents, they may have to comply with the congressional will to achieve other more important goals.
The Budget Reconciliation Process: The Senate's "Byrd" Rule
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. The Byrd rule 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.