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Legislative Branch Appropriations: Frequently Asked Questions
This report responds to frequently asked questions about legislative branch appropriations. Frequently asked questions include the items that are funded within this bill; development, presentation, and consideration of the legislative branch budget requests; the legislative branch budget in historical perspective; and recent actions.
Congressional Consideration of Resolutions to "Censure" Executive Branch Officials
This report summarizes the parliamentary procedures the House and Senate might use to consider a resolution to censure or condemn an executive branch official and provides links to additional reading material on the subject.
Electing the Speaker of the House of Representatives: Frequently Asked Questions
This report briefly poses and answers several "frequently asked questions" in relation to the floor proceedings used to elect a Speaker of the House. Current practice for electing a Speaker, either at the start of a Congress or in the event of a vacancy (e.g., death or resignation), is by roll-call vote, during which Members state aloud the name of their preferred candidate. Members may vote for any individual. If no candidate receives a majority of votes cast, balloting continues; in subsequent ballots, Members may still vote for any individual.
Senate Committee Rules in the 115th Congress: Key Provisions
This report first provides a brief overview of Senate rules as they pertain to committee actions. The report then provides tables that summarize selected, key features of each committee's rules in regard to meeting day, hearing and meeting notice requirements, scheduling of witnesses, hearing quorum, business quorum, amendment filing requirements, proxy voting, polling, nominations, investigations, and subpoenas. In addition, the report looks at selected unique provisions some committees have included in their rules in the miscellaneous category. The tables represent only a portion of each committee's rules, and provisions of the rules that are substantially similar to or essentially restatements of the Senate's Standing Rules are not included. This report will be not be updated further during the 115th Congress.
Commemorative Coins: Background, Legislative Process, and Issues for Congress
This report discusses the commemorative coin program that allows coins to be created for special events such as centennials and sold at or above face value to raise money for the sponsoring organization. Topics discussed are the history of the program, Congressional procedures for approval of a coin, design processes, and policy issues and implications for Congress to consider.
Congressional Health Coverage: Is the Government Contribution in Limbo?
This report first provides an overview of the statutory framework governing congressional health coverage and the current Office of Personnel Management (OPM) rule, and then addresses certain legal considerations that may come into play should the Trump Administration take action to modify this existing rule.
A Shift in the International Security Environment: Potential Implications for Defense--Issues for Congress
This report discusses the shift in the international security environment from a post Cold-War era to a new one with new priorities, strategies, and needs and implications for U.S. defense policy. Topics discussed include past security environments and indicators of a new one and various areas of defense policy affected.
The First Day of a New Congress: A Guide to Proceedings on the Senate Floor
This report outlines the events and procedures the Senate has on the first day of a new Congress.
Violence Against Members of Congress and Their Staff: Selected Examples and Congressional Responses
This report discusses instances of violence against Members of Congress and their staffs, and provides brief descriptions of a selected list of incidents and previous legislation passed to increase security after attacks. It also includes a list of current legislative proposals in response to the June 14, 2017 attack on Republican Members of Congress at a Congressional baseball game practice in Alexandria, Virginia.
House Committee Chairs: Considerations, Decisions, and Actions as One Congress Ends and a New Congress Begins
This report outlines the roles of a committee chair in Congress and covers the activities of the period from the House's early organization meetings in November to approximately March or April following the convening of a new Congress.
Constitutional Points of Order in the Senate
This report identifies 17 constitutional points of order that have been raised and received a Senate vote since 1989. Eleven of these cases were disposed of negatively.
Introduction to the Legislative Process in the U.S. Congress
This report introduces the main steps through which a bill (or other item of business) may travel in the legislative process--from introduction to committee and floor consideration to possible presidential consideration. However, the process by which a bill can become law is rarely predictable and can vary significantly from bill to bill. In fact, for many bills, the process will not follow the sequence of congressional stages that are often understood to make up the legislative process.This report presents a look at each of the common stages through which a bill may move, but complications and variations abound in practice.
Reauthorization of the Perkins Act in the 115th Congress: Comparison of Current Law and H.R. 2353
This report highlights the key provisions in H.R. 2353 and explains the major differences between it and current law.
Points of Order, Rulings, and Appeals in the House of Representatives
This report discusses points of order in the House of Representatives and how they are enforced.
Field Hearings: Fact Sheet on Purposes, Rules, Regulations, and Guidelines
This report outlines the basic facts on what a Congressional field hearing is and the rules authorizing and regulating them along with current examples of field hearings from the 115th Congress.
Defense Primer: A Guide for New Members
This report discusses series of short primers developed by CRS to give Members of Congress an overview of key aspects of the Department of Defense and how Congress exercises authority over it. A consolidated list of these primers is contained in this report, along with links to each document.
House Rules Manual: Summary of Contents
This report provides a brief summary of the contents of the "House Rules and Manual" that governs the procedures of the House of Representatives.
Congressional Liaison Offices of Selected Federal Agencies
This report consists of a list of about 200 congressional liaison offices intended to help congressional offices in placing telephone calls and addressing correspondence to government agencies. Entries are arranged alphabetically in four sections: legislative branch; judicial branch; executive branch; and agencies, boards, and commissions.
Congress's Contempt Power and the Enforcement of Congressional Subpoenas: Law, History, Practice, and Procedure
This report examines the source of the contempt power, reviews the historical development of the early case law, outlines the statutory and common law basis for Congress's contempt power, and analyzes the procedures associated with inherent contempt, criminal contempt, and the civil enforcement of subpoenas. The report also includes a detailed discussion of two recent information access disputes that led to the approval of contempt citations in the House against then-White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten and former White House Counsel Harriet Miers, as well as Attorney General Eric Holder. Finally, the report discusses both non-constitutional and constitutionally based limitations on the contempt power.
U.S. Role in the World: Background and Issues for Congress
This report presents background information and issues for Congress on the overarching U.S. foreign policy issue of the U.S. role in the world. Certain statements and actions from the Trump Administration have led to uncertainty about the Administration's intentions regarding the future U.S. role, and have intensified an ongoing debate among foreign policy specialists, strategists, policymakers, and the public about what that role should be. This report includes (particularly in its appendixes) references to other CRS products that provide more in-depth discussions of specific policy and program areas bearing on the U.S. role.
Selected Homeland Security Issues in the 115th Congress
This report outlines an array of homeland security issues that may come before the 115th Congress. After a brief discussion of the definitions of homeland security, the homeland security budget, and the role of homeland security actors in the intelligence community, the report divides the specific issues into five broad categories: Counterterrorism and Security Management; Border Security and Trade; Disaster Preparedness, Response, and Recovery; Cybersecurity; and DHS Management Issues. Each of those areas contains a survey of topics briefly analyzed by Congressional Research Service experts. The information included only scratches the surface of most of these selected issues. More detailed information on these topics and others can be obtained by consulting the CRS reports referenced herein, or by contacting the relevant CRS expert.
Commodity Futures Trading Commission: Proposed Reauthorization in the 115th Congress
This report describes the re-authorization of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), created in 1974.
Sponsorship and Cosponsorship of House Bills
This report briefly discusses the processes of sponsoring, cosponsoring, and gaining cosponsors for bills in the House of Representatives.
Blue-Slipping: Enforcing the Origination Clause in the House of Representatives
This report discusses the House enforcement of its prerogative by blue-slipping a measure upon its initial receipt from the Senate or during its consideration on the House floor.
Venezuela: Background and U.S. Policy
This report examines the political and economic situation in Venezuela and U.S.-Venezuelan relations. It is divided into three main sections -- political background, current political and economic environment, U.S. relations and policy -- and also includes introductory and outlook information.
Members' Representational Allowance: History and Usage
This report provides a history and overview of the Members' Representational Allowance (MRA) and examines spending patterns in recent years.
The Holman Rule (House Rule XXI, Clause 2(b))
This report provides a history of the Holman Rule in House rules and an analysis of precedents that are illustrative of its possible application.
Defining Readiness: Background and Issues for Congress
This report discusses how differing uses of the term "readiness" affect congressional debate, but does not evaluate the current state of the U.S. military or provide a conclusive definition of readiness. It also considers how the different uses of the term readiness relate to certain issues: Is there a readiness crisis? What should the U.S. military be ready for? How should readiness be measured? How does the FY2018 budget request affect the U.S. military's readiness?
Violence Against Members of Congress and Their Staff: A Brief Overview
This report discusses questions about the personal security and safety of Members of Congress and their staffs.
Export-Import Bank: Frequently Asked Questions
This report addresses frequently-asked questions about the Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank, grouped in the following categories: congressional interest and the Ex-Im Bank reauthorization debate; market context; international context; organizational structure and management; programs; statutory requirements and policies; risk management; budget and appropriations; implications of a sunset in authority; and historical and current approaches to reauthorization.
What Is the Effect of Enacting a Congressional Review Act Resolution of Disapproval?
This report discusses the Congressional Review Act (CRA), which provides Congress with a set of special parliamentary procedures to consider legislation to overturn federal regulations.
Membership of the 115th Congress: A Profile
This report presents a profile of the membership of the 115th Congress (2017-2018) as of January 4, 2017. Statistical information is included on selected characteristics of Members, including data on party affiliation, average age, occupation, education, length of congressional service, religious affiliation, gender, ethnicity, foreign births, and military service.
Membership of the 115th Congress: A Profile
This report presents a profile of the membership of the 115th Congress (2017-2018) as of March 13, 2017. Statistical information is included on selected characteristics of Members, including data on party affiliation, average age, occupation, education, length of congressional service, religious affiliation, gender, ethnicity, foreign births, and military service.
U.S. Senate Vacancies: Contemporary Developments and Perspectives
This report provides information on current vacancies in the Senate, the constitutional origins of the Senate vacancy clause, the appointment process by which most vacancies are filled, and related contemporary issues.
Defense Primer: A Guide for New Members
This report describes the power of the Congress over the armed forces, including the power to "to raise and support Armies," "to provide and maintain a Navy," "to make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces" and "to provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States...", as well as references to other reports on related topics.
House Office of Congressional Ethics: History, Authority, and Procedures
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.
"Dear Colleague" Letters in the House of Representatives: Past Practices and Issues for Congress
This report report provides a comparative analysis of how the use of the e-"Dear Colleague" system in the House of Representatives has changed between the 111th Congress (2009-2010) and the 113th Congress (2013-2014). This report provides an overview of the data and methodology used to evaluate "Dear Colleague" letter usage, discusses the characteristics and purpose of "Dear Colleague" letters, and discusses questions for Congress and observations on the use of "Dear Colleague" letters as a form of internal communications.
Resolutions of Inquiry in the House
This report examines the use of resolutions of inquiry in the House of Representatives from 1947 to 2011. A resolution of inquiry is a measure that formally calls on the executive branch to provide specified factual information to Congress.
Legislative Branch: FY2017 Appropriations
The first section of this report provides an overview of the consideration of fiscal year 2017 legislative branch appropriations, with subsections covering each action. It is followed by a section on prior year actions and funding, which contains historical tables. The report then addresses the FY2017 budget requests, requested administrative language, and selected funding issues for individual legislative branch agencies and entities.
Expedited Procedures Governing Senate Consideration of Legislation Waiving a Restriction Related to the Military Service of the Secretary of Defense
This report discusses the Section 179 of the Further Continuing and Security Assistance Appropriations Act, 2017 (P.L. 114-254), which establishes expedited or "fast track" parliamentary procedures governing Senate consideration of legislation that would waive a legal restriction related to the prior military service of the Secretary of Defense.
The Budget Reconciliation Process: Stages of Consideration
This report discusses the budget reconciliation process which allows Congress to use an expedited procedure when considering legislation that would bring existing spending, revenue, and debt limit laws into compliance with current fiscal priorities established in the annual budget resolution.
Questions of Privilege in the House
This report describes and discusses the difference between privileged business and questions of privilege.
Presidential Appointee Positions Requiring Senate Confirmation and Committees Handling Nominations
This report identifies, by Senate committee, presidentially-appointed positions requiring Senate confirmation based on referrals as of the date of passage of S. 679, which became P.L. 112-166 on August 10, 2012.
Defense Authorization and Appropriations Bills: FY1970-FY2017
This report is a research aid that lists the Department of Defense (DOD) authorization bills (Table 1) and appropriations bills (Table 2) for FY1970-FY2017. This report includes all the pertinent information on the passage of these bills through the legislative process: bill numbers, report numbers, dates reported and passed, recorded vote numbers and vote tallies, dates of passage of the conference reports with their numbers and votes, vetoes, substitutions, dates of final passage, and public law numbers.
Agency Final Rules Submitted on or After June 13, 2016, May Be Subject to Disapproval by the 115th Congress
This report discusses the possibility of the new Congress and the new President to overturn agency final rules of the Obama Administration issued after early June 2016.
Considering Measures in the House Under the One-Hour Rule
This report discusses the fundamental rule of the House of Representatives governing debate is the one-hour rule.
Defense Primer: A Guide for New Members
This report describes the power of the Congress over the armed forces, including the power to "to raise and support Armies," "to provide and maintain a Navy," "to make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces" and "to provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States.... "
Venezuela: Background and U.S. Relations
This report examines the political and economic situation in Venezuela and U.S.-Venezuelan relations. It is divided into three main sections -- political background, current political and economic environment, U.S. relations and policy -- and also includes introductory and outlook information.
The Committee Markup Process in the House of Representatives
This report focuses on the markup stage of the legislative process in committee. It discusses the selection of the text to be marked up, the procedures for proposing and debating amendments to that text, the voting and quorum procedures that govern markups, and the final stages of ordering the marked-up text reported to the House for its consideration.
Membership of the 114th Congress: A Profile
This report presents a profile of the membership of the 114th Congress (2015-2016). Statistical information is included on selected characteristics of Members, including data on party affiliation, average age, occupation, education, length of congressional service, religious affiliation, gender, ethnicity, foreign births, and military service.