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Congressional Oversight of Intelligence: Current Structure and Alternatives

Description: This report describes the Select Committees on Intelligence and then the former Joint Committee on Atomic Energy, often cited as a model for a counterpart on intelligence. The study also sets forth proposed characteristics for a joint committee on intelligence, differences among these, and their pros and cons.
Date: March 29, 2010
Creator: Kaiser, Frederick M.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Navy Aegis Cruiser and Destroyer Modernization: Background and Issues for Congress

Description: The Navy has begun a multi-billion dollar program to modernize its 84 existing Aegis cruisers and destroyers over a period of more than 20 years. This report explores this program in detail, including the reasons for the program and the oversight issues it poses for Congress.
Date: March 31, 2010
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Military Commissions Act of 2009: Overview and Legal Issues

Description: This report provides a background and analysis comparing military commissions as envisioned under the revised Military Commissions Act (MCA) to those established in 2006. After reviewing the history of the implementation of military commissions in the "global war on terrorism," the report provides an overview of the procedural safeguards provided in the MCA. Finally, the report provides two tables comparing the MCA as amended by the MCA 2009 to the original MCA enacted in 2006 and to general courts-martial.
Date: April 6, 2010
Creator: Elsea, Jennifer K.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Navy Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Program: Background, Issues, and Options for Congress

Description: This report provides background information and potential issues for Congress on the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), a relatively inexpensive Navy surface combatant equipped with modular "plug-and-fight" mission packages. The Navy's proposed FY2012 budget requests funding for the procurement of four LCSs.
Date: April 8, 2010
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Role of the Senate in Judicial Impeachment Proceedings: Procedure, Practice, and Data

Description: This report examines the history, practice, and procedures of the Senate in fulfilling its constitutional obligation to try and to vote whether to convict and impose judgment upon judges impeached by the House of Representatives. It includes an overview of the process, and sections that discuss rules governing Senate impeachment proceedings, organizing the Senate for trial, the role of the Presiding Officer, the use of an impeachment trial committee, deliberation and judgment by the full senate, length of Senate impeachment trials, and concluding observations.
Date: April 9, 2010
Creator: Navarro Smelcer, Susan
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Speed of Presidential and Senate Actions on Supreme Court Nominations, 1900-2010

Description: This report provides information on the amount of time taken to act on all Supreme Court nominations occurring between 1900 and 2010. It focuses on the actual amounts of time that Presidents and the Senate have taken to act after learning about vacancies, selections, etc. (as opposed to the elapsed time between official points in the process).
Date: April 21, 2010
Creator: Garrett, R. Sam & Rutkus, Denis Steven
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The War Powers Resolution: After Thirty-Six Years

Description: This report discusses and assesses the War Powers Resolution and its application since enactment in 1973, providing detailed background on various cases in which it was used, as well as cases in which issues of its applicability were raised.
Date: April 22, 2010
Creator: Grimmett, Richard F.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Navy Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Program: Background, Issues, and Options for Congress

Description: This report provides background information and potential issues for Congress on the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), a relatively inexpensive Navy surface combatant equipped with modular "plug-and-fight" mission packages. The Navy's proposed FY2012 budget requests funding for the procurement of four LCSs. Current issues for Congress concerning the LCS program include changes or potential changes to the composition of LCS mission modules announced by the Navy in January 2011, the combat survivability of the LCS, and hull cracking on LCS-1. Congress's decisions on the LCS program could affect Navy capabilities and funding requirements, and the shipbuilding industrial base.
Date: May 4, 2010
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Navy Aegis Cruiser and Destroyer Modernization: Background and Issues for Congress

Description: The Navy has begun a multi-billion dollar program to modernize its 84 existing Aegis cruisers and destroyers over a period of more than 20 years. This report explores this program in detail, including the reasons for the program and the oversight issues it poses for Congress.
Date: June 10, 2010
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Navy Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Program: Background, Issues, and Options for Congress

Description: This report discusses current issues for Congress concerning the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) program including the program's mission modules, the combat survivability of the LCS, hull cracking and engine problems on LCS-1, and corrosion on LCS-2. The LCS is a relatively inexpensive Navy surface combatant equipped with modular "plug-and-fight" mission packages.
Date: June 10, 2010
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Navy Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Program: Background, Issues, and Options for Congress

Description: This report provides background information and potential issues for Congress on the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), a relatively inexpensive Navy surface combatant equipped with modular "plug-and-fight" mission packages. The Navy's proposed FY2012 budget requests funding for the procurement of four LCSs. Current issues for Congress concerning the LCS program include changes or potential changes to the composition of LCS mission modules announced by the Navy in January 2011, the combat survivability of the LCS, and hull cracking on LCS-1. Congress's decisions on the LCS program could affect Navy capabilities and funding requirements, and the shipbuilding industrial base.
Date: June 21, 2010
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Nunn-McCurdy Act: Background, Analysis, and Issues for Congress

Description: This report discusses the debate regarding the effectiveness of the Nunn-McCurdy Act, which requires DOD to report to Congress whenever a major defense acquisition program experiences cost overruns that exceed certain thresholds. The purpose of the act was to help control cost growth in major defense systems by holding the appropriate Pentagon officials and defense contractors publicly accountable and responsible for managing costs.
Date: June 21, 2010
Creator: Schwartz, Moshe
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Congressional Member Organizations: Their Purpose and Activities, History, and Formation

Description: This report examines the purpose and activities of CMOs and the reasons Members form them. It also identifies and describes seven CMO types, and it provides an overview of the historical development of informal Member organizations since the first Congress, focusing on their regulation in the House by the Committee on House Oversight/Committee on House Administration, the rise and fall of legislative service organizations, and the House’s decision in 1995 to issue regulations for establishing CMOs and governing their behavior. It concludes with a step-by-step guide for House Members and staff who might be interested in forming a CMO. Many of the steps in the guide may be of interest to Senators and their staff who are considering forming an informal Member group in the Senate.
Date: June 28, 2010
Creator: Dilger, Robert Jay
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Party Leaders in the United States Congress, 1789-2010

Description: This report briefly describes current responsibilities and selection mechanisms for 15 House and Senate party leadership posts and provides tables with historical data, including service dates, party affiliation, and other information for each.
Date: June 29, 2010
Creator: Heitshusen, Valerie
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Budget Reconciliation Process: The Senate's "Byrd Rule"

Description: 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. This report discusses the Byrd rule, which 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.
Date: July 2, 2010
Creator: Keith, Robert
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

U.S.-Funded Assistance Programs in China

Description: This report provides legislative and policy background concerning U.S. assistance programs in the People's Republic of China (PRC). The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) does not have an official presence in China. The majority of congressional foreign operations appropriations for the PRC promotes the rule of law, civil society, and political development in the country. These programs constitute a key component of U.S. efforts to promote democratic change in the PRC. Other related U.S. activities include participation in official bilateral dialogues on human rights, public diplomacy programs, and open criticism of PRC policies.
Date: July 9, 2010
Creator: Lum, Thomas
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Federalism, State Sovereignty, and the Constitution: Basis and Limits of Congressional Power

Description: The lines of authority between states and the federal government are, to a significant extent, defined by the United States Constitution and relevant case law. In recent years, however, the Supreme Court has decided a number of cases that would seem to reevaluate this historical relationship. This report discusses state and federal legislative power generally, focusing on a number of these "federalism" cases.
Date: July 12, 2010
Creator: Thomas, Kenneth R.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Office of the Parliamentarian in the House and Senate

Description: This report discusses the Office of the Parliamentarian, which provides expert advice and assistance on questions relating to the meaning and application of that chamber's legislative rules, precedents, and practices, in both the House and Senate. The Speaker began naming a parliamentarian in 1927; the Senate first recognized its parliamentarian in 1935.
Date: July 14, 2010
Creator: Heitshusen, Valerie
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Proposals to Change the Operation of Cloture in the Senate

Description: This report provides a brief history of the Senate cloture rule, explains its main features and the arguments made by supporters and opponents of these features, outlines a range of proposals to change its operation, and briefly explains the methods by which the Senate might change its rules or practices.
Date: July 27, 2010
Creator: Davis, Christopher M.; Heitshusen, Valerie & Palmer, Betsy
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Deprivation of Honest Services as a Basis for Federal Mail and Wire Fraud Convictions

Description: The United States Supreme Court in Skilling v. United States construed the honest services branch of the federal mail and wire fraud statutes to reach no more than cases involving bribery or kickbacks. The mail and wire fraud statutes, 18 U.S.C. §§ 1341 and 1343, impose criminal penalties for the use of mail or interstate wire communications to deprive another of money or property through a "scheme or artifice to defraud." This report discusses wire and mail fraud and examines relevant court cases.
Date: July 28, 2010
Creator: Doyle, Charles
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department