Congressional Research Service Reports - Browse

ABOUT BROWSE FEED
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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.
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.
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.
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.
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.... "
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.
Questions of Privilege in the House
This report describes and discusses the difference between privileged business and questions of privilege.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Women in Congress, 1917-2016: Biographical and Committee Assignment Information, and Listings by State and Congress
This report includes biographical information for the 313 women who have been elected or appointed to Congress including names, committee assignments, dates of service, listings by Congress and state, and (for Representatives) congressional districts.
The First Day of a New Congress: A Guide to Proceedings on the House Floor
This report focuses on the floor activities of the House of Representatives during its first formal session in a new Congress, and serves as a guide for those participating in or watching these proceedings.
Congress's Early Organization Meetings
This report discusses Congress's early organization meetings. The purposes of these meetings are both educational and organizational. Educational sessions range from legislative procedures and staff hiring to current issues.
Statutorily Required Federal Advisory Committees that Began Operations in FY2015
This report discusses the establishment of the federal advisory committees--sometimes called task forces, panels, commissions, working groups, boards, councils, or conferences.
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.
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.
Evolution of the Meaning of "Waters of the United States" in the Clean Water Act
This report outlines how the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 (BCTPAA) regulates the eligibility of covered trade agreements for expedited consideration, describes the operation of the statutory expedited procedures for considering implementing bills, and discusses how Congress may use the procedural mechanisms established by the act, as well as other pertinent rules of each chamber, to retain a substantial measure of control over legislation to implement covered trade agreements.
Overview of Funding Mechanisms in the Federal Budget Process, and Selected Examples
This report explains various funding mechanisms used to fund federal programs and activities including timelines for budgetary decisionmaking and processes (e.g., committees); it illustrates the mechanisms with examples of how they have been applied in practice. How a particular funding mechanism is structured requires tradeoffs between the frequency of congressional review and the predictability of funding for the program.
Acquisition Reform in the House and Senate Versions of the FY2017 National Defense Authorization Act
This report focuses on the sections of the House and Senate versions of the Fiscal Year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 4909 and S. 2943, respectively) that appear closely linked to the respective armed services committees' stated efforts to reform the acquisition system. For purposes of this analysis, CRS selected 31 sections of the House bill and 67 sections of the Senate bill.
Expulsion, Censure, Reprimand, and Fine: Legislative Discipline in the House of Representatives
This report discusses the processes of expulsion and censure in the House of Representatives. The House is expressly authorized within the United States Constitution (Article I, Section 5, clause 2) to discipline or "punish" its own Members. It is designed as a measure to protect the institutional integrity of the House of Representatives, its proceedings and its reputation.
Midnight Rules: Congressional Oversight and Options
This report discusses "midnight rulemaking," referring to the phenomenon during the final months of recent presidential administrations when federal agencies have typically issued a larger number of rules relative to comparable time periods earlier in the administration. It likely occurs because the outgoing presidential administration wants to achieve certain policy goals before the end of its term.
Salaries of Members of Congress: Congressional Votes, 1990-2016
This report contains information on actions taken that affect the salaries for members of Congress, broken down by year and starting with the establishment of the Ethics Reform Act adjustment procedure (1990). It also provides background on the most recent developments and information on other related floor action.
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.
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.
Legislative Branch: FY2017 Appropriations
The first section of this report provides an overview of the consideration of FY2017 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.
"Sense of" Resolutions and Provisions
This report discusses specific kinds of resolutions by which Congress may formally express opinions about subjects of current national interest through freestanding simple or concurrent resolutions (called generically "sense of the House," "sense of the Senate," or "sense of the Congress" resolutions). These opinions expressing the views of one or both chambers may be included in other legislation upon introduction or subsequently added by amendment. This report identifies the various forms these expressions may take and the procedures governing such actions.
The Nunn-McCurdy Act: Background, Analysis, and Issues for Congress
This report examines the the Nunn-McCurdy Act, which requires the Department of Defense (DOD) to report to Congress whenever a major defense acquisition program experiences cost overruns that exceed certain thresholds. As a result of the Nunn-McCurdy Act, Congress has increased visibility into the cost performance of the acquisition stage of MDAPs. However, some analysts suggest that Nunn-McCurdy is not a sufficiently comprehensive reporting mechanism.
Legislative Procedures for Adjusting the Public Debt Limit: A Brief Overview
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.
Congressional Nominations to U.S. Service Academies: An Overview and Resources for Outreach and Management
This report describes statutory requirements for allocating congressional nominations to service academies. It also identifies the qualifications that must be met by potential nominees, as established by statute and each academy.
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.
Calling Up Business on the Senate Floor
This report outlines processes or customs most often used by the Senate and then discusses some procedures less often used to call up business. The Senate takes up measures and matters under procedures set in Senate rules and by long-standing customs, thereby giving it flexibility in setting its floor agenda.
Congressional Liaison Offices of Selected Federal Agencies
This report is a list of about 200 congressional liaison offices, intended to help congressional offices in placing telephone calls and addressing correspondence to government agencies. In each case, the information was supplied by the agency itself and is current as of the date of publication. Entries are arranged alphabetically in four sections: legislative branch; judicial branch; executive branch; and agencies, boards, and commissions.
House Committee Chairs: Considerations, Decisions, and Actions as One Congress Ends and a New Congress Begins
This report covers the period from the House's early organization meetings in November to approximately March or April following the convening of a new Congress.
Senators' Official Personnel and Office Expense Account (SOPOEA): History and Usage
This report provides a history of the Senators' Official Personnel and Office Expense Account (SOPOEA) and an overview of recent developments, including funding levels. It also analyzes actual SOPOEA spending patterns in selected years. The allowance is provided on a fiscal year basis (i.e., October 1-September 30) in the annual legislative branch appropriations bills.
Salaries of Members of Congress: Recent Actions and Historical Tables
This report provides historical tables on the rate of pay for Members of Congress since 1789; details on enacted legislation with language prohibiting the automatic annual pay adjustment since the most recent adjustment; the adjustments projected by the Ethics Reform Act as compared with actual adjustments in Member pay; and Member pay in constant and current dollars since 1992.
Senate Committee Rules in the 114th Congress: Key Provisions
This report first provides a brief overview of Senate rules as they pertain to committee actions. It 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.
Agency Final Rules Submitted After May 16, 2016, May Be Subject to Disapproval in 2017 Under the Congressional Review Act
This report briefly discusses The Congressional Review Act (5 U.S.C. ยงยง801-808), enacted as part of the 104th Congress's (1995-1996) "Contract with America," which established a special parliamentary mechanism whereby Congress can disapprove a final rule promulgated by a federal agency. With a change in the occupancy of the White House taking place in 2017, some in Congress are paying renewed attention to a parliamentary mechanism that might enable a new Congress and new President to overturn agency final rules of the Obama Administration issued after mid-May 2016.
Legislative Branch: FY2016 Appropriations
This report provides an overview of the consideration of FY2016 legislative branch appropriations, with subsections covering each action. It also addresses the FY2016 budget requests, hearings, and requested administrative language or other major funding issues for individual legislative branch agencies and entities.
Provisions of the Senate Amendment to H.R. 3762
This report includes a table listing all provisions in H.R. 3762 and the Senate amendment to H.R. 3762 that would amend or repeal Affordable Care Act (ACA) provisions. It also provides a brief explanation of the provisions included in the Senate Amendment to H.R. 3762.
Congress and the Budget: 2016 Actions and Events
This report seeks to assist in (1) anticipating what federal budget-related actions might occur within the year 2016, and (2) staying abreast of budget actions that occur this year. It provides a general description of the recurrent types of budgetary actions, and reflects on current events that unfold in each category during 2016. In addition, it includes information on certain events that may affect Congress's work on the budget, such as the President's budget request and the Congressional Budget Office's budget and economic outlook.
Continuing Resolutions: Overview of Components and Recent Practices
The purpose of this report is to provide an overview of the components of Continuing Resolutions (CRs) and a longitudinal analysis of recent congressional practices. Consequently, the data and analysis in this report are inclusive of all appropriations acts entitled or otherwise designated as providing continuing appropriations. The first section of this report explains six of the possible main components of CRs: coverage, duration, funding rate, restrictions on new activities, anomalies, and legislative provisions. The second section discusses the enactment of regular appropriations prior to the start of the fiscal year and the number of regular appropriations bills enacted through a CR since FY1977. The third section analyzes variations in the number and duration of CRs enacted each fiscal year since FY1997, the most recent fiscal year that all regular appropriations were enacted on time. Finally, the fourth section of this report discusses the features of the 15 CRs that provided funding through the remainder of the fiscal year since FY1977. A list of all CRs enacted between FY1977 and FY2016 is provided at the end of this report in Table 4.
Omnibus Appropriations Acts: Overview of Recent Practices
This report provides pertinent background information, reviews the recent enactment of omnibus appropriation measures, and briefly addresses several issues raised by their use.