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Congressional Franking Privilege: Background and Recent Legislation
This report discusses the congressional franking privilege, which dates from 1775 and allows Members of Congress to transmit mail matter under their signature without postage.
Navy Aegis Cruiser and Destroyer Modernization: Background and Issues for Congress
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.
Congressional Official Mail Costs
The congressional franking privilege allows Members of Congress to send official mail via the U.S. Postal Service at government expense. This report provides information and analysis on the costs of franked mail in the House of Representatives and Senate.
Proposed Train and Equip Authorities for Syria: In Brief
This report reviews the authority granted in H.J.Res. 124 and explores similarities and differences among the H.J.Res. 124 authority, the President's requests, and other proposals that may be considered by Congress, including during anticipated consideration of FY2015 full-year appropriations or defense authorization (H.R. 4435/S. 2410) legislation.
Election Year Restrictions on Mass Mailings by Members of Congress: How H.R. 2056 Would Change Current Law
Current law prohibits the franking of mass mailings by Senators fewer than 60 days, and by House Members fewer than 90 days, prior to any primary or general election in which the Member is a candidate. This report discusses H.R. 2056, which would amend Title 39, United States Code, by altering the prohibition for both Senators and House Members to the period starting 90 days prior to any primary and ending on the day of the general election, unless the Member has made a public announcement that the Member will not be a candidate for reelection to any federal office.
Navy Aegis Cruiser and Destroyer Modernization: Background and Issues for Congress
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.
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.
Speed of Presidential and Senate Actions on Supreme Court Nominations, 1900-2010
This report provides information on the amount of time taken to act on all Supreme Court nominations occurring between 1900 and the present. It focuses on the actual amounts of time that Presidents and the Senate have taken to act (as opposed to the elapsed time between official points in the process). This report focuses on when the Senate became aware of the President's selection (e.g., via a public announcement by the President).
Committee Types and Roles
This report briefly describes the function and types of congressional committees and subcommittees.
Navy Aegis Cruiser and Destroyer Modernization: Background and Issues for Congress
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.
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. 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.
Navy Aegis Cruiser and Destroyer Modernization: Background and Issues for Congress
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.
How Legislation Is Brought to the House Floor: A Snapshot of Recent Parliamentary Practice
The House of Representatives has several different parliamentary procedures through which it can bring legislation to the chamber floor. Which of these will be used in a given situation depends on many factors, including the type of measure being considered, its cost, the amount of political or policy controversy surrounding it, and the degree to which members want to debate it and propose amendments. This report provides a snapshot of the forms and origins of measures which, according to the Legislative Information System of the U.S. Congress (LIS), received action on the House floor in the 110th Congress (2007-2008) and the parliamentary procedures used to bring them up.
Salaries of Members of Congress: Congressional Votes, 1990-2014
The report contains information on the pay procedure for members of Congress and recent adjustments. It provides information on previous actions and votes by year.
Navy Aegis Cruiser and Destroyer Modernization: Background and Issues for Congress
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.
The Office of the Parliamentarian in the House and Senate
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.
Ebola: 2014 Outbreak in West Africa
This report gives a overview of the West African Ebola outbreak that began in March, 2014. The report discusses the nature of the disease as well as local and international responses to it. The report also briefly examines U.S policy and congressional actions in the wake of the outbreak.
Reauthorization of the FISA Amendments Act
This report describes the changes that were made by the Foreign Intelligence Suveillance Act (FISA) Amendments Act within the context of the government's authority to conduct surveillance for foreign intelligence purposes.
Congressional Redistricting and the Voting Rights Act: A Legal Overview
This report provides a legal overview of two key provisions of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) affecting congressional redistricting — Sections 2 and 5 — and selected accompanying Supreme Court case law. It examines a pending Supreme Court case, Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder, challenging the constitutionality of Section 5. It also provides a summary of selected legislation in the 112th and 113th Congresses that would establish additional requirements and standards for congressional redistricting.
Insourcing Functions Performed by Federal Contractors: Legal Issues
"This report provides a brief overview of key legal issues related to recent insourcing initiatives. While agencies are prohibited by federal law and policy from contracting out functions that are "inherently governmental," other functions could potentially be contracted out. There has long been debate over both general government policies promoting the use of the private sector to perform "commercial functions," and whether specific functions should be performed by government personnel or contractors. However, since 2008, the insourcing initiatives of recent Congresses and the Obama Administration have generated particular controversy.5 Several lawsuits have been filed challenging agencies' determinations to insource particular functions,and broader questions have been raised as to whether agencies' implementation of insourcing runs afoul of civil service, ethics, or small business laws." (p. 1).
The Military Commissions Act of 2009 (MCA 2009): Overview and Legal Issues
This report provides a background and analysis comparing military commissions as envisioned under the revised Military Commissions Act (MCA) to those established by the MCA 2006. After reviewing the history of the implementation of military commissions in the armed conflict against Al Qaeda and associated forces, the report provides an overview of the procedural safeguards provided in the MCA. Finally, the report provides two charts comparing the MCA as amended by the MCA 2009 to the original MCA enacted in 2006 and to general courts-martial.
Federalism, State Sovereignty, and the Constitution: Basis and Limits of Congressional Power
The report discusses state and federal legislative power generally, and focuses on a number of these "federalism" cases. Issues addressed include congressional power under the Commerce Clause and the Fourteenth Amendment; limits on congressional powers, such as the Tenth Amendment; and state sovereign immunity under the Eleventh Amendment.
The U.S. Secret Service: An Examination and Analysis of Its Evolving Missions
This report frames potential policy questions concerning the U.S. Secret Service's (USSS) mission and organization through an examination of the USSS history and its statutory authorities, mission, and present activities within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
House Standing Committee Chairs and Ranking Minority Members: Rules Governing Selection Procedures
This report discusses house rules, Republican Conference rules, and Democratic Caucus rules each detail aspects of the procedures followed in selecting standing committee chairs and ranking minority members. This report summarizes those procedures and lists membership on each party's steering committee.
Congressional Review Act: Disapproval of Rules in a Subsequent Session of Congress
This report addresses some of the implications of the CRA with regard to agency rulemaking in the final months of a presidential administration. It first notes the practice of increased rulemaking activity during this period, and describes how this practice has been addressed by two White House memoranda issued during the current Bush Administration. The report then briefly identifies key elements of the complex set of time periods established by the CRA — elements that define points during the disapproval process at which various actions may occur. This discussion focuses on the CRA provisions for carrying over the disapproval process into a subsequent session of Congress, and indicates how rules submitted at the end of a Congress may be affected by these provisions. Then, the report identifies the dates in previous sessions of Congress after which rules have (since the enactment of the CRA) been subject to these carryover provisions, and identifies some of the rules that may be issued in the final months of the current Bush Administration.
Medical Loss Ratio Requirements Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA): Issues for Congress
This report provides a detailed description of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA, P.L. 111-148) requirements for Medical Loss Ratio (MLR) reporting and rebates as specified in regulations, including components of the MLR formula, state flexibility and waivers, and the nature of rebates to policyholders. The report also addresses issues that have been raised about the MLR provisions since the ACA was enacted, namely the treatment of insurance commissions paid to brokers and agents.
Role of Home State Senators in the Selection of Lower Federal Court Judges
This report examines the role that home state Senators, historically and in the contemporary era, have played in the selection of nominees to U.S. district court and circuit court of appeals judgeships. It also identifies issues that have arisen in recent years over the role of home state Senators in the selection process for federal judges.
Congress as a Consumer of Intelligence Information
This report examines the role of Congress as a consumer of national intelligence and examines several issues that Congress might address in the 111th Congress.
Congress as a Consumer of Intelligence Information
This report examines the role of Congress as a consumer of national intelligence and examines several issues that Congress might address during the second session of the 111th Congress.
An Overview of the Presidential Pardoning Power
This report provides an overview of the scope of the President's pardoning power, the legal effects of a pardon, and the procedures that have traditionally been adhered to in the consideration of requests for pardons.
Evolution of the Senate's Role in the Nomination and Confirmation Process: A Brief History
This report discusses the process of Advice and Consent in the Senate. Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution states that the President "shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other Public Ministers and Counsels, Judges of the Supreme Court, and all Other Officers of the United States, whose appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by law…."
Current Debates over Exchange Rates: Overview and Issues for Congress
This report provides information on current debates over exchange rates in the global economy. It offers an overview of how exchange rates work; analyzes specific disagreements and debates; and examines existing frameworks for potentially addressing currency disputes. It also lays out some policy options available to Congress, should Members want to take action on exchange rate issues.
The Congressional Appropriations Process: An Introduction
This report discusses the following aspects of the congressional appropriations process: the annual appropriations cycle; types of appropriations measures; spending ceilings for appropriations associated with the annual budget resolution; and the relationship between authorization and appropriation measures.
NATO Enlargement: Senate Advice and Consent
This report describes the provisions of the North Atlantic Treaty and of the original Senate debate in 1949 pertinent to enlargement and the procedures that have been followed for each subsequent enlargement proposal. It also discusses what the Senate did with respect to the reunification of Germany in 1990 and the implications of that event for Germany's membership in NATO.
House Standing Committee Chairs and Ranking Minority Members: Rules Governing Selection Procedures
House rules, Republican Conference rules, and Democratic Caucus rules each detail aspects of the procedures followed in selecting standing committee chairs and ranking minority members. This report summarizes those procedures and lists membership on each party's steering committee.
NATO Enlargement: Senate Advice and Consent
This report describes the provisions of the North Atlantic Treaty and of the original Senate debate in 1949 pertinent to enlargement and the procedures that have been followed for each subsequent enlargement proposal. It also discusses what the Senate did with respect to the reunification of Germany in 1990 and the implications of that event for Germany's membership in NATO.
The Legislative Process on the House Floor: An Introduction
This report provides an introduction to the legislative process on the House floor, including limitations on debate, calendars and the order of business, modes of floor consideration, senate amendments and conference reports, voting and quorum procedures, and information about a typical day on the House floor.
Medal of Honor Recipients: 1979-2004
This report describes and discusses changes to the list of recipients of the Medal since the release of the committee print, Medal of Honor Recipients: 1863-1978, which lists recipients and provides the full text of the citations describing the actions that resulted in the awarding of the Medal.
General Management Laws: A Compendium
This report is a companion to CRS Report RL32388, General Management Laws: Major Themes and Management Policy Options. In combination, these reports have three main objectives: (1) to identify and describe the major management laws under which the executive branch of the federal government is required to operate, including their rationale, design, and scope; (2) to assist Members of Congress and their staff in oversight of executive branch management; and (3) to help Congress when considering potential changes to the management laws themselves, as well as other legislation, including authorization statutes and appropriations.
Apportioning Seats in the U.S. House of Representatives Using the 2013 Estimated Citizen Population
This report examines the impact on the apportionment of seats in the House of Representatives if such a change were to occur, using an estimate of the 2013 citizen population in place of the 2010 apportionment population to determine the potential distribution of seats in the House of Representatives for the 114th Congress.
The Role of the House Minority Leader: An Overview
This report discusses the role of the House minority leader. The primary goal of the minority leader is to recapture majority control of the house. The minority leader performs important institutional and party functions.
The Congressional Review Act and Possible Consolidation into a Single Measure of Resolutions Disapproving Regulations
This report briefly describes the Congressional Review Act (CRA) provisions for disapproval of rules issued in a preceding Congress and considers their implications for congressional action at the beginning of a new presidential administration. This report discusses some procedural means to address the difficulty of CRA requirements for resolutions and disapproval of rules.
Particulate Matter (PM2.5): Implementation of the 1997 National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS)
This report outlines the implementation process for the 1997 fine particulate matter (PM2.5) National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) and describes issues raised as U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and states develop implementation strategies.
A Survey of House and Senate Committee Rules on Subpoenas
This report surveys House committees' subpoena rules first and then Senate committees' subpoena rules. Both surveys begin with a brief description of chamber rules, followed by a short summary of that chamber's committees' rules that are related to subpoenas but do not directly pertain to authorizing or issuing subpoenas.
Aiding Israel after the Iran Nuclear Deal: Issues for Congress
This report discusses recent indications from the Obama administration that the United States may provide Israel with additional military aid during the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran.
Senate Confirmation Process: An Overview
This report briefly describes the role of the Senate in the confirmation process, defined in the Constitution; Article II, Section 2 provides that the President "shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint high government officials."
Emergency Spending: Statutory and Congressional Rules
This report discusses the designation of spending as emergency, which has had significance in both procedural and budgetary terms.
Senate Rules Affecting Committees
This report identifies and summarizes the provisions of the Senate's standing rules, standing orders, precedents, and other directives that relate to legislative activity in the Senate's standing committees. It covers four main issues: committee organization, committee meetings, hearings, and reporting.
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.
The Presidential Veto and Congressional Procedure
This report provides a brief overview of procedures involved in vetoing a bill and the ways Congress can respond to a presidential veto. Presidential vetoes are a rejection of legislation approved by majorities in both houses of Congress. Vetoes and congressional efforts to override them are often the reason for, or a reflection of, conflict between Congress and the President. The threat of a presidential veto can prompt the modification of bills moving through the legislative process. Tabular data are provided on the number of presidential vetoes exercised by each President from George Washington to William Clinton.