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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.
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.
Revenue Legislation in the Congressional Budget Process
This report discusses revenue legislation, which may include changes to individual and corporate income taxes, social insurance taxes, excise taxes, or tariffs and duties. Congressional consideration of revenue legislation is governed by various constitutional provisions and procedural rules.
Hearings in the House of Representatives: A Guide for Preparation and Procedure
The report describes provisions of House rules that pertain to hearings; citations to these rules are included for reference. While House rules generally apply to committees and subcommittees, it is House Rule XI that contains many provisions specific to hearings. House rules set the general framework in which committees hold hearings.
Preparation for Senate Committee Markup
This report briefly discusses the preparation which precedes the legislative stage during which a committee chooses the language of a measure it expects to report to the Senate, called "markups." Markups are carefully planned in advance to insure that the requirements of Senate rules have been met, political decisions have been made, and administrative issues have been addressed.
Congressional Overrides of Presidential Vetoes
This report discusses Congress' power to override presidential vetoes. The President's veto authority is among his most significant tools in legislative dealings with Congress. It is effective not only in preventing the passage of legislation undesirable to the President, but also as a threat, sometimes forcing Congress to modify legislation before it is presented to the President.
Assignments to Senate Subcommittees
This report discusses the rules and process for establishing subcommittees. One of the first orders of business for Senate committees is deciding whether to establish subcommittees, and if so, determining their number, sizes, party ratios, chairs, ranking minority members, and other members. There are no direct limits on the number of subcommittees that may be created.
Disapproval of Regulations by Congress: Procedure Under the Congressional Review Act
This report discusses the Congressional Review Act of 1996, which established expedited (or "fast track") procedures by which Congress may disapprove a broad range of regulatory rules issued by federal agencies by enacting a joint resolution of disapproval. For initial floor consideration, the Act provides an expedited procedure only in the Senate.
Sponsorship and Cosponsorship of House Bills
This report discusses the sponsorship and co-sponsorship of House bills. A Representative who introduces a bill or other measure in the House is called its sponsor. Under House Rule XII, clause 7, several Members together may submit a bill, but the first-named Representative is considered the chief or primary sponsor; the others are considered cosponsors.
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. §§801-808), 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.
Minority Rights and Senate Procedures
This report discusses the nature of Senate procedures and various opportunities that the minority has to influence the process. The rules of the Senate emphasize the rights and prerogatives of individual Senators and, therefore, minority groups of Senators. The Senate's rules also are a source of other minority rights, including the right to propose non-germane amendments to most bills and to prevent bills from being referred to committees that might not consider and report them.
House Committee Markup: Reporting
This report addresses procedural options that committees have when reporting about their actions during markup, when the specific language of a bill is finalized. It provides an overview of options for reporting amendments, options on how to report, and other reporting actions and considerations.
House Committees: Categories and Rules for Committee Assignments
This report discusses procedures for committee assignments, which both House and party rules detail. House rules address the election and membership of committees, especially limitations on membership. The Democratic Caucus and Republican Conference rules designate categories of committees and specify service limitations in addition to those in the House rules.
Shutdown of the Federal Government: Causes, Effects, and Process
This report provides a brief overview of the causes and effects of federal government shutdowns. This report provides a brief overview of the causes and effects of federal government shutdowns. When federal agencies and programs lack appropriated funding, they must cease operations, except in emergency situations. The failure of the President and Congress to reach agreement on funding measures has caused government shutdowns. It is necessary either to enact temporary funding legislation at the close of the fiscal year or to shut down the activities that are not funded at that time.
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.
Navy Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Program: Background, Issues, and Options for Congress
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.
Congressional Roll Call Votes on the Keystone XL Pipeline
This report provides roll call vote data related to the proposed TransCanada Keystone XL Pipeline that would transport oil sands crude from Canada and shale oil produced in North Dakota and Montana to a market hub in Nebraska for further delivery to Gulf Coast refineries. Voting information is listed chronologically and broken down by chamber, Congress, and type of legislation.
Duration of Continuing Resolutions in Recent Years
This report provides information on congressional practices with respect to the duration of continuing resolutions, including the use of full-year measures, and focuses particularly on the period covering FY1998-FY2010.
Budget Enforcement Procedures: Senate Pay- As-You-Go (PAYGO) Rule
This report discusses the Senate pay-as-you-go, or PAYGO, rule which generally requires that any legislation projected to increase direct spending or reduce revenues must also include equivalent amounts of direct spending cuts, revenue increases, or a combination of the two, so that the legislation does not increase the on-budget deficit over a six-year period and an 11-year period.
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.
"Holds" in the Senate
This report discusses a wide range of proposals aimed at reforming holds (an informal practice among Senators to communicate policy views and scheduling preferences) to infuse more accountability, uniformity, and transparency in their use and to make it clear that holds are not a veto on the majority leader's prerogative of calling up measures or matters.
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 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).
Congressional Oversight of Intelligence: Current Structure and Alternatives
This report describes the current select committees on intelligence; characteristics and a model for a possible joint committee; recent actions by Congress; and obstacles affecting legislative oversight in the field.
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.
The Military Commissions Act of 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 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.
Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) and the Role of Congress in Trade Policy
This report presents background and analysis on the development of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), which expired on July 1, 2007. The report also includes a summary of the major provisions under the recently expired authority and a discussion of the issues that have arisen in the debate over TPA renewal, as well as policy options available to Congress.
House Committee on Ethics: A Brief History of Its Evolution and Jurisdiction
This report briefly outlines the background of ethics enforcement in the House of Representatives, including the creation of both the Select Committee on Ethics and the Committee on Ethics. The report also focuses on various jurisdictional and procedural changes that the committee has experienced since 1967 and discusses the committee's current jurisdiction and procedures.
Franking Privilege: Mass Mailings and Mass Communications in the House, 1997-2014
This report provides an analysis of House Member mass mailings (1997-2008, 2012-2014) and mass communications (2009-2014). Despite significant reductions in congressional mail postage costs over the past 25 years, critics continue to raise concerns about the franking privilege.
Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) and the Role of Congress in Trade Policy
This report presents background and analysis on the development of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), which expired on July 1, 2007. The report also includes a summary of the major provisions under the recently expired authority and a discussion of the issues that have arisen in the debate over TPA renewal, as well as policy options available to Congress.
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.
Party Leaders in the House: Election, Duties, and Responsibilities
Each major party in the House has a leadership hierarchy. This report summarizes the election, duties, and responsibilities of the Speaker of the House, the majority and minority leaders, and the whips and whip system.
Party Leaders in the House: Election, Duties, and Responsibilities
Each major party in the House has a leadership hierarchy. This report summarizes the election, duties, and responsibilities of the Speaker of the House, the majority and minority leaders, and the whips and whip system.
Party Leaders in the House: Election, Duties, and Responsibilities
Each major party in the House has a leadership hierarchy. This report summarizes the election, duties, and responsibilities of the Speaker of the House, the majority and minority leaders, and the whips and whip system.
Proposals to Reform “Holds” in the Senate
“Holds” are an informal senatorial custom unrecognized in Senate rules or precedents. They allow Senators to give notice to their respective party leader that certain measures or matters should not be brought up on the floor. This report examines, over a more than three-decade period, a wide range of proposals to reform holds.
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.
Particulate Matter (PM2.5): Implementation of the 1997 National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS)
Particulate matter (PM), including fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and larger, but still inhalable particles (PM10), is one of the six principal pollutants for which the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) under the Clean Air Act (CAA). This report outlines the implementation process for the 1997 PM2.5 NAAQS and describes issues raised as EPA and states develop implementation strategies.
House Committee Hearings: Witness Testimony
This report briefly discusses the witness testimony process in House of Representatives committee hearings. Witnesses before House committees must generally file advance copies of their written testimony with the committee and then limit their oral testimony to brief summaries (Rule XI, clause 2(g)(5)). A question-and-answer period usually follows a witness's opening statement. Following hearings, committees usually publish the transcripts of witness testimony and questioning.
Quorum Requirements in the House: Committee and Chamber
This report discusses minimum quorum requirements established by House Rule XI, clause 2 for eight areas of committee activity.
House Committee Hearings: Arranging Witnesses
This report briefly discusses the process of selecting and arranging witnesses for House committee hearings.
House Committee Markup: Amendment Procedure
This report briefly discusses committee markups in the House of Representatives. The essential purpose of a committee markup is to determine whether a measure pending before a committee should be altered, or amended, in any substantive way. Of course, committees do not actually amend measures; instead a committee votes on which amendments it wishes to recommend to the House.
House Committee Markup: Reporting
At the end of the amendment process, the chair normally entertains a motion to report a measure favorably to the House. This report addresses the procedural options committees have regarding the form of reporting, such as what happens to amendments adopted in markup, as well as other considerations at the time of reporting.
House Committee Markup: Preparation
Markups provide Members on a committee an opportunity to change parts of a bill prior to its consideration by the full House. A number of administrative, procedural, and substantive steps must be undertaken in preparation for a markup, and other steps could or should be undertaken. Generally, the markup should be strategically planned to minimize controversy, provide Members with political dividends, and position the committee for future action. This report is intended as a guide for various tasks that could be accomplished by committee staff in order to prepare a smooth committee markup.
Procedures for Congressional Action in Relation to a Nuclear Agreement with Iran: In Brief
This report provides, in brief, analysis of the congressional procedural provisions laid out in the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 (P.L. 114-17). The act establishes a period for Congress to review any comprehensive agreement, during which certain presidential actions to provide relief from sanctions on Iran are barred.
NATO Enlargement: Albania, Croatia, and Possible Future Candidates
This report discusses the current status of NATO membership following the April 2-4, 2008 NATO summit in Bucharest, Romania. A principal issue was consideration of the candidacies for membership of Albania, Croatia, and Macedonia. The allies agreed to extend invitations to Albania and Croatia. Although the alliance determined that Macedonia met the qualifications for NATO membership, Greece blocked the invitation due to an enduring dispute over Macedonia's name.