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Congressional Lawmaking: A Perspective On Secrecy and Transparency
The objectives of this report are four-fold: first, to outline briefly the historical and inherent tension between secrecy and transparency in the congressional process; second, to review several common and recurring secrecy/transparency issues that emerged again with the 2011 formation of the Joint Select Deficit Reduction Committee; third, to identify various lawmaking stages typically imbued with closed door activities; and fourth, to close with several summary observations.
Federal Employees' Retirement System: Benefits and Financing
One or both houses of 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 may also be added to pending legislative measures by amendments expressing the views of one or both chambers. This report identifies the various forms these expressions may take and the procedures governing such actions.
The First Day of a New Congress: A Guide to Proceedings on the Senate Floor
Report that describes the well-established routine that occurs on the opening day of a new Congress.
Monuments and Memorials in the District of Columbia: Analysis and Options for Proposed Exemptions to the Commemorative Works Act
This report focuses on options for Congress for three types of exemptions to the Commemorative Works Act (CWA, 40 U.S.C. §§8901-8909): siting works, donor recognition, and the placement and status of museums, which are generally not considered commemorative works.
Congressional Salaries and Allowances
Report that provides basic information on congressional salaries and allowances.
Committee Types and Roles
This report briefly describes the structure of the congressional committee system and the types of congressional committees, as well as congressional subcommittees.
Committee Types and Roles
This report briefly describes the structure of the congressional committee system and the types of congressional committees, as well as congressional subcommittees.
Salaries of Members of Congress: Congressional Votes, 1990-2010
The U.S. Constitution, in Article I, Section 6, authorizes compensation for Members of Congress "ascertained by law, and paid out of the Treasury of the United States." Throughout American history, Congress has relied on three different methods in adjusting salaries for Members. Standalone legislation was last used to provide increases in 1990 and 1991. It was the only method used by Congress for many years. The second method, under which annual adjustments took effect automatically unless disapproved by Congress, was established in 1975. A third method for adjusting Member pay is congressional action pursuant to recommendations from the President, based on the recommendations of the Citizens' Commission on Public Service and Compensation established in the 1989 Ethics Reform Act.
Congressional Review of Agency Rulemaking: An Update and Assessment of The Congressional Review Act after a Decade
This report will provide a brief explanation of how the structure of the review scheme was expected to operate and describes how it has in fact been utilized.
The President's State of the Union Address: Tradition, Function, and Policy Implications
This report explores the President's State of the Union Address, in which the President reports to Congress on the current conditions of the United States and provides policy proposals for the upcoming legislative year. This report also discusses the State of the Union's considerable evolution over time.
Salaries of Members of Congress: Recent Actions and Historical Tables
Congress is required by Article I, Section 6, of the Constitution to determine its own pay. Prior to 1969, Congress did so by enacting stand-alone legislation. Stand-alone legislation may still be used to raise Member pay but two other methods-including an automatic annual adjustment procedure and a commission process-are now also available. This report contains information on the pay procedure and recent adjustments. It also contains historical information on the rate of pay for Members of Congress since 1789; the adjustments projected by the Ethics Reform Act as compared to actual adjustments in Member pay; details on past legislation enacted with language prohibiting the annual pay adjustment; and Member pay in constant and current dollars since 1992.
Pages of the United States Congress: History, Background Information, and Program Administration
For more than 180 years, messengers known as pages have served the United States Congress. Several incumbent and former Members of Congress as well as other prominent Americans have served as congressional pages. This report takes a look at the history and current status of Congressional pages. It also details how a student can apply to be a page, and what factors lead to a successful application.
United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS): CRS Experts
No Description Available.
Obstruction of Congress: A Brief Overview of Federal Law Relating to Interference with Congressional Activities
Obstruction of justice is the frustration of governmental purposes by violence, corruption, destruction of evidence, or deceit. It is a federal crime. In fact, federal obstruction of justice laws are legion; too many for even passing reference to all of them in a single report. This is a brief description of those that outlaw interference with congressional activities.
Obstruction of Congress: An Abridged Overview of Federal Criminal Laws Relating to Interference with Congressional Activities
This report briefly discusses obstruction of justice, specifically regarding Congressional activities. Obstruction of justice is defined as the frustration of governmental purposes by violence, corruption, destruction of evidence, or deceit. This is an abridged version of CRS Report RL34304, Obstruction of Congress: A Brief Overview of Federal Law Relating to Interference with Congressional Activities, by Charles Doyle, without the footnotes, quotations, or citations to authority found in the longer report.
Appropriations for FY2003: Legislative Branch
Appropriations are one part of a complex federal budget process that includes budget resolutions, appropriations (regular, supplemental, and continuing) bills, rescissions, and budget reconciliation bills. This report is a guide to one of the 13 regular appropriations bills that Congress considers each year. It summarizes the current legislative status of the bill, its scope, major issues, funding levels, and related legislative activity.
Investigative Oversight: An Introduction to the Law, Practice and Procedure of Congressional Inquiry
This report will provide an overview of some of the more common legal, procedural and practical issues, questions, and problems that committees have faced in the course of an investigation. Following a summary of the case law developing the scope and limitations of the power of inquiry, the essential tools of investigative oversight--subpoenas, staff interviews and depositions, grants of immunity, and the contempt power -- are described. Next, some of the special problems of investigating the executive are detailed, with particular emphasis on claims of presidential executive privilege, the problems raised by attempts to access information with respect to open or closed civil or criminal investigative matters, or to obtain information that is part of the agency deliberative process, and the effect on congressional access of statutory prohibitions on public disclosure. The discussion then focuses on various procedural and legal requirements that accompany the preparation for, and conduct of, an investigative hearing, including matters concerning jurisdiction, particular rules and requirements for the conduct of such proceedings, and the nature, applicability and scope of certain constitutional and common law testimonial privileges that may be claimed by witnesses. The case law and practice respecting the rights of minority party members during the investigative process is also reviewed. The report concludes with a description of the roles played by the offices of House General Counsel and Senate Legal Counsel in such investigations.
The House Apportionment Formula in Theory and Practice
This report has four major purposes: to summarize the constitutional and statutory requirements governing apportionment; to explain how the current apportionment formula works in theory and in practice; to summarize recent challenges to it on grounds of unfairness; and to explain the reasoning underlying the choice of the equal proportions method over its chief alternative, major fractions.
Grants Work in a Congressional Office
Congressional offices are often approached by constituents seeking funds for proposals of potential benefit to their State or district. This report discusses the grants process and varying approaches and techniques congressional offices have developed in dealing with grants requests.
Grants Work in a Congressional Office
Members of Congress often get requests from constituents for information and help in obtaining funds for projects. Many state and local governments, nonprofit social service and community action organizations, private research groups, small businesses, and individuals approach congressional offices to find out about funding, both from the federal government and from the private sector. The success rate in obtaining federal assistance is not high, given the competition for federal funds. A grants staff’s effectiveness often depends on both an understanding of the grants process and on the relations it establishes with agency and other contacts. The following report does not constitute a blueprint for every office involved in grants and projects activity, nor does it present in-depth information about all aspects of staff activity in this area. The discussion is aimed at describing some basics about the grants process and some of the approaches and techniques used by congressional offices in dealing with this type of constituent service.
Grants Work in a Congressional Office
Members of Congress often get requests from constituents for information and help in obtaining funds for projects. Many state and local governments, nonprofit social service and community action organizations, private research groups, small businesses, and individuals approach congressional offices to find out about funding, both from the federal government and from the private sector. The success rate in obtaining federal assistance is not high, given the competition for federal funds. A grants staff’s effectiveness often depends on both an understanding of the grants process and on the relations it establishes with agency and other contacts. The following report does not constitute a blueprint for every office involved in grants and projects activity, nor does it present in-depth information about all aspects of staff activity in this area. The discussion is aimed at describing some basics about the grants process and some of the approaches and techniques used by congressional offices in dealing with this type of constituent service.
Grants Work in a Congressional Office
Members of Congress often get requests from constituents for information and help in obtaining funds for projects. Many state and local governments, nonprofit social service and community action organizations, private research groups, small businesses, and individuals approach congressional offices to find out about funding, both from the federal government and from the private sector. The success rate in obtaining federal assistance is not high, given the competition for federal funds. A grants staff’s effectiveness often depends on both an understanding of the grants process and on the relations it establishes with agency and other contacts. The following report does not constitute a blueprint for every office involved in grants and projects activity, nor does it present in-depth information about all aspects of staff activity in this area. The discussion is aimed at describing some basics about the grants process and some of the approaches and techniques used by congressional offices in dealing with this type of constituent service.
Grants Work in a Congressional Office
Members of Congress often get requests from constituents for information and help in obtaining funds for projects. Many state and local governments, nonprofit social service and community action organizations, private research groups, small businesses, and individuals approach congressional offices to find out about funding, both from the federal government and from the private sector. The success rate in obtaining federal assistance is not high, given the competition for federal funds. A grants staff’s effectiveness often depends on both an understanding of the grants process and on the relations it establishes with agency and other contacts. The following report does not constitute a blueprint for every office involved in grants and projects activity, nor does it present in-depth information about all aspects of staff activity in this area. The discussion is aimed at describing some basics about the grants process and some of the approaches and techniques used by congressional offices in dealing with this type of constituent service.
House and Senate Chaplains
This report discusses the two chaplains, one in the House, the other in the Senate, who are the official clergy of Congress. At the beginning of each Congress, the House chaplain is elected for a 2-year term. The Senate chaplain does not have to be reelected at the beginning of a new Congress. There have been 61 Senate chaplains and 59 House chaplains.
Pope Francis and Selected Global Issues: Background for Papal Address to Congress
This report provides Members of Congress with background information on Pope Francis and a summary of a few selected global issues of congressional interest that have figured prominently on his agenda. The background section on Pope Francis includes a biographical sketch of his life as Jorge Mario Bergoglio, followed by a brief overview of his papacy thus far. The report then identifies some--but not all--of the global issues of concern to Pope Francis. Those include environmental stewardship, poverty and inequality, peace and diplomacy, and human trafficking.
Annual Appropriations Acts: Consideration During Lame-Duck Sessions
This report provides information on the consideration of annual appropriations acts in connection with lame-duck sessions occurring between 1994 and 2006 as background for the possibility of such a session during 2008.
House Sergeant at Arms: Fact Sheet on Legislative and Administrative Duties
This report discusses the chief law enforcement officer of the House, the Sergeant at Arms, responsible for security in the House wing of the Capitol, the House office buildings, and on adjacent grounds.
How Measures Are Brought to the House Floor: A Brief Introduction
This report presents a brief description of the five methods used to bring proposed legislation to the House floor for consideration.
How to Follow Current Federal Legislation and Regulations
This report provides a listing of the key primary and secondary sources from which current information can be obtained, as well as suggested sources of further information.
The House's Corrections Calendar
This report discusses the establishment of the “Corrections Day”, a concept credited to Michigan Governor John Englerwhich, which is a procedure for repealing “the dumbest things the federal government is currently doing and just abolish them.”
Bush Administration Policy Regarding Congressionally Originated Earmarks: An Overview
This report focuses on Bush Administration policy regarding earmarks originated by Congress and related issues. Specific definitions for the term earmark (and related terms, like congressional earmark, presidential earmark, and others) vary considerably and are controversial.
Congressional Budget Resolutions: Historical Information
This report provides current and historical information on the budget resolution. It provides a list of the budget resolutions adopted and rejected by Congress since implementation of the Budget Act, and describes their formulation and content. The report also provides information on the consideration and adoption of budget resolutions.
Federal Statutes: What They Are and Where to Find Them
This report provides a brief overview of federal statutes and where to find them, both in print and on the Internet.
Senate Rule XIV Procedures for Placing Measures Directly on the Senate Calendar
This report describes the Senate Rule XIV, para. 2, which requires that bills and resolutions have three readings before passage, and that they be read twice before being referred to committee.
Medal of Honor Recipients: 1979-2003
This report discusses changes in the list of recipients of the Medal of Honor (MoH). This report lists those changes by military action and provides the full text of their official citations.
Medal of Honor: History and Issues
This report discusses the responsibility of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) for inspecting most meat, poultry, and processed egg products for safety, wholesomeness, and proper labeling.
Senate Committees: Categories and Rules for Committee Assignments
This report briefly examines Senate Rule XXV and party conference rules that address committee assignments. It includes a table for A, B, and C committees with an overview of limitations and procedures.
The President Pro Tempore of the Senate: History and Authority of the Office
This report traces the constitutional origins and development of the office of President pro tempore of the Senate, reviews its current role and authority, and provides information on Senators who have held this office -- and the more recently-created subsidiary offices -- over the past two centuries.
Membership of the 109th Congress: A Profile
This report presents a profile of the membership of the 109th Congress. Statistical information is included on selected characteristics of Members, including data on party affiliation, average age and length of service, occupation, religious affiliation, female and minority Members, foreign-born Members, and military service.
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.
Budget Resolution Enforcement
This report briefly discusses the annual budget resolution, which sets forth Congress's budget plan for a period of at least five fiscal years. It includes total levels of new budget authority, outlays, revenues, the deficit, and the public debt for each of the fiscal years covered. Once a budget resolution is adopted, Congress may enforce its provisions, through points of order, at several levels: the total levels of spending and revenues, the level of resources allocated to committees, and the level of resources allocated to the appropriations subcommittees.
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.
Speed of Presidential and Senate Actions on Supreme Court Nominations, 1900-2005
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).
Constitution of the United States; Recent Writings: Bibliography-in-Brief
This bibliography contains recent publications discussing the history, development, and application of the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies: FY2007 Appropriations
This report is a guide to one of the regular appropriations bills that Congress considers each year. It summarizes the status of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies appropriations bill, its scope, major issues, funding levels, and related congressional activity.
Senate Committees: Categories and Rules for Committee Assignments
This report outlines information about the senate Rule XXV and party conference rules that address committee assignments.
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.
Special Elections and Membership Changes in the 103d Congress, First Session
This report provides information on membership changes in the first session of the 103d Congress through special elections for vacancies in the House of Representatives and appointments and special elections for vacancies in the Senate .
Closing a Congressional Office: A Brief Overview
This paper sets forth questions that a congressional office needs to consider in the process of closing down. These include statutory and non-statutory matters such as staff, the franking privilege, retirement benefits for Members and staff, allowances, and the disposition of congressional papers, and other office items.
Congressional Veto Legislation: 97th Congress
This report has two purposes: first, to describe briefly the main features of each kind of congressional veto procedure, and second, to list under appropriated categories all such provisions submitted in the current Congress that have been located.