Congressional Research Service Reports - Browse

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The Motion to Recommit in the House of Representatives
This report provides an overview of House rules and precedents governing the motion to recommit and describes procedural and political effects of the motion. The motion to recommit provides a final opportunity for the House to affect a measure before passage, either by amending the measure or sending it back to committee. The motion to recommit is often referred to as "the minority's motion," because preference in recognition for offering a motion to recommit is given to a member of the minority party who is opposed to the bill.
Salaries of Members of Congress: Congressional Votes, 1990-2015
This report discusses the process through which members of Congress are compensated. Members of Congress only receive salaries during the terms for which they are elected. Former Members may be eligible for retirement benefits. This report contains information on actions taken affecting each pay year since the establishment of the Ethics Reform Act adjustment procedure, as well as information on other relevant floor action.
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.
The Enactment of Appropriations Measures During Lame Duck Sessions
This report provides information on the enactment of regular and continuing appropriations measures in connection with lame duck sessions occurring between 1994 and 2014.
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 Speaker of the House: House Officer, Party Leader, and Representative
This report discusses the three roles of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, who is widely viewed as symbolizing the power and authority of the House. The Speaker is presiding officer of the House, serves as leader of the majority party conference, and is an elected Member of the House.
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. Finally, sample documents that could be used by congressional offices at various stages of the nomination selection process are included.
Speakers of the House: Elections, 1913-2015
This report provides data on elections of the Speaker in each Congress since 1913, when the House first reached its present size of 435 Members. During that period (63rd through 114th Congresses), a Speaker was elected five times with the votes of less than a majority of the full membership.
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.
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.
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.
Party Leaders in the United States Congress, 1789-2015
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.
Cybersecurity: Legislation, Hearings, and Executive Branch Documents
This report provides links to cybersecurity legislation in the 112th, 113th, and 114th Congresses and a list of executive orders and presidential directives pertaining to information and computer security.
Congressional Action on FY2016 Appropriations Measures
This report provides information on the congressional consideration of the FY2016 regular appropriations bills and the FY2016 continuing resolution (CR). It also discusses the statutory and procedural budget enforcement framework for FY2016 appropriations.
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.
Electing the Speaker of the House of Representatives: Frequently Asked Questions
This report briefly poses and answers several "frequently asked questions" in relation to the floor proceedings used to elect a Speaker of the House. Current practice for electing a Speaker, either at the start of a Congress or in the event of a vacancy, is by roll-call vote, during which Members state aloud the name of their preferred candidate.
Cybersecurity: Legislation, Hearings, and Executive Branch Documents
This report provides links to cybersecurity legislation in the 112th, 113th, and 114th Congresses.
Points of Order in the Congressional Budget Process
This report summarizes the points of order currently in effect under the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, as amended, as well as related points of order established in various other measures that have a direct impact on budget enforcement.
Legislative Branch Agency Appointments: History, Processes, and Recent Actions
This report contains information on the legislative branch agency heads' appointment processes, length of tenures (if terms are set), reappointment or removal provisions (if any), salaries and benefits, and most recent appointments.
Enrollment of Legislation: Relevant Congressional Procedures
This report discusses the enrollment process of bills and resolutions in Congress.
Appropriations Subcommittee Structure: History of Changes from 1920 to 2015
This report details the evolution of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees' subcommittee structure from the 1920s to the present.
Cybersecurity: Legislation, Hearings, and Executive Branch Documents
This report provides links to cybersecurity legislation in the 112th, 113th, and 114th Congresses.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Statutory Qualifications for Executive Branch Positions
This report provides background on the framework for constitutional appointments, discusses Congress's constitutional authority to set qualifications for appointees, discusses congressional practices in this area, and provides related analysis and options. It also includes two tables with examples of existing positions with qualification requirements.
Cybersecurity: Legislation, Hearings, and Executive Branch Documents
This report provides a list of executive orders and presidential directives pertaining to information and computer security. Cybersecurity vulnerabilities challenge governments, businesses, and individuals worldwide. Attacks have various targets, depending upon whether the attacker was seeking military intelligence, conducting diplomatic or industrial espionage, engaging in cybercrime, or intimidating political activists; additionally attributing an attack to a specific location can be difficult, which may make responding problematic.
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.
History and Authority of the Joint Economic Committee
This report briefly discusses joint committees, which are composed of members from both the House and the Senate. The work of these committees generally involves conducting studies and overseeing aspects of congressional operations. This report focuses specifically on the Joint Economic Committee.
Senate Legislative Procedures: Published Sources of Information
The Senate publishes its rules, precedents, and other related information so that Senators and their staff have convenient access to the Senate’s legislative procedures and can gauge how those procedures are likely to apply in various situations. Information about the Senate’s legislative procedures is published in four official documents. This report briefly discusses these documents.
Amendments in the Senate: Types and Forms
This report briefly describes the various types of amendments that take place in the Senate. It has sections describing distinctions among amendments, degrees of amendments, forms of amendments, and the scope of amendments.
Calendars of the House of Representatives
This report describes the use of "calendars" in the House of Representatives, referring to (1) lists of measures and motions eligible for consideration and (2) documents that contain the eligible motions and information about the status of legislation.
Delegates to the U.S. Congress: History and Current Status
This report provides historical background on the development of the position of delegate to Congress and on the rights of a delegate once seated. Delegates, representing territories that had not yet achieved statehood, have served in the House since the late 1700s. In the 20th century, the concept of delegate grew to include representation of territories where the United States exercises some degree of control but were not expected to become states.
General Debate in Committee of the Whole
This report discusses general debate, which is a period of time set aside for debating the merits of the bill as a whole, the state of current law on the subject of the bill, the need for new legislation, the various provisions of the bill, and possible amendments to it.
House Committee Hearings: Arranging Witnesses
This report briefly discusses the selection of witnesses for House committee hearings. House committees and subcommittees pay careful attention to which viewpoints will be represented, who should testify, and the order and format for presenting witnesses. Witnesses do not have an inherent right to appear at a hearing but must be invited by a committee or subcommittee in order to testify; committees and subcommittees may also subpoena reluctant witnesses to appear at a hearing.
House Committee Hearings: Preparation
This report contains a checklist that identifies many of the tasks that need to be performed for committee hearings. Committee hearings provide Representatives an opportunity to gather information on, and draw attention to, legislation and issues within a committee's purview; conduct oversight of programs or agencies; and investigate allegations of mismanagement or wrongdoing.
House Committee Hearings: Scheduling and Notification
This report briefly discusses scheduling and notification requirements, and practices for House committee hearings.
Pairing in Congressional Voting: The House
This report discusses the practice of "pairing" for votes in the House of Representatives. Under certain procedural circumstances, a Member who is absent during a vote on the House floor may arrange with a Member on the opposite side of a specific question (who will be present) to announce that the Member who is present is forming a "pair" with the absent Member, thus allowing the absent Member to have his intended vote recorded.
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.
Automatic Continuing Resolutions: Background and Overview of Recent Proposals
This report provides background on the historical frequency of federal funding gaps and shutdowns. It also discusses features of Automatic Continuing Resolutions (ACRs), arguments for and against ACRs, relevant Congressional actions, and proposals in the 112th through 114th Congresses.
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.
Types of Committee Hearings
This report describes the four types of congressional committee hearings: legislative, oversight, investigative, and confirmation. Hearings may be held on Capitol Hill or elsewhere (e.g., a committee member's district or state, or a site related to the subject of the hearing). These latter hearings are often referred to as field hearings.
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.
How Measures Are Brought to the Senate Floor: A Brief Introduction
This report discusses the two basic methods that are used by the Senate to bring legislation to the floor for consideration: The Senate, at the majority leader's request, (1) grants unanimous consent to take up a matter, or (2) agrees to his motion to proceed to consider it. Both methods are derived from the basic premise that the Senate as a body may decide what matters it considers. The Senate may also use the same two methods to bring up executive business (nominations and treaties).
Filling the Senate "Amendment Tree"
This report discusses the filing process of "Amendment trees": diagrams that have developed over decades of Senate practice as a way of visualizing certain principles of precedence that govern the offering of, and voting on, amendments in the chamber.
Defense Spending and the Budget Control Act Limits
This report discusses the Budget Control Act, which sets limits on defense spending between fiscal years 2012 and 2021 and possible measures to avoid a sequester. The current debate in Congress has centered on whether to adjust the BCA defense caps upward; move base budget spending to accounts designated for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) that are not subject to spending limits; reduce the defense spending in the Administration's request to comply with BCA revised caps; or use some combination of these approaches.
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.
Omnibus Appropriations Acts: Overview of Recent Practices
Omnibus appropriations acts have become a significant feature of the legislative process in recent years as Congress and the President have resorted more frequently to their use to bring action on the regular appropriations cycle to a close. Following a discussion of pertinent background information, this report reviews the recent use of such measures and briefly addresses several issues that their use raises.
Trade Promotion Authority (TPA): Frequently Asked Questions
The issue of TPA reauthorization raises a number of questions regarding TPA itself and the pending legislation. This report addresses a number of those questions that are frequently asked, including the following: What is trade promotion authority? Is TPA necessary? What are trade negotiating objectives and how are they reflected in TPA statutes? What requirements does Congress impose on the President under TPA? Does TPA affect congressional authority on trade policy?