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The Electoral College: Reform Proposals in the 108th Congress

Description: American voters elect the President and Vice President of the United States under a complex arrangement of constitutional provisions, federal and state laws, and political party practices known as the electoral college system. Despite occasional close elections, this system has delivered uncontested results in 46 of 50 elections since adoption of the 12th Amendment, effective in 1804. Throughout this period, nevertheless, it has been the subject of persistent criticism and many reform proposals. Related measures fall into two basic categories: those that would eliminate the electoral college and substitute direct popular election of the President and Vice President, and those that would retain the existing system in some form and correct perceived defects.
Date: June 30, 2005
Creator: Neale, Thomas H.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

A Presidential Item Veto

Description: During a news conference on November 4, 2004, President George W. Bush stated that he “would like to see the President have a line-item veto again, one that passed constitutional muster. I think it would help the executive branch work with the legislative branch to make sure that we’re able to maintain budget discipline.” The Supreme Court struck down an earlier version of item-veto authority (the Line Item Veto Act of 1996) in Clinton v. City of New York, 524 U.S. 417 (1998), but several statutory alternatives are available. Options to the Line Item Veto Act have been proposed over the years, including an amendment to the Constitution to grant the President item-veto authority. The line-item veto is listed among several budget reform proposals included in the FY2005 budget, but a more specific recommendation is expected to be developed by the Administration and submitted to Congress at the start of the 109th Congress. This report analyzes the statutory and constitutional alternatives that are likely to be considered and will be updated as necessary.
Date: December 2, 2004
Creator: Fisher, Louis
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

9/11 Commission Recommendations: The Senate Confirmation Process for Presidential Nominees

Description: On July 22, 2004, the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, known as the 9/11 Commission, issued its final report, detailing the events up to and including the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks upon the United States. The 9/11 Commission recommended that the Senate adopt rules requiring hearings and votes to confirm or reject national security nominees within 30 days of their submission at the start of each new presidential administration. Implementing the commission's proposal would involve imposing new restrictions on both the power of committee chairs to control the agenda of their committees and the rights of Senators to delay or block nominations through holds and extended debate. This report discusses in detail this proposal, how it could be implemented, and the potential effects of its implementation.
Date: March 23, 2005
Creator: Palmer, Betsy
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The U.S. Secret Service: An Examination and Analysis of Its Evolving Missions

Description: 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).
Date: July 31, 2008
Creator: Reese, Shawn
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The President's State of the Union Address: Tradition, Function, and Policy Implications

Description: This report discusses the State of the Union address, which is a communication between the President and Congress in which the chief executive reports on the current conditions of the United States and provides policy proposals for the upcoming legislative year.
Date: January 12, 2009
Creator: Shogan, Colleen J. & Neale, Thomas H.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Presidential Transitions: Issues Involving Outgoing and Incoming Administrations

Description: This report discusses the issues involving transfer of power from one administration to the other. The smooth and orderly transfer of power can be a notable feature of presidential transitions, and a testament to the legitimacy and durability of the electoral and democratic processes.
Date: October 23, 2008
Creator: Halchin, L. E.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Social Security: Report of the President's Commission to Strengthen Social Security

Description: This report describes the Commission’s three reform plans. The first plan would make no other changes to the program. The second plan would slow the growth of Social Security through one major provision that would index initial benefits to prices rather than wages. The third plan would slow future program growth through a variety of measures.
Date: December 21, 2001
Creator: Nuschler, Dawn
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Presidential Directives: Background and Overview

Description: This report provides an overview of the different kinds of directives that have primarily been utilized by twentieth-century Presidents. It includes background on the historical development, accounting, use, and effect of such directives.
Date: January 7, 2005
Creator: Relyea, Harold C.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Presidential Directives: Background and Overview

Description: This report provides an overview of the different kinds of directives that have been utilized primarily by twentieth century Presidents. It presents background on their historical development, accounting, use, and effect.
Date: November 26, 2008
Creator: Relyea, Harold C.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The President’s Reorganization Authority: Review and Analysis

Description: This report addresses three specific issues: (1) the historical basis and use of the President’s reorganization authority; (2) the factors contributing to the lapse of the President’s reorganization authority in 1984,1 and (3) thoughts on the future of reorganization in the executive branch.
Date: March 8, 2001
Creator: Moe, Ronald C.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Recess Appointments: Frequently Asked Questions

Description: This report supplies brief answers to some frequently asked questions regarding recess appointments. When the Senate is in recess, the President may make a temporary appointment, called a recess appointment, to any such position without Senate approval (Article II, Section 2, Clause 3).
Date: August 25, 2006
Creator: Hogue, Henry B.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Senate Executive Business and the Executive Calendar

Description: The Senate has responsibilities under both Article I (outlining legislative prerogatives) and Article II of the Constitution. As a result, the upper body handles legislative and executive business differently. This report discusses the Senate’s lawmaking responsibilities under Article I; executive business, which consists of treaties and nominations.
Date: May 19, 2008
Creator: Oleszek, Walter J.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department