Congressional Research Service Reports - Browse

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Social Security: Report of the President's Commission to Strengthen Social Security
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.
Presidential Directives: Background and Overview
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.
Presidential Directives: Background and Overview
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.
The President’s Reorganization Authority: Review and Analysis
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.
Recess Appointments: Frequently Asked Questions
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).
Senate Executive Business and the Executive Calendar
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.
Presidential Appointments to Full-Time Positions in Independent and Other Agencies During the 110th Congress
This report explains the process for filling positions to which the President makes appointments with the advice and consent of the Senate (PAS positions). It also identifies, for the 110th Congress, all nominations to full-time positions requiring Senate confirmation in 39 organizations in the executive branch (26 independent agencies, 6 agencies in the Executive Office of the President (EOP), and 7 multilateral banking organizations) and 4 agencies in the legislative branch.
Presidential Appointments to Full-Time Positions in Independent and Other Agencies During the 112th Congress
This report identifies, for the 112th Congress, all nominations to full-time positions requiring Senate confirmation in 40 organizations in the executive branch (27 independent agencies, 6 agencies in the Executive Office of the President [EOP], and 7 multilateral organizations) and 4 agencies in the legislative branc
The U.S. Secret Service: History and Missions
This report discusses potential policy questions concerning the U.S. Secret Service through an examination of the Service's history and its statutory authorities, mission, and present activities within Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
The U.S. Secret Service: History and Missions
This report discusses potential policy questions concerning the U.S. Secret Service through an examination of the Service's history and its statutory authorities, mission, and present activities within Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
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's) 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).
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's) 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).
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's) 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).
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's) 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).
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's) 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).
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's) 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).
The U.S. Secret Service: An Examination and Analysis of Its Evolving Missions
The U.S. Secret Service has two missions: criminal investigations and protection. This report looks at the history of the organization and purpose as it relates to Congress.
The U.S. Secret Service: History and Missions
This report discusses potential policy questions for the upcoming 114th Congress concerning the Service’s mission and organization through an examination of the USSS history and its statutory authorities, mission, and present activities within DHS. The policy questions presented in this report are only considerations, since the Service is widely perceived to be operating and performing its missions effectively for the past 11 years as part of DHS.
Recess Appointments: Frequently Asked Questions
This report supplies brief answers to some frequently-asked questions regarding recess appointments. These are appointments to high-level policy-making positions in federal departments which are generally confirmed by the Senate. When the Senate is in recess, the President may make a temporary appointment, called a recess appointment, to any such position without Senate approval.
Executive Order 13438: Blocking Property of Certain Persons Who Threaten Stabilization Efforts in Iraq
This report provides a brief history of the development of presidential powers in peacetime. It discusses some of the issues that might be raised in light of the contrast between the executive order's broad language and its narrow aim (supplementation of sanctions applicable to Al Qaeda and former Iraqi regime officials to cover terrorists operating in Iraq). It also examines the reach of the executive order and provides legal analyses of some of the constitutional questions raised in the courts by similar sanctions programs, noting that the broad language of the executive order is not unprecedented.
The Presidential Records Act: Background and Recent Issues for Congress
This report discusses the Presidential Records Act (PRA) and examines policy options related to the capture, maintenance, and use of presidential records.
National Monuments and the Antiquities Act
This report discusses the Antiquities Act of 1906, monument issues and controversies, as well as administration and legislative activities.
Attorney General Nominations Since the Reagan Administration
On November 9, 2014, President Obama announced his intention to nominate U.S. Attorney Loretta E. Lynch to replace Eric H. Holder Jr. as Attorney General (AG). Presidents have nominated a total of 11 individuals, including Lynch, for the position of AG since the beginning of the Reagan Administration in 1981. This report provides a table with information regarding these 11 nominations.
President Obama's First-Term U.S. Circuit and District Court Nominations: An Analysis and Comparison with Presidents Since Reagan
This report seeks to inform the current debate in three ways: first, by providing a statistical analysis of President Barack Obama's nominees, during his first term, to U.S. circuit court of appeals and U.S. district court judgeships, and of any actions taken on their nominations by the Senate Judiciary Committee and the full Senate; second, by using various statistical measures to compare the success of President Obama's judicial nominees, during his first term, in advancing through the Senate confirmation process with the success of the judicial nominees during the first terms of the four most recent preceding Presidents (Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush); and third, by identifying various factors which might help explain differences or variations found in judicial nomination statistics across the first terms of the five Presidents.
National Monuments and the Antiquities Act
This report discusses the Antiquities Act of 1906, which authorizes the President to proclaim national monuments on federal lands that contain historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, or other objects of historic or scientific interest. The President is to reserve "the smallest area compatible with the proper care and management of the objects to be protected." The act was designed to protect federal lands and resources quickly, and Presidents have proclaimed a total of 137 monuments. Congress has modified many of these proclamations and has abolished some monuments. Congress also has created monuments under its own authority.
Executive Branch Reorganization and Management Initiatives: A Brief Overview
This report provides a brief overview of recent executive branch reorganization actions and related management initiatives. It reviews the relevant plans and preparations of President-elect Barack Obama as the new Administration transitions to assuming management of the executive branch. Briefly examined, as well, are the organization and management efforts of the most recent regimes.
VH-71/VXX Presidential Helicopter Program: Background and Issues for Congress
This report discusses the VH-71 program, which is intended to provide 23 new presidential helicopters to replace the current fleet of 19 aging presidential helicopters.
Executive Order 13438: Blocking Property of Certain Persons Who Threaten Stabilization Efforts in Iraq
Report that provides a brief history of the development of presidential powers in peacetime. It discusses some of the issues that might be raised in light of the contrast between the executive order's broad language and its narrow aim. It examines the reach of the executive order and provides legal analyses of some of the constitutional questions raised in the courts by similar sanctions programs.
Counting Electoral Votes: An Overview of Procedures at the Joint Session, Including Objections by Members of Congress
Report that describes the steps which precede the joint session and the procedures set in the Constitution and statute by which the House and Senate jointly certify the results of the electoral vote. It also discusses the procedures set in law governing challenges to the validity of an electoral vote, and makes reference to the procedures followed during the joint session in 2005 by which the election of George W. Bush was certified.
The Electoral College: How It Works in Contemporary Presidential Elections
This report provides information about the electoral college, its origins, who makes up the college today, the 2012 presidental election, and calls for the reform of the electoral college.
VH-71 Presidential Helicopter Program: Background and Issues for Congress
This report discusses the VH-71 program, which is intended to provide 23 new presidential helicopters to replace the current fleet of 19 aging presidential helicopters.
VH-71/VXX Presidential Helicopter Program: Background and Issues for Congress
This report discusses the VH-71 program that is intended to provide 23 new presidential helicopters to replace the current fleet of 19 aging presidential helicopters.
VH-71 Presidential Helicopter Program: Background and Issues for Congress
This report discusses the VH-71 program which is intended to provide 23 new presidential helicopters to replace the current fleet of 19 aging presidential helicopters.
VH-71/VXX Presidential Helicopter Program: Background and Issues for Congress
This report discusses the VH-71 program, which is intended to provide 23 new presidential helicopters to replace the current fleet of 19 aging presidential helicopters.
Impeachment: An Overview of Constitutional Provisions, Procedure, and Practice
This report focuses on the American impeachment process, which places in the legislative branch the authority to remove the President, Vice President, and other federal civil officers in the executive and judicial branches upon a determination that such officers have engaged in treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors. This report summarizes impeachment proceedings in the 111th Congress, examines relevant constitutional provisions, and provides a brief historical overview.
The Presidential Records Act: Background and Recent Issues for Congress
Report discussing the Presidential Records Act (PRA) and examines policy options related to the capture, maintenance, and use of presidential records.
VH-71 Presidential Helicopter Program: Background and Issues for Congress
This report discusses the VH-71 program, which is intended to provide 23 new presidential helicopters to replace the current fleet of 19 aging presidential helicopters.
Executive Branch Reorganization and Management Initiatives: A Brief Overview
This report provides a brief overview of recent executive branch reorganization actions and related management initiatives. It reviews the relevant plans and preparations of President-elect Barack Obama as the new Administration transitions to assuming management of the executive branch. Briefly examined, as well, are the organization and management efforts of the most recent regimes.
Presidential Permit Review for Cross-Border Pipelines and Electric Transmission
This report focuses on the Presidential Permit review processes for cross-border energy infrastructure as implemented by the Department of State, The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), and The Department of Energy (DOE). These permits have been required for the construction, connection, operation, and maintenance of certain facilities that cross the United States borders with Canada and Mexico.
VH-71 Presidential Helicopter Program
This report discusses VH-71 presidential helicopter, which has experienced noteworthy cost increases and schedule delays, which have generated controversy and scrutiny. The VH-71 is intended to replace the President's current operational fleet of helicopters, consisting of 11 VH-3D Sea Kings and 8 VH-60N Night Hawks.
Former Presidents: Pensions, Facilities, and Services
The Former Presidents Act (72 Stat. 838) of 1958 provides financial and practical means to those who have served as President of the United States and still retain certain implicit public duties. In 1958, the cost of former Presidents to the public was an estimated $64,000. In FY84, approximately $27 million will be spent on benefits to former Presidents and their widows. Operation and maintenance of Presidential Libraries was approximately $14.9 million in FY83. This report discusses increasing concerns regarding the amounts and the types of expenditures that have been made.
Presidential Records: Issues for the 111th Congress
This report analyzes President Barack Obama's first executive order (E.O. 13489), which rescinded E.O. 13233, and discusses its departure from the policies of the previous administration. Additionally, this report examines H.R. 35 and its possible legislative effects on the presidential records policies of the Obama Administration.
Recess Appointments Made by President George W. Bush, January 20, 2001- October 31, 2008
This report identifies recess appointments made by President George W. Bush from the time he took office on January 20, 2001, through October 31, 2008. Basic descriptive statistics regarding these appointments are also provided.
Final Senate Action on U.S. Circuit and District Court Nominations During a President's Eighth Year in Office
This report, in light of continued Senate interest in the judicial confirmation process during a President's final year in office, provides statistics related to Senate action on U.S. circuit and district court nominations during the eighth year of the George W. Bush, Clinton, and Reagan presidencies. The eighth year of a presidency is significant, in part, because it is the final opportunity for a President to appoint individuals as U.S. circuit and district court judges. Such judges have what effectively has come to mean life tenure, holding office "during good Behaviour."
Federal Recess Judges
This report discusses the recess clause and takes a look at the history of recess appointments. Under Article II of the Constitution, the President is empowered "to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session." Presidents have used the recess appointment power on more than 300 occasions to place judges on the district, appellate, and U.S. Supreme Court level. This practice slowed after the 1950s, but recent recess appointments to federal appellate courts (the Fourth, Fifth, and Eleventh Circuits) have revived a number of constitutional issues.
President Clinton’s Vetoes
This report provides a table outlining the bills vetoed by President William Jefferson Clinton's two terms in office. It includes an overview and the bill number, date, title, and override attempts for each veto.
Counting Electoral Votes: An Overview of Procedures at the Joint Session, Including Objections by Members of Congress
This report describes the steps which precede the joint session and the procedures set in the Constitution and statute by which the House and Senate jointly certify the results of the electoral vote. It also discusses the procedures set in law governing challenges to the validity of an electoral vote, and makes reference to the procedures followed during the joint session in 2005 by which the election of George W. Bush was certified.
North American Leaders' Summit
This report discusses the North American Leaders' Summits (NALS), a trilateral summit that meets in effort to increase cooperation on broader economic and security issues between the United States, Canada, and Mexico.
Impeachment: An Overview of Constitutional Provisions, Procedure, and Practice
The American impeachment process places in the legislative branch the authority to remove the President, Vice President, and other federal civil officers in the executive and judicial branches upon a determination that such officers have engaged in treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors. It is one of the checks and balances grounded in the American constitutional structure. This report summarizes impeachment proceedings in the 111th Congress, examines relevant constitutional provisions, and provides a brief historical overview.
National Emergency Powers
This report the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601-1651) that eliminated or modified some statutory grants of emergency authority, required the President to declare formally the existence of a national emergency and to specify what statutory authority, activated by the declaration, would be used, and provided Congress a means to countermand the President's declaration and the activated authority being sought.