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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.
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.
The Congressional Review Act and Possible Consolidation into a Single Measure of Resolutions Disapproving Regulations
This report briefly describes the Congressional Review Act (CRA) provisions for disapproval of rules issued in a preceding Congress and considers their implications for congressional action at the beginning of a new presidential administration. This report discusses some procedural means to address the difficulty of CRA requirements for resolutions and disapproval of rules.
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 and identifies the qualifications that must be met by potential nominees, as established by statute and each academy. Sample documents that could be used by congressional offices at various stages of the nomination selection process are included.
Campaign Finance: Potential Legislative and Policy Issues for the 111th Congress
This report discusses selected campaign finance policy issues that may receive attention during the 111th Congress such as the electronic filing of senate campaign finance reports, bundling, hybrid advertising, joint fundraising committees, 527 Organizations and more.
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.
Social Security Administration: Workloads, Resources, and Service Delivery
This report provides an overview of SSA's workloads, resources, and service delivery since FY1996, the first full fiscal year in which SSA became an independent agency. It also covers issues for Congress, focusing on recommendations made by the independent SSAB, Government Accountability Office, SSA's Office of the Inspector General, and the National Research Council.
Israel and Hamas: Conflict in Gaza
This report closely examines the conflict in Gaza (2008-2009), assessing the impact of the conflict on civilians, possible consequences and unresolved issues, the regional and international implications and possible modes of action for the 111th Congress to consider in response.
Nigeria
This report discusses the current political climate of Nigeria and the resulting issues for Congress. Nigeria, the most populous nation in Africa, with an estimated 146 million people, is one of the United States government's key strategic partners on the continent.
A Parliamentary-Style Question Period: Proposals and Issues for Congress
This report surveys how question periods are conducted in Britain and other parliamentary democracies, examines previous proposals for question periods in the United States, considers potential advantages and disadvantages of a question period, and outlines some legislative considerations for policymakers considering a question period for Congress.
Filling U.S. Senate Vacancies: Perspectives and Contemporary Developments
This report provides information on current vacancies in the Senate, the constitutional origins of the Senate vacancy clause, the appointment process by which most vacancies are filled, and related contemporary issues.
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.
Direct Overt U.S. Aid and Military Reimbursements to Pakistan, FY2002-FY2009
Aid and military reimbursements made to Pakistan from 2002-2009. The list is divided by agency.
Piracy off the Horn of Africa
This report discusses recent attacks -- including those on U.S.-flagged vessels -- in the waters off the Horn of Africa, which have brought new U.S. and international attention to the long-standing problem of piracy in the region.
Navy Aegis Cruiser and Destroyer Modernization: Background and Issues for Congress
The Navy has begun a multi-billion dollar program to modernize its 84 existing Aegis cruisers and destroyers over a period of more than 20 years. This report explores this program in detail, including the reasons for the program and the oversight issues it poses for Congress. This report will be updated as events warrant.
Navy Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Program: Background, Oversight Issues, and Options for Congress
The Navy is procuring a new type of surface combatant called the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS). The Navy wants to procure a total of 55 LCSs. This report details the 2007 restructuring of the LCS program, as well as various financial information relating to the program. The issue for Congress is whether to approve, reject, or modify the Navy's plans for the LCS program. The LCS program raises potential oversight issues for Congress relating to various aspects of the program, all of which are explored within this report.
Senate Consideration of Presidential Nominations: Committee and Floor Procedure
This report describes the process by which the Senate provides advice and consent on presidential nominations, including receipt and referral of nominations, committee practices, and floor procedure.
Congressional Membership and Appointment Authority to Advisory Commissions, Boards, and Groups
This report contains a compilation of commissions and boards that demonstrates the range of alternative membership-appointment structures. It includes any statutorily created advisory entity (boards, advisory panels, etc.) whose membership scheme mandates the participation of Members of Congress either as potential members or as participants in the process of appointing the membership.
Waste, Fraud, and Abuse in Agency Travel Card Programs
This report begins by discussing the structure of agency travel card programs, and then discusses weaknesses in agency controls that have contributed to waste, fraud, and abuse. It concludes with observations on the information available to Congress for oversight of agency travel card programs.
Navy Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Program: Background, Oversight Issues, and Options for Congress
This report details the 2007 restructuring of the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) program, as well as various financial information relating to the program. The issue for Congress is whether to approve, reject, or modify the Navy's plans for the LCS program. The LCS program raises potential oversight issues for Congress relating to various aspects of the program.
Gun Control: Statutory Disclosure Limitations on ATF Firearms Trace Data and Multiple Handgun Sales Reports
This report briefly describes a provision known as the "Tiahrt" amendment, a rider on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) appropriations that prohibits ATF from disclosing firearm trace data and multiple handgun sales reports data for any purpose other than supporting a criminal investigatoin or agency licensing proceeding. The Tiahrt amendment is so called because its sponsor is Representative Todd Tiahrt. A coalition of 210 city mayors favors the repeal of this rider, but there is much opposition to that motion.
Speed of Presidential and Senate Actions on Supreme Court Nominations, 1900 - 2009
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). This report focuses on when the Senate became aware of the President's selection (e.g., via a public announcement by the President).
Congressional Oversight and Related Issues Concerning International Security Agreements Concluded by the United States
This report begins by providing a general background on the types of international agreements that are binding upon the United States, as well as considerations affecting whether they take the form of a treaty or an executive agreement. Next, the report discusses historical precedents as to the role that security agreements have taken. The report discusses the oversight role that Congress exercises with respect to entering and implementing international agreements involving the United States.
Department of Defense "Section 1207" Security and Stabilization Assistance: Background and Congressional Concerns
Section 1207 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2006 provides authority for the Department of Defense (DOD) to transfer to the State Department up to $100 million per fiscal year in defense articles, services, training or other support for reconstruction, stabilization, and security activities in foreign countries. The 111th Congress must decide whether to extend Section 1207, which expires on September 30, 2009. This report discusses what issues Congress must take into consideration when making this decision.
Major U.S. Arms Sales and Grants to Pakistan Since 2001
A brief listing of major arms sales and grants made to Pakistan since 2001.
Supreme Court Nominations: Senate Floor Procedure and Practice, 1789-2009
This report discusses Senate procedure relating to Supreme Court nominations from 1789 to the present, but excluding the June 1, 2009 nomination of Sonia Sotomayor.
Service by a Member of Congress in the U.S. Armed Forces Reserves
This report will analyze the legal issues related to Members of Congress serving in the Armed Forces Reserves during their congressional tenure. It will discuss previous congressional action regarding Members' simultaneous service as well as federal legislation addressing the status of Reservists. It will also analyze court decisions related to challenges to simultaneous service.
Federal Grants-In-Aid: An Historical Perspective on Contemporary Issues
This report provides an historical synopsis of the evolving nature of federal grant-in-aid programs, focusing on the role Congress has played in defining the scope and nature of those programs. It begins with an overview of contemporary federal grant-in-aid programs and then examines their evolution over time, focusing on the internal and external factors that have influenced congressional decisions concerning federal grant-in-aid programs. It concludes with an assessment of the scope and nature of the contemporary federal grants-in-aid system and raises several issues for congressional consideration, including possible ways to augment congressional capacity to provide effective oversight of this system.
House Resolutions of Inquiry
The resolution of inquiry is a simple House resolution that seeks factual information from the executive branch. This report explains the history, procedure, specific uses of resolutions of inquiry, and notes recent increases in their usage. The examples in this report demonstrate that, historically, even when a resolution of inquiry is reported adversely from a committee and tabled on the floor, it has frequently led to the release of a substantial amount of information from the Administration.
Congressional Member Organizations: Their Purpose and Activities, History, and Formation
There are 645 informal (Congressional) Member organizations listed in the Congressional Yellow Book or registered with the Committee on House Administration. Of these 645 informal organizations, 256 are registered with the Committee on House Administration as a congressional Member organization (CMO). This report examines the purpose and activities of CMOs and the reasons Members form them. It also identifies and describes seven CMO types, and it provides an overview of the historical development of informal Member organizations since the first Congress. It concludes with a step-by-step guide for House Members and staff who might be interested in forming a CMO.
Waste, Fraud, and Abuse in Agency Travel Card Programs
This report begins by discussing the structure of agency travel card programs, and then discusses weaknesses in agency controls that have contributed to waste, fraud, and abuse. It then examines travel card legislation introduced or enacted in the 111th Congress, and concludes with observations on the information available to Congress for oversight of agency travel card programs.
Foreign Aid Reform: Studies and Recommendations
This report gives a brief history of modern U.S. foreign aid and modern legislative efforts to reform foreign aid practices. The report also examines various recommendations from recent studies relating to foreign aid reform.
Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies: FY2010 Appropriations
This report discusses the President's Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 budget request for the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies appropriations bill, which provides funding for the planning, design, construction, alteration, and improvement of facilities used by active and reserve military components worldwide.
Aviation and Climate Change
This report provides background on aviation emissions and the factors affecting them; it discusses the tools available to control emissions, including existing authority under the Clean Air Act and proposed economy-wide cap-and-trade legislation; and it examines international regulatory developments that may affect U.S. commercial airlines.
The Military Commissions Act of 2006: Background and Proposed Amendments
This report provides a background and analysis of military commissions rules under the Military Commissions Act of 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. The report identifies pending legislation, including Senate-passed S. 1390, and describes proposals suggested by the Obama Administration. Finally, the report provides two charts comparing the MCA with proposed legislation.
Congressional Liaison Offices of Selected Federal Agencies
This list of about 150 congressional liaison offices is 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.
Filling U.S. Senate Vacancies: Perspectives and Contemporary Developments
This report provides information on current vacancies in the Senate, the constitutional origins of the Senate vacancy clause, the appointment process by which most vacancies are filled, and related contemporary issues.
Senate Committee Hearings: Preparation
Committee hearings allow Senators 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 wrongdoing. This report contains a checklist that identifies many of the tasks that need to be performed by a full committee and, in most cases, subcommittees in advance of a hearing. Some of the tasks are required by Senate or committee rules; others are common committee practice. Some tasks are usually the responsibility of the committee’s majority staff, some are shared by majority and minority staff, and some are performed by a Senator’s personal office staff.
Navy Aegis Cruiser and Destroyer Modernization: Background and Issues for Congress
The Navy has begun a multi-billion dollar program to modernize its 84 existing Aegis cruisers and destroyers over a period of more than 20 years. This report explores this program in detail, including the reasons for the program and the oversight issues it poses for Congress.
Navy Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Program: Background, Issues, and Options for Congress
This report discusses the Navy's plans regarding the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS). The LCS is a relatively inexpensive Navy surface combatant equipped with modular "plug-and-fight" mission packages. The Navy wants to field a force of 55 LCSs.
Congressional Oversight and Related Issues Concerning International Security Agreements Concluded by the United States
This report begins by providing a general background on the types of international agreements that are binding upon the United States, as well as considerations affecting whether they take the form of a treaty or an executive agreement. Next, the report discusses historical precedents as to the role that security agreements have taken. The report discusses the oversight role that Congress exercises with respect to entering and implementing international agreements involving the United States.
Deprivation of Honest Services as a Basis for Federal Mail and Wire Fraud Convictions
This report discusses wire and mail fraud and examines relevant court cases.
Navy Aegis Cruiser and Destroyer Modernization: Background and Issues for Congress
The Navy has begun a multi-billion dollar program to modernize its 84 existing Aegis cruisers and destroyers over a period of more than 20 years. This report explores this program in detail, including the reasons for the program and the oversight issues it poses for Congress.
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.
Resolutions of Inquiry: An Analysis of Their Use in the House, 1947-2009
This report discusses resolution of inquiry, which is a measure that formally calls on the executive branch to provide specified factual information to Congress.
Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies: FY2010 Appropriations
This report discusses the President's Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 budget request for the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies appropriations bill, which provides funding for the planning, design, construction, alteration, and improvement of facilities used by active and reserve military components worldwide.
Congressional Printing: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides an overview and analysis of issues related to the processing and distribution of congressional information by the Government Printing Office. Subsequent sections address several issues, including funding congressional printing, printing authorizations, current printing practices, and options for Congress. Finally, the report provides congressional printing appropriations, production, and distribution data in a number of tables.
The Federal Budget: Current and Upcoming Issues
This report examines changes to the Federal Budget for Fiscal Years 2008-2010. The report considers the factors that have an effect on various budgetary functions and decisions. The report specifically focuses on the effect of the 2007-2008 financial recession on the budget, but also considers more long-term fiscal issues such as health care for retiring Baby-Boomers.
Senate Rule XIV Procedures for Placing Measures Directly on the Senate Calendar
When a Senator introduces a bill or joint resolution, the measure is usually referred to committee, pursuant to provisions of Senate Rules XIV, XVII, and XXV. 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.
Lobbying the Executive Branch: Current Practices and Options for Change
This report outlines the development of registration requirements for lobbyists engaging executive branch officials since 1995, as well as several other related issues.