Congressional Research Service Reports - Browse

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Senate Floor Procedure: A Summary
No Description Available.
Conservation and Reinvestment Act (CARA) (H.R. 701) and a Related Initiative in the 106th Congress
This report compares existing law with H.R. 701, as passed by the House(HP) and H.R. 701, as reported by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee (SCR). Both versions, also known as the Conservation and Reinvestment Act (CARA), would have created a new fund, the CARA Fund. Both bills would have created and funded a new coastal energy impact assistance program, amended and funded the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), funded the Urban Park and Recreation Recovery Program and the Historic Preservation Fund, increased funding for wildlife conservation, funded land restoration and easement programs, and funded the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) Program.1 The SCR version would also have funded additional programs to protect natural and cultural resources.
Election of the President and Vice President by Congress: Contingent Election
The 12th Amendment to the Constitution requires that candidates for President and Vice President receive a majority of electoral votes (currently 270 or more of a total of 538) to be elected. If no candidate receives a majority, the President is elected by the House of Representatives, and the Vice President is elected by the Senate. This process is referred to as contingent election and is the topic of discussion in this report.
"Fast-Track" or Expedited Procedures: Their Purposes, Elements, and Implications
This report discusses certain provisions of law that commonly are known as “fast-track” or expedited procedures. They are so labeled because these statutory provisions contain special legislative procedures that apply to one or both houses of Congress and that expedite, or put on a fast track, congressional consideration of a certain measure or a narrowly defined class of measures. This report first presents the nature, purpose, and elements of fast-track procedures. Then the report discusses some of the most important ways in which these procedures differ from the normal procedures of the House and Senate and, therefore, how the use of expedited procedures can affect the legislative process in Congress.
Shutdown of the Federal Government: Causes, Effects, and Process
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Conference Reports and Joint Explanatory Statements
The conference report presents the formal legislative language on which the conference committee has agreed. The joint explanatory statement explains the various elements of the conferees’ agreement in relation to the positions that the House and Senate had committed to the conference committee.
Firestone Tire Recall: NHTSA, Industry, and Congressional Responses
No Description Available.
Floor Procedure in the House of Representatives: A Brief Overview
The House considers bills and resolutions on the floor under several different sets of procedures governing the time for debate and the opportunities for amendment. Some procedures allow 40 or 60 minutes for debate; others permit debate to continue until a majority of Members vote to end it. Some procedures prohibit most or all floor amendments; others allow Members to offer any amendments that meet the requirements of the House’s rules and precedents. Notwithstanding these differences, the rules, precedents, and practices of the House generally are designed to permit the majority to work its will in a timely manner. This report provides a brief overview of this procedure.
Congressional Overrides of Presidential Vetoes
The President’s veto is effective not only in preventing the passage of legislation undesirable to the President, but also as a threat, sometimes forcing Congress to modify legislation before it is presented to the President. However, as a veto threat is carried out, Congress is faced with choices: letting the veto stand, the difficult task of overriding the veto, meeting the President’s objections and sending a new bill forward, or resubmitting the same provisions under a new bill number.
Expedited Procedures in the House: Variations Enacted Into Law
Congress enacts expedited, or fast-track, procedures into law when it wants to increase the likelihood that one or both houses of Congress will vote in a timely way on a certain measure or kind of measure. These procedures are enacted as rulemaking provisions of law pursuant to the constitutional power of each house to adopt its own rules. The house to which a set of expedited procedures applies may act unilaterally to waive, suspend, amend, or repeal them.
The Presidential Veto and Congressional Procedure
No Description Available.
The Amending Process in the House of Representatives
The amending process on the floor of the House of Representatives gives Members an opportunity to change the provisions of the bills and resolutions on which they are going to vote. This report summarizes many of the procedures and practices affecting this process, which can be among the most complex as well as the most important stages of legislative consideration.
House Schedule: Recent Practices and Proposed Options
Many Members have in recent years expressed dissatisfaction with the way the House arranges its work schedule. The chief complaints appear to be that existing practices make inefficient use of time and do not allow predictability, generating persistent scheduling conflicts and other time pressures. This report discusses how four types of House schedule that have been practiced or proposed during the past decade address these areas of dissatisfaction.
Sponsorship and Cosponsorship of Bills
No Description Available.
A User’s Guide to the Congressional Record
This report provides a user's guide to the proceedings of the House and Senate, the proceedings of the House and Senate.
Special Order Speeches: Current House Practices
No Description Available.
Appropriations for FY2001: 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 passes each year. It is designed to supplement the information provided by the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees on Legislative Branch Appropriations.
The House Amendment Tree
This report discusses the House amendment tree, a chart that depicts the maximum number and types of amendments that may be offered to a measure before any amendment is voted upon.
House Voting Procedures: Forms and Requirements
This report discusses the procedural considerations suffuse voting and the methods of voting in both the House and in the Committee of the Whole.
Senate Amendment Process: General Conditions and Principles
No Description Available.
Senate Executive Business and the Executive Calendar
No Description Available.
Senate Rules for Committee Markups
This report discusses the committee rules for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee which stipulates that, insofar as practicable, “proceedings of the Committee will be conducted without resort to the formalities of parliamentary procedure.”
Senate Rules for Committee Markups
No Description Available.
Super-Majority Votes in the Senate
No Description Available.
Unanimous Consent Agreements in the Senate
This report discusses the idea of "unanimous consent" in the Senate. Without its tradition of unanimous consent, the Senate would find it harder to process its complex workload.
Unanimous Consent Agreements in the Senate
This report discusses the idea of "unanimous consent" in the Senate. Without its tradition of unanimous consent, the Senate would find it harder to process its complex workload.
Voting in the Senate: Forms and Requirements
No Description Available.
Clean Water Act Issues in the 106th Congress
In the 106th Congress, no comprehensive activity on reauthorizing the Clean Water Act occurred, although a number of individual clean water bills were enacted. Other issues have been debated recently, such as reforming the law to provide regulatory relief for industry, states and cities, and individual landowners. The debate over many of these issues highlights differing views of the Act and its implementation by some who seek to strengthen existing requirements and others who believe that costs and benefits should be more carefully weighed before additional control programs are mandated.
Allocations and Subdivisions in the Congressional Budget Process
This report briefly explains how the annual budget resolution sets forth total spending and revenue levels, which are then allocated to the appropriate House and Senate committees, which in turn help Congress determine how best to enforce spending once a budget resolution is adopted.
Congressional Budget Act Points of Order
Title III of the Congressional Budget Act (CBA) of 1974 (P.L. 93-344), as amended, establishes the points of order that are used to enforce congressional budget procedures and substantive provisions of a budget resolution. These points of order prohibit certain congressional actions and consideration of certain legislation.
Overview of the Authorization-Appropriation Process
No Description Available.
Congressional Review of Agency Rulemaking: A Brief Overview and Assessment After Five Years
This report will provide a brief explanation of how the review scheme was expected to operate and describe how it has in fact been utilized. The possible reasons for the limited use of the formal review mechanism thus far are assessed and congressional remedial proposals and other options are discussed.
"Sense of" Resolutions and Provisions
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 fact sheet identifies the various forms such expressions may take and the procedures governing such actions.
House Committee Hearings: Preparation
Committee hearings afford 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 wrongdoing. This report identifies many of the tasks that need to be performed by full committees and, in most cases, subcommittees in advance of a hearing. Some of these tasks are required by House or committee rules; others are common committee practice.
Pairing in Congressional Voting: The House
No Description Available.
Types of Committee Hearings
No Description Available.
House Subcommittees: Assignment Process
This report addresses the subcommittee assignment process.
Subcommittees in the House of Representatives
No Description Available.
House Committee Hearings: Arranging Witnesses
This report briefly discusses the process of selecting and arranging witnesses for House committee hearings.
Land and Water Conservation Fund: Current Status and Issues
No Description Available.
Federalism and the Constitution: Limits on Congressional Power
No Description Available.
The Discharge Rule in the House: Principal Features and Uses
The “discharge rule” of the House of Representatives allows a measure to come to the floor for consideration, even if the committee of referral does not report it and the leadership does not schedule it. To initiate this action, a majority of House Members must first sign a petition for that purpose. The rule permits either (1) the committee of referral to be discharged from the measure itself; or (2) the Committee on Rules to be discharged from a special rule for considering the measure. Layover periods required by the rule permit the Committee on Rules to preempt a discharge attempt, and recover control of the floor agenda, by securing adoption of an alternative special rule for considering the measure.
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.
Agriculture and Fast Track Trade Legislation
The 107th Congress is expected to consider new "fast track" (or, Presidential trade promotion) authority, which could enable the Administration to submit trade agreements negotiated with foreign countries to Congress for consideration under expedited procedures. Many agricultural and food industry interests are among the export-oriented enterprises that support fast track authority, arguing that foreign trading partners will not seriously negotiate with an Administration that lacks it. However, some agricultural groups argue that fast track ultimately will lead to new agreements that deliver more benefits to foreign than to U.S. producers, at least in some commodity sectors.
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.”
Congressional Authority to Standardize National Election Procedures
Recent events surrounding the Presidential election have led to increased scrutiny of voting procedures in the United States. This report focuses on the constitutional authority and limitations that might be relevant to attempts by Congress to standardize these and other procedures.
Committee Funding Resolutions and Processes, 107th Congress
Senate action on its committee funding for the 107th Congress was modified as a result of the power-sharing agreement established by S. Res. 8 of January 5, 2001.1 This agreement assures Republicans and Democrats of equal staffing resources on all committees, and supplants Senate rules that require minority party control of at least one-third of each committee’s staff positions. Despite some delays in its normal timetable, the Senate, on March 8, 2001, agreed to a biennial funding resolution by unanimous consent.
House Rules Manual: Summary of Contents
This report briefly discusses The House Rules and Manual, officially titled Constitution, Jefferson’s Manual and Rules of the House of Representatives, which contains the fundamental source material describing procedures in the House of Representatives.
Foreign Aid: An Introductory Overview of U.S. Programs and Policy
No Description Available.
House Committee Organization and Process: A Brief Overview
No Description Available.