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U.S. Role in the World: Background and Issues for Congress
This report presents background information and issues for Congress on the overarching U.S. foreign policy issue of the U.S. role in the world. Certain statements and actions from the Trump Administration have led to uncertainty about the Administration's intentions regarding the future U.S. role, and have intensified an ongoing debate among foreign policy specialists, strategists, policymakers, and the public about what that role should be. This report includes (particularly in its appendixes) references to other CRS products that provide more in-depth discussions of specific policy and program areas bearing on the U.S. role.
Violence Against Members of Congress and Their Staff: A Brief Overview
This report discusses questions about the personal security and safety of Members of Congress and their staffs.
Defining Readiness: Background and Issues for Congress
This report discusses how differing uses of the term "readiness" affect congressional debate, but does not evaluate the current state of the U.S. military or provide a conclusive definition of readiness. It also considers how the different uses of the term readiness relate to certain issues: Is there a readiness crisis? What should the U.S. military be ready for? How should readiness be measured? How does the FY2018 budget request affect the U.S. military's readiness?
Venezuela: Background and U.S. Policy
This report examines the political and economic situation in Venezuela and U.S.-Venezuelan relations. It is divided into three main sections -- political background, current political and economic environment, U.S. relations and policy -- and also includes introductory and outlook information.
Selected Homeland Security Issues in the 115th Congress
This report outlines an array of homeland security issues that may come before the 115th Congress. After a brief discussion of the definitions of homeland security, the homeland security budget, and the role of homeland security actors in the intelligence community, the report divides the specific issues into five broad categories: Counterterrorism and Security Management; Border Security and Trade; Disaster Preparedness, Response, and Recovery; Cybersecurity; and DHS Management Issues. Each of those areas contains a survey of topics briefly analyzed by Congressional Research Service experts. The information included only scratches the surface of most of these selected issues. More detailed information on these topics and others can be obtained by consulting the CRS reports referenced herein, or by contacting the relevant CRS expert.
Membership of the 115th Congress: A Profile
This report presents a profile of the membership of the 115th Congress (2017-2018) as of March 13, 2017. 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.
U.S. Senate Vacancies: Contemporary Developments and Perspectives
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.
Resolutions of Inquiry in the House
This report examines the use of resolutions of inquiry in the House of Representatives from 1947 to 2011. A resolution of inquiry is a measure that formally calls on the executive branch to provide specified factual information to Congress.
Defense Primer: A Guide for New Members
This report describes the power of the Congress over the armed forces, including the power to "to raise and support Armies," "to provide and maintain a Navy," "to make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces" and "to provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States...", as well as references to other reports on related topics.
What Is the Effect of Enacting a Congressional Review Act Resolution of Disapproval?
This report discusses the Congressional Review Act (CRA), which provides Congress with a set of special parliamentary procedures to consider legislation to overturn federal regulations.
"Dear Colleague" Letters in the House of Representatives: Past Practices and Issues for Congress
This report report provides a comparative analysis of how the use of the e-"Dear Colleague" system in the House of Representatives has changed between the 111th Congress (2009-2010) and the 113th Congress (2013-2014). This report provides an overview of the data and methodology used to evaluate "Dear Colleague" letter usage, discusses the characteristics and purpose of "Dear Colleague" letters, and discusses questions for Congress and observations on the use of "Dear Colleague" letters as a form of internal communications.
Legislative Branch: FY2017 Appropriations
The first section of this report provides an overview of the consideration of fiscal year 2017 legislative branch appropriations, with subsections covering each action. It is followed by a section on prior year actions and funding, which contains historical tables. The report then addresses the FY2017 budget requests, requested administrative language, and selected funding issues for individual legislative branch agencies and entities.
Membership of the 115th Congress: A Profile
This report presents a profile of the membership of the 115th Congress (2017-2018) as of January 4, 2017. 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.
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.
Defense Primer: A Guide for New Members
This report describes the power of the Congress over the armed forces, including the power to "to raise and support Armies," "to provide and maintain a Navy," "to make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces" and "to provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States.... "
Members' Representational Allowance: History and Usage
This report provides a history and overview of the Members' Representational Allowance (MRA) and examines spending patterns in recent years.
Blue-Slipping: Enforcing the Origination Clause in the House of Representatives
This report discusses the House enforcement of its prerogative by blue-slipping a measure upon its initial receipt from the Senate or during its consideration on the House floor.
Considering Measures in the House Under the One-Hour Rule
This report discusses the fundamental rule of the House of Representatives governing debate is the one-hour rule.
Questions of Privilege in the House
This report describes and discusses the difference between privileged business and questions of privilege.
Defense Authorization and Appropriations Bills: FY1970-FY2017
This report is a research aid that lists the Department of Defense (DOD) authorization bills (Table 1) and appropriations bills (Table 2) for FY1970-FY2017. This report includes all the pertinent information on the passage of these bills through the legislative process: bill numbers, report numbers, dates reported and passed, recorded vote numbers and vote tallies, dates of passage of the conference reports with their numbers and votes, vetoes, substitutions, dates of final passage, and public law numbers.
The Holman Rule (House Rule XXI, Clause 2(b))
This report provides a history of the Holman Rule in House rules and an analysis of precedents that are illustrative of its possible application.
Sponsorship and Cosponsorship of House Bills
This report briefly discusses the processes of sponsoring, cosponsoring, and gaining cosponsors for bills in the House of Representatives.
Commodity Futures Trading Commission: Proposed Reauthorization in the 115th Congress
This report describes the re-authorization of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), created in 1974.
The Budget Reconciliation Process: Stages of Consideration
This report discusses the budget reconciliation process which allows Congress to use an expedited procedure when considering legislation that would bring existing spending, revenue, and debt limit laws into compliance with current fiscal priorities established in the annual budget resolution.
Expedited Procedures Governing Senate Consideration of Legislation Waiving a Restriction Related to the Military Service of the Secretary of Defense
This report discusses the Section 179 of the Further Continuing and Security Assistance Appropriations Act, 2017 (P.L. 114-254), which establishes expedited or "fast track" parliamentary procedures governing Senate consideration of legislation that would waive a legal restriction related to the prior military service of the Secretary of Defense.
Agency Final Rules Submitted on or After June 13, 2016, May Be Subject to Disapproval by the 115th Congress
This report discusses the possibility of the new Congress and the new President to overturn agency final rules of the Obama Administration issued after early June 2016.
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.
The Committee Markup Process in the House of Representatives
This report focuses on the markup stage of the legislative process in committee. It discusses the selection of the text to be marked up, the procedures for proposing and debating amendments to that text, the voting and quorum procedures that govern markups, and the final stages of ordering the marked-up text reported to the House for its consideration.
Women in Congress, 1917-2016: Biographical and Committee Assignment Information, and Listings by State and Congress
This report includes biographical information for the 313 women who have been elected or appointed to Congress including names, committee assignments, dates of service, listings by Congress and state, and (for Representatives) congressional districts.
The First Day of a New Congress: A Guide to Proceedings on the House Floor
This report focuses on the floor activities of the House of Representatives during its first formal session in a new Congress, and serves as a guide for those participating in or watching these proceedings.
Congress's Early Organization Meetings
This report discusses Congress's early organization meetings. The purposes of these meetings are both educational and organizational. Educational sessions range from legislative procedures and staff hiring to current issues.
Statutorily Required Federal Advisory Committees that Began Operations in FY2015
This report discusses the establishment of the federal advisory committees--sometimes called task forces, panels, commissions, working groups, boards, councils, or conferences.
Presidential Appointee Positions Requiring Senate Confirmation and Committees Handling Nominations
This report identifies, by Senate committee, presidentially-appointed positions requiring Senate confirmation based on referrals as of the date of passage of S. 679, which became P.L. 112-166 on August 10, 2012.
Venezuela: Background and U.S. Relations
This report examines the political and economic situation in Venezuela and U.S.-Venezuelan relations. It is divided into three main sections -- political background, current political and economic environment, U.S. relations and policy -- and also includes introductory and outlook information.
Evolution of the Meaning of "Waters of the United States" in the Clean Water Act
This report outlines how the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 (BCTPAA) regulates the eligibility of covered trade agreements for expedited consideration, describes the operation of the statutory expedited procedures for considering implementing bills, and discusses how Congress may use the procedural mechanisms established by the act, as well as other pertinent rules of each chamber, to retain a substantial measure of control over legislation to implement covered trade agreements.
Overview of Funding Mechanisms in the Federal Budget Process, and Selected Examples
This report explains various funding mechanisms used to fund federal programs and activities including timelines for budgetary decisionmaking and processes (e.g., committees); it illustrates the mechanisms with examples of how they have been applied in practice. How a particular funding mechanism is structured requires tradeoffs between the frequency of congressional review and the predictability of funding for the program.
Acquisition Reform in the House and Senate Versions of the FY2017 National Defense Authorization Act
This report focuses on the sections of the House and Senate versions of the Fiscal Year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 4909 and S. 2943, respectively) that appear closely linked to the respective armed services committees' stated efforts to reform the acquisition system. For purposes of this analysis, CRS selected 31 sections of the House bill and 67 sections of the Senate bill.
Expulsion, Censure, Reprimand, and Fine: Legislative Discipline in the House of Representatives
This report discusses the processes of expulsion and censure in the House of Representatives. The House is expressly authorized within the United States Constitution (Article I, Section 5, clause 2) to discipline or "punish" its own Members. It is designed as a measure to protect the institutional integrity of the House of Representatives, its proceedings and its reputation.
Midnight Rules: Congressional Oversight and Options
This report discusses "midnight rulemaking," referring to the phenomenon during the final months of recent presidential administrations when federal agencies have typically issued a larger number of rules relative to comparable time periods earlier in the administration. It likely occurs because the outgoing presidential administration wants to achieve certain policy goals before the end of its term.
Salaries of Members of Congress: Congressional Votes, 1990-2016
This report contains information on actions taken that affect the salaries for members of Congress, broken down by year and starting with the establishment of the Ethics Reform Act adjustment procedure (1990). It also provides background on the most recent developments and information on other related floor action.
Venezuela: Background and U.S. Relations
This report examines the political and economic situation in Venezuela and U.S.-Venezuelan relations. It is divided into three main sections -- political background, current political and economic environment, U.S. relations and policy -- and also includes introductory and outlook information.
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.
Legislative Branch: FY2017 Appropriations
The first section of this report provides an overview of the consideration of FY2017 legislative branch appropriations, with subsections covering each action. It is followed by a section on prior year actions and funding, which contains historical tables. The report then addresses the FY2017 budget requests, requested administrative language, and selected funding issues for individual legislative branch agencies and entities.
"Sense of" Resolutions and Provisions
This report discusses specific kinds of resolutions by which 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 expressing the views of one or both chambers may be included in other legislation upon introduction or subsequently added by amendment. This report identifies the various forms these expressions may take and the procedures governing such actions.
The Nunn-McCurdy Act: Background, Analysis, and Issues for Congress
This report examines the the Nunn-McCurdy Act, which requires the Department of Defense (DOD) to report to Congress whenever a major defense acquisition program experiences cost overruns that exceed certain thresholds. As a result of the Nunn-McCurdy Act, Congress has increased visibility into the cost performance of the acquisition stage of MDAPs. However, some analysts suggest that Nunn-McCurdy is not a sufficiently comprehensive reporting mechanism.
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.
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.
Export-Import Bank: Frequently Asked Questions
This report addresses frequently-asked questions about the Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank, grouped in the following categories: congressional interest and the Ex-Im Bank reauthorization debate; market context; international context; organizational structure and management; programs; statutory requirements and policies; risk management; budget and appropriations; implications of a sunset in authority; and historical and current approaches to reauthorization.
Calling Up Business on the Senate Floor
This report outlines processes or customs most often used by the Senate and then discusses some procedures less often used to call up business. The Senate takes up measures and matters under procedures set in Senate rules and by long-standing customs, thereby giving it flexibility in setting its floor agenda.
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.