Questions tagged [congress]

Questions about the U.S. Congress – the federal legislative body consisting of the House of Representatives and the Senate (also [us-senate]).

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In the US Reconciliation procedure, wherein the text allows for separate bills for revenue, spending & debt for each year?

In the Reconciliation procedure, as passed in the bill here: Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974. Wherein the exact text here is the interpretation that bills each for revenue, ...
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Can someone plead the fifth regarding impeachment?

Recently, former president Trump turned down the opportunity to testify at his own impeachment hearing. However, given the magnitude of the charges, could he be compelled to testify by subpoena? Or ...
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(U.S.A.) Removing senators not from your state

Background example: People in California want to remove a senator from Kentucky. Can this be performed? How can it be performed?
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Impeach Pence if he deviates while counting presidential ballots

If Vice President Pence deviates from simply announcing the ballots from the Electoral College on January 6, 2020, and instead attempts to unilaterally reject some ballots, can the House of ...
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Can states legally leave entire areas unrepresented in Congress?

Suppose, for example, that the Utah state legislature decides Salt Lake City shouldn't get US House representation, so they draw the congressional districts such that no district's boundaries include ...
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Can the president of the Peruvian congress appoint the president if the former officeholder is removed?

Article 115 of the Peruvian constitution says the following: Por impedimento temporal o permanente del Presidente de la República, asume sus funciones el Primer Vicepresidente. En defecto de éste, el ...
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Can the US Congress subpoena witnesses for any arbitrary reason?

This question was prompted by the headline on October 15, 2020 that the Senate Judiciary Committee will vote on whether to subpoena the CEO of Twitter for suppressing certain political content. This ...
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Will the next Congress (2021) be sworn in on a Sunday?

The 20th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states Section 1. The terms of the President and Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January, and the terms of Senators and Representatives ...
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Have US Congressional reapportionment formulas ever been codified?

Over the centuries there have been several methods used for calculating the number of representatives each state gets in Congress. From what I have read, though, the results of the apportionment are ...
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How can the US House of Representatives transition to be elected by proportional representation? Would editing “PL 2 USC 2c” work?

Here is context for my question: I am a student studying political science. I am researching policy that could be used to dismantle the stranglehold that the Democratic and Republican parties have on ...
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What ever happened to the Nixon Pocket veto case?

What ever happened to the Nixon Pocket veto case? This is the case where members of congress sued over President Nixon's recess veto of a spending bill.
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In the show “Designated Survivor,” all Congressman but 1 are killed, and the President desperately wants to nominate a new Congress. Why?

Why is it so important to the excecutive branch that there is a full Congress? Can action not be taken by the sole remaining Congressman, or is the problem that this Congressman would have way too ...
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Was it illegal for Nancy Pelosi to tear up her copy of the State of the Union address?

President Trump has claimed it was illegal for Nancy Pelosi to tear up her copy of his State of the Union address, as it was an official document. Is there any law stating that it is illegal to tear ...
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A better tool for reading law than congress.gov

I am looking at the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019, and interested in discovering how much spending the budget covers. Early in the bill, there is a reference to existing legislation: "--Section 251(c)...
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Under what rule do bills etc. die (US Congress)?

It is generally accepted that when a bill (for example) is introduced in one house of Congress, it must be approved by both houses before that Congress adjourns. A bill approved by one house cannot be ...
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Legal consequences of complying with a house subpoena?

I keep seeing in the news that, at the president's order, people are ignoring subpoenas from the house of representatives, citing executive privilege. So what legal bite does the president have if ...
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Is there a rule preventing campaign rallies on the House floor?

Is there a law or a House rule preventing House of Representatives members using their time on the House floor, or committee floor, to hold election campaign events?
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SCIF intrusion by members of Congress

Having some tangential experience with Sensitive Compartmented Information Facilities (SCIF) and how seriously they are taken, I was shocked to hear that one was stormed in Congress by people carrying ...
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Will a contempt of congress lawsuit actually reach the merits?

Hypothetical Scenario: Kellyanne Conway is subpoenaed by the House Oversight committee for Hatch Act violations. Conway appears but tells the chairman that he is a fraudulent partisan grandstander, a ...
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Why can't Robert Mueller give the report to congress?

With the recent vote to hold William Barr in contempt of congress, I have one main question. Why can't Robert Mueller just give the report to congress? It's obvious that I don't understand the full ...
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Congress and Trump's Tax Filings [closed]

I am very interested in Congress subpoenaing the IRS for Trump's individual Tax Return for the last 6 years. I realize they have oversight. But it would look to me as an one outside of the law ...
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What are the legal Ramifications if any, of ratifying the last remaining Un-ratified amendment of the Constitution? [closed]

There were originally 12 articles proposed for ratification in the "bill of rights" ten were ratified soon after. One was ratified in 1992 and the remaining proposal has no deadline or date of ...
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Federal prison and congressional testimony

Assume an individual has been convicted and sentenced for United States Federal crimes and is serving his sentence in the appropriate Federal prison. Then, he is subpoenaed to testify, under oath, ...
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Is there a gap in the office of Speaker of the House?

In the current Congressional elections, the control of the House of Representatives is changing from one party to another, and the current Speaker did not run for re-election. In this situation, is ...
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Is there any way a president could be voted in by popular vote more than two terms?

If everybody was to vote on their ballot for a United States president who had already served two terms and won the election what would happen?
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The five-year statute of limitations on lying to Congress

Part of the point of bringing someone before Congress is that they're forced to tell the truth or risk perjury charges. However, the charges only seem to apply if Congress can quickly dig up proof of ...
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Can Congress legislate the structure of court rulings?

Suppose Congress, in the interest of keeping rulings easier to read and interpret, passes a law that says the judicial branch at large must provide a summary of its findings that does not directly ...
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How is the “Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017” constitutional?

H.R.1865, known as the "Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017", recently passed both chambers of Congress and was signed into law by president trump. I'm not a ...
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If legislative intent is considered when interpreting laws, why don't lawmakers attach a note to the law explaining their intentions?

When a judge is deciding whether a law applies to a particular case, they often look at historical documents or transcripts of legislative proceedings to determine whether the lawmakers would've ...
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What is the legal penalty for “contempt of Congress”?

In reading a recent article that suggested Steve Bannon might be found in "contempt of congress", I realized that there's no information on what the penalty for that might be, unlike the statutorily ...
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What is the extent of legal power of a USA Congressional inquiry?

When a US Senator or Congressperson poses a question to a private company about some behavior or action of the company, does that carry any legal weight? In other words, is the company required to ...
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Who would declare a law unconstitutional if the Supreme Court couldn't?

Let's say the US Congress is passing a law. They are afraid that it would be declared unconstitutional in court, so they add an addendum saying "It is illegal for the Supreme Court to try this ...
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Why Was The 17th Amendment Necessary?

Specifically, why did it need to be a Constitutional Amendment instead of a regular law? The Constitution, under Article 1, Section 4, Clause 1, states that: The Times, Places and Manner of ...
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Can Congress dissolve the other branches?

Congress has the power to amend the Constitution. In theory, could they pass an amendment repealing Articles II and III, effectively dissolving the other two branches? This is clearly contrary to the ...
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Congressional History and Legislative Intent of Statute 18 U.S.C.1832

To start off, I am only a high school student helping a friend of mine with a little predicament. She has asked me to research about the Congressional history and the legislative intent of a statute: ...
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Can congressional leaders “expel” elected members of Congress?

According to a Washington Post article about Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, in the spotlight for an apparent history of sexual relations with teenagers, congressmen are trying to... pressure ...
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What happens if Congress blocks funding for a President's military order?

There is talk of Congress passing legislation to block funding for a military strike on North Korea. My question is, what happens if the president orders an attack assuming it is within his authority?...
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Does Congress have the authority to grant citizenship to an individual?

The US House Committee on Appropriations just passed a resolution to grant citizenship to Charlie Gard, a British infant. Of course, the resolution is only part of a much larger bill that would need ...
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Why are Congressional Democrats suing the president? Isn't prosecution its own job?

I heard Congressional Democrats are filing an emoluments lawsuit against Trump. I don't get this. Wasn't prosecution of "high crimes and misdemeanors" (aka impeachment) in Congress's own job ...
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What is the statute surrounding refusal to answer questions in a congressional hearing?

The US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence held a hearing today, June 6th 2017, on FISA legislation (LINK: Full hearing video recording). This hearing included testimony by the following witnesses:...
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USA Supreme Court and Congress response

I was viewing this video, which is the Crash Course on Government and Politics #22 : judicial Decisions The teacher says: "[Supreme Court] justices might be influenced by congress because they ...
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What happens if Congress declares war, but POTUS refuses to fight it?

By Article I, Section 8, Clause 11 of the US Constitution, the power to declare war is with the Congress. Today (03/20/17), during a committee hearing, Ms. Speier, accused Russia (I assume she meant ...
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Does testifying before Congress carry the obligation to be forthcoming?

During Congressional testimony today (03/20/17), Adm. Michael S. Rogers was asked (among other things) if US citizens were required to report all contacts with foreign nationals and if failure to ...
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Can the executive branch instruct an agency to not enforce a law?

Using the current discussion regarding the Johnson Act as an example (unless there are more relevant examples): Can the Executive branch instruct an administrative agency to not enforce or ignore a ...
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Criminal federal laws regarding functions of civil officers

Has Congress passed any laws that place criminal executive restrictions on federal employees in the executive branch? For example, if Congress passed a law that said the FBI director wasn't allowed ...
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Why can ONLY federal authorities regulate interstate commerce?

The Constitution of the United States gives Congress the power to regulate interstate commerce. It seems the federal courts have held that only Congress, and not state legislatures, can regulate ...
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Can I record a phone call made to the office of my congressman or senator?

Suppose I'm not too pleased with my Congressman's stance on an issue, and that I plan on calling his or her office. Is it legal to record a phone call made to the office of my Congressman (or Senator)...