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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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If Congress passed a bill written in a language other than English, would it be valid?

Suppose Congress passed a bill written in Spanish and the President signed it. Everything about the bill and the procedures by which it was written and passed were completely normal, other than the ...
Someone's user avatar
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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 ...
Sdarb's user avatar
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32 votes
8 answers
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Can bills (the documents of laws/legislation) have pictures? Or text only? Can images become part of the legal code?

Asking out of plain curiosity. I tried googling, but just couldn't find a combination of keywords that didn't bring up irrelevant results. Laws become law when the congress approves of a "bill&...
Hemsy19's user avatar
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21 votes
6 answers
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Are legislators ever asked to explain their intent in Supreme Court cases?

I recently started to listen to recordings of arguments before the Supreme Court. I am not a lawyer so I don't completely follow everything, but I noticed right away that a lot of arguments deal with ...
guero64's user avatar
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20 votes
7 answers
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What happens when Congress violates the Constitution through inaction?

The Constitution sets down rules for how Congress can operate, and what it may, may not, or must do. If a President does not do something the Constitution requires them to do, they can be impeached ...
interfect's user avatar
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18 votes
2 answers
8k views

I am a US citizen but have never lived in the US. Who is my Congress member?

This seemed like the most appropriate SE site to ask this question. If you can think of anywhere better please feel free to migrate it there. I was born outside the United States to American parents, ...
H.Rappeport's user avatar
12 votes
4 answers
2k views

Once a congressional bill has become law, how is it noticed by and overseen within the executive branch?

Bills, once they become laws, seem to be archived and internally published somehow. I wonder how the executive branch picks up on and implements them when/after this happens. Someone, somewhere in the ...
2080's user avatar
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12 votes
2 answers
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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 ...
grovkin's user avatar
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12 votes
1 answer
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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 ...
Julian Cooper's user avatar
10 votes
4 answers
7k views

Could one house of Congress completely shut down the other house by passing a large number of frivolous bills?

Suppose that for some reason, the House of Representatives wants to stop the Senate from doing anything. Could they accomplish that by passing hundreds of frivolous bills, so the Senate would be stuck ...
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What does "Congress having occupied the field" mean?

I've run across the phrase "Congress having occupied the field" in legal writings recently. Can someone explain this? My question relates to The Common Law Right of Access to Public Records....
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Durability of Federal legislation protecting abortion rights in US

Recently the Supreme Court of the United States, through Dobbs, has restored the right of States to prohibit abortion. Supporters of reproductive freedoms have since renewed calls upon Congress to ...
brainchild's user avatar
9 votes
2 answers
2k views

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 ...
NonPartisanObservor's user avatar
8 votes
2 answers
2k views

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 ...
DJohnM's user avatar
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7 votes
1 answer
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Could Congress "bribe" the President to sign a bill by including a presidential pay raise?

If Congress wanted to pass a law that they expected the President to be reluctant to sign, could they legally "bribe" the President to sign the bill by including a Presidential pay raise in ...
Someone's user avatar
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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 ...
moonman239's user avatar
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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 ...
Michael Hardy's user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
2k views

Can Congress disqualify people from Federal office?

Could the US Congress enact legislation to prevent specific individuals from being elected to federal government offices?
Patrice Bauman's user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
1k views

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.
Naftali Tzvi's user avatar
6 votes
3 answers
563 views

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 ...
Hemsy19's user avatar
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5 votes
2 answers
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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 ...
HopelessN00b's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
887 views

Can a chamber of Congress pass a bill that the other chamber passed in the past?

This is essentially a civics question, but I cannot find the answer anywhere. Could, for instance, the Senate of the 117th Congress take up a bill that was passed by the House of the 116th Congress, ...
Ben I.'s user avatar
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5 votes
1 answer
290 views

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?...
user541686's user avatar
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4 votes
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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 ...
Andrew's user avatar
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4 votes
2 answers
214 views

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 ...
Jan's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
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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 ...
TylerH's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
294 views

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 ...
user6726's user avatar
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1 answer
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Does the Speech and Debate clause immunize speeches against civil liability? (NDAs, libel, non-disparagement agreements, etc.)

Suppose a Senator, Representative, non-voting delegate, or their staff makes a disclosure in their their official capacity that violates an otherwise valid non-disclosure agreement (NDA) or other ...
Viktor's user avatar
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4 votes
2 answers
1k views

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 ...
Brandon Bradley's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
7k views

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 ...
DrSheldon's user avatar
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1 answer
301 views

Is it illegal for Congress to pass an unconstitutional law?

If Congress passes a law and SCOTUS strikes it down, are there any consequences for Congress other than the law not being enforceable?
Someone's user avatar
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3 votes
3 answers
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Is there any way a US 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?
Muze's user avatar
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3 votes
2 answers
4k views

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:...
Eliot G York's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
105 views

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)...
Charlie's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
97 views

Does the United States Constitution impose an obligation on Congress to pass a budget?

Does the United States Constitution impose an obligation on Congress to pass a budget?
Jen's user avatar
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3 votes
2 answers
100 views

Can the US Congress or Executive unilaterally change interstate compacts after they're established?

There are some notable compacts such as the Great Lakes compact, Atlantic Fisheries compact, etc… that seem to require a large amount of authority to enforce in practice. Theoretically it makes sense ...
M. Y. Zuo's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
458 views

If Roe is overturned, could Congress still protect abortion rights?

If the Supreme Court does decide to overturn Roe and leave abortion up to the states, would passing the Women's Health Protection Act allow Congress to pre-empt any state laws prohibiting abortion, or ...
BakedAlaska624's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
614 views

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 ...
grovkin's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
550 views

Why there isn't any law resulting from the Algorithmic Accountability Act of 2019?

It was stated that no later than 2 years, law must be created according to this bill. I can't find the law anywhere. Talking about this bill: H.R.2231 - Algorithmic Accountability Act of 2019
brikas's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
600 views

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 ...
Pyrotechnical's user avatar
2 votes
4 answers
566 views

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 ...
robertspierre's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
141 views

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 ...
TheEnvironmentalist's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
1k views

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)...
JesseTG's user avatar
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2 votes
2 answers
288 views

Can Congress secretly pass a bill

Supposed some Congress members thought it would be necessary to pass a bill without telling the public about national security. For example, if a war broke out and Congress wanted to allocate money to ...
Joe's user avatar
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2 votes
2 answers
424 views

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 ...
JimmyJames's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
1k views

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 ...
BlueDogRanch's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
51 views

When do new members get sworn in as congress people?

I have seen two sources (one was LA Times) state that new members are not sworn in until after a speaker is elected. If that is correct, how do the results of an election get reflected in that key ...
George White's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
153 views

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 ...
Gerard Ashton's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
81 views

Members of Congress are subject to a host of restrictions that carefully distinguish between their official functions and campaign functions

This question stems from an answer to another question here. In it, a DOJ official is quoted as saying: Members of Congress are subject to a host of restrictions that carefully distinguish between ...
T Battel's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
385 views

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 ...
user30654's user avatar