Posts Tagged ‘Congressional Procedure’

Ask an Expert: How Does the House Ethics Process Work?

Question: In light of the recent charges against Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) and Maxine Waters (D-CA) I would like to know how does the House Ethics process work? Highland Falls, NY Answer: The House and Senate have the authority to discipline their Members for ethical violations, under Article I, Section...

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Ask an Expert: Fewer Conference Committees – Does it Matter?

Question: A big deal was made about having a House-Senate conference for the Dodd-Frank Financial Sector Reform bill. Why? Aren’t conferences routine? Decatur, AL Answer: We are seeing fewer and fewer conference committees because, in a very disturbing trend, congressional leaders have avoided having them when major legislation is involved!...

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Town Halls Over August Recess: A Long Tradition?

Question: My question is about the August recess Congress has every year. How long has that been going on, and why? And do Members always hold town meetings in August? Sacramento, CA Answer: Congress has an annual August recess because of tradition and because of law. The tradition stems from...

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Congressional Sessions – Shorter Than Usual?

Question: How many days per year does Congress usually spend in session? Is this more or less than Congress did historically? Lincoln, NE Answer: Looking at just the past 11 years, the House has been in session an average of 142 days a year – the Senate, 162 days. You...

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Ask an Expert: What are Senate Holds?

Question: Please define the Senate’s “hold” procedure and explain how Senators use it to kill a bill.   San Jose, California Answer: A “hold” describes a Senator’s request to his party leader that a specific bill or nomination be kept off the Senate floor for the time being. The original intent...

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Ask an Expert: Legislative Information

Question: Where can I get basic legislative information: status of a bill, sponsorship of the legislation, etc.?  Lindsey, Pittsburgh, PA Answer: You can do some research yourself on-line, or you can ask your Representative or either of your two Senators to answer your legislative question. Basic legislative information is readily...

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Ask an Expert: Conference Committee Procedures

Question: I have been hearing a lot about conference committees because of the Dodd-Frank Financial Overhaul bill.  How do conference committees work? Decatur, AL Answer: There are no formal rules governing conference committee procedures. Because they are intended to be flexible negotiating sessions to iron out differences between House and...

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Ask an Expert: Bill Types

Question: What is the difference between a “bill,” a “resolution,” “a joint resolution,” and a “concurrent resolution?”   Haverford, PA Answer: The key distinction among them is that two make law, and two don’t.  The measures that make law are bills and joint resolutions, while concurrent and simple resolutions do...

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Changing a Law

Question: I would like to get Congress to change a law. I’ve written my representative and so have friends and relatives. All we get back are form letters. What else can we do? Edwardsburg, MI Answer: You are doing all an American citizen can do — only a Member of...

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Keeping Up With Congress

Question: How can I keep up with what is going on in Congress? Lafayette, IN Answer: The Internet makes that easy! Click on any of the websites below for information that interests you and for a comprehensive look at what is happening in Congress today. U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:  Gateway...

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