Questions tagged [congress]

A congress is typically the legislative of body of a country, but without the executive powers of a parliament or president. Use with a relevant country tag.

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18
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3answers
3k views

What are the limits on an impeached and not convicted president?

What, if any, are the limits on an impeached and not convicted president?
19
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4answers
4k views

Does the US require a House vote to begin an impeachment inquiry?

Does the US require a House vote to begin an impeachment inquiry? News sources such as this CNN article seem to show a disagreement between the White House saying that a House vote is required, while ...
28
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6answers
7k views

What can be done about a US president who refuses to co-operate with an impeachment panel?

Is it possible to prevent a sitting US President from hindering an impeachment investigation against him or her? The Washington Post just reported that: Trump personal attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani ...
3
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2answers
318 views

Why is 3/4 of the US federal government unaffected by a shutdown?

I don't understand why the shutdown only affects a portion of the government. Where does the rest get its funding and why isn't it bound by the same dependency on congressional approval?
116
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7answers
29k views

Why couldn't Republicans who voted to repeal Obamacare so many times under Obama do it under a Republican president?

I seem to recall that Republicans voted to amend or repeal Obamacare dozens of times when Obama was president. It was a meme that they had so many better ideas about health care. They seemed to be ...
25
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10answers
6k views

Is it true that Republicans have an unfair geographical advantage in elections for the House of Representatives?

I'm not from the U.S. but someone told me that the Republican Party had an unfair advantage in elections for the House of Representatives. This advantage would be geographic. The voters who usually ...
12
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1answer
2k views

Can US Congress members be (successfully) sued for defamation?

What is the level of protection of Congress members against civil lawsuits for statements they make, e.g. can they be successfully sued for defamation (libel, slander etc.)?
17
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3answers
1k views

Why cancel the AHCA vote, rather than giving it a try?

Paul Ryan just announced that the house will not be voting on the AHCA today after all, since there was too much opposition from other Republicans for it to be able to pass. Why would he cancel the ...
12
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3answers
9k views

How do independents choose a party to caucus with?

I know that several independents in the US Senate (ie. Bernie Sanders) caucus with the Democrats. Officially, what does that mean? How do independents choose whom to caucus with (both ideologically ...
9
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1answer
1k views

Is there a procedure to recall US Senators?

I live in Colorado. Is there an procedure to recall a senator or representatives in Congress in my state? What are the steps in executing that procedure?
8
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1answer
870 views

Did Schumer offer Trump a deal that included the wall?

The United States is currently in a government shutdown, because Democrats won't vote for an appropriations bill without a deal on DACA, and President Trump won't agree to a deal on DACA without ...
7
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1answer
715 views

How can the federal United States congress conduct a public referendum vote?

Is it possible for congress to delegate voting on specific policies to a nationwide popular vote at the federal level? If so, how would this be accomplished?
6
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1answer
6k views

What is the minimum number of Legislators required to pass various Acts of Congress?

Since the US Constitutional Quorum for most purposes is a majority of each house of Congress, can bills pass that house with a majority of the quorum or do they need a majority of the total seats of ...
5
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1answer
3k views

In the US how much power does the President have over the budget?

Let's say the president wants to either increase or decrease spending. He pledges to veto any budget that doesn't increase/decrease spending by X amount. How much impact would this actually have? How ...
5
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2answers
708 views

How does a government shutdown happen?

So, It seemed as though an act or lack there of from congress caused this "Government Shutdown" to happen. My question is: What specifically has to happen for a government shutdown to happen? ...
4
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2answers
319 views

Why didn't Mueller have to submit a report to Congress?

Ken Starr had to submit a report directly to Congress, pursuant to 28 USC 595 (c) Why didn't Mueller have to do this?
4
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1answer
592 views

Ability of a minority party to hold a pro forma congressional session

I recently came across the concept of a pro forma congressional session, where a single lawmaker will open the session, wait a minute, then close the session. Apparently, this tactic has been used by ...
36
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4answers
7k views

In the US, what is the role of and relationship between federal law and state law?

(This is an attempt at a canonical question about an important distinction in US law and politics that is different than many other countries. It was suggested by this comment on another question. I'm ...
16
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2answers
528 views

Are there any procedural advantages to indefinitely delaying or canceling a vote on a bill?

There are many bills proposed by Congress. My understanding is that most of them get referred to committee, and no action is ever taken on them. Some make it out of committee but are never scheduled ...
9
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1answer
5k views

Can't congress override Trump's assumed veto of the temporary spending bill?

The senate unanimously passed a spending bill a few days ago to keep the government funded until mid-February. Trump stated that he will veto it because it doesn't include funding for a wall. There is ...
10
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1answer
345 views

What are the limits of the authority of POTUS to issue Executive Orders

Civics class was almost a half century ago. However, I thought I was taught that only Congress could make laws. How and why does the President have the authority to make law via Executive Orders? ...
7
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2answers
438 views

Would the JCPOA be considered a treaty or an executive agreement?

Would the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action be considered a treaty or an executive agreement? I understand that in order for a treaty to be considered, the president must seek the approval of the ...
7
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1answer
474 views

Who decides on US congressional hearings topics and schedule?

Who has an authority to decide on US congressional hearing topics and persons to be questioned? I am mostly interested in the answer for investigative hearings. Is any way for public to affect that ...
5
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4answers
1k views

Trump's recent siding with the democrats on 3 months debt extension - trying to understand a few things

I've read up on it a bit and I think I understand the basics. The 3-month debt ceiling extension gives the Democrats key negotiating leverage in December when the debt ceiling is up for discussion ...
1
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1answer
163 views

Can the Senate vote again on the bill to fund “The Wall” after the new members of Senate are sworn in?

Currently the house has approved and signed a bill funding "the wall." Senate has not approved. New members are sworn in January. Can the bill then be approved and submitted to be signed by the ...
23
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4answers
2k views

Why does the US Congress have two chambers?

Why does the US have separate houses (House of Representatives and Senate) to form Congress? Put another way, what is the reasoning behind a bicameral legislature in the USA?
20
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1answer
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Will NORAD Santa tracker be affected by the government shutdown?

If the government shutdown that started about 12 hours ago (at the moment of writing the question) will continue (and probably will) later than 24 december, than what will happen with NORAD Santa ...
10
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2answers
301 views

Is there a minimum amount of opportunity to provide for reading a bill to be passed?

The Republican tax plan was just passed, and there's a bit of uproar about the way it was released. Several of the Democratic congressmen have complained they were not able to read it, both because ...
9
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2answers
2k views

Why is the Speaker of the House able to stop a vote on a clean spending bill?

The President claims that the House Speaker, John Boehner, is refusing to allow a vote on a so-called "clean spending bill" which many believe actually has the votes to pass (see for example http://...
7
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1answer
15k views

If a bill was referred to a Committee, and died there, is there a way to tell what happened?

In this answer, I linked to a bill that was listed as dead in a Committee. Another user asked what happened to the bill, why did it die and who supported/opposed it (votes or otherwise): Where can I ...
6
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1answer
388 views

Who in the US actually “sends” astronauts to the Moon? The executive or the legislative branch?

The sources cited in this question and in the news mention that in a recent speech to the US space council, vice president Pence announced that NASA should land astronauts on the south pole of the ...
6
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2answers
693 views

If the Supreme Court were depopulated, what powers would be lost?

If, due to some doubly unlikely and unhappy combination of accident and obstinacy: a sitting Supreme Court were to (as a whole) perish or all retire, (whether suddenly or gradually), a lengthy ...
5
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1answer
227 views

What is the next portion of the US government that will be shutdown?

Currently, it appears that around 25% of the US government is shutdown. To the best of my understanding, this is because different departments funding expires at different times. What does the ...
5
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2answers
360 views

What happens if the US Attorney General refuses to comply with the legislative branch?

Similar to question Is there precedent or are there procedures for a US president refusing to concede to an electoral defeat? but in reference to specifically the attorney general. As a side note, ...
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2answers
736 views

What portion of the Affordable Care Act originated in the House?

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare was declared constitutional by the Supreme Court of the United States. In Justice Roberts opinion, he declared that the individual mandate ...
0
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1answer
557 views

What's the ratio of treaties ratified by Congress to other forms of international agreements the US is part of?

An NBC opinion piece says by former Senator Russ Feingold states: There have been relatively few treaties considered by Congress in recent decades, in part because executive agreements and regular ...
73
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5answers
9k views

Is it true that “Trump did not have a serious opportunity to offer his side of the story” in the House impeachment proceedings?

I was just reading the editorial Trump Should Be Removed from Office in Christianity Today, and I was struck by this quote (emphasis mine): Let’s grant this to the president: The Democrats have had ...
6
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3answers
7k views

How many votes is a senate supermajority when there are vacancies?

If there are vacant seats in the senate such that 3/5ths or 2/3rds of the duly-chosen and sworn senators is not a whole number, how is a supermajority rounded? e.g. If there are only 99 senators, 3/...
40
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7answers
5k views

What could the US federal government do to reform the police?

There is a widespread belief that policing in the USA suffers from systemic racism. Let us suppose that Joe Biden gets elected President and decides that this is a priority. Let us also suppose that ...
22
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4answers
11k views

Did Obama notify Congress (the Intelligence committees in particular) that the bin Laden raid was ongoing?

Trump said recently that he did not notify Congress that the raid on ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was ongoing because Trump feared a leak from Congress. So he only notified Congress after the US ...
9
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4answers
5k views

Are all retroactive laws, ex post facto laws?

In the United States, Congress' seeming inability to pass a fiscal cliff bill before the 1/1/13 12:00 AM deadline has sparked discussion that Congress could potentially pass a bill sometime in January ...
6
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1answer
2k views

Why deliberate NASA authorization bills if NASA doesn't need them?

Spacenews.com's The sound and fury over a NASA authorization bill says that a NASA authorization bill isn't required and most years the US Congress doesn't pass one. Question: If that's so, then what ...
5
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1answer
442 views

Why does the FIRST STEP Act have bipartisan support?

Note: misconceptions/challenged statements from a previous edit are struck through viz. insight from an answer. There's been a campaign for US federal prison reform for decades. It's long had a lot ...
35
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5answers
8k views

Why is the US Congress getting involved in the privacy issues at Facebook?

Mark Zuckerberg is testifying in the US Congress this week about issues surrounding privacy at Facebook. However it's not clear to me why the legislative branch would become involved in such minute ...
17
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3answers
3k views

When and why did the House rules change to permit an inquiry without a vote?

This other question asks whether the House requires a vote to begin an impeachment inquiry, but several of the answers (including the accepted one) point out that the rules have changed since Clinton'...
14
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1answer
1k views

How can a bill pass the US Senate by a vote of 3-0?

The Palm Sunday Compromise was a bill which passed the US Senate by a vote of 3-0, 97 not present. How is it possible for the Senate to conduct business with the overwhelming majority of its members ...
13
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3answers
366 views

What are the rules/laws for Congresspersons who want to listen to closed-door proceedings of committees they are not a part of?

In relation to another question of mine (and the comments it triggered), what rules does Congress have for closed-door meetings in committees, particularly with respect to the participation of other ...
12
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1answer
312 views

Are there precedents for Congresspersons going in uninvited to closed-doors committee proceedings?

According to CNN: Roughly two-dozen House Republicans on Wednesday stormed a closed-door deposition in secure House Intelligence Committee spaces to rail against the Democratic-led impeachment ...
12
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3answers
25k views

When is a 60% majority required in US Congress?

I wonder when a 60% majority is required in the US Senate. As I write this I see in the news that Obamacare can be "repealed and replaced" with only a 50% majority because it is in a "reconciliation ...
9
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3answers
264 views

Are sworn witnesses not obligated to answer questions in congressional hearings?

Watching the Mueller hearing today, I was surprised to find that he was declining to answer some questions. Although many questions could be rightfully answered by saying "I refer you to the report", ...