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Federal Legislative Branch

Our Research & Offerings on Federal Legislative Branch
  • Commentary posted August 20, 2014 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. There's a place for the National Guard even in a tight budget, and Congress needs to find it

    It was a “hard luck” division, gathering nothing but casualties and setbacks since it landed in Normandy. Its general led from behind — well behind — ensconced in a well-appointed bunker. That all changed when Raymond S. McLain took over the 90th Infantry Division. Leading from the front, he turned those troops into a crack fighting force that swept across…

  • Legal Memorandum posted July 24, 2014 by John Malcolm, Elizabeth Slattery Boehner v. Obama: Can the House of Representatives Force the President to Comply with the Law?

    A‌rticle I of the Constitution vests “All legislative powers herein ‌granted” in Congress, while Article II, section 3 requires that the President “shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” But what happens when the President fails to execute the law? Time and again, President Barack Obama has pushed the limits of this duty, acting unilaterally to change or…

  • Lecture posted May 22, 2014 by Adam J. White Congress and the New Administrative State

    The administrative state begins with Congress. As the Supreme Court has observed, “an agency literally has no power to act…unless and until Congress confers power upon it.”[1] So let me offer a few words about what previous Congresses have done to create the new administrative state and what Congress can do, today and tomorrow, to restore some limits. Delegating Powers…

  • Commentary posted April 15, 2014 by Elizabeth Slattery, Hans A. von Spakovsky Congress Can Help End Racial Discrimination

    The federal government wittingly and unwittingly endorses a great deal of racial discrimination in America. A 2011 report by the Congressional Research Service catalogued literally hundreds of government-wide and agency-specific set-aside and preference programs and grants throughout the entire executive branch that amount to some form of racial discrimination. If…

  • Commentary posted April 13, 2014 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. It's time for Congress to hit the 'reset' button on public diplomacy

    George Kennan knew a thing or two about how nations treat one another. In 1946, while serving as deputy chief of the U.S. mission in Moscow, he penned "the long telegram." That assessment of what motivated the Soviet Union shaped U.S. policy toward Moscow for decades. Later, at the new National War College, Kennan explained how "grand strategy" works. When nations…

  • Center for Policy Innovation Discussion Paper posted April 11, 2014 by Patrick Louis Knudsen An Analysis of Selected Budget Process Reforms

    Since adoption of the congressional budget process in 1974, the procedure has rarely unfolded precisely on schedule or as planned. Conflicts large and small have been common, deadlines have been breached, and rules have been stretched to meet the demands of the moment. Customarily, Congress has found a way back to something resembling the “regular order” intended by the…

  • Issue Brief posted January 31, 2014 by Cassandra Lucaccioni , Steven P. Bucci, Ph.D. Top Homeland Security Priorities for Congress in 2014

    The world today is more dangerous than it was on September 10, 2001. Threats to the homeland have increased as the President’s leadership has caused the U.S. to lose respect and influence on every front. After at least 61 thwarted terrorist attacks in the U.S.,[1] those who are committed to destroying America’s way of life cannot be ignored. Protection of the homeland…

  • Commentary posted September 4, 2013 by Hans A. von Spakovsky Amendments for Liberty

    Mark Levin’s new book (The Liberty Amendments: Restoring the American Republic, published by Simon & Schuster) should be required reading for conservative bloggers, reporters, radio talk-show hosts, state legislators, members of Congress, and grassroots activists all over America. It provides a coherent plan to restore our constitutional republic, reversing the damage…

  • Backgrounder posted August 15, 2013 by Emily Goff House Water Resources Development Act: Ditch Senate Bill Blunders, Reform the Army Corps

    For the first time since 2007, the U.S. House of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure Committee (T&I) will soon propose a new Water Resources Development Act (WRDA). Traditionally, WRDA bills authorize the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) to spend billions of taxpayer dollars to study and construct water infrastructure projects as part of its Civil Works…

  • Backgrounder posted August 2, 2013 by Robert E. Moffit, Ph.D., Edmund F. Haislmaier, Joseph A Morris Congress in the Obamacare Trap: No Easy Escape

    High anxiety is gripping Capitol Hill. The reason: On January 1, 2014, Members of Congress and their staff will lose their current employment-based health insurance and will instead be offered coverage in the health insurance exchanges established under the new health care law.[1] In April, Politico reported that “Congressional leaders in both parties are engaged in…

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  • Testimony posted July 27, 2010 by David B. Muhlhausen, Ph.D. The Second Chance Act: More Evaluations of Effectiveness Needed

    Before the Committee on the Judiciary of the United States Senate Delivered July 21, 2010 “The Second Chance Act: More Evaluations of Effectiveness Needed” Introduction My name is David Muhlhausen. I am Senior Policy Analyst in the Center for Data Analysis at The Heritage Foundation. I thank Chairman Patrick J. Leahy,…

  • Lecture posted February 3, 2011 by Brett D. Schaefer United Nations: Urgent Problems That Need Congressional Action

    Abstract: The United Nations has largely failed to maintain international peace and security, promote self-determination and basic human rights, and protect fundamental freedoms. While the conflicting interests of member states have led to many of these failures, the U.N. system itself is partly to blame. The U.N. and its affiliated organizations are plagued by outdated…

  • Commentary posted August 20, 2014 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. There's a place for the National Guard even in a tight budget, and Congress needs to find it

    It was a “hard luck” division, gathering nothing but casualties and setbacks since it landed in Normandy. Its general led from behind — well behind — ensconced in a well-appointed bunker. That all changed when Raymond S. McLain took over the 90th Infantry Division. Leading from the front, he turned those troops into a crack fighting force that swept across…

  • Backgrounder posted March 25, 2013 by Paul Rosenzweig, Daniel J. Dew Guilty Until Proven Innocent: Undermining the Criminal Intent Requirement

    Developed over the course of hundreds of years, the Anglo–American legal system contains several key provisions that, when used properly, guard against wrongful criminal convictions. These protections are critical: Not only do they defend Americans from false accusations and Kafka-esque legal proceedings, but they also demand that police and prosecutors proceed with…

  • Legal Memorandum posted July 24, 2014 by John Malcolm, Elizabeth Slattery Boehner v. Obama: Can the House of Representatives Force the President to Comply with the Law?

    A‌rticle I of the Constitution vests “All legislative powers herein ‌granted” in Congress, while Article II, section 3 requires that the President “shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” But what happens when the President fails to execute the law? Time and again, President Barack Obama has pushed the limits of this duty, acting unilaterally to change or…

  • Issue Brief posted May 7, 2012 by Patrick Louis Knudsen Why Budget “Reconciliation” Matters

    The spending reduction plan in the U.S. House of Representatives takes an important step toward fixing two huge budget and policy dilemmas facing Congress: the crude, across-the-board spending cuts mandated by last year’s debt ceiling agreement, and the unsustainable growth of entitlement spending, which threatens to overwhelm the budget and suffocate the economy. …

  • Backgrounder posted December 27, 2011 by Karen McKeown Empowering Patients as Key Decision Makers in the Face of Rising Health Care Costs

    Abstract: The current trend of rapidly rising health care costs is unsustainable. Many proposed reforms to curb spending rely on some type of rationing imposed by an unaccountable government body. A better alternative would be to allow individual consumers to make their own decisions about care, including the self-rationing of medical services, based on cost and their own…

  • Backgrounder posted August 2, 2013 by Robert E. Moffit, Ph.D., Edmund F. Haislmaier, Joseph A Morris Congress in the Obamacare Trap: No Easy Escape

    High anxiety is gripping Capitol Hill. The reason: On January 1, 2014, Members of Congress and their staff will lose their current employment-based health insurance and will instead be offered coverage in the health insurance exchanges established under the new health care law.[1] In April, Politico reported that “Congressional leaders in both parties are engaged in…

  • Lecture posted May 22, 2014 by Adam J. White Congress and the New Administrative State

    The administrative state begins with Congress. As the Supreme Court has observed, “an agency literally has no power to act…unless and until Congress confers power upon it.”[1] So let me offer a few words about what previous Congresses have done to create the new administrative state and what Congress can do, today and tomorrow, to restore some limits. Delegating Powers…

  • Report posted June 20, 2011 by John Yoo, James C. Ho The Sword and the Purse (Part 2); The President as Commander in Chief

    Under the Articles of Confederation, all war power was vested in a Congress and the United States lacked a formal executive. This arrangement proved unworkable as America’s foreign policy and defense, deprived of executive guidance, floundered. Recognizing the need for an executive to act with swiftness and dispatch in response to foreign threats, the Framers of the…

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  • Legal Memorandum posted July 24, 2014 by John Malcolm, Elizabeth Slattery Boehner v. Obama: Can the House of Representatives Force the President to Comply with the Law?

    A‌rticle I of the Constitution vests “All legislative powers herein ‌granted” in Congress, while Article II, section 3 requires that the President “shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” But what happens when the President fails to execute the law? Time and again, President Barack Obama has pushed the limits of this duty, acting unilaterally to change or…

  • Lecture posted May 22, 2014 by Adam J. White Congress and the New Administrative State

    The administrative state begins with Congress. As the Supreme Court has observed, “an agency literally has no power to act…unless and until Congress confers power upon it.”[1] So let me offer a few words about what previous Congresses have done to create the new administrative state and what Congress can do, today and tomorrow, to restore some limits. Delegating Powers…

  • Center for Policy Innovation Discussion Paper posted April 11, 2014 by Patrick Louis Knudsen An Analysis of Selected Budget Process Reforms

    Since adoption of the congressional budget process in 1974, the procedure has rarely unfolded precisely on schedule or as planned. Conflicts large and small have been common, deadlines have been breached, and rules have been stretched to meet the demands of the moment. Customarily, Congress has found a way back to something resembling the “regular order” intended by the…

  • Issue Brief posted January 31, 2014 by Cassandra Lucaccioni , Steven P. Bucci, Ph.D. Top Homeland Security Priorities for Congress in 2014

    The world today is more dangerous than it was on September 10, 2001. Threats to the homeland have increased as the President’s leadership has caused the U.S. to lose respect and influence on every front. After at least 61 thwarted terrorist attacks in the U.S.,[1] those who are committed to destroying America’s way of life cannot be ignored. Protection of the homeland…

  • Backgrounder posted August 15, 2013 by Emily Goff House Water Resources Development Act: Ditch Senate Bill Blunders, Reform the Army Corps

    For the first time since 2007, the U.S. House of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure Committee (T&I) will soon propose a new Water Resources Development Act (WRDA). Traditionally, WRDA bills authorize the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) to spend billions of taxpayer dollars to study and construct water infrastructure projects as part of its Civil Works…

  • Backgrounder posted August 2, 2013 by Robert E. Moffit, Ph.D., Edmund F. Haislmaier, Joseph A Morris Congress in the Obamacare Trap: No Easy Escape

    High anxiety is gripping Capitol Hill. The reason: On January 1, 2014, Members of Congress and their staff will lose their current employment-based health insurance and will instead be offered coverage in the health insurance exchanges established under the new health care law.[1] In April, Politico reported that “Congressional leaders in both parties are engaged in…

  • Legal Memorandum posted July 18, 2013 by Paul Rosenzweig Congress Doesn’t Know Its Own Mind— And That Makes You a Criminal

    Imagine a criminal law that stated simply “do not use drugs.” Such a law would be absurdly vague and impossible to enforce. What about, for example, drugs taken by accident (because an individual did not know that his or her bourbon contained Rohypnol); or drugs that were not illegal (like aspirin); or drugs that an individual thought were legal but, contrary to his or…

  • Issue Brief posted June 24, 2013 by Robert Rector, Jessica Zuckerman Schumer–Corker–Hoeven Amendment Fails on Securing the Border and Halting Illegal Immigration

    On Friday, Senators Bob Corker (R–TN) and John Hoeven (R–ND), joined by Senator Charles Schumer (D–NY), introduced an amendment to the Senate’s comprehensive immigration reform bill (S. 744). The amendment, which when incorporated into the bill ballooned it to nearly 1,200 pages, is touted as putting teeth into the border security provisions of the Gang of Eight’s amnesty…

  • Issue Brief posted April 8, 2013 by Baker Spring, Jack Spencer Mixed Oxide Fuel Facility in South Carolina Needs Congress’s Support

    The Department of Energy (DOE) is constructing a facility at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina to produce mixed oxide (MOX) fuel, which consists of uranium oxide and plutonium oxide, for use in nuclear power reactors. This building project follows from a 2000 agreement with Russia to dispose of 34 metric tons of surplus weapons plutonium by each country. The DOE…

  • Backgrounder posted March 25, 2013 by Paul Rosenzweig, Daniel J. Dew Guilty Until Proven Innocent: Undermining the Criminal Intent Requirement

    Developed over the course of hundreds of years, the Anglo–American legal system contains several key provisions that, when used properly, guard against wrongful criminal convictions. These protections are critical: Not only do they defend Americans from false accusations and Kafka-esque legal proceedings, but they also demand that police and prosecutors proceed with…

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