In a recent Lincoln biography, Sidney Blumenthal asserts that William Henry Seward (Lincoln's Sec'y of State) used "lobbyists and slush funds" to help pass the Thirteenth Amendment. What have you read on the point? [more inside]
Every week, a British MP will return to his our her constituency to hold what's known as a surgery. These events allow any constituent to walk in off the street and meet face-to-face with the MP to discuss whatever problem they (the constituent) is experiencing at the time and seek the MP's help in sorting it out. What would be the nearest equivalent in the American system? [more inside]
I'm tired of reading about how congressional gridlock is the result of increasing political and media polarization. That much is obvious. What I'm interested in knowing is, what proposals are there to end or ameliorate this trend in American culture and politics? Who's thinking about this and writing articles or white papers? What ideas have been floated? [more inside]
I started volunteering for a group that advocates for a revenue neutral carbon tax. Their main strategies for trying to achieve this goal are: 1) develop relationships with members of congress ("we're betting the ranch on relationships" is one of their unofficial slogans) 2) write letters to the editor and 3) get lots of people to write letters to their congressmen. Is this an effective approach? If not what else could we be doing? Thanks everybody and happy Earth Day! [more inside]
I was looking for a website that provided information on the breakdown of votes for historic legislation in the United States Congress. [more inside]
During the week the Keystone Pipeline bill failed in the Senate (Nov 17-21), another bill passed the House of Representatives that barred experts from providing testimony about a study if they had been involved in the execution of the study. Does anyone remember the number? [more inside]
Congress readmitted several Southern states to the Union in an “Omnibus Bill” it passed on June 28, 1868. Where can I find the text online?
Where can I find historical data on US congressional press releases? [more inside]
Appropriations bills can be amended to add pretty much anything as a "rider." So, what's the most significant legislation that was enacted as a rider? The Wikipedia page on riders lists the Real ID Act, which would have created a de facto national driver database, as being attached to a defense appropriations bill. Any other examples? [more inside]
I recently drove from LA to San Francisco and back along I-5 and I noticed that there's a ton of signs along the highway that simply say "Congress Created Dust Bowl." There are a few other signs that mention Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic politicians, but it was difficult to get the full picture of what the signs were talking about. Can anyone provide some context/background to what these signs are about?
I remember reading something, somewhere from one of the founding fathers about the original intent of legislators to NOT be a political class. To serve a term or two and go home so that people from outside could contribute and people inside didn't get too jaded. Though maybe I'm adding a lot of subtext. Is there anything from any of the FF's on this that rings a bell? Do you have a quote or two?
Am I reading the US Constitution Article III Section 2 correctly, when it seems to say that Congress can legislatively make exceptions to the Supreme Court having appellate jurisdiction? If I am reading it correctly, have they ever done so, or has there ever been a serious proposal to do so? Are any such exceptions in place now? What were/are the details of such exceptions? [more inside]
I know timing the market is stupid. My previous attempts at it have never worked out in my favor. My 401K is all index funds. However, with the possibility of Congress going over the 'Fiscal Cliff," it is a horrible idea to go all cash until they get it sorted out? [more inside]
How can I find a specific politician's voting record online, going back 50 years or so? [more inside]
I would like to help some Democratic candidates get elected to US Senate. Where will my money make the most difference? [more inside]
In 2010 or 2011 US congress passed some legislation which resulted in a reduction of unemployment benefits. For example, My 2 week unemployment check went from $520 to $476. What was the legislation?
How did the U.S. House of Representatives pass the payroll tax cut extension yesterday when hardly any members were present? [more inside]
Congresspeople and candidates call me. What should I ask them? What should I tell them? [more inside]
Can anyone explain to me the reason why the pay for members of the United States Congress is paid by the federal government and not their respective states? Was such a system ever considered and rejected and, if so, why? I recognize that the offices are federal, but their ties to their state is the very reason they are there. Wouldn't state legislatures want that control or were they happy to dump the costs onto the federal government? This seems like something that would have been debated very early in our history yet I can't find any info on it. Thanks.
Let's say the Congress and the President are unable to reach a deal on raising the debt limit by August 4th. And let's just say, among the things that happen is that buyers of U.S. Treasury notes, bonds, Tbills, etc. on the August 15th Treasury sale demand a much higher interest rate to compensate for the fact that the "full faith and credit of the U.S." has been tarnished. [more inside]
Budget Battle Question: someone on Facebook made the argument that the Democrats should have passed the budget during the last session, when they still held the majority in both houses. Is there some procedural or other technical reason why they did not or could not have done so?
How do corporations and unions influence lawmakers? [more inside]
16 years ago, a Congressional Task Force was set up to study a major policy issue. Six months later, its report led to far-reaching legislative changes. Despite extensive news coverage from creation to completion, the report itself is virtually inaccessible. [more inside]
Does anyone know where I can find a list of the ubiquitous "several conservative members of congress" who recently spoke out against the clip from David Wojnarowicz's "A Fire In My Belly" video at the National Portrait Gallery? [more inside]
Where can I find data on US federal income tax brackets by congressional district? My goal is making a fairly accurate statement of the form "Congressperson X represents a district where Y people are in tax bracket Z."
What are the best resources and/or approaches for an attorney seeking employment on Capitol Hill? [more inside]
Jobhack/automation filter: Please help me track legislation and its proposed changes to the U.S. Code. [more inside]
"Proceedings of the House of Representatives, including any recording of such proceedings, may not be used for any political purpose or in any commercial advertisement, and may not be broadcast with commercial sponsorship except as part of a bona fide news program or public affairs documentary program," according to houselive.gov. Why and how would or could this possibly be?!
After months of behind-the-scenes work, I'll be running for U.S. Congress and announcing next week. My question to you: what is it that you've always wanted to hear a politician say or do?
What just happened on C-Span? There was some health care related vote. What exactly did that vote decide? [more inside]
What leads to congress assembling on the weekend? [more inside]
How do I run for U.S. House of Representatives in New York State as a Third Party Candidate? Also, is too late to run in 2010? I was planning on running in 2012, but there's a bit of an opening in 2010 so if I could still do that, I would like to. Also, I want to know how to run for the U.S. House of Representatives, I could care less about actually getting elected for the job. What paperwork do I fill out, how do I get my name on a Diebold machine, etc..? Oh, and money really isn't a concern, so forget about the fund raising portion.
Is there a word that encompasses laws and Supreme Court cases? [more inside]
What procedure would one conceivably follow in order to propose a hiking trail be named for a person in the state of Oregon? [more inside]
I've been reading a lot of conflicting information about the U.S. health care reform bill (HR 3200) and its potential impact on different groups of Americans. I tried to read the bill, but it's over a thousand pages and is written in mind-numbing legalese. Is there a place online where I can find comprehensive, non-partisan, easily understandable information about the bill?
How can I show support for the new health care reform bill? [more inside]
Why do witnesses testifying before congress need lawyers? [more inside]
I want to write my U.S. Congressman on at least one delicate topic. But, I'm kind of paranoid that my letter will become public record that is subject to a FOIA request. I have a very distinctive name that when Googled, I pop up immediately in the form of my professional profile. I don't want what I write to my Congressman to be available to anyone to read and who then pops my name into a search engine and they find me on the internet. Am I disenfranchised from making my opinion known or can I write without fear? FYI - there is nothing I can do about my name or my profile being on the internet.
How many members of the United States Congress have tattoos?
I am trying to find web sites where I could send members of my organization to customize an email message that would then be sent to their proper Congressman. [more inside]
Wikipedia has a wicked diagram of where everyone sits in the House of Commons. Does anyone know of a similar diagram for the US House of Representatives?
How can I research how a particular act of the U.S. Congress came into existence - with as much detail as is possible about how it changed from proposal to final act and how it was influenced along the way? [more inside]
On November 4th, I intend to spend the evening watching election returns on TV and refreshing as many election-y tabs on the laptop as possible. What websites should I have loaded and ready to go? [more inside]
I need help writing a letter to my congressmen about The Bailout! [more inside]
What is the most effective way of expressing my outrage to my government? [more inside]
Where can I find the recent government report that claims that Iraq has achieved 15 of 18 benchmarks set for its political development? [more inside]
What makes a U.S congressional bill non-binding? Is there a way to tell from the text of the bill itself? [more inside]
Can I get Congressional Voting Records in an easily parsed format? [more inside]
Two to three questions involving the pending FISA bill--specifically the immunity provisions. [more inside]
American history question: before modern transportation, how much time did congressmen spend in Washington and how much in their home states? Especially those from, say, California. And how long did the journey take? [more inside]
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