Parliamentary-Style Question Period: Proposals and Issues for Congress [May 14, 2014]   [open pdf - 423KB]

"Scholars and other observers have debated the merits of introducing a question system in Congress. Advocates argue that a question period will improve the performance of executive departments by improving congressional oversight capabilities, promote inter-branch dialogue and relations, increase public knowledge and interest in government affairs, and strengthen the institutional position of Congress within the government relative to the President. Opponents contend that a question period is ill-adapted for a non-parliamentary system, provides poor oversight, will intensify partisanship, will undermine the committee system, will be generally filled with theatrics and manipulation, may be expensive, and will give the executive branch an unnecessary forum within Congress. This report surveys how question periods are conducted in Britain and other parliamentary democracies, examines previous proposals for question periods in the United States, considers potential advantages and disadvantages of a question period, and outlines some legislative considerations for policy makers considering a question period for Congress. This report will be updated as events warrant."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL34599
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