ABSTRACT

Constitutional Authority Statements and the Powers of Congress: An Overview [January 6, 2017]   [open pdf - 960KB]

"On January 5, 2011, the House of Representatives adopted an amendment to House Rule XII to require that Members of the House state the constitutional basis for Congress's power to enact the proposed legislation when introducing a bill or joint resolution. This Constitutional Authority Statement (CAS) rule, found at House Rule XII, clause 7(c), was subsequently adopted in the 113th, 114th, and 115th Congresses. [...] A CAS is fundamentally a congressional interpretation of the Constitution, in that House Rule XII requires each Member introducing a piece of legislation to attach a statement which cites the power(s) that allows Congress to enact the legislation. The submitted CAS appears in the Congressional Record and is published on Congress.gov. The House Rules Committee has indicated that Members have significant discretion in determining whether particular CASs comply with the rule [...]. The CAS rule has itself been subject to much debate, with proponents arguing that the rule promotes constitutional dialogue in the House, while critics contend that the rule provides minimal benefits and is administratively costly. This report provides an overview of Congress's powers under the Constitution and Congress's role in interpreting the nation's founding document. The report then examines House Rule XII, clause 7(c), discussing the results of a recent study conducted by CRS of CASs that were submitted during the last six months of the 114th Congress. The report concludes by discussing trends with regard to the House's recent CAS practices and by providing considerations for congressional personnel drafting CASs."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, R44729
Author:
Publisher:
Date:
2017-01-06
Copyright:
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
Federation of American Scientists: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/index.html
Format:
pdf
Media Type:
application/pdf
URL:
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