Resolutions of Inquiry: An Analysis of Their Use in the House, 1947-2017 [November 09, 2017] [open pdf - 1MB]
"A resolution of inquiry is a simple resolution making a direct request or demand of the President or the head of an executive department to furnish the House with specific factual information in the Administration's possession. Under the rules and precedents of the House of Representatives, such resolutions, if properly drafted, are given a privileged parliamentary status. This means that, under certain circumstances, a resolution of inquiry can be brought to the House floor for consideration even if the committee to which it was referred has not reported it and the majority party leadership has not scheduled it for action. Between 1947 and October 20, 2017, 313 resolutions of inquiry were submitted in the House of Representatives. Two periods in particular, 1971-1975 and 2003-2006, saw the highest levels of activity on resolutions of inquiry during the 70 years studied. Early evidence suggests that the House may be entering another period of heightened activity on resolutions of inquiry: The number of such resolutions submitted thus far in the 115th Congress (2017-2018) already exceeds the number introduced in the previous three Congresses combined."
CRS Report for Congress, R40879
Federation of American Scientists: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/index.html