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The Bill that Re-Opened the Government and Raised the Debt Limit

Yesterday Congress passed Continuing Appropriations Act, 2014 (H.R. 2775) to fund the government through January 15 and raise the debt limit through February 7, allowing the country to pay its bills. The President signed it into law.

You can read the full language in the bill: H.R. 2775

We’re happy to be back and ready to share helpful government information with you again.

Asked by Anonymous

How can citizens recall a congress person

Citizens cannot recall a U.S. Senator or Representative because the ability to remove a member of Congress was not written into the Constitution. The Constitution describes the term length and the courts have said that no action by a state or citizen can override it.  

However, there is one way for a U.S. Senator or Representative to be terminated before the end of the normal term. Other members of the House or Senate, whichever body the member of Congress belongs to, can remove a fellow member by a two-thirds vote. This process is called “expulsion” and it’s outlined in the Constitution.

To learn more about how to remove a member of Congress, download this report from the Congressional Research Service (PDF).

THOMAS.gov, a service of the Library of Congress, shows all laws passed by the current Congress and lets you search for bills in the House and Senate. You can also see the top five bills of the week or current activity in Congress.

Asked by Anonymous

I got an email from someone who claimed that SB 1698 and HR 3166 was a bill that would allow US citizens to be stripped of their citizenship if they are "engaging in, or purposely and materially supporting, hostilities against the US," without trial. Is this true?

Senate bill 1698 and House of Representatives bill 3166 are both bills to create the “Enemy Expatriation Act.” The Senators and Representatives who introduced the bills are trying to make a change to an existing law, the Immigration and Nationality Act.

The Immigration and Nationality Act includes a list of reasons why a U.S. citizen or national could lose his or her nationality, such as serving in the armed forces of another nation. The bills’ sponsors are concerned that the Immigration and Nationality Act might not apply to terrorists. The proposed Enemy Expatriation Act would revoke a person’s U.S. nationality for “Purposefully and materially supporting hostilities against the United States.” 

The government cannot revoke a person’s U.S. citizenship against his or her wishes without a federal trial. The  Enemy Expatriation Act does not try to change this.

Both bills are in the early stages in the process of becoming a law. They are in committees, which is what happens after a bill is first introduced. Many bills never make it out of committee.

Stay updated on the status of S. 1698 and H.R. 3166, or read the text of the proposed legislation.

Asked by Anonymous

What new law was passed in the Senate

THOMAS.gov, a service of the Library of Congress, shows all laws passed by the current Congress or you can search for bills in the House and Senate. You can also see the top five bills of the week or current activity in Congress.