Congressional Research Service Reports - 112 Matching Results

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Independent Counsels, Special Prosecutors, Special Counsels, and the Role of Congress
Report that provides information on the procedure for the appointment of an "independent counsel," a "special prosecutor," or a "special counsel" to investigate and prosecute potential or possible violations of federal criminal law by officials in the executive branch of the federal government and in federal agencies.
International Law and Agreements: Their Effect Upon U.S. Law
This report provides an introduction to the roles that international law and agreements play in the United States. International law is derived from two primary sources — international agreements and customary practice.
Prosecutorial Discretion in Immigration Enforcement: Legal Issues
This report begins by discussing the sources of federal power to regulate immigration and, particularly, the allocation of power between Congress and the President in this area. It next addresses the constitutional and other foundations for the doctrine of prosecutorial discretion, as well as the potential ways in which prosecutorial discretion may be exercised in the immigration context. It concludes by addressing potential constitutional, statutory, and administrative constraints upon the exercise of prosecutorial discretion.
Energy and Water Development: FY2014 Appropriations
This report discusses the Energy and Water Development appropriations bill that provides funding for civil works projects of the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), for the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation), the Department of Energy (DOE), and several independent agencies.
The Defense Production Act of 1950: History, Authorities, and Reauthorization
This report examines some of the history of the Defense Production Act of 1950 (DPA), focusing primarily on its creation and most recent legislative reauthorization. It also discusses the foremost active authorities of the DPA.
Military Justice: Courts-Martial, an Overview
This report gives a detailed overview of the military court-martial system, including a discussion of the three types of court-martials: summary, special, and general. It includes a chart showing procedural safeguards in federal and military courts.
An Overview of Judicial Review of Immigration Matters
This report will summarize judicial review for immigration matters, including visa denials and revocations; removal orders and detention; naturalization delays, denials, and revocations; expatriation; and legalization denials. Administrative adjudications such as removal proceedings or determination of immigration benefits such as naturalization are beyond the scope of this report.
Comprehensive Immigration Reform in the 113th Congress: Short Summary of Senate- Passed S. 744
Report that summarizes major immigration reform provisions of S. 744, as passed by the Senate.
U.S. Family-Based Immigration Policy
Report that provides background information and discussion related to immigration issues.
Drones in Domestic Surveillance Operations: Fourth Amendment Implications and Legislative Responses
This report first explores the potential uses of drones in the domestic sphere by federal, state, and local governments. It then surveys current Fourth Amendment jurisprudence, including cases surrounding privacy in the home, privacy in public spaces, location tracking, manned aerial surveillance, and those involving the national border. Next, it considers how existing jurisprudence may inform current and proposed drone uses. It then describes the various legislative measures introduced in the 113th Congress to address the legal and policy issues surrounding drones. Finally, it briefly identifies several alternative approaches that may constrain the potential scope of drone surveillance.
Brief History of Comprehensive Immigration Reform Efforts in the 109th and 110th Congresses to Inform Policy Discussions in the 113th Congress
This report opens with brief legislative histories of "comprehensive immigration reform" (CIR) in the 109th and 110th Congresses. A comparative overview of key CIR provisions in the three bills that received floor action in the 109th and 110th Congresses follows. In addition to a narrative discussion of how the bills addressed the main provisions of CIR, the report provides a table that presents a comparative summary of the key features of the bills. The report concludes with observations contrasting the 2006-2007 period with the context of today's CIR debate. The report also provides an appendix that summarizes the three major CIR bills.
Integration of Drones into Domestic Airspace: Selected Legal Issues
This report describes the regulatory framework for permitting the use of unmanned vehicles and the potential rulemaking that will occur over the next few years. It also discusses theories of takings and property torts as they relate to drone flights over or near private property and the privacy interests implicated by drone surveillance conducted by private actors and the potential countervailing First Amendment rights to gather and receive news. Finally, this report explores possible congressional responses to these privacy concerns, discusses how the FAA has approached these concerns, and identifies additional potential legal issues.
Financial Market Supervision: Canada's Perspective
This report presents an overview of Canada's financial system and its supervisory framework and draws some distinctions between that system and the current U.S. framework.
Integration of Drones into Domestic Airspace: Selected Legal Issues
This report describes the regulatory framework for permitting the use of unmanned vehicles and the potential rulemaking that will occur over the next few years. It also discusses theories of takings and property torts as they relate to drone flights over or near private property and the privacy interests implicated by drone surveillance conducted by private actors and the potential countervailing First Amendment rights to gather and receive news. Finally, this report explores possible congressional responses to these privacy concerns, discusses how the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has approached these concerns, and identifies additional potential legal issues.
SBA Surety Bond Guarantee Program
This report examines the program's origin and development, including the decision to (1) supplement the original Prior Approval Program with the Preferred Surety Bond Guarantee Program that provides a lower guarantee rate (70%) than the Prior Approval Program (80% or 90%) in exchange for allowing preferred sureties to issue SBA-guaranteed surety bonds without the SBA's prior approval; and (2) increase the program's bond limit.
"Sense of" Resolutions and Provisions
This report discusses the "Sense of" resolutions, which are considered under the normal legislative processes of each chamber applicable to any other legislative vehicle.
Availability of Injunctive Relief for Standard-Essential Patent Holders
This report provides an overview of the current debate over whether a holder of a patent essential to an industry standard, who has promised to license such patented technology on fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms, may nevertheless obtain an injunction from a federal court or an exclusion order from the International Trade Commission against infringing products that implement the industry standard. The report first summarizes several fundamental principles of patent law, then discusses the relationship between standard-setting organizations and FRAND licensing.
Oil and Natural Gas Industry Tax Issues in the FY2014 Budget Proposal
This report discusses the FY2014 budget proposal that outlines a set of proposals, framed as the termination of tax preferences, that would potentially increase the taxes paid by the oil and natural gas industries, especially those of the independent producers.
Mandatory Minimum Sentencing: Federal Aggravated Identity Theft
This report discusses the aggravated identity theft, which is punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence of imprisonment for two years or by imprisonment for five years if it relates to a terrorism offense.
Federal Mandatory Minimum Sentences: The Safety Valve and Substantial Assistance Exceptions
This report discusses the federal law that requires a sentencing judge to impose a minimum sentence of imprisonment following conviction for any of a number of federal offenses.
The Federal Rulemaking Process: An Overview
The purpose of this report is to provide Congress with an overview of the federal rulemaking process and a brief discussion of the major laws and executive orders that prescribe the procedures agencies are to apply when promulgating regulations.
Drug Testing and Crime-Related Restrictions in TANF, SNAP, and Housing Assistance
This report describes and compares the drug- and crime-related policy restrictions contained in selected federal programs that provide assistance to low-income individuals and families: the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly Food Stamps), and the three primary federal housing assistance programs (the public housing program, the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program, and the project-based Section 8 rental assistance program).
Banning the Use of Racial Preferences in Higher Education: A Legal Analysis of Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action
This report discusses the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Laws based on suspect classifications such as race or gender, however, typically receive heightened scrutiny and require a stronger, if not compelling, state interest to justify the classification.
Immigration Detainers: Legal Issues
Report that provides background information regarding the Immigration and Naturalization Service rules and regulations and discusses the "immigration detainer", a document by which U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) advises other law enforcement agencies that it seeks custody of individual aliens whom these agencies are detaining.
Pay Equity: Legislative and Legal Developments
This report discusses pay equity litigation, including Wal-Mart Stores v. Dukes, a case in which the Supreme Court rejected class action status for current and former female Wal-Mart employees who allege that the company has engaged in pay discrimination.
Public Safety Officers' Benefits (PSOB) Program
This report discusses the public safety officers' benefits (PSOB) program that provides three different types of benefits to public safety officers and their survivors: a death, a disability, and an education benefit.
EPA Regulations: Too Much, Too Little, or On Track?
This report provides background information on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulatory activity during the Obama Administration to help address these issues. It examines major or controversial regulatory actions taken by or under development at EPA since January 2009, providing details on the regulatory action itself, presenting an estimated timeline for completion of the rule (including identification of related court or statutory deadlines), and, in general, providing EPA's estimates of costs and benefits, where available. The report includes tables that show which rules remain under development, and an appendix that describes major or controversial rules that are now final.
Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies: FY2014 Appropriations
This report will track and describe actions taken by the Administration and Congress to provide FY2014 appropriations for Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS) accounts. It also provides an overview of FY2013 appropriations for agencies and bureaus funded as a part of the annual appropriation for CJS.
Length of Time from Nomination to Confirmation for U.S. Circuit and District Court Nominees: Overview and Policy Options to Shorten the Process
This report seeks to inform the current debate over the nomination and confirmation for U.S. circuit and district court nominees in three ways: first, by providing an overview of the time taken by the Senate during recent presidencies to confirm U.S. circuit and district court nominees; second, by identifying potential consequences of a protracted confirmation process for such nominees; and third, by identifying policy options the Senate might consider to shorten the length of time from nomination to confirmation for U.S. circuit and district court nominees.
Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies: FY2014 Appropriations
This report will track and describe actions taken by the Administration and Congress to provide FY2014 appropriations for Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) accounts. It also provides an overview of FY2013 appropriations for agencies and bureaus funded as a part of the annual appropriation for CJS.
Fluoride in Drinking Water: A Review of Fluoridation and Regulation Issues
This report discusses the potential benefits and adverse effects associated with the fluoridation of drinking water supplies. It also discusses the regulation of fluoride in drinking water to protect against adverse health effects from exposure to higher levels of fluoride, and it reviews the status of federal efforts to update the health risk assessment for fluoride and the primary drinking water standard for fluoride.
Administrative Agencies and Claims of Unreasonable Delay: Analysis of Court Treatment
This report discusses judicial remedies available for delayed agency actions that are somewhat limited. Generally, a court is restricted to ordering an agency to act by a specific deadline. The following sections outline the timing requirements imposed by the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), discuss the available judicial remedies when actions are found to be unreasonably delayed, and provide an examination of cases where courts have been asked to compel agency action. Finally, the report concludes with a discussion of legislative tools that Congress can use to try to set agency priorities.
An Overview of the "Patent Trolls" Debate
This report reviews the current debate and controversy surrounding "patent assertion entities" (PAEs) and their effect on innovation, examines the reasons for the rise in PAE litigation, and explores the legislative options available to Congress if it decides that these are issues that should be addressed.
The Proposed Equal Rights Amendment: Contemporary Ratification Issues
This report examines the legislative history of the various proposals that ultimately emerged as the proposed Equal Rights Amendment and both identifies and provides an analysis of contemporary factors that may bear on its present and future viability.
Nondiscrimination in Environmental Regulation: A Legal Analysis
This report will examine the relevant legal authorities that may be asserted to address disproportionate impacts that result from how an agency implements environmental regulations, including the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and various environmental and conservation statutes. It will discuss administrative efforts to address "environmental justice," a term used by some advocates to refer to the distribution of environmental quality across various demographic groups, including the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) Plan EJ 2014. It will also analyze the use of these authorities to prevent such impacts and the likelihood of success for future challenges under each legal theory.
Transportation Security: Issues for the 113th Congress
This report discusses aviation security, transit and passenger security, port and maritime security.
The Proposed Equal Rights Amendment: Contemporary Ratification Issues
This report examines the legislative history of the various proposals that ultimately emerged as the proposed Equal Rights Amendment and both identifies and provides an analysis of contemporary factors that may bear on its present and future viability.
Electronic Employment Eligibility Verification
This report discusses some of the most difficult immigration policy questions regarding unauthorized immigration and unauthorized employment.
Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS): Background and Funding
This report discusses the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program, which was created by Title I of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (P.L. 103-322). The mission of the COPS program is to advance community policing in all jurisdictions across the United States. Legislation introduced in the 111th Congress would reauthorize the COPS program through FY2014 and reestablish COPS as a multi-grant program. This report provides an overview and analysis of issues Congress might choose to consider when taking up legislation to reauthorize the COPS program.
Federal Employees' Retirement System: Benefits and Financing
This report discusses the retirement systems in place for federal employees. Most civilian federal employees who were hired before 1984 are covered by the Civil Service Retirement System, and contribute 7.0% of their pay to a retirement fund. Federal employees hired in 1984 or later are covered by the Federal Employees' Retirement System and contribute 0.8% of their pay to a retirement fund. Both require participants to contribute toward the cost of their pensions through a payroll tax. This report also summarizes relevant legislation in the 113th Congress that would make significant changes to federal benefits and financing, including H.J.Res. 59, S. 18, S. 1678, and H.R. 3639.
Same-Sex Marriages: Legal Issues
This report discusses the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and legal challenges to it. It reviews legal principles applied to determine the validity of a marriage contracted in another state and surveys the various approaches employed by states to address same-sex marriage. It also examines previous congressional resolutions proposing a constitutional amendment and limiting federal courts' jurisdiction to hear or determine any question pertaining to the interpretation of DOMA.
Same-Sex Marriages: Legal Issues
This report discusses the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and legal challenges to it. It reviews legal principles applied to determine the validity of a marriage contracted in another state and surveys the various approaches employed by states to address same-sex marriage. It also examines previous congressional resolutions proposing a constitutional amendment and limiting federal courts' jurisdiction to hear or determine any question pertaining to the interpretation of DOMA.
State Legalization of Recreational Marijuana: Selected Legal Issues
This report summarizes the Washington and Colorado marijuana legalization laws and evaluates whether, or the extent to which, they may be preempted by the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) or by international agreements. It also highlights potential responses to these recent legalization initiatives by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and identifies other noncriminal consequences that marijuana users may face under federal law.
Intellectual Property Rights Violations: Federal Civil Remedies and Criminal Penalties Related to Copyrights, Trademarks, and Patents
This report provides information describing the federal civil remedies and criminal penalties that may be available as a consequence of violations of the federal intellectual property laws: the Copyright Act of 1976, the Patent Act of 1952, and the Trademark Act of 1946 (conventionally known as the Lanham Act).
Controversies over Redefining "Fill Material" Under the Clean Water Act
This report discusses the 2002 rule (the Clean Water Act), focusing on how it changes which material and types of activities are regulated under Section 404 and the significance of these issues, especially for the mining industry.
Legislative Options for Financing Water Infrastructure
Report that addresses several options considered by Congress to address the financing needs of local communities for wastewater and drinking water infrastructure projects and to decrease or close the gap between available funds and projected needs.
Lobbying Registration and Disclosure: The Role of the Clerk of the House and the Secretary of the Senate
Report that describes the role of clerk of the house and secretary of the senate. It discusses lobbying disclosure guidance document and semi-annual report of certain contributions
The 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: Natural Resource Damage Assessment Under the Oil Pollution Act
Report that examines the Natural Resources Damage Assessment (NRDA) process under the Oil Pollution Act (OPA) in the context of the Deepwater Horizon spill.
The Workforce Investment Act and the One-Stop Delivery System
Report that provides details of WIA Title I state formula program structure, services, allocation formulas, and performance accountability. In addition, it provides a program overview for national grant programs.
Telecommunications and Media Convergence: Selected Issues for Consideration
This report provides an overview of selected topics that provide a broad overview of issues that are central to the telecommunications/media convergence debate.