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Agricultural Disaster Assistance
This report briefly discusses the federal grand jury, which exists to investigate crimes against the United States and to secure the constitutional right of grand jury indictment.
Body Armor for Law Enforcement Officers: In Brief
This report contains an overview of the Matching Grant Program for Law Enforcement Armor Vests (BPV program). It also provides a discussion of data on law enforcement agencies that require their officers to wear armor vests while on duty, research on why officers may choose to wear armor vests, research on the life cycle for armor vests, data on the use of body armor by law enforcement officers who were killed with a firearm, and research on the effectiveness of armor vests.
Congress's Contempt Power and the Enforcement of Congressional Subpoenas: A Sketch
This report examines the source of Congress's contempt power; analyzes the procedures associated with inherent contempt, criminal contempt, and the civil enforcement of subpoenas; and discusses the obstacles that face Congress in enforcing a contempt action against an executive branch official.
U.S. International Broadcasting: Background and Issues for Reform
This report discusses the United States International Broadcasting Act of 1994 (USIB Act) and the U.S. international broadcasting services were consolidated under the BBG within the United States Information Agency (USIA).
Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) Negotiations
This report provides: (1) context for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations; (2) analysis of possible trade and investment issues in the negotiations; and (3) discussion of issues for Congress. The U.S.-EU negotiations on TTIP are not public, however, the information and analysis in this report on issues in the negotiations are based on publicly-available information.
Immigration Reform Issues in the 111th Congress
This report synthesizes the multi-tiered debate over immigration reform into key elements: legal immigration; legalization; immigration control; refugees, asylees, and humanitarian migrants; and alien rights, benefits, and responsibilities. It delineates the issues for the 111th Congress on permanent residence, temporary admissions, border security, worksite enforcement, employment eligibility verification, document fraud, criminal aliens, and the grounds for inadmissibility.
The Leahy-Smith America Invents Act: Innovation Issues
This report provides an overview of the the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA). It begins by offering a brief overview of the patent system, then identifies and reviews the specific components of this legislation in greater detail. The report closes with further considerations.
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.
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.
Sugar Program: The Basics
This report discusses the sugar program that provides a price guarantee to the processors of sugarcane and sugar beets, and in turn, to the producers of both crops.
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.
Bills of Attainder: The Constitutional Implications of Congress Legislating Narrowly
This report discusses congressional bills of attainder, defined by the Supreme Court as "law[s] that legislatively determine guilt and inflict punishment upon an identifiable individual without provision of the protections of a judicial trial." The report specifically examines the two main criteria courts use to determine whether legislation is a bill of attainder: specificity and punishment.
Electronic Employment Eligibility Verification
This report discusses the employment verification program that started out as a pilot program in November 1997 and it is currently authorized until September 30, 2015, in accordance with P.L. 112-176.
"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.
Multilateral Development Banks: How the United States Makes and Implements Policy
This report analyzes how the United States makes policy towards the multilateral development banks (MDBs) and identifies ways by which Congress can shape U.S. policy and influence the activities of the banks themselves.
Obstruction of Justice: An Overview of Some of the Federal Statutes That Prohibit Interference with Judicial, Executive, or Legislative Activities
This report discusses obstruction of justice, which is is a federal crime. It describes specific kinds of obstruction, organized by type, and references various relevant laws that have provisions against obstruction.
Sugar Program: The Basics
This report discusses the sugar program that provides a price guarantee to the processors of sugarcane and sugar beets, and in turn, to the producers of both crops.
Multilateral Development Banks: U.S. Contributions FY1998-FY2009
This report shows in tabular form how much the Administration requested and how much Congress appropriated during the past 11 years for U.S. payments to the multilateral development banks (MDBs). It also provides a brief description of the MDBs and the ways they fund their operations.
Immigration Reform Issues in the 111th Congress
This report synthesizes the multi-tiered debate over immigration reform into key elements: legal; immigration; legalization; immigration control; refugees, asylees, and humanitarian migrants; and, alien rights, benefits and responsibilities.
Confirmation of U.S. Circuit and District Court Nominations in Presidential Election Years
This report seeks to help inform the debate regarding how many U.S. circuit and district court nominations should be confirmed by year's end, and how late in the year the Senate should continue to confirm them. It includes analysis of the number and timing of circuit court and district court nominations confirmed by the Senate in presidential election years from 1980 to 2008, as well as a comparison of the processing of judicial nominations during these years, using various quantitative measures. It also relates the findings to the Senate's processing of judicial nominations in 2012, as of June 30.
U.S. Immigration Policy on Temporary Admissions
This report begins with a discussion of the policy tensions surrounding temporary admissions. It follows with a synthesis of the nonimmigrant categories according to the purpose of the visa. It discusses the periods of admission and length of stay and then summarizes grounds for inadmissibility and removal as well as reasons for termination of status. It also describes the circumstances under which nonimmigrants may work in the United States. The second portion of the report analyzes trends in temporary migration. It describes changes over time in nonimmigrant visas issued and nonimmigrant admissions. Various data on nonimmigrants who establish residence in the United States are also discussed. The report concludes with two detailed tables analyzing key admissions requirements across all nonimmigrant visa types.
Federal Agency Actions Following the Supreme Court’s Climate Change Decision: A Chronology
This report presents a chronology of major federal agency actions related to environmental concerns following the decision of Massachusetts v. EPA; it particularly looks at actions of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In Massachusetts v. EPA, the Supreme Court held that greenhouse gases (GHGs), widely viewed as contributing to climate change, constitute “air pollutants” as that phrase is used in the Clean Air Act (CAA).
Multilateral Development Banks: U.S. Contributions FY2000-FY2015
This report shows in tabular form how much the Administration requested and how much Congress appropriated for U.S. payments to the multilateral development banks (MDBs) since 2000. It also provides a brief description of the MDBs and the ways they fund their operations.
The Obama Administration's November 20, 2014, Actions as to Immigration: Pending Legal Challenges One Year Later
This legal sidebar discusses the Obama Administration announcement regarding a number of actions to "fix" what the President has repeatedly described as a "broken" immigration system.
The Article V Convention for Proposing Constitutional Amendments: Historical Perspectives for Congress
This report identifies and examines historical issues related to the Article V Convention, which allows amendments to be added to the Constitution via Congressional vote or votes by the people.
How Hard Should it Be to Bring a Class Action?
This report discusses the process of bringing a class action suit and the requirements plaintiffs are required to prove before one may be brought.
Should Federal Law Restrict Where a Company May File Bankruptcy?
This report discusses laws and regulations regarding where a company may file for bankruptcy and a recently proposed bill which would restrict the locations where companies could file for bankruptcy.
FDIC's Deposit Insurance Assessments and Reserve Ratio
This report discusses the FDIC's deposit insurance assessments and reserve ratio used to guarantee the repayment of deposits at a bank up to the insured level.
The H-2B Visa and the Statutory Cap: In Brief
This report discusses H-2B visas for temporary non-agricultural workers and the statutory cap on the number issued each year along with recent extensions of the cap number due to high-demand from U.S. employers.
Class Action Lawsuits: A Legal Overview for the 115th Congress
This report serves as a primer on class action litigation in the federal courts. It begins by discussing the purpose of class actions, as well as the risks class actions may pose to defendants, class members, and society at large. The report also discusses the prerequisites that a class action must satisfy before a court may "certify" it--that is, before a federal court may allow a case to proceed as a class action. An Appendix to the report also contains a reference chart that graphically illustrates those prerequisites for class certification. The report then discusses Rule 23's restrictions on the parties' ability to settle a certified class action. The report concludes by identifying ways in which Congress could modify the legal framework governing class actions if it were so inclined, with a particular focus on a bill currently pending in the 115th Congress that would effectuate a variety of changes to the class action system.
U.S. Family-Based Immigration Policy
This report discusses family based immigration law and policy and arguments for expanding or restricting family-based immigration numbers.
Statutory Interpretation: Theories, Tools, and Trends
This report begins by discussing the general goals of statutory interpretation, reviewing a variety of contemporary as well as historical approaches. The report then briefly describes the two primary theories of interpretation employed today, before examining the main types of tools that courts use to determine statutory meaning. The report concludes by exploring developing issues in statutory interpretation.
Regulatory Reform 10 Years After the Financial Crisis: Systemic Risk Regulation of Non-Bank Financial Institutions
This report discusses the progress of regulatory reform for non-bank financial institutions since the 2008 financial crisis.
Overview of "Travel Ban" Litigation and Recent Developments
This report is an update of an earlier report regarding the "travel ban" litigation going through the courts and includes President Trump's April 10th,2018, executive order lifting travel restrictions on nationals of Chad.
Government Contract Bid Protests In Brief: Analysis of Legal Processes and Recent Developments
This report briefly analyzes the varying legal procedures applicable to bid protests under each forum, which may be relevant to Congress as it assesses potential reforms to the bid protest process. First, the report provides an overview of bid protests generally and the legal procedures applicable to bid protests made in each forum. Next, the report analyzes the legal distinctions among these forums. Finally, the report discusses recent legislative developments affecting bid protest procedures and potential considerations for Congress.
The Logan Act: An Overview of a Sometimes Forgotten 18th Century Law
This report discusses the Logan Act, including a brief explanation of some of the constitutional concerns that surround the law. This report concludes with a discussion of what Congress could do to modify the statute to make it less susceptible to some of these concerns.
Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act (S. 2155) and Selected Policy Issues
This report summarizes S. 2155 and highlights major policy proposals of the bill, as reported by committee.
Protecting Consumers and Businesses from Fraudulent Robocalls
This report discusses efforts by Congress and the Federal Communications Commision (FCC) to combat robocall scams and prevent them from reaching consumers. It includes an overview of what robocallls are, their legitimate uses, regulation, and complaint procedures for consumers.
Buy America and the Electric Bus Market
This report discusses a current controversy over how Buy America (which requires that federally-funded highway, public transportation, aviation, and intercity passenger rail projects use U.S.-made manufactured goods) applies to battery-powered buses. This controversy illustrates the challenges in determining whether or not a product is made in the United States.
Hostage-Taking Statute Covers Kidnapping for Ransom Abroad
This report discusses the U.S. Court of Appeals case United States v. Noel, in which Noel challenged his conviction for seizing an American citizen in Haiti to hold for ransom.
Government Contract Bid Protests: Analysis of Legal Processes and Recent Developments
This report briefly analyzes the varying legal procedures applicable to bid protests under each forum. First, it provides an overview of bid protests generally and then analyzes the legal distinctions among these forums. Finally, the report discusses recent legislative developments affecting bid protest procedures and potential considerations for Congress.
The "Militarization" of Law Enforcement and the Department of Defense's "1033 Program
This report discusses the response of SWAT teams to extraordinary cases that has raised questions about the so called "militarization" of law enforcement.
Numerical Limits on Employment-Based Immigration: Analysis of the Per-Country Ceilings
The report opens with brief explanations of the employment-based preference categories and the per-country ceilings governing annual admissions of LPRs. The focus is on the major employment-based preference categories. The report continues with a statistical analysis of the pending caseload of approved employment-based LPR petitions.
The Glass-Steagall Act: A Legal and Policy Analysis
This report provides background on the economic conditions in which the Glass-Steagall Act was enacted and provides an economic and legal analysis of the Glass-Steagall Act's enactment, erosion, and partial repeal by GLBA. The report concludes with an analysis of the Glass-Steagall Act's relationship with financial stability and the Glass-Steagall-like provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act.
"Regulatory Relief" for Banking: Selected Legislation in the 114th Congress
This report discusses regulatory relief legislation for banks in the 114th Congress that has seen floor action or has been ordered to be reported by a committee. Many, but not all, of the bills would make changes to the Dodd-Frank Act (P.L. 111-203), a wide-ranging financial reform enacted in response to the financial crisis.
Federal Conspiracy Law: A Brief Overview
This report is a brief discussion of the common features of federal conspiracy law that evolved over the years, with passing references to some of the distinctive features of some of the statutory provisions.