Congressional Research Service Reports - 78 Matching Results

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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.
A Second Amendment Right to Sell Firearms? The Ninth Circuit, Sitting En Banc, Weighs In
This report discusses the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (Ninth Circuit) decision in "Teixeira v. County of Alameda" which reversed the original court decision which held that Second Amendment rights applied to commercial firearm sellers. The course of the case and decision and implications of the ruling are also discussed.
In Any Way, Shape, or Form? What Qualifies as "Any Court" Under the Gun Control Act?
This report discusses the requirements under the Gun Control Act of 1968 that prohibit persons convicted of felony crimes and misdemeanor domestic violence from buying or possessing firearms and what courts are covered under the phrase "any court' in the legislation.
Casework in a Congressional Office: Background, Rules, Laws, and Resources
This report discusses House and Senate rules and guidelines, laws, and regulations affecting congressional casework, as well as the role of caseworkers. It also provides sample outlines and document templates for implementing and managing congressional casework.
Obstruction of Congress: An Abridged Overview of Federal Criminal Laws Relating to Interference with Congressional Activities
This report briefly discusses obstruction of justice, specifically regarding Congressional activities. Obstruction of justice is defined as the frustration of governmental purposes by violence, corruption, destruction of evidence, or deceit. This is an abridged version of CRS Report RL34304, Obstruction of Congress: A Brief Overview of Federal Law Relating to Interference with Congressional Activities, by Charles Doyle, without the footnotes, quotations, or citations to authority found in the longer report.
Perjury Under Federal Law: A Brief Overview
This report describes perjury under federal law, including a definition as well as in-depth explorations of the three general federal perjury laws. This report is available in abbreviated form - without footnotes, quotations, or citations - as CRS Report 98-807, Perjury Under Federal Law: A Sketch of the Elements.
Perjury Under Federal Law: A Sketch of the Elements
This report discusses the three general federal perjury laws. This report is an abbreviated version of CRS Report 98-808, Perjury Under Federal Law: A Brief Overview, by Charles Doyle, stripped of most footnotes, quotations, citations, and bibliography.
Obstruction of Justice: An Overview of Some of the Federal Statutes That Prohibit Interference with Judicial, Executive, or Legislative Activities
Obstruction of justice is the frustration of governmental purposes by violence, corruption, destruction of evidence, or deceit. It is a federal crime. In fact, federal obstruction of justice laws are legion; too many for even passing reference to all of them in a single report. This is a brief description of the some of the more prominent.
Obstruction of Congress: A Brief Overview of Federal Law Relating to Interference with Congressional Activities
Obstruction of justice is the frustration of governmental purposes by violence, corruption, destruction of evidence, or deceit. It is a federal crime. In fact, federal obstruction of justice laws are legion; too many for even passing reference to all of them in a single report. This is a brief description of those that outlaw interference with congressional activities.
Obstruction of Justice: An Abridged Overview of Related Federal Criminal Laws
This report briefly discusses obstruction of justice, which is defined as the frustration of governmental purposes by violence, corruption, destruction of evidence, or deceit. This is an abridged version of CRS Report RL34304, Obstruction of Justice: An Overview of Some of the Federal Statutes That Prohibit Interference with Judicial, Executive, or Legislative Activities, by Charles Doyle, without the footnotes, quotations, or citations to authority found in the longer report.
Congressional Lawmaking: A Perspective On Secrecy and Transparency
The objectives of this report are four-fold: first, to outline briefly the historical and inherent tension between secrecy and transparency in the congressional process; second, to review several common and recurring secrecy/transparency issues that emerged again with the 2011 formation of the Joint Select Deficit Reduction Committee; third, to identify various lawmaking stages typically imbued with closed door activities; and fourth, to close with several summary observations.
The Bayh-Dole Act: Selected Issues in Patent Policy and the Commercialization of Technology
Congressional interest in facilitating U.S. technological innovation led to the passage of P.L. 96-517, Amendments to the Patent and Trademark Act, commonly referred to as the "Bayh-Dole Act" after its two main sponsors former Senators Robert Dole and Birch Bayh. Under this 1980 law, as amended, title to inventions made with government support is provided to the contractor if that contractor is a small business, a university, or other non-profit institution. This report discusses the rationale behind the passage of P.L. 96-517, its provisions, and implementation of the law.
Federal Capital Offenses: An Overview of Substantive and Procedural Law
Murder, committed under any of more than 50 jurisdictional circumstances, is a federal capital offense. So are treason, espionage, and certain drug kingpin offenses. The Federal Death Penalty Act and related provisions establish the procedure that must be followed before a defendant convicted of a federal capital offense may be executed. This report is an overview of the law in the area.
Recent State Election Law Challenges: In Brief
This report begins by setting forth key constitutional provisions relevant to recent state election law challenges. Next, it discusses federal statutory provisions contained in the Voting Rights Act and the National Voter Registration Act and briefly examines pertinent Supreme Court precedent. Then, based on that legal framework, it provides an overview of several recent challenges to state election laws in Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, and Texas that resulted in major decisions by the various federal courts of appeals as illustrative examples of the types of challenges that have been playing out in the courts. Finally, the report discusses some potential implications of these challenges.
EPA Proposes to Repeal the Clean Power Plan
This report discuses the EPA proposal in October 2017 to repeal the "Clean Power Plan" due to their determination after review of the rule that it exceeded their statutory authority to implement it. Steps in the process of repealing the rule, the outcome of the current court case regarding the rule, and possible replacement rules regarding Carbon dioxide emissions and power plants.
Executive Discretion as to Immigration: Legal Overview
This report provides an overview of the three broad types of discretion that the Executive can be seen to have as to immigration: (1) express delegations of discretionary authority; (2) discretion in enforcement (commonly known as prosecutorial or enforcement discretion); and (3) discretion in interpreting and applying statutes.
U.S. Family-Based Immigration Policy
This report provides an examination of family-based immigration policy. In doing so, it outlines a brief history of U.S. family-based immigration policies, discusses current law governing admissions, and summarizes recommendations made by previous congressionally mandated committees charged with evaluating immigration policy. It then presents descriptive figures on legal immigrants entering the United States during the past decade and discusses the sizable queue of approved immigrant petitioners waiting for an immigrant visa. It closes by discussing selected policy issues.
Immigration Legislation and Issues in the 113th Congress
Immigration reform was an active legislative issue in the first session of the 113th Congress. The Senate passed the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act (S. 744), a comprehensive immigration reform bill that includes provisions on border security, interior enforcement, employment eligibility verification and worksite enforcement, legalization of unauthorized aliens, immigrant visas, nonimmigrant visas, and humanitarian admissions. For its part, the House took a different approach to immigration reform. Rather than considering a single comprehensive bill, the House acted on a set of immigration bills that address border security, interior enforcement, employment eligibility verification and worksite enforcement, and nonimmigrant and immigrant visas. House committees reported or ordered to be reported the following immigration bills: Border Security Results Act of 2013 (H.R. 1417); Strengthen and Fortify Enforcement (SAFE) Act (H.R. 2278); Legal Workforce Act (H.R. 1772); Agricultural Guestworker (AG) Act (H.R. 1773); and Supplying Knowledge-based Immigrants and Lifting Levels of STEM Visas (SKILLS Visa) Act (H.R. 2131). This report discusses these and other immigration-related issues that received legislative action or have been of significant congressional interest in the 113th Congress.
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.
Statute of Limitation in Federal Criminal Cases: An Overview
This report describes the rules governing statutes of limitation for federal crimes and provides a list of federal statutes of limitation in criminal cases with a rough chart of comparable state provisions.
U.S. Implementation of the Basel Capital Regulatory Framework
This report discusses the implementation of the Basel III international regulatory framework, which is the latest in a series of evolving agreements among central banks and bank supervisory authorities to standardize bank capital requirements, among other measures.
Energy Policy: 112th Congress Issues and Legislative Proposals
This report discusses the energy policy in the United States, which has focused on three major goals: assuring a secure supply of energy, keeping energy costs low, and protecting the environment.
A Primer on U.S. Immigration Policy
This report provides a broad overview of U.S. immigration policy. The first section addresses policies governing how foreign nationals enter the United States either to reside permanently or to stay temporarily. Related topics within this section include visa issuance and security, forms of quasi-legal status, and naturalization. The second section discusses enforcement policies both for excluding foreign nationals from admission into the United States, as well as for detaining and removing those who enter the country unlawfully or who enter lawfully but subsequently commit crimes that make them deportable. The section also covers worksite enforcement and immigration fraud. The third section addresses policies for unauthorized aliens residing in the United States.
The Federal Government's Plenary Immigration Power Collides with the Constitutional Right to an Abortion (Part 2)
This report is the secondt in a two-part series discussing "Garza v. Hargan", a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit involving a detained unaccompanied alien minor and the right to terminate a pregnancy. Debate among judges regarding the right of an unaccompanied alien minor to have an abortion when the minor was detained at the border and technically never formally entered the United States are discussed.
When Does Sovereign Immunity Protect Property Owned by State Sponsors of Terrorism?
This report discusses sovereign states' immunity from suits and attachments by U.S. nationals except under very specific circumstances, as well as legal interpretations and cases involving immunity rules. It particularly describes state-sponsored terrorism and the effect of The Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), which was proposed to allow U.S. nationals to file civil suits in U.S. courts against foreign nations for aiding and abetting acts of terrorism under a new exception to the general rule of immunity.
FDA Human Medical Product User Fee Programs: In Brief
This report discusses FDA human medical product user fees for prescription drugs, medical devices, generic drugs, and biosimilars which are charged to companies producing the products and make up a large portion of the FDA's revenues. User fees are authorized in legislation on a five-year cycle, with authority for their actual collection and expenditure provided each year through the annual appropriations process. Appendix A outlines various features of the user fee programs.
The Latest Chapter in Insider Trading Law: Major Circuit Decision Expands Scope of Liability for Trading on a "Tip"
This report discusses a recent court decision regarding insider trading laws and the liability of someone who acts on a tip that consists of inside information that they should have known was obtained or shared illegally. Background on the case, relevant case law, and implications of the decision are discussed.
The Federal Government's Plenary Immigration Power Collides with the Constitutional Right to an Abortion (Part 1)
This report is the first in a two-part series discussing "Garza v. Hargan", a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit involving a detained unaccompanied alien minor and the right to terminate a pregnancy. The facts of the case and a discussion of the court's decision and whether the Health and Human Services Department policy regarding abortions unduly burdens a woman's right to an abortion is discussed.
Qualifications for President and the "Natural Born" Citizenship Eligibility Requirement
This report discusses the history of the qualifications clause in the Federal Convention of 1787, the Common Law meaning of the term "Natural Born" citizen or subject, and common understanding in 18th Century of the term "Natural Born" citizen.
The Obama Administration's November 2014 Immigration Initiatives: Questions and Answers
On November 20, 2014, President Obama delivered a televised address wherein he broadly described the steps that his administration is taking to "fix" what he has repeatedly described as a "broken immigration system."1 Following the President's address, executive agencies made available intra-agency memoranda and fact sheets detailing specific actions that have already been taken, or will be taken in the future.2 These actions generally involve either border security, the current unlawfully present population, or future legal immigration. This report provides the answers to key legal questions related to the various immigration-related actions announced by the Obama Administration.
Voter Identification Requirements: Background and Legal Issues
Since 2008, more than 30 states have enacted laws relating to voter identification, with several containing photo ID requirements. Several states enacted voter identification laws that have either been struck down by courts or are not yet in effect. A number of bills with voter identification provisions have been introduced in the 113th Congress and one (S. 1945) has received committee consideration. This report examines this type of legislation and the legal issues regarding it.
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.
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.
Surface Transportation Funding and Finance
This report discusses changes in funding to the national surface transportation infrastructure, especially in light of the recession that began in 2007, which led to decreases in driving and fuel use. This report focuses on possible revenue sources for surface transportation infrastructure. It begins with a brief discussion of the problems associated with the trust fund financing system and then explores possible immediate and longer-term solutions to the financing problem.
"Robo-Signing" and Other Alleged Documentation Problems in Judicial and Nonjudicial Foreclosure Processes
Recent depositions involving major servicers, including GMAC Mortgage, J.P. Morgan Chase, and Wells Fargo, have raised concerns about "robo-signing" -- the practice of having a small number of individuals sign a large number of affidavits and other legal documents submitted to courts and other public authorities by mortgage companies to execute foreclosure. This report explores concerns related to these issues by explaining the mortgage market process, procedural problems that have surfaced during foreclosure proceedings, and other relevant information.
Fifth Circuit Declines to Lift Injunction Barring Implementation of the Obama Administration's 2014 Deferred Action Programs
This legal sidebar discusses a decision by the Fifth Circuit in which they declined to lift an injunction barring the implementation of the Obama administration's 2014 deferred action programs. Additionally, the decision argued that the expansions are impermissible because they conflict with certain provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
Supreme Court Reiterates Congress's Exclusive Role in Regulating Lower Federal Court Jurisdiction
This report discusses the Supreme Court's decision in "Hamer v. Neighborhood Housing Service of Chicago" which affirmed that only the legislative branch may make rules governing the inferior federal courts' subject-matter jurisdiction.
Money Laundering: An Overview of 18 U.S.C. §1956 and Related Federal Criminal Law
This report provides an overview of the elements of federal criminal money laundering statutes and the sanctions imposed for their violation. It includes an extensive overview and analysis of elements as well as legal attributes and consequences of violating various federal criminal statues related to money laundering, most specifically 18 U.S.C. § 1956, 1957, and 1952. The end of the report provides text of the statutes discussed, citations of state money laundering and money transmission statutes, and a list federal predicate offenses with their accompanying maximum terms of imprisonment.
Post-Heller Second Amendment Jurisprudence
This report examines the scope of the Second Amendment, as interpreted by the federal circuit courts of appeals, after the watershed Supreme Court decisions in "District of Columbia v. Heller" and "McDonald v. City of Chicago". After "Heller" and "McDonald", numerous challenges were brought on Second Amendment grounds to various federal, state, and local firearm laws and regulations. Because Heller neither purported to define the full scope of the Second Amendment, nor suggested a standard of review for evaluating Second Amendment claims, the lower federal courts have been tasked with doing so in the Second Amendment challenges brought before them. This report discusses in detail notable post-Heller Second Amendment cases decided by federal courts of appeals. Because "Heller" and "McDonald" provide the only recent Supreme Court guidance on the Second Amendment, the analyses in these cases may provide useful guideposts for Congress should it seek to enact further firearm regulations.
Two-Sided Credit Card Markets: The Supreme Court Takes Up Novel Antitrust Issue
This report discusses the case of "Ohio v. American Express" which the Supreme Court has accepted for hearing which poses the question of how federal antitrust law should treat two-sided markets which are platforms in which two distinct user groups operate in an interdependent way. The case challenges anti-steering clauses in American Express contract agreements with merchants that prevent the merchants from promoting the use of other credit cards. The case has the potential to change the way vendors accept card payments across the country--but the case also provides the Supreme Court with the opportunity to guide the lower courts that are increasingly confronting antitrust issues concerning two-sided markets. As a result, the American Express case raises several issues for Congress that could implicate its legislative and oversight roles with respect to the financial services industry and, more generally, the regulation of two-sided markets.
Mayo v. Prometheus: Implications for Patents, Biotechnology, and Personalized Medicine
Report that reviews the Supreme Court's 2012 Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus Laboratories decision (wherein the court held that a patent claiming a method of optimizing therapies for autoimmune disease was invalid) and briefly consider its implications for innovation and public health.
Joint Employment and the Save Local Business Act
This report discusses the proposed "Save Local Business Act" in the House and its provisions and implications for employers and employees in businesses where unions exist. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) broadening of the definition of what constituted a joint employer in the case of Browning-Ferris Industries of California led to resist by some in the business community and the "Save Local Business Act" seeks to restore the former more narrow definition of joint employers.
Out of Office: Vacancies, Acting Officers, and Day 301
This report discusses the provisions of the Vacancies Act and the upcoming expiration of the time limit for temporary staff to to perform the duties of advice and consent staff positions that are still unfilled. Legal effects of letting the Vacancies Act take effect are also discussed.
Farm and Food Support Under USDA's Section 32 Program
"Section 32" is a permanent appropriation that since 1935 has set aside the equivalent of 30% of annual customs receipts to support the farm sector through the purchase of surplus commodities and a variety of other activities. This report first describes how the Section 32 account operates by tracing funds flowing into and out of the account. Second, a more detailed discussion is provided for each type of use, including historical policies.
Nuclear, Biological, Chemical, and Missile Proliferation Sanctions: Selected Current Law
This report offers a listing and brief description of legal provisions that require or authorize the imposition of some form of economic sanction against countries, companies, persons, or entities that violate U.S. nonproliferation norms. For each provision, information is included on what triggers the imposition of sanctions, their duration, what authority the President has to delay or abstain from imposing sanctions, and what authority the President has to waive the imposition of sanctions.
U.S. Secret Service Protection Mission Funding and Staffing: Fact Sheet
The U.S. Secret Service (USSS) has two broad missions, criminal investigations and protection. The protection mission, which is the focus of this fact sheet, covers the President, Vice President, their families, and candidates for those offices, along with the White House and Vice President's residence, through the Service's Uniformed Division. Protective duties also extend to foreign missions in the District of Columbia and to designated individuals, such as the DHS Secretary and visiting foreign dignitaries. This fact sheet provides information on USSS funding and staffing because congressional attention has turned to the USSS and its operations due to several recent incidents.
Child Labor in America: History, Policy, and Legislative Issues
This report examines the historical issue of child labor in America and summarizes legislation that has been introduced from the 108th Congress to the 113th Congress.