Congressional Research Service Reports - 39 Matching Results

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Congress's Contempt Power and the Enforcement of Congressional Subpoenas: Law, History, Practice, and Procedure
This report examines the source of the contempt power, reviews the historical development of the early case law, outlines the statutory and common law basis for Congress's contempt power, and analyzes the procedures associated with inherent contempt, criminal contempt, and the civil enforcement of subpoenas. It also includes a detailed discussion of two recent information access disputes that led to the approval of contempt citations in the House against then-White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten and former White House Counsel Harriet Miers, as well as Attorney General Eric Holder. Finally, the report discusses both non-constitutional and constitutionally-based limitations on the contempt power.
State and Local "Sanctuary" Policies Limiting Participation in Immigration Enforcement
This report discusses legal issues related to state and local measures that limit law enforcement cooperation with federal immigration authorities. The report begins by providing a brief overview of the constitutional principles informing the relationship between federal immigration authorities and state and local jurisdictions, including the federal government's power to preempt state and local activities under the Supremacy Clause, and the Tenth Amendment's proscription against Congress directly "commandeering" the states to administer a federally enacted regulatory scheme.
Advertising by the Federal Government: An Overview
This report looks at what government agencies are spending on advertising, including the difficulties of estimating advertising expenditures and the restrictions on government advertising.
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.
Sanctuary Jurisdictions and Criminal Aliens: In Brief
This report examines the interplay between the federal government (i.e., Immigration and Customs Enforcement/ICE) and state and local jurisdictions in enforcing immigration law, with a specific focus on noncitizens who have been convicted of a crime. It explores major programs and federal resources available to state and local law enforcement agencies that cooperate with ICE to enforce immigration law.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Presidential Review of Independent Regulatory Commission Rulemaking: Legal Issues
Report that discusses the constitutionality and the legal effects of extending centralized review of rulemaking to independent regulatory commissions (IRC).
Energy and Water Development: FY2017 Appropriations for Nuclear Weapons Activities
This report discusses the annual Energy and Water Development appropriations bill that funds civil works projects of the Army Corps of Engineers, the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Reclamation, the Department of Energy (DOE), and several independent agencies.
Dressed to the Nines: What's Next for the Nine-Justice Supreme Court?
This report discusses the confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch as a Supreme Court Justice and the effects he may have on current and upcoming cases as the ninth member of the Supreme Court.
International Criminal Court and the Rome Statute: 2010 Review Conference
This report is a summary of the 2010 International Criminal Court (ICC) Review Conference in which several countries discuss political and legal ramifications of the ICC.
Food Safety Issues for the 112th Congress
This report looks at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Food Safety Modernization Act and the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. It particularly looks at ways in which the 112th Congress may want to provide oversight for the Act.
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.
Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA): A Summary of the Act and Its Major Requirements
This report summarizes the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) and its major programs and regulatory requirements. The SDWA, Title XIV of the Public Health Service Act, is the key federal law for protecting public water supplies from harmful contaminants. First enacted in 1974 and substantially amended in 1986 and 1996, the act is administered through programs that establish standards and treatment requirements for public water supplies, control underground injection of wastes, finance infrastructure projects, and protect sources of drinking water.
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.
Litigation Seeking to Establish Climate Change Impacts as a Common Law Nuisance
This report discusses recent legislative initiatives seeking to establish climate change impacts as a common law nuisance. The report explains what private and public nuisances are, the issues faced by policymakers when litigating a climate-change/nuisance suit, and also discusses five climate-chance/nuisance suits that are now or formerly active, as a basis of comparison. The report also explores arguments of those both for and against addressing the complex issue of climate change through common law suits.
The Open Skies Treaty: Issues in the Current Debate
This report discusses the current debate surrounding the Treaty on Open Skies, which the United States, Canada, and 22 European nations signed on March 24, 1992. The treaty entered into force on January 1, 2002, and now has 34 member states. Each participant must permit unarmed observation aircraft to fly over its entire territory to observe military forces and activities.
Clean Power Plan: Legal Background and Pending Litigation in West Virginia v. EPA
This report provides legal background on the Clean Power Plan rule (CPP) to regulate emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs), its Clean Air Act (CAA) framework under Section 111, and climate-related lawsuits that have preceded the present litigation over the CPP. It then gives an overview of the participants in the current litigation, including two groups of Members of Congress, who have offered briefs in support of the petitioners and the respondents, respectively.
Arizona v. United States: A Limited Role for States in Immigration Enforcement
Report that discusses the Supreme Court's ruling in Arizona v. United States, and considers the implications that the decision may have for immigration enforcement activity by states and localities.
U.S. Crude Oil and Natural Gas Production in Federal and Non-Federal Areas
This report examines U.S. oil and natural gas production data for federal and non-federal areas with an emphasis on the past five years of production.
Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF): Program Overview and Issues
This report discusses the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) Amendments of 1996, which authorized a drinking water state revolving loan fund (DWSRF) program. The program was intended to help public water systems finance infrastructure projects that were needed to comply with federal drinking water regulations and to meet the Act's health objectives. It includes an overview of funding, allotments and set-asides, drinking water infrastructure needs, program issues, and legislative activity.
Food Fraud and "Economically Motivated Adulteration" of Food and Food Ingredients
This report discusses food fraud, or the act of defrauding buyers of food and food ingredients for economic gain. It includes background information, an overview of available data and information repositories related to food fraud, federal activities involving food fraud, and Congressional actions involving food fraud.
Federal Employees' Retirement System: Benefits and Financing
Report discussing 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. The taxable wage base is $110,100 in 2012. This report discusses both retirement funds.
Facing the FAST Act: Abortion and Free Speech (Part 2)
Second part of a report regarding the Supreme Court case: "National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA) v. Becerra;" it involves a California state law that requires certain pregnancy centers to distribute particular information to clients which they contend violates their free speech rights. This report discusses the potential implications of any Supreme Court decision in "NIFLA" for First Amendment jurisprudence and legislatures seeking to regulate in this area.
Facing the FAST Act: Abortion and Free Speech (Part 1)
First part of a report regarding the Supreme Court case: "National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA) v. Becerra;" it involves a California state law that requires certain pregnancy centers to distribute particular information to clients which they contend violates their free speech rights. This report provides an overview of the challenged law, followed by an analysis of how the Supreme Court might categorize the speech at issue.
Attorney General's Memorandum on Federal Marijuana Enforcement: Possible Impacts
This report discusses Attorney General Jeff Sessions' memorandum on federal marijuana enforcement policy sent to all U.S. Attorneys that immediately rescinds guidance documents specific to marijuana enforcement. It provides background on the memorandum, the relevant regulations, and implications of withdrawing previous guidance.
The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS): Waiver Authority and Modification of Volumes
This report discusses the process and criteria for the Environmental Protection Agency to waive various portions of the renewable fuel standard (RFS), and the modification of applicable volumes.
Iran Nuclear Agreement
This report provides background on the agreement negotiated by Iran and six other countries (the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, China, and Germany--collectively known as the P5+1) regarding Iran's nuclear program, and discusses the implications for U.S.-Iran relations.
Role of Home State Senators in the Selection of Lower Federal Court Judges
This report examines the role played by Senators in the selection of nominees to two kinds of lower federal court judgeships. Specifically, the judgeships in question, over which Senators have historically played a role in nominee selection, are those (1) in the U.S. district courts lying geographically within the Senators' states and (2) in the U.S. court of appeals circuits of which the Senators' states are a geographic part. This report also discusses several historical and ethical aspects related to Senators recommending judicial candidates.
EPA and the Army Corps' Proposed Rule to Define "Waters of the United States"
This report describes the March 25 proposed rule to define "waters of the United States," particularly focused on clarifying the regulatory status of waters located in isolated places in a landscape, the types of waters with ambiguous jurisdictional status following the Supreme Court's ruling. It includes a table comparing the proposal to existing regulatory language.
Mandatory Vaccinations: Precedent and Current Laws
This report provides an overview of the legal precedent for mandatory vaccination laws, and of state laws that require certain individuals or populations, including school-aged children and health care workers, to be vaccinated against various communicable diseases. Also discussed are state laws providing for mandatory vaccinations during a public health emergency or outbreak of a communicable disease.
Hydraulic Fracturing and Safe Drinking Water Act Regulatory Issues
This report reviews past and proposed treatment of hydraulic fracturing under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), the principal federal statute for regulating the underground injection of fluids to protect groundwater sources of drinking water. It reviews current SDWA provisions for regulating underground injection activities, and discusses some possible implications of the enactment of legislation authorizing EPA to regulate hydraulic fracturing (beyond diesel) under this statute.
Iran: U.S. Economic Sanctions and the Authority to Lift Restrictions
This report identifies the legislative bases for sanctions imposed on Iran, and the nature of the authority to waive or lift those restrictions. It comprises two tables that present legislation and executive orders that are specific to Iran and its objectionable activities in the areas of terrorism, human rights, and weapons proliferation.
Iran Sanctions
This report analyzes U.S. and international sanctions against Iran and, in so doing, provides examples, based on a wide range of open source reporting, of companies and countries that conduct business with Iran. It also discusses the effectiveness of sanctions on Iran.
Iran Sanctions
This report focuses on the United States' relationship with Iran and how the Obama Administration is handling prior administration's economic sanctions against Iran. The Obama Administration's policy approach toward Iran has contrasted with the Bush Administration's by attempting to couple the imposition of sanctions to an active and direct U.S. effort to negotiate with Iran on the nuclear issue. That approach was not initially altered because of the Iranian dispute over its June 12, 2009, elections. However, with subsequent negotiations yielding no firm Iranian agreement to compromise, since early 2010 the Administration has focused on achieving the imposition of additional U.N., U.S., and allied country sanctions whose cumulative effect would be to compel it to accept a nuclear bargain.
Hydraulic Fracturing and Safe Drinking Water Act Issues
This report reviews past and proposed treatment of hydraulic fracturing under the Safe Water Drinking Ace, the principal federal statute for regulating the underground injection of fluids to protect groundwater sources of drinking water. It reviews current provisions for regulating underground injection activities, and discusses some possible implications of, and issues associated with, enactment of legislation authorizing the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate hydraulic fracturing under this statute.