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Doing Business with Iran: EU-Iran Trade and Investment Relations
This report discusses the European Union's (EU's) resumption of business with Iran after the signing of the 2015 nuclear disarmament agreement which led to the lifting of nuclear related sanctions. It outlines rates of business and major investments in Iran by European companies and the effect possible U.S. re-imposition of sanctions against Iran may have on the market and U.S.-EU relations.
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.
Net Neutrality: Back to the Future (Part One and Part Two)
This report is the first two reports in a series discussing the Federal Communication Commission's proposal to reclassify broadband Internet access services and modify or eliminate "net neutrality" regulations. Various legal aspects of the debate and classification of telecommunications are discussed.
Workers' Compensation: Overview and Issues
This report discusses workers' compensation programs including common elements and their history. Non-compulsory programs in Texas and Oklahoma are also discussed including the recent ruling that the system in Oklahoma violated their state constitution.
When is Running Guns from the Philippines to Mexico a Federal Crime?
This report discusses the case "United States v. Ubaldo" which concerns whether a gun smuggler who smuggled guns from a foreign country through the United States and then into another foreign country can be charged with a federal crime. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the conviction for conspiracy and causing the importation of weapons in violation of the Arms Export Control Act and ban on importing military firearms.
Treasury Proposes Rule that Could Deliver a 'Death Sentence" to Chinese Bank
This report discusses the Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) proposal to invoke the "Fifth Special Measure" on the Chinese Bank of Dandong for its alleged role in funding and and processing transactions for North Korea's weapons programs.
Regulation of Debit Interchange Fees
This report discusses section 735 of the Financial Choice Act (H.R. 10) which would repeal the Durbin Amendment. The Durbin Amendment capped the amount of interchange fees paid by merchants to banks when a customer uses a debit card to pay. The report begins with a description of the debit payments process and network pricing for the four-party system and the three-party system. It summarizes the requirements of Regulation II, which implements the Durbin Amendment. The report concludes with a discussion of some implications of Regulation II for merchants, consumers, and banks as well as with some recent observations.
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.
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.
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.
Presidential Authority to Permit Access to National Security Information
This report discuses whether the President has power to disclose classified national security information to foreign agents with the goal of advancing U.S, national interests and from what laws or legal rulings that power may stem.
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.
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.
Five-Year Program for Federal Offshore Oil and Gas Leasing: Status and Issues in Brief
This report summarizes developments in the offshore oil leasing 2017-2022 program and considers selected congressional issues and actions related to the program. President Trump issued an executive order on April 28, 2017, directing the Secretary of the Interior to review and consider revising the 2017-2022 program. The 115th Congress could influence the five-year program by enacting legislation to alter the program, as well as by conducting oversight.
Broadband Data Privacy and Security: What's Net Neutrality Got to Do With It?
This report is the third in a series discussing the potential impact of the Federal Communications Commission's proposal to reclassify broadband Internet access services (BIAS). This report focuses on the proposal's possible effect on the regulation of BIAS providers' privacy practices.
Department of Health and Human Services Halts Cost-Sharing Reduction (CSR) Payments
This report discusses the the case "House of Representatives v. Hargan" which was a case by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) appealing the House's decision to end cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments. Questions regarding the status of the case and possible legal and legislative methods of restoring CSR payments are addressed.
Banking Policy Issues in the 115th Congress
This report provides a broad overview of selected banking-related issues, including prudential regulation, consumer protection, "too big to fail" (TBTF) banks, community banking, regulatory agency structures and independence, and recent market and economic trends. It is not an exhaustive look at all bank policy issues, nor is it a detailed examination of any one issue. Rather, it provides concise background and analyses of certain prominent issues that have been the subject of recent discussion and debate. In addition, this report provides a list of Congressional Research Service reports that examine specific bills, including the Financial CHOICE Act (H.R. 10) and bills proposing to provide regulatory relief for banks.
President Trump's Withdrawal from the Paris Agreement Raises Legal Questions: Parts 1 and 2
This report discusses various legal questions raised by President Trump's announcement of the U.S.'s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement. Questions addressed include the withdrawal process, whether the agreement is binding or non-binding, the role of United States in other international climate meetings, and why President Trump announced the exit.
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.
Implementation of Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Amendments (P.L. 114-182)
This report summarizes select EPA actions to implement the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) amendments over the past year since their passage on June 22, 2016 as a part of the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for 21st Century Act (P.L. 114-182). Brief discussions and lists of various chemicals that are being evaluated or have been evaluated under the law are included.
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.
Update: What Constitutes "Sexual Abuse of a Minor" For Immigration Purposes
This report provides an update of an earlier report from April 6, 2017, providing the final decision by the Supreme Court in the case of "Esquivel-Quintana v. Sessions". The case concerned the question of whether an immigrant alien who was convicted of sexual abuse of a minor where the minor was under 18 but at least 16 (in this case statutory rape in California between a 21 year old male and a 17 year female) was removable for an aggravated felony under immigration law. The Supreme Court ruled that the immigration law required the victim be under 16 before the removal of an alien for an aggravated felony would be allowable.
Unmanned and Unregulated? Court of Appeals Rejects FAA Regulation of Many Drones
This report discusses a ruling by the DC Circuit Court of Appeals which said that model aircraft including many drones were exempt from the FAA's registration rule. Carious implications of the ruling are also discussed.
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.
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.
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.
Changes in the Arctic: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides an overview of Arctic-related issues for Congress, and refers readers to more in-depth CRS reports on specific Arctic-related issues. Some general issues include Arctic territorial disputes; commercial shipping through the Arctic; Arctic oil, gas, and mineral exploration; endangered Arctic species; and increased military operations in the Arctic, which could cause the region in coming years to become an arena of international cooperation or competition. 2018 fiscal year funding requests are included.
Regulatory Exclusivity Reform in the 115th Congress
This report introduces the various regulatory exclusivities that protect certain medicines from marketplace competition for a set period of time and then describes pertinent legislation in the 115th Congress addressing them.
Airline Passenger Denied Boarding: Rules and Regulations
This report discusses regulations regarding an airline's responsibilities when a passenger with a confirmed ticket is denied boarding on a flight due to lack of seats (known as overselling). The various updates to the original regulation from 1967 are discussed with the latest modifications occurring in 2015.
Supreme Court October Term 2017: A Preview of Select Cases
This report highlights four of the notable cases of the new term that could impact the work of Congress: (1) Carpenter v. United States, which examines the limits the Fourth Amendment imposes on the warrantless collection of the historical cell phone location records of a criminal suspect; (2) Christie v. National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), a case exploring whether Congress, by prohibiting a state from partially repealing a state law, impermissibly commandeers the powers of the state; (3) Gill v. Whitford, which considers when a state's redistricting plan amounts to impermissible partisan gerrymandering; and (4) Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, which asks whether a baker has a First Amendment right to decline to make cakes for same-sex weddings. Each case is addressed in a separate section that provides background information on the case; summarizes the arguments that were or are likely to be presented to the Court in each case; and examines the implications that the Court's ruling could have for Congress, including broader ramifications for the jurisprudence in a given area of law.
Patent Boxes: A Primer
This report looks at several aspects of patent boxes, including their general purpose. In addition, the report looks at the key considerations in designing a patent box, identifies the countries that currently have a patent box, describes the main elements of those boxes, and sheds light on the U.S. industries that would be likely to benefit the most from such a tax subsidy if the United States were to adopt one. The final two sections discuss what is known about the effectiveness of patent boxes and several other policy issues raised by patent boxes. The report is intended to complement a 2016 CRS report on the "expected effectiveness" of patent boxes.
Iran Sanctions
This report discusses U.S. sanctions against Iran and the 2016 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear agreement which led to the lifting of sanctions based on nuclear proliferation in Iran. The bulk of the report outlines the various sanctions against Iran and their current implementation status, international efforts to bring about compliance, and their effects. Recent discussions regarding President's Trump announcement that the U.S. was decertifying the nuclear agreement and the possibility of reinstating certain sanctions are also discussed.
Selected International Insurance Issues in the 115th Congress
This report discusses trade in insurance services and summarizes the various international entities and agreements affecting the regulation of and trade in insurance. It then addresses particular issues and controversies in greater depth, including a focus on the pending U.S.-EU covered agreement, and concludes with a section on issues relating to international insurance standards.
Law Enforcement Using and Disclosing Technology Vulnerabilities
This report provides background on law enforcement's use of technology vulnerabilities in criminal investigations. It also provides information on the government's system by which agencies collectively determine whether to maintain or disclose newly discovered vulnerabilities. The report also outlines a range of policy issues that may arise regarding the use and disclosure of vulnerabilities in technology.
President Trump's Withdrawal from the Paris Agreement Raises Legal Questions: Parts 1 and 2
This report discusses legal questions related to President's Trump's announcement that the United States intends to leave the Paris Climate Agreement.
The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act: Background and Summary
This report reviews issues related to financial regulation and provides brief descriptions of major provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act, along with links to CRS products going in to greater depth on specific issues. It does not attempt to track the legislative debate in the 115th Congress.
Iran Sanctions
This report analyzes U.S. and international sanctions against Iran and provides some examples, based on open sources, of companies and countries that conduct business with Iran. CRS has no way to independently corroborate any of the reporting on which these examples are based and no mandate to assess whether any firm or other entity is complying with U.S. or international sanctions against Iran. The sections are grouped by function, in the chronological order in which the themes have emerged
The Financial CHOICE Act in the 115th Congress: Selected Policy Issues
This report highlights major proposals included in the Financial CHOICE Act (FCA) but is not a comprehensive summary. In general, the bill proposes changes that can be divided into two categories: (1) changes to financial policies and regulations and (2) changes to the regulatory structure and rulemaking process. Major policy-related changes proposed by the FCA include the following: Leverage Ratio, Regulatory Relief, To Big To Fail, Funding, Rulemaking, Judicial Review, Enforcement, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and the Federal Reserve.
Privatization and the Constitution: Selected Legal Issues
This report focuses on the constitutional principles and judicial decisions that may constrain certain types of privatization that involve private and government-created entities.
Workers' Compensation: Overview and Issues
This report discusses workers' compensation in the United States beginning with a brief history of its origins and its elements. Costs, federal oversight of state programs, and Texas and Oklahoma's noncompulsory workers' compensation programs are also discussed.
Congressional Health Coverage: Is the Government Contribution in Limbo?
This report first provides an overview of the statutory framework governing congressional health coverage and the current Office of Personnel Management (OPM) rule, and then addresses certain legal considerations that may come into play should the Trump Administration take action to modify this existing rule.
Maritime Territorial and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) Disputes Involving China: Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and issues for Congress on maritime territorial and exclusive economic zone (EEZ) disputes in the East China (ECS) and South China Sea (SCS) involving China, with a focus on how these disputes may affect U.S. strategic and policy interests.
What Can the New President Do About the Effective Dates of Pending Regulations?
This report discusses legal questions and relevant cases related to a new presidents power to freeze implementation of pending regulation temporarily while it is reviewed by the new administration for compatibility with his policy goals.
Immigration Officer's Authority to Apprehend and Remove Aliens: Questions and Answers in Brief
This report provides brief answers to some of the questions regarding immigration agents' authority to apprehend and remove aliens; these questions were raised by reports that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents conducted enforcement actions in at least six states during the week of February 6, 2017.
Pre-Merger Review and Challenges Under the Clayton Act and the Federal Trade Commission
This report examines the primary statutes and processes that govern federal pre-merger review and merger challenges to prevent monopolies from forming.
Supreme Court October Term 2016: A Review of Select Major Rulings
This report highlights four particularly notable cases the Court heard and ruled on during the October 2016 term: Matal v. Tam, which examines the interplay between the First Amendment and trademark law; Sessions v. Morales-Santana, a case exploring the relationship between immigration law and the Court's Equal Protection jurisprudence; Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Comer, the latest chapter in the Court's Free Exercise jurisprudence; and Ziglar v. Abbasi, a case limiting the types of damages claims that can be asserted against federal officers for alleged constitutional violations under the Bivens doctrine. Each case is addressed in a separate section below, which provides background information on the case; summarizes the arguments that were presented to the Court; explains the Court's ultimate ruling; and examines the implications that the Court's ruling could have for Congress, including broader ramifications for jurisprudence in a given area of law.
Qualified Immunity for a Police Shooting
This report discusses the rule of qualified immunity for police officers, which prevents officers from being sued for actions taken in the course of their job unless there was a clear decision by the officer to break the law or incompetence. It specifically discusses the case of "White v. Pauly" heard by the Supreme Court, which upheld qualified immunity for Officer White after he was accused of violating a suspect's fourth amendment rights by use of excessive force to seize the suspect who had been fatally shot during the incident.
Special Counsels, Independent Counsels, and Special Prosecutors: Investigations of the Executive Branch by the Executive Branch
This report discusses the authorities who may appoint a special counsel or independent counsel to conduct criminal investigations of the executive branch when the Department of Justice may have a conflict of interest.
Oil Spills: Background and Governance
This report provides background information regarding oil spills and identifies the legal authorities and processes for oil spill prevention, response, liability, and compensation. The first section highlights background issues, including oil spill statistics and potential environmental impacts. The second section discusses the legal and regulatory framework that governs oil spill prevention and response.