Congressional Research Service Reports - Browse

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Cuba Sanctions: Legislative Restrictions Limiting the Normalization of Relations
This report provides background information on the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), and discusses U.S. trade negotiating objectives, procedures for congressional-executive notification and consultation, and expedited legislative procedures.
Why Did March 2016 U.N. Sanctions Not Curb China's Imports of Coal from North Korea?
This report discusses the Resolution 2270 adopted by United Nations Security Council (UNSCR 2270), imposing new sanctions on North Korea in response to the country's fourth nuclear test.
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.
Nuclear Cooperation with Other Countries: A Primer
This report discusses section 123 of the Atomic Energy Act (AEA), the specific requirements of which must be met in order for the United States to engage in civilian nuclear cooperation with other states. The AEA also provides for exemptions to these requirements, export control licensing procedures, and criteria for terminating cooperation.
EPA's Mid-Term Evaluation of Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards
This report discusses the standards set by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for fuel economy and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for new light-duty vehicles (defined generally as passenger cars and light trucks).
Nuclear Cooperation with Other Countries: A Primer
This report discusses section 123 of the Atomic Energy Act (AEA), the specific requirements of which must be met in order for the United States to engage in civilian nuclear cooperation with other states. The AEA also provides for exemptions to these requirements, export control licensing procedures, and criteria for terminating cooperation.
International Insurance Issues and H.R. 5143
This report discusses the international response to the financial crisis, which included the creation of a Financial Stability Board (FSB) largely made up of various national financial regulators and the increased focus by the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS).
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.
Cuba: Issues for the 114th Congress
This report is divided into three major sections analyzing Cuba's political and economic environment, U.S. policy, and selected issues in U.S.-Cuban relations.
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.
Extraterritorial Application of American Criminal Law
This report discusses the application of American criminal law outside the United States.
Treatment of Noncitizens Under the Affordable Care Act
This report provides information regarding the treatment of noncitizens under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) including definitions of "lawfully present," the health insurance mandate, exchanges, and ACA changes to Medicaid. It also discusses the verification of alien status under the ACA and related legislation in the 113th Congress.
State Voter Identification Requirements: Analysis, Legal Issues, and Policy Considerations
This report provides an updated overview of state requirements for voters to present some form of ID before casting a ballot in a federal election. The report also discusses the origins of voter ID, relevant federal legislative action in the 114th Congress, and selected legal and policy issues related to state voter ID laws.
An Abridged Sketch of Extradition To and From the United States
This report discusses "extradition", which is the formal surrender of a person by a State to another State for prosecution or punishment.
Energy Policy: 114th Congress Issues
This report begins by providing background on the economic rationale for energy market interventions; it highlights various market failures production and consumption of energy, and discusses possible interventions. The report concludes with an analysis of the current status of energy tax policy.
Sea-Level Rise and U.S. Coasts: Science and Policy Considerations
This report provides information for policymakers that are interested in sea-level rise because of the risk to coastal populations and infrastructure and the consequences for coastal species and ecosystems.
Immigration Legislation and Issues in the 114th Congress
This report discusses border security, interior enforcement, visa security, asylum, and other immigration-related issues that have received legislative action or are of significant congressional interest in the 114th Congress.
Corporate Inversions: Frequently Asked Legal Questions
This report answers frequently-asked legal questions about corporate inversions. It answers questions relating to the scope and operation of Section 7874, including how key statutory terms have been interpreted by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). It discusses important Department of Treasury regulations that were finalized in 2015 and 2016, and answers questions about the IRS's authority to issue these regulations. Other questions that are answered relate to legislation introduced in the 114th Congress, the interaction of Section 7874 with tax treaties, and the imposition of an excise tax on corporate insiders who benefit from an inversion.
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.
Supreme Court: Length of the Scalia Vacancy in Historical Context
This report provides data and analysis related to the potential length of the current vacancy on the Supreme Court caused by the death of Antonin Scalia on February 13, 2016. Specifically, this report provides the number of days the Scalia vacancy will have existed on specified future dates if a nominee has not been confirmed.
Iran's Foreign Policy
This report provides an overview of Iran's foreign policy, which has been a subject of numerous congressional hearings and of sanctions and other legislation for many years. The report analyzes Iranian foreign policy as a whole and by region.
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.
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 or Rule) 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.
Evolution of the Meaning of "Waters of the United States" in the Clean Water Act
This report examines the changing definition of the phrase, "waters of the United States." The scope of waters that are properly the subject of federal water pollution legislation has been the subject of long-standing consideration by all three branches of the federal government, particularly in the aftermath of the 1972 amendments to the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, commonly referred to as the Clean Water Act.
The Federal Circuit Rules on Trademarks Considered Offensive: May Affect Redskins Trademark Dispute
This legal sidebar examines cases involving the revocation of the Washington Redskins' federally-registered trademarks (Pro-Football, Inc. v. Blackhorse) and the refusal to grant registration for a rock band's name (In re Tam). These cases raise questions about the constitutionality of Section 2(a) of the Trademark Act of 1946 (conventionally known as the Lanham Act), which denies trademark registration to certain offensive content.
State Challenges to Federal Enforcement of Immigration Law: From the Mid-1990s to the Present
This report provides an overview of challenges by states to federal officials' alleged failure to enforce provisions of immigration law. It begins by discussing (1) the lawsuits filed by six states in the mid-1990s; (2) Arizona's counterclaims to the federal government's suit to enjoin enforcement of S.B. 1070; and (3) Mississippi's challenge to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative. It then describes the challenge brought by over 25 states or state officials in December 2014 to the Obama Administration's proposal to expand DACA and create a similar program for unauthorized aliens whose children are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent resident aliens (LPRs) (commonly known as DAPA).
Police Shootings and Federal Support for Law Enforcement Safety
This report discusses federal support for law enforcement safety in light of the recent shooting deaths of police officers in Dallas, Texas, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Cuba: Issues for the 114th Congress
This report is divided into three major sections analyzing Cuba's political and economic environment, U.S. policy, and selected issues in U.S.-Cuban relations. Legislative initiatives in the 114th Congress are noted throughout the report, and four appendixes provide a listing of enacted measures, bills receiving some action in 2015, bills seeing action in 2016, and additional bills and resolution this Congress.
Iran's Foreign Policy
This report provides an overview of Iran's foreign policy, which has been a subject of numerous congressional hearings and of sanctions and other legislation for many years. The report analyzes Iranian foreign policy as a whole and by region.
Financing U.S. Agricultural Exports to Cuba
This report discusses a new policy approach toward Cuba that, in part, seeks to reduce the role of long-standing U.S. sanctions on commercial relations with Cuba while also promoting greater engagement and normal relations with the island nation.
U.S. Crude Oil and Natural Gas Production in Federal and Nonfederal 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 fiscal years of production.
Cuba: Issues for the 114th Congress
This report is divided into three major sections analyzing Cuba's political and economic environment, U.S. policy, and selected issues in U.S.-Cuban relations.
The Department of the Interior's Final Rule on Offshore Well Control
This report discusses regulations regarding blowout preventer systems and well control for oil and gas operations on the U.S. outer continental shelf (81 Fed. Reg. 25887). The regulations aim to reduce the risk of an offshore oil or gas blowout that could jeopardize human safety and harm the environment.
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.
Legislative Options for Financing Water Infrastructure
This report discusses 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.
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. The diminishment of Arctic sea ice has led to increased human activities in the Arctic, and has heightened interest in, and concerns about, the region's future.
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.
Navy LX(R) Amphibious Ship Program: Background and 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.
Intellectual Property Rights Violations: Federal Civil Remedies and Criminal Penalties Related to Copyrights, Trademarks, Patents, and Trade Secrets
This report provides background information and issues for Congress on multiyear procurement (MYP) and block buy contracting (BBC), which are special contracting mechanisms that Congress permits the Department of Defense (DOD) to use for a limited number of defense acquisition programs.
A Resurgence of Unaccompanied Alien Children?
This report briefly examines the recently-high number of unaccompanied alien children (UAC). In the first seven months of FY2016, apprehensions at the U.S.-Mexico border have approached levels close to what they were in FY2014 when such migration flows reached what were characterized as "crisis" proportions.
Cuba: Issues for the 114th Congress
This report is divided into three major sections analyzing Cuba's political and economic environment, U.S. policy, and selected issues in U.S.-Cuban relations.
The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016 (S. 524): Comparison of Senate- and House-Passed Versions
This report discusses selected differences and similarities between the Senate- and House-passed versions of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016 (CARA; S. 524), which aims to address the problem of opioid addiction in the United States. The two versions of the bill differ substantially. The scope of the differences may be illustrated by their structures: The Senate bill has 28 sections organized in 8 titles, whereas the House bill has 69 sections organized in 18 titles.
Pay Equity: Legislative and Legal Developments
This report begins by presenting data on earnings for male and female workers and by discussing explanations that have been offered for the differences in earnings. It next discusses the major laws directed at eliminating sex-based wage discrimination as well as relevant federal court cases. The report closes with a description of pay equity legislation that has been considered or enacted by Congress in recent years.
Framing Spectrum Policy: Legislative Initiatives
This report examines legislative initiatives to address issues regarding radio frequency spectrum management and allocation. Access to radio frequency spectrum is essential to wireless communications. As demand for mobile services increases, from all sectors of society and the economy, so does the need to increase the capacity of wireless networks.
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.
RICO: A Brief Sketch
This report examines the various elements of federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) provisions and discusses constitutional questions pertaining to the law. In spite of its name and origin, RICO is not limited to "mobsters" or members of "organized crime" as those terms are popularly understood. Rather, it covers those activities which Congress felt characterized the conduct of organized crime, no matter who actually engages in them.
"Sense of" Resolutions and Provisions
This report discusses specific kinds of resolutions by which Congress may formally express opinions about subjects of current national interest through freestanding simple or concurrent resolutions (called generically "sense of the House," "sense of the Senate," or "sense of the Congress" resolutions). These opinions expressing the views of one or both chambers may be included in other legislation upon introduction or subsequently added by amendment. This report identifies the various forms these expressions may take and the procedures governing such actions.
Unaccompanied Alien Children: An Overview
This report opens with an analysis of recent unaccompanied alien children (UAC) apprehension data. It then discusses current policy on the treatment, care, and custody of the population, with a description of the responsibilities of each federal agency involved with the population. The report then discusses both administrative and congressional actions to deal with the UAC surge in FY2014 and ongoing action to address possible future surges.
Transportation Security: Issues for the 114th Congress
This report examines aviation, transit and passenger rail security, as well as port and maritime security. The difficulty and cost of protecting the transportation sector from attack raises a core question for policymakers, i.e., how much effort and resources to put toward protecting potential targets versus pursuing and fighting terrorists.
EPA Policies Concerning Integrated Planning and Affordability of Water Infrastructure
This report examines two recent initiatives by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in which the agency works with states to develop and implement new approaches for water quality goals that will be more cost-effective and address the most pressing water infrastructure problems first. The examples include an integrated planning policy and a framework policy for assessing a community's financial capability to meet objectives and requirements of the Clean Water Act (CWA).