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Armed Conflict in Syria: Overview and U.S. Response
This report discusses the ongoing conflict in Syria and U.S. policy regarding the conflict and potential resolutions.
Defense Primer: Lowest Price Technically Acceptable Contracts
This report discusses the use of lowest-price technically-acceptable (LPTA) contracts by the Department of Defense (DOD), benefits of using LPTA, and when it is appropriate.
Fiscal Year 2019 Appropriations for the Department of Energy
This report discusses the President's FY2019 budget request for the Department of Energy (DOE), funding proposed in the request, funding proposed by the conference committee, and key changes.
Emergency Use Authorization and FDA's Related Authorities
This report discusses when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) may permit a medical product to be provided to patients outside of the standard regulatory framework.
Systemically Important or "Too Big to Fail" Financial Institutions
This report discusses the economic issues raised by "too big to fail" (TBTF) financial firms, broad policy options, and policy changes made by the relevant Dodd-Frank provisions, as amended.
Armed Conflict in Syria: Overview and U.S. Response
This report discusses the ongoing conflict in Syria and U.S. policy regarding the conflict and potential resolutions. It includes information on the recent U.S., French, and British joint missile strike in response to the the use of chemical weapons in Douma, Syria by Syrian government forces.
Hong Kong: Recent Developments and U.S. Relations
This report discusses the government of Hong Kong and their relationship with the United States.
Burma's Political Prisoners and U.S. Policy: In Brief
This report discusses the current issues in Burma (Myanmar) in regards to political prisoners and the resulting U.S. sanctions against the nation.
The Veterans Choice Program (VCP): Program Implementation
This report discusses the Veterans Choice Program (VCP) which allows veterans to use community health care providers and still be covered under VA (Veteran's Affairs) insurance benefits. The report provides details on how the VCP is being implemented and is meant to provide insight into the execution of the current VCP program.
Saudi Arabia: Background and U.S. Relations
This report discuses Saudi Arabia's governmental structure, human rights issues, relations with countries in the region, defense policies, and U.S. relations with the country. Special focus is given to military affairs and trade with Saudi Arabia.
Iran's Foreign and Defense Policies
This report discusses Iran's foreign and defense policy and the reasoning behind it, as well as U.S. concerns regarding their power and nuclear weapon capability.
The Congressional Review Act: Determining Which "Rules" Must Be Submitted to Congress
This report describes what types of agency actions can be overturned using the Congressional Review Act (CRA) by providing a close examination and discussion of the statutory definition of a "rule." It also explains how Members can use the CRA to overturn agency rules that have not been submitted to Congress.
Records, Papers, Decisions: Kavanaugh Records and the Presidential Records Act
This report discusses the release of records pertaining to Judge Brett Kavanaugh's tenure in the George W. Bush Administration and the Office of Independent Counsel Kenneth W. Starr, which have been the subject of ongoing congressional interest since Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court.
Labor Enforcement Issues in U.S. FTAs
This report discusses labor enforcement in free trade agreements (FTAs), U.S. labor disputes, and issues for Congress to consider.
Cost-of-Living Adjustments for Federal Civil Service Annuities
This report discusses cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) for the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and the Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS). It includes the formulas used to calculate rates of inflation, amounts paid, and a table of retirement benefits.
Civilian Nuclear Waste Disposal
This report discusses disposal of nuclear waste, primarily highly-radioactive spent fuel from nuclear power plants, including: Presidential and Congressional actions regarding nuclear waste disposal sites and the Yucca Mountain Project, other alternatives previously proposed by the Obama Administration, and temporary solutions.
U.S. Trade Debates: Select Disputes and Actions
This report discusses a number of significant trade disputes involving the United States over the past 100 years. It is a response to the 271 active trade disputes currently being addressed in the World Trade Organization (WTO) that involve the United States.
Oops: When Does a Plain Error in Calculating a Defendant's Sentencing Guidelines Range Warrant Resentencing?
This report discusses the Supreme Court opinion that an appellate court should exercise its discretion to correct an unpreserved error "if the error seriously affects the fairness, integrity or public reputation of judicial proceedings."
3D-Printed Guns: An Overview of Recent Legal Developments
This report addresses the various legal questions that have arisen in recent litigation over 3D-printed guns by providing an overview of the issues and developments that have culminated in the injunction.
Georgia: Background and U.S. Policy
This report discusses the politics and economy of the nation of Georgia, as well as their relations with the European Union, NATO, Russia, separatist regions, and the United States.
The "Flores Settlement" and Alien Families Apprehended at the U.S. Border: Frequently Asked Questions
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Federalism-Based Limitations on Congressional Power: An Overview
This report provides a broad overview of the various legal doctrines that inform the boundaries of Congress's authority vis-à-vis the states under the Constitution. It addresses several general principles, discusses "internal" limitations on Congress's exercise of powers, and concludes by outlining several "external" federalism-based limitations on Congress's powers, such as the anti-commandeering, anti-coercion, state sovereign immunity, and equal sovereignty doctrines.
Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs): Issues for Congress
This report discusses policy issues for Congress to address regarding exchange-traded funds (ETFs), which are common ways for Americans to invest. An ETF is an investment vehicle that, similar to a mutual fund, offers public investors shares of a pool of assets; unlike a mutual fund, however, an ETF can be traded on exchanges like a stock.
Air Force OA-X Light Attack Aircraft Program
This report discusses the U.S. Air Force's intention to acquire a new type of aircraft. The OA-X light attack aircraft is a small, two-seat turboprop airplane designed for operation in relatively permissive environments.
Iran's Nuclear Program: Status
This report looks at the background of Iran's nuclear policy including the current status of Iran's nuclear facilities, and current controversy surrounding them, as well as the effects of international sanctions on Iran, recent sabotages on the Iran Enrichment Program, an estimated timeline of Iran's nuclear weapon capabilities, and whether or not Iran even has a nuclear weapons program.
Selected Legal Tools for Maintaining Government Contractor Accountability
This report analyzes a selection of the legal tools a procuring agency may use to hold contractors accountable. It assesses contractual remedies that procuring agencies could utilize, discusses performance-related contract source selection criteria, and describes other legal tools--outside of contract law and the contract selection processes--that the government may employ to hold a contractor accountable.
U.S.-Taiwan Trade Relations
This report discusses Taiwan's economic situation and U.S.-Taiwan trade relations.
Moldova: An Overview
This report discusses Moldova, one of three post-Soviet states, together with Ukraine and Georgia, seeking greater integration with the West as it copes with separatist territories occupied by Russian forces.
Former Speakers of the House: Office Allowances, Franking Privileges, and Staff Assistance
This report discusses the allowance former Speakers of the House of Representatives were provided upon their departure. This allowance began in 1970 and was repealed with the passage of the legislative branch appropriations act for FY2019, P.L. 115-244.
Water Infrastructure Financing: The Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) Program
This report discusses the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act which is planning to provide subsidized loans and credit assistance to water infrastructure projects through the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency).
Military Retirement: Background and Recent Developments
This report discusses the military retirement system, which includes monthly compensation for qualified active and reserve retirees, disability benefits for those deemed medically unfit to serve, and a survivor annuity program for the eligible survivors of deceased retirees.
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; it also addresses recent discussions regarding President's Trump announcement that the U.S. was decertifying the nuclear agreement and the possibility of reinstating certain sanctions.
U.N. Report Recommends Burmese Military Leaders Be Investigated and Prosecuted for Possible Genocide
This report discusses the United Nations recommendations that the International Criminal Court (ICC) investigate and prosecute "senior officials in the Tatmadaw" (Burma's military) for genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. It also discusses U.S. and international response and the steps that will be taken next.
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.
The Supreme Court's Overruling of Constitutional Precedent
This report examines how the Supreme Court determines whether to overrule its prior decisions on questions of constitutional law. It provides an overview of the doctrine of stare decisis, under which a court generally follows rules adopted in prior decisions; discusses how Justices who have adopted textualism and originalism handle conflicts between precedent and their judicial philosophies; and examines various factors that the Court weighs when interpreting the Constitution, providing examples from the Court's recent jurisprudence.
Categorical Exclusions, Metroplexes, and Aircraft Noise Complaints
This report discusses changes made by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to airspace and flight procedures to take advantage of new technologies deployed under NextGen, a comprehensive air traffic modernization initiative. In some neighborhoods, however, FAA's changes have increased overflights, triggering complaints about aircraft noise; some affected residents are seeking remedies from the agency, the courts, and Congress.
Army Corps of Engineers: Water Resource Authorization and Project Delivery Processes
This report summarizes congressional authorization legislation for U.S. Army Corps of Engineer (USACE) water resource development projects, the standard project delivery process, authorities for alternative water resource project delivery, and other USACE authorities.
When Does Double Prosecution Count as Double Jeopardy?
This report discusses the Fifth Amendment's Double Jeopardy Clause; although the Clause provides that no person shall "be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb," the Supreme Court has made clear that that protection has its limits.
Latin America and the Caribbean: Fact Sheet on Leaders and Elections
This report provides data on current Latin American and Caribbean leaders and the date of their last election as well as the next scheduled election.
Cloture Attempts on Nominations: Data and Historical Development Through November 20, 2013
This report discusses topics regarding cloture as a means to limit debate and overcome a possible filibuster.
Federal Reserve: Legislation in the 115th Congress
The Federal Reserve (Fed) is the subject of legislation being considered in the 115th Congress. This report analyzes Fed bills that have seen committee or floor action and the policy debate surrounding them. The bills contain wide-ranging changes that can be grouped into five broad categories: Fed governance, oversight and disclosure, monetary policy rules (the Taylor Rule), the Fed's emergency lending powers, and the Fed's balance sheet.
Efforts to Preserve Economic Benefits of the Iran Nuclear Deal
This report discusses efforts by the non-U.S. parties to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)--the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia, China, the European Union (EU) and Iran--to preserve the accord after the United States announced they would cease implementation.
Judicial Fact-Finding and Criminal Sentencing: Current Practice and Potential Change
This report provides an overview of criminal sentencing law by briefly describing the use of relevant conduct under the Guidelines and tracing the Supreme Court case law that has informed the practice, before addressing judicial commentary and recently proposed legislation regarding the use of acquitted or uncharged conduct at sentencing.
The Made in China 2025 Initiative: Economic Implications for the United StatesWayne M. Morrison,
This report explains the Chinese government's "Made in China 2025" (MIC 2025) initiative, why it has generated concern among U.S. policymakers and stakeholders, and the Section 301 case against China and MIC 2025.
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 Palestinians: Overview and Key Issues for U.S. Policy
This report provides an overview of current issues in U.S.-Palestinian relations. It also contains descriptions of key Palestinian issues and groups--chiefly the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), the Palestinian Authority (PA), Fatah, Hamas, and the Palestinian refugee population.
Congressional Gold Medals: Background, Legislative Process, and Issues for Congress
This report discusses Congressional gold medals which are awarded by Congress for distinguished contributions to the United States. It describes the history, selection process, award designs and production process, and issues for Congress.
International Law and Agreements: Their Effect upon U.S. Law
This report provides an introduction to the roles that international law and agreements play in the United States. This includes the role of different branches of government play in navigating such laws.
CFIUS Reform: Foreign Investment National Security Reviews
This report discusses recent legislation, known as the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act (FIRRMA) of 2018. The legislation amends the current process for the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to review -- on behalf of the President -- the national security implications of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the United States.
The Islamic State and U.S. Policy
This report provides background on the Islamic State organization, discusses its goals, operations, and affiliates, reviews U.S. legislative and policy debates, and reviews relevant legislation from the 114th and 115th Congresses.