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War On Drugs: Legislation in the 108th Congress and Related Developments
This report covers significant legislative and oversight activities of the 108th Congress that concern domestic law enforcement aspects of federal anti-drug policy. It also includes an overview of significant executive branch actions and other current developments of likely interest to the congressional audience that follows this issue.
Legislative Options for Financing Water Infrastructure
This report addresses 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. Possible options include expanding or modifying current programs, establishing long-term revenue to support programs, or encouraging private participation in financing projects.
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.
The Good Cause Exception to Notice and Comment Rulemaking: Judicial Review of Agency Action
This report will examine judicial analysis of the good cause standard and map several factors that lead courts to uphold or reject agencies' invocation of the exception. Federal agencies issue numerous rules pursuant to congressionally delegated authority. The Administrative Procedure Act's (APA's) "good cause" exception, however, permits agencies to forgo Section 553's notice and comment requirement if "the agency for good cause finds" that compliance would be "impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest" and to bypass its requirement that rules be published 30 days before implementation if good cause exists.
The Origination Clause of the U.S. Constitution: Interpretation and Enforcement
This report analyzes congressional and court precedents regarding bills under Article I, Section 7, clause 1 of the U.S. Constitution (known as the Origination Clause). It also describes the various ways in which the Origination Clause has been enforced and looks at the application of the Clause to other types of legislation.
School Choice: Current Legislation
This report provides an overview of current local, state, and federal policies and programs that support school choice and identifies and summarizes recent federal school choice legislation.
War on Drugs: The National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign
This report discusses the authorization of the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign, a multi-media federal program to persuade America's youth not to use drugs, which expired at the end of FY2002. H.R. 2829 (passed by the House on March 13, 2006) and S. 2560 (reported by the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 25, 2006) would reauthorize the media campaign, along with the other programs run by the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) during FY2007.
IAEA Budget and U.S. Contributions: In Brief
This report discusses the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA's) budget and funding. In addition to its other missions, the IAEA is monitoring and verifying Iranian compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and is to report on these activities regularly. The accord is intended to lift nuclear related U.S., European Union, and United Nations sanctions on Iran in exchange for restrictions on the country's nuclear program.
Drug Control: International Policy and Approaches
This report discusses various U.S. international narcotics policy approaches meant to achieve two main goals: to reduce the supply of illicit narcotics flowing into the United States, and to reduce the amount of illicit narcotics cultivated, processed, and consumed worldwide.
Water Quality Issues in the 114th Congress: An Overview
This report discusses the legislative and oversight issues regarding water quality, as well as wastewater treatment funding issues.
Body Armor for Law Enforcement Officers: In Brief
This report contains an overview of the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Initiative (BPV program). It also provides a discussion of data on law enforcement agencies that require their officers to wear armor vests while on duty, research on why officers may choose to wear armor vests, research on the life cycle for armor vests, data on the use of body armor by law enforcement officers who were killed with a firearm, and research on the effectiveness of armor vests.
Iran, Gulf Security, and U.S. Policy
This report discusses issues regarding Iran's political history and structure. It also takes a look at economic and defense policy responses for Congress, specifically focusing on Iran's nuclear capabilities.
Balkan Cooperation on War Crimes Issues
This report provides background regarding the cooperation of Balkan countries regarding the arrest and transfer of indicted war criminals to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague. Full cooperation with ICTY has been established as a key prerequisite to further progress toward a shared long-term goal for the western Balkan countries: closer association with and eventual membership in the European Union (EU) and NATO.
Federal Recess Judges
This report discusses the recess clause and takes a look at the history of recess appointments. Under Article II of the Constitution, the President is empowered "to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session." Presidents have used the recess appointment power on more than 300 occasions to place judges on the district, appellate, and U.S. Supreme Court level. This practice slowed after the 1950s, but recent recess appointments to federal appellate courts (the Fourth, Fifth, and Eleventh Circuits) have revived a number of constitutional issues.
U.S.-Mexican Security Cooperation: The Mérida Initiative and Beyond
This report begins with a brief discussion of security challenges in Mexico and Mexico's security strategy. It then provides information on congressional funding and oversight of the Mérida Initiative, with details about each of the program's four pillars. The report concludes by raising policy issues that Congress may wish to consider.
Federal Conspiracy Law: A Sketch
This is a brief discussion of the common features of federal conspiracy law that evolved over the years, with passing references to some of the distinctive features of some of the statutory provisions.
Unaccompanied Alien Children--Legal Issues: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
This report addresses the questions regarding the number of children arriving at the United States southern border, their reasons for coming to the United States, and current and potential responses of the federal government and other entities to their arrival.
FY2016 Changes to DOD's 1033 Program
This report briefly discusses the current status of the Department of Defense's (DOD's) 1033 Program, under which excess DOD property -- such as personal computers, vehicles, and firearms -- are made available to qualified federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies.
The Federal Communications Commission: Current Structure and Its Role in the Changing Telecommunications Landscape
This report discusses current issues regarding the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which is an independent federal agency charged with regulating interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable. The mission of the FCC is to ensure that the American people have available--at reasonable cost and without discrimination--rapid, efficient, nation- and world-wide communication services, whether by radio, television, wire, satellite, or cable.
North Korea: A Comparison of S. 1747, S. 2144, and H.R. 757
This report compares S. 1747, the North Korea Sanctions Enforcement Act of 2015, as introduced in the Senate by Senator Menendez on July 9, 2015; S. 2144, the North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act of 2015, introduced in the Senate by Senator Gardner on October 6, 2015; and H.R. 757, the North Korea Sanctions Enforcement Act of 2015, introduced in the House by Representative Royce on February 5, 2015, and passed, as amended by the Committee on Foreign Affairs, by the House on January 12, 2016, by a vote of 418-2.
Campaign Finance: Issues Before the U.S. Supreme Court in McConnell v. FEC
This report provides a summary of the issues presented by 12 groups of appellants in their jurisdictional statements in 2003. Shortly after the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA), P.L. 107-155 (H.R. 2356, 107th Cong.) was enacted in March 2002 (also known as the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform legislation), Senator Mitch McConnell and others filed suit in U.S. District Court for D.C. against the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) arguing that provisions of the law are unconstitutional. Ultimately, eleven suits challenging BCRA were brought by more than 80 plaintiffs and consolidated into one lead case, McConnell v. FEC. On May 2, 2003, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued its decision in McConnell v. FEC, No. 02-CV-0582 striking down some key provisions of the law as unconstitutional, but on May 19, it issued a stay of its ruling, which leaves BCRA, as enacted, in effect until the Supreme Court issues a decision. (For information about the decision, see CRS Report RS21511, Campaign Finance: Brief Overview of McConnell v. FEC.) Under the BCRA expedited review provision, the court's decision will be reviewed directly by the U.S. Supreme Court, which scheduled oral argument for September 8, 2003.
Water Infrastructure Financing: The Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) Program
This report examines "Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act" (WIFIA), which details a program that would provide a way to help finance water infrastructure projects. This program was included in the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014 (WRRDA, P.L. 113-121). A five-year WIFIA pilot program was outlined in Title V, Subtitle C, of the legislation.
U.S.-Mexican Security Cooperation: The Mérida Initiative and Beyond
This report begins with a brief discussion of security challenges in Mexico and Mexico's security strategy. It then provides information on congressional funding and oversight of the Mérida Initiative, with details about each of the program's four pillars. The report concludes by raising policy issues that Congress may wish to consider.
EPA and the Army Corps' "Waters of the United States" Rule: Congressional Response and Options
This report discusses several options Congress had in order to respond to controversy caused by the May 27th, 2015 rule that was finalized by the Army Corps of Engineers (the Corps) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This finalized rule revised regulations that defined the scope of waters protected under the Clean Water Act (CWA). Congress' legislative options are reflected in bills in the 114th Congress.
Iraqi and Afghan Special Immigrant Visa Programs
This report analyzes the special immigrant visas (SIVs) classifications for Iraqis and Afghans within the context of both the larger INA special immigrant category and selected other permanent admissions categories. It discusses the legislative changes to the individual Iraqi and Afghan special immigrant programs since their initial authorization, provides statistics on visa issuances, and considers challenges that have faced the programs.
Clean Air Act Issues in the 109th Congress
This report provides background and analysis on several issues related to the Clean Air Act, including: Clear Skies / Multi-Pollutant Legislation, Mercury from Power Plants, New Source Review (NSR), MTBE and Ethanol, Ozone Nonattainment Area Deadlines, and Conformity of Transportation Plans and SIPs. It also discusses the most recent developments.
State Considers Amendment to Protect Human Life at Any Stage of Development
This legal sidebar discusses a proposal in North Dakota that would amend the state constitution to address the right to life. If adopted, the North Dakota constitution would state: "The inalienable right to life of every human being at any stage of development must be recognized and protected."
What Does Justice Scalia's Death Mean for Congress and the Nation?
This legal sidebar briefly provides an overview of the major implications of Justice Scalia's death for Congress. Justice Scalia's absence may alter the outcome of several cases of interest to Congress pending before the Court and could mark a seismic shift in many legal doctrines, depending on who is confirmed to fill the newly vacant seat on the Court. The job of confirming the President's nomination to fill the vacancy resides with the Senate, making Justice Scalia's death likely to have a profound impact in both the short and long term on Congress.
Criminal Justice Reform: One Judge's View
This report briefly provides highlights from an article written by Judge Alex Kozinski of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in which he recommended 26 changes in the U.S. criminal justice system, federal and state.
Cities Try, and Fail (So Far), to Prevent Federal Marijuana Enforcement
This legal sidebar discusses municipal efforts to block the federal enforcement of marijuana prohibition.
Numerical Limits on Employment-Based Immigration: Analysis of the Per-Country Ceilings
The report opens with brief explanations of the employment-based preference categories and the per-country ceilings governing annual admissions of LPRs. The focus is on the major employment-based preference categories. The report continues with a statistical analysis of the pending caseload of approved employment-based LPR petitions.
The Federal Communications Commission: Current Structure and its Role in the Changing Telecommunications Landscape
The report discusses the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)-Related Congressional Actions in the 112th Congress. The policymakers, including some in Congress, have long called for varying degrees and types of reform to the FCC. Most proposals fall into two categories: (1) procedural changes made within the FCC or through congressional action that would affect the agency's operations or (2) substantive policy changes requiring congressional action that would affect how the agency regulates different services and industry sectors.
Federal Labor Relations Statutes: An Overview
This report provides a brief history, including major amendments, of each of the three statutes. The discussion of each law begins with an overview of the statute and then discusses in more detail the key statutory provisions of the law and how the law is administered and enforced.
Pharmaceutical Patent Litigation Settlements: Implications for Competition and Innovation
This report introduces and analyzes innovation policy issues concerning pharmaceutical patent litigation settlements, including pharmaceutical patent litigation procedures under the Hatch-Waxman Act, the concept of reverse payment settlements, the status of reverse payment settlements under the antitrust laws, and congressional issues and alternatives.
U.S. Sanctions on Burma
This report provides a brief history of U.S. policy towards Burma and the development of U.S. sanctions, a topical summary of those sanctions, and an examination of additional sanctions that have been considered, but not enacted, by Congress, or that could be imposed under existing law or executive orders. The report concludes with a discussion of options for Congress.
Current Legal Status of the FCC’s Media Ownership Rules
This report discusses the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) media ownership regulations, which place limits on the number of broadcast radio and television outlets one owner can possess in a given market and place cross-ownership restrictions on these outlets and on the cross-ownership of broadcast properties and newspapers.
FDA’s Authority to Ensure That Drugs Prescribed to Children Are Safe and Effective
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved for adult use many drugs never tested in children. Yet clinicians often prescribe them for children believing that the safety and effectiveness demonstrated with adults probably reasonably transfers to younger patients. The data show that this is not always true. To encourage industry to develop drugs and medical devices for pediatric use, Congress has established three programs. The Food and Drug Administration Amendments Act of 2007 (FDAAA, P.L. 110-85) reauthorized and strengthened two laws addressing drugs—the Best Pharmaceuticals for Children Act (BPCA) of 2002 and the Pediatric Research Equity Act (PREA) of 2003—and enacted a new law addressing devices—the Pediatric Medical Device Safety and Improvement Act (PMDSIA) of 2007. The historical approach of this report allows an understanding of how and why Congress took these steps.
The International Criminal Court Treaty: Description, Policy Issues, and Congressional Concerns
This report discusses the events leading to the creation of a permanent international criminal tribunal and U.S. perspectives on the Court including: problematic provisions in the ICC Treaty, congressional considerations, and potential implications for U.S. foreign policy.
Clean Water Act Section 401: Background and Issues
Under the Clean Water Act (CWA), an applicant for a federal license or permit to conduct any activity that may result in a discharge to waters of the United States must provide the federal agency with a Section 401 certification. This report discusses the certification, which provides states with two distinct powers: one, the power indirectly to deny federal permits or licenses by withholding certification; and two, the power to impose conditions upon federal permits by placing limitations on certification.
Energy-Water Nexus: The Water Sector’s Energy Use
This report provides background on energy for facilities that treat and deliver water to end users and also dispose of and discharge wastewater. Energy use for water is a function of many variables, including water source (surface water pumping typically requires less energy than groundwater pumping), treatment (high ambient quality raw water requires less treatment than brackish or seawater), intended end-use, distribution (water pumped long distances requires more energy), amount of water loss in the system through leakage and evaporation, and level of wastewater treatment (stringency of water quality regulations to meet discharge standards).
The Workforce Investment Act and the One-Stop Delivery System
This report provides details of WIA Title I state formula program structure, services, allocation formulas, and performance accountability. In addition, it provides a program overview for national grant programs. It also provides brief overviews of Titles II and IV. Title III of WIA amends the Wagner-Peyser Act of 1933, which establishes the Employment Service (ES), to make the ES an integral part of the One-Stop system created by WIA. Because the ES is a central part of the One-Stop system, it is discussed briefly in this report even though it is authorized by separate legislation (Wagner-Peyser Act of 1933).
Compulsory DNA Collection: A Fourth Amendment Analysis
This report examines statutory authorities, constitutional principles, and case law related to compulsory DNA extraction and analyzes potential impacts of recent developments for Fourth Amendment cases.
The War Crimes Act: Current Issues
This report discusses current issues related to the War Crimes Act of 1996 and Common Article 3 of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, which sets out minimum standards for the treatment of detainees in armed conflicts "not of an international character (e.g., civil wars, rebellions, and other conflicts between State and non-State actors).
Burma: Economic Sanctions
This report provides background information on existing economic sanctions against Burma and possible options to expand sanctions.
Air Quality and Transportation Enhancement Provisions in the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991
This report describes how the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Program (CMAQ) and enhancement programs function, examines the policy issues surrounding them, and summarizes relevant provisions in major legislation to reauthorize ISTEA in the 105th Congress.
Burma’s Political Prisoners and U.S. Sanctions
This report discusses the current issues in Burma (Myanmar) in regards to political prisoners and the resulting U.S. sanctions against the nation. It includes an introduction and definitions; information about current estimates of prisoners and prisoner releases; the relation of political prisoners, parliamentary elections and national reconciliation; and U.S. sanctions and U.S. efforts regarding political prisoners, as well as relevant issues for Congress to consider.
A History of Federal Estate, Gift, and Generation-Skipping Taxes
This report details the history of the three federal transfer taxes, tracing their development from their 18th-century roots to the present.
Country-of-Origin Labeling for Foods
This report briefly discusses the USDA's FY2006 appropriation, which postpones rules requiring many retailers to provide country-of-origin labeling (COOL) for fresh produce, red meats, and peanuts until September 30, 2008. The report also discusses related legislation.
Medical Malpractice Liability Insurance and the McCarran-Ferguson Act
This report provides an overview of the current medical malpractice insurance situation and insurance market structure, summarizes the provisions of both S. 352 and the McCarran-Ferguson Act of 1945, and examines arguments for and against modifying the McCarran-Ferguson Act.
Pharmaceutical Patent-Antitrust: Reverse Payment Settlements and Product Hopping
This report introduces and analyzes innovation and competition policy issues associated with the pharmaceutical industry. It begins with a review of the Hatch-Waxman Act and its implications upon the availability of generic substitutes for brand-name medications. The report then turns to a basic review of the antitrust law. It then addresses judicial developments with respect to reverse payment settlements and product hopping. The report closes with a summary of congressional issues and possible alternatives.