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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. It 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.S. Sanctions on Russia
This report provides a comprehensive overview of U.S. sanctions against Russia. It provides an overview of U.S. sanctions authorities and tools; describes various sanctions regimes that have been used and entities or that are available for this purpose, addressing authorities, tools, targets, and historical context; briefly discusses countersanctions by Russia; addresses the evolution of U.S. coordination with the European Union; and assesses the economic impact of sanctions on Russia at the level of the national economy and individual firms.
District Court Temporarily Blocks Implementation of Asylum Restrictions on Unlawful Entrants at the Southern Border
This report discusses the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) barring the Trump Administration from implementing new asylum restrictions. The asylum restrictions were prompted by reports of a "migrant caravan" traveling through Mexico to the southern border of the United States.
The Defense Production Act of 1950: History, Authorities, and Considerations for Congress
This report examines some of the extensive history of the Defense Production Act of 1950 (DPA), focusing primarily on its creation and most recent legislative reauthorization. This report also identifies relevant delegations of the President's DPA authorities made in Executive Order (E.O.) 13603 -- National Defense Resources Preparedness -- and provides a brief overview of issues Congress may consider in its oversight.
Immigration: "Recalcitrant" Countries and the Use of Visa Sanctions to Encourage Cooperation with Alien Removals
This report discusses the use of visa sanctions by the Trump Administration, past uses of visa sanctions, and alternatives to visa sanctions to encourage countries to comply with repatriation of their citizens.
Who Can Serve as Acting Attorney General
This report discusses the two primary arguments raised to challenge the President's decision to name Matthew Whitaker as Acting Attorney General: first, that the Vacancies Act does not apply because another statute, 28 U.S.C. § 508, provides that the Deputy Attorney General (DAG) serves as Acting AG in the event of a vacancy; and second, that the Appointments Clause prohibits Whitaker, a non-Senate-confirmed official, from serving as the head of the Department of Justice (DOJ).
Supersonic Passenger Flights
This report provides an overview of the development of supersonic air travel, renewed interest in supersonic passenger flights, and issues and challenges related to supersonic flights.
Iran Sanctions
This report analyzes U.S. and international sanctions against Iran. The report tracks "implementation" of the various U.S. laws and Executive Orders as designations and imposition of sanctions. Some sanctions require the blocking of U.S.-based property of sanctioned entities.
The Posse Comitatus Act and Related Matters: A Sketch
This report examines instances, as approved by Congress, where circumstances warrant a departure from the general rule of the Posse Comitatus Act, wherein the military is typically prevented from direct involvement in civilian affairs.
The Posse Comitatus Act and Related Matters: The Use of the Military to Execute Civilian Law
This report provides an historical analysis of the use of the Armed Forces to execute domestic law and of the Posse Comitatus Act, including their apparent theoretical and constitutional underpinnings. The report then outlines the current application of the act as well as its statutory exceptions, and reviews the consequences of its violation.
Funding for EPA Water Infrastructure: A Fact Sheet
This report provides a table showing budget requests and appropriations for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) water infrastructure assistance programs since 1973.
Presidential Disability Under the Twenty-fifth Amendment: Constitutional Provisions and Perspectives for Congress
This report provides a description and analysis of Sections 3 and 4 of the Twenty-Fifth Amendment, which deal with presidential disability or inability. It also reviews the history of presidential disability and earlier proposals to provide for such contingencies, provides a legislative history of the Twenty-Fifth Amendment and examines relevant legislative proposals pending in the 115th Congress.
Asylum and Related Protections for Aliens Who Fear Gang and Domestic Violence
This report examines asylum claims with specific focus on gang and domestic violence. It provides background on the topic and also outlines the U.S. Attorney General's decision in "Matter of A-B-," as well as recent guidance from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's (DHS's) U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in light of that ruling.
Changes in the Arctic: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background on issues affecting the Arctic region on a large number of topics including research, policy, and governance of the region. It also outlines specific issues for Congressional consideration such as transportation, pollution, affects on people and animals, and geopolitical concerns.
The United States and the "World Court"
This report reviews the most recent International Court of Justice (ICJ) proceedings against the United States by Iran and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the implications for Congress of the Trump Administration's withdrawal decision.
Deference and its Discontents: Will the Supreme Court Overrule Chevron?
The Chevron deference is a seminal administrative law doctrine established by the Court's opinion in the 1984 case of Chevron U.S.A., Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. As several members of the Supreme Court are critical of the doctrine, this report discusses the possibility of the Court reconsidering Chevron in the near future.
Protecting Consumers and Businesses from Fraudulent Robocalls
This report discusses efforts by Congress and the Federal Communications Commision (FCC) to combat robocall scams and prevent them from reaching consumers. It includes an overview of what robocalls are, their legitimate uses, regulation, and complaint procedures for consumers.
Venezuela: Political and Economic Crisis and U.S. Policy
This report discusses the ongoing political, economic, and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela under President Nicolás Maduro and U.S. responses.
Agency Delay: Congressional and Judicial Means to Expedite Agency Rulemaking
This report outlines the various tools that Congress can use to encourage agencies to act within a particular time frame. It then analyzes how those tools inform judicial analysis of challenges to agency actions as "unreasonably delayed" or "unlawfully withheld" under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) and provides concluding remarks..
Do Courts Have Inherent Authority to Release Secret Grand Jury Materials?
This report discusses the issue of releasing secret grand jury material. Although a long-established principle that has been deemed essential to the grand jury's functioning and independence is that matters occurring before it are to be kept secret, the Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 6(e) establishes exceptions.
Statutory Canon Aimed at International Organization Immunity
This report discusses the upcoming Supreme Court case Jam v. International Finance Corp. The petitioners--a group of Indian nationals from Gujarat--seek to hold International Finance Corp. (IFC) liable for extensive environmental damage throughout their community caused by the construction of a power plant financed and overseen by IFC. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit (D.C. Circuit) dismissed their lawsuit, holding, in accordance with the circuit's precedent, that the International Organizations Immunities Act (IOIA) grants absolute immunity to IFC in this case.
Venezuela: Overview of U.S. Sanctions
This report discusses the sanctions the U.S. employs against Venezuela related to terrorism, drug trafficking, trafficking in persons, antidemocratic actions, human rights violations, and corruption.
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.
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.
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).
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 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.
Intellectual Property Law: A Brief Introduction
This report provides a brief overview of each form of federal intellectual property (IP) protection, including patent law, copyright law, and trademarks.
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.
Supreme Court October Term 2017: A Review of Selected Major Rulings
This report highlights seven notable cases from the October Term 2017 that could impact the work of Congress: (1) Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis; (2) Carpenter v. United States; (3) Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA); (4) Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 31 (AFSCME); (5) National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA) v. Becerra; (6) Trump v. Hawaii; and (7) Lucia v. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). For each case it provides background information, summarizes the arguments presented to the Court, explains the Court's ruling, and examines the potential implications for Congress, including the ramifications for the jurisprudence in a given area of law.
Costs of Government Interventions in Response to the Financial Crisis: A Retrospective
This report summarizes government assistance programs and presents how much the programs ultimately cost (or benefit) the taxpayers based on straightforward cash accounting as reported by the various agencies.
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.
IRS Will No Longer Require Disclosure of Certain Nonprofit Donor Information
This report will first provide background on the statute and regulations regarding tax-exempt organizations' (EOs') disclosure of contributor information. Next, the report will discuss the justifications of and reactions to the new policy, including the views of proponents and opponents of the new policy. The report will then discuss the litigation Montana has filed against the policy. Finally, the report will provide considerations for Congress.
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.
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.
Buy America and the Electric Bus Market
This report discusses a current controversy over how Buy America (which requires that federally-funded highway, public transportation, aviation, and intercity passenger rail projects use U.S.-made manufactured goods) applies to battery-powered buses. This controversy illustrates the challenges in determining whether or not a product is made in the United States.
Iran's Threats, the Strait of Hormuz, and Oil Markets: In Brief
This report discusses the how the exchange of threats between members of the governments of Iran and the United States, have again raised the specter of an interruption of shipping through the Strait of Hormuz. The Strait is a key waterway for the transit of oil and natural gas to world markets. The report also discusses the possibility of Congress to consider legislation regarding sanctions on Iran.
Proposals to Impose Sanctions on Russian Sovereign Debt
This report discusses sanctions the U.S. imposes against Russia. The United States imposes sanctions on hundreds of Russian individuals and entities for aggression against Ukraine, election interference, malicious cyber activity, human rights violations, weapons proliferation, and other activities. Some Members of Congress are proposing additional sanctions in response to continuing objectionable behavior by the Russian government. One proposal is to sanction new debt issued by the Russian government. If enacted, U.S. investors would be prohibited from buying or trading new Russian sovereign debt.
Proposals to Impose Sanctions on Russian Sovereign Debt
This report discusses proposals to impose sanctions on Russian sovereign debt. The U.S. already imposes sanctions on Russia for aggression against Ukraine, election interference, malicious cyber activity, human rights violations, weapons proliferation, and other activities. The sovereign debt sanction would prohibit U.S. investors from buying or trading new Russian sovereign debt.
Buprenorphine and the Opioid Crisis: A Primer for Congress
This report addresses questions policymakers may have about the effectiveness of the opioid addiction treatment drug buprenorphine, the demand for buprenorphine, and access to buprenorphine.
Changes in the Arctic: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides an overview of Arctic-related issues for Congress such as: Arctic sovereignty claims; commercial shipping through the Arctic; Arctic oil, gas, and mineral exploration; endangered Arctic species; and increased military operations in the Arctic that could cause the region in coming years to become an arena of international cooperation or competition.
Mexico's Immigration Control Efforts
This report discusses the surge in unauthorized migration from Central America into Mexico and the U.S that began in 2014. Topics covered include Mexico's southern border plan, human rights concerns, and U.S. policy and developments under the Trump Administration.
Protecting Consumers and Businesses from Fraudulent Robocalls
This report discusses efforts by Congress and the Federal Communications Commision (FCC) to combat robocall scams and prevent them from reaching consumers. It includes an overview of what robocallls are, their legitimate uses, regulation, and complaint procedures for consumers.
Water Infrastructure Financing: History of EPA Appropriations
The first section of this report includes a table that summarizes the history of appropriations for both wastewater and drinking water infrastructure programs. The next section discusses several historical developments in water infrastructure funding. The last section contains a detailed chronology of congressional activity regarding wastewater and drinking water infrastructure funding for each fiscal year since the 1987 CWA amendments.
The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS): An Overview
This report provides a basic description of the RFS, including some of the widely discussed policy issues related to it.
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.
U.S. Sanctions on Russia: An Overview
This report provides an overview of U.S. sanctions imposed against Russia for aggression against Ukraine, election interference, malicious cyber activity, human rights violations, weapons proliferation, and other activities.
Flying Cars and Drones Pose Policy Challenges for Managing and Regulating Low-Altitude Airspace
This report discusses the possibility that flying cars may soon become a reality. Development and marketing efforts are bringing to the fore new policy and regulatory challenges regarding the control of low-altitude airspace, safety, noise, privacy, and landowner rights. They also are raising new questions about the appropriate roles of federal, state, and local authorities in regulating and managing these operations.
Iran Nuclear Agreement and U.S. Exit
This report discusses the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and various options for possible U.S. withdrawal if President Trump decided to try to reimpose sanctions on Iran.
Supreme Court Invalidates Public-Sector Union Agency Fees: Considerations for Congress in the Wake of Janus
This report discusses the Supreme Court case Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 31 (AFSCME). In a 5-4 decision, the Court held that "agency fee" arrangements between a union and a government employer necessarily violate the First Amendment, overruling its 1977 decision in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education.