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Retirement Benefits for Federal Law Enforcement Personnel
This report discusses federal law enforcement officers enhanced retirement benefits due to mandatory retirement ages making these employees retire younger than the average government employee. Many individuals and employee groups who work in law enforcement-related positions, but who have not qualified as law enforcement officers for retirement purposes, have sought enhanced benefits through legislation in recent Congresses. Possible pros and cons of such legislation are discussed.
Presidential Pardons: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
This report provides a general overview of the pardon power and briefly addresses a few frequently-asked legal questions concerning its scope and application, such as: whether the President can issue a "prospective pardon, pardon himself or issue "secret" pardons, whether the acceptance of a pardon is an admission of guilt, and whether Congress can regulate the President's pardon power.
State Innovation Waivers: Frequently Asked Questions
This report answers nine frequently asked questions about the State Innovation Waiver program under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that allows states to obtain waivers from certain areas of the program and instead use their own state run processes.
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.
Justice Department''s Role in Cyber Incident Response
This report outlines the federal framework for cyber incident response, highlighting the Department of Justice's (DOJ's) role in this response. It also discusses challenges for federal law enforcement and potential policy issues for Congress.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's (ACA's) Transitional Reinsurance Program
This report provides an overview of one of the three risk-mitigation programs of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the transitional reinsurance program. The first section of the report provides background information on reinsurance and the ACA risk-mitigation programs. The second section describes the components of the transitional reinsurance program, as well as implementation of and experience with the program. The third section discusses questions regarding the scope of HHS's authority to administer the transitional reinsurance program, including those raised by a 2016 Government Accountability Office report. Finally, the report includes a table in the Appendix that summarizes key aspects of the transitional reinsurance program.
Legislative Proposals Seek Statutory Protections Related to Removing a Special Counsel
This report discusses the current rules for special counsels investigating executive branch officials and new proposed laws regarding special counsels and the process required to remove one from their position.
Domestic Terrorism: An Overview
This report provides background regarding domestic terrorists--detailing what constitutes the domestic terrorism threat as suggested by publicly available U.S. government sources. It also illustrates some of the key factors involved in assessing this threat.
Russia: Background and U.S. Policy
This report provides descriptions and background information on Russian government organization and power, the Russian military's role, and U.S. policy toward Russia. Specific topics covered include Russian governmental structures and background, Vladimir Putin's rise to power, human rights concerns, opposition groups, the economy of Russia and the impact of sanctions, the foreign relations of Russia with other countries in Europe, NATO, the EU, China, Syria, and the U.S., the Ukraine conflict and Russian military aggression. U.S. policies toward Russia, U.S. sanctions on Russia, and cyber warfare.
Cuba Sanctions: Legislative Restrictions Limiting the Normalization of Relations
This report outlines the various laws and sections of legislation that govern sanctions against Cuba and how they could be lifted or waived along with background information on the U.S. embargo of Cuba since the 1960s.
For First Time, FinCEN Imposes Penalty on Foreign-Based Virtual Currency Exchange for Violations of Anti-Money Laundering Laws
This report discusses the first case of enforcement by the U.S. Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) against a foreign-based virtual currency exchange. The action was taken agains BTC-e for violations of anti-money laundering regulations in the U.S. and potential money laundering activities.
Foreign Money and U.S. Elections
This report provides an overview of the prohibitions on foreign money under federal campaign finance law.
Maritime Territorial and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) Disputes Involving China: Issues for Congress
This report discusses China's maritime and and exclusive economic zone (EEZ) claims in the East China and South China Seas and their effect on U.S. policy and strategy in the region. Topics covered are the history of the territorial disputes and the interests of China, neighboring countries, and the United States in the disputes, maritime disputes in general, relevant treaties and agreements, China's approach to disputes, the United States's approach and position on the disputes, specific issues for Congress to address, and related legislative actions in 2017. Four appendices cover strategic context from an U.S. perspective, U.S. treaties with Japan and the Philippines, and operational rights in the EEZ, and options suggested by observers for strengthening U.S. actions.
Who Regulates Whom? An Overview of the U.S. Financial Regulatory Framework
This report attempts to set out the basic frameworks and principles underlying U.S. financial regulation and to give some historical context for the development of that system. The first section briefly discusses the various modes of financial regulation and the next section identifies the major federal regulators and the types of institutions they supervise (see Table 1). It then provides a brief overview of each federal financial regulatory agency. Finally, the report discusses other entities that play a role in financial regulation--interagency bodies, state regulators, and international standards.
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.
Charlottesville Car Crash Attack: Possibility of Federal Criminal Prosecution
This report discusses the announcement that the Charlottesville, Virginia car crash attack is being investigated as a federal civil rights case. It also outlines the sections of the federal law under which the attack could be classified.
Insurance and the Financial CHOICE Act (H.R. 10)
This report discusses changes to current insurance law under the new Financial CHOICE Act.
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.
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.
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.
Energy and Water Development: FY2018 Appropriations
This report discusses the Energy and Water Development appropriations bill that provides funding for civil works projects of the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps).
FY2018 Appropriations for Department of Justice Grant Programs
This report discusses the funding for a variety of grant programs through the Department of Justice (DOJ).
Remedies for Patent Infringement
This report discusses the current legal system rules for patent infringement cases and current bills introduced in Congress related to patents.
Pending ACA Legal Challenges Remain as Congress Pursues Health Care Reform
This report discusses developments since January 2017 related to legal challenges to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and health care reform.
Overview of U.S. Sanctions Regimes on Russia
This report discusses the U.S.-imposed sanctions on Russia for malicious cyber activity.
No "Bivens" for You?
This report discusses the Supreme Court's ruling in "Ziglar v. Abbassi" and the "Bivens" remedy that the plaintiffs were attempting to use to win their case. The "Bivens" remedy is a legal precedent that came from a 1971 case where the plaintiff Bivens sued federal agents with the Federal Bureau of Narcotics for violations of the fourth amendment due to them handcuffing him inside his own home without a warrant. It has been used two other times for suits against federal officials related to breaches of constitutional rights, one related to gender bias and equality and the other for lack of medical care in prison.
Department of Labor's 2016 Fiduciary Rule: Background and Issues
This report discusses fiduciary standard with respect to his or her advice, an individual had to, which include: (1) make recommendations on investing in, purchasing, or selling securities or other property, or give advice as to the value (2) on a regular basis (3) pursuant to a mutual understanding that the advice (4) will serve as a primary basis for investment decisions, and (5) will be individualized to the particular needs of the plan regarding such matters as, among other things, investment policies or strategy, overall portfolio composition, or diversification of plan investments.
Update: The Microsoft Ireland Decision: U.S. Appeals Court Rules that ECPA does not Require Internet Service Providers to Produce Electronic Communications Stored Overseas
This report discusses the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in the case of "Microsoft Corporation v. United States" where the court ruled that the U.S. could not enforce a subpoena asking Microsoft to retrieve emails stored on a server in Ireland. On June 28, 2017 the United States filed for reversal of the decision through a writ of certiorari in the Supreme Court.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Fifth Amendment in Congressional Investigations
This report discusses the use and rules regarding invoking Fifth Amendments rights during Congressional investigations in the wake of the use of the Fifth Amendment by former national security adviser Michael Flynn during Congressional investigations.
Selected Federal Water Activities: Agencies, Authorities, and Congressional Committees
The report focuses on the complexity of federal activities related to water, based on four general topics: (1) "Water Resources Development, Management, and Use"; (2) "Water Quality, Protection, and Restoration"; (3) "Water Rights and Allocation"; and (4) "Research and Planning." It aims to serve as a guide to federal water-related activities, including the administering agency (or agencies), the primary or overarching authorities for such activities, and House and Senate committee jurisdictions.
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.
Obstruction of Justice Statutes: Legal Issues Concerning FBI Investigations, Specific Intent, and Executive Branch Personnel
This report discusses obstruction of justice statutes and discussions about whether they apply to FBI investigations in response to the allegations that President Trump interfered in an FBI investigation by encouraging Director James Comey to terminate the investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
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.
What is the Proposed U.S.-EU Insurance Covered Agreement?
This report discusses the United States and European Union (EU) negotiations on the first insurance covered agreement.
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.
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.
Energy and Water Development: FY2017 Appropriations for Nuclear Weapons Activities
This report discusses the annual Energy and Water Development appropriations bill that funds civil works projects of the Army Corps of Engineers, the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Reclamation, the Department of Energy (DOE), and several independent agencies.
Review of Offshore Energy Leasing: President Trump's Executive Order
This report discusses President Trump's executive order (E.O.) on U.S. offshore energy strategy including a brief overview of previous policies and the scope of the E.O.
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.