Congressional Research Service Reports - Browse

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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).
Federal Lifeline Program: Frequently Asked Questions
This report discusses the Federal Lifeline Program established by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in 1985. The program was originally designed to assist eligible low-income households to subsidize the monthly service charges incurred for voice telephone usage and was limited to one fixed line per household.
Majority, Concurring, and Dissenting Opinions Authored by Judge Merrick Garland
This report identifies and briefly summarizes each of the more than 350 cases in which Judge Garland has authored a majority, concurring, or dissenting opinion. Arguably, these written opinions provide the greatest insight into Judge Garland's judicial approach, as a judge's vote in a case or decision to join an opinion authored by a colleague may be based upon a number of considerations and may not necessarily represent full agreement with a joined opinion.
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) 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. This report explains the major events in the litigation as of the date of publication, including the Supreme Court stay, and the likely timetable of events in the near term.
Judge Merrick Garland: His Jurisprudence and Potential Impact on the Supreme Court
This report provides an overview of Judge Garland's jurisprudence and discusses what the impact on the Court might be if he, or a judge of a similar judicial approach, were to be confirmed to succeed Justice Scalia. The report begins with his views on two overarching issues -- the role of the judiciary and statutory interpretation -- it then addresses 14 separate areas of law, which are arranged in alphabetical order from "administrative law" to "takings."
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. It provides an overview of six options that are reflected in recent legislative proposals, including their budgetary implications.
Maritime Territorial and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) Disputes Involving China: 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.
The Buy American Act--Preferences for "Domestic" Supplies: In Brief
This report discusses the Buy American Act of 1933, which is the earliest and arguably the best known of various statutes regarding federal procurement of domestic products. The act attempts to protect U.S. businesses and labor by restricting the acquisition and use of end products or construction materials that are not "domestic."
Freedom of Information Act Legislation in the 114th Congress: Issue Summary and Side-by-Side Analysis
This report provides a side-by-side comparison of two bills relevant to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), using the versions that have passed each of their originating congressional chambers. The report also provides context related to bill amendments and language additions that occurred between bill versions, when applicable. Finally, the report provides analysis of certain provisions of the bills.
The World Drug Problem: UNGA Convenes for a Special Session
This report briefly discusses the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), which has convened in New York for a special session on "The World Drug Problem." It is the third time the UNGA will convene such a session on global drug issues. Previous special sessions on drugs were held in 1990 and 1998.
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.
U.S. Sugar Program Fundamentals
This report discusses the U.S. sugar program, which is singular among major agricultural commodity programs in that it combines a floor price guarantee with a supply management structure that encompasses both domestic production for human use and sugar imports.
Coast Guard Cutter Procurement: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and potential oversight issues for Congress on the Coast Guard's programs for procuring 8 National Security Cutters (NSCs), 25 Offshore Patrol Cutters (OPCs), and 58 Fast Response Cutters (FRCs). Congress's decisions on these three programs could substantially affect Coast Guard capabilities and funding requirements, and the U.S. shipbuilding industrial base.
EPA Policies Concerning Integrated Planning and Affordability of Water Infrastructure
This report examines recent initiatives by EPA, 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).
Maritime Territorial and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) Disputes Involving China: 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.
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 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.
Coast Guard Cutter Procurement: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and potential oversight issues for Congress on the Coast Guard's programs for procuring 8 National Security Cutters (NSCs), 25 Offshore Patrol Cutters (OPCs), and 58 Fast Response Cutters (FRCs). The Coast Guard's proposed FY2017 budget requests a total of $467 million in acquisition funding for the three programs.
Public Trust and Law Enforcement--A Brief Discussion for Policymakers
This report provides a brief overview of police-community relations and how the federal government might be able to promote more accountability and better relationships between citizens and law enforcement.
Access to Government Information in the United States: A Primer
This report offers an introduction to the four access laws and provides citations to additional resources related to these statutes. It includes statistics on the use of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) and on litigation related to FOIA. In addition, this report provides some examples of the methods Congress, the President, and the courts have employed to provide or require the provision of information to one another, as well as a list of resources related to transparency, secrecy, access, and nondisclosure.
Justice Antonin Scalia: His Jurisprudence and His Impact on the Court
This report discusses Justice Scalia's jurisprudence on key areas of law, as well as how that jurisprudence could be seen to have influenced the Court's approach to these subject matters.