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Russia: Background and U.S. Policy

Description: 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.
Date: August 21, 2017
Creator: Welt, Cory

Remedies for Patent Infringement

Description: This report discusses the current legal system rules for patent infringement cases and current bills introduced in Congress related to patents.
Date: July 18, 2017
Creator: Thomas, John R.

No "Bivens" for You?

Description: 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.
Date: July 5, 2017
Creator: Library of Congress. Congressional Research Service.

China-U.S. Trade Issues

Description: This report provides an overview of U.S.-China commercial ties, identifies major issues of contention, describes the Trump Administration's trade policies toward China, and reviews possible outcomes.
Date: August 26, 2017
Creator: Morrison, Wayne M.

Labor Day Speech Resources: Fact Sheet

Description: This report provides Members of Congress with resources for information and speech samples for use at Labor Day celebrations.
Date: August 23, 2017
Creator: Cervantes, Valerie S.

Afghanistan: Post-Taliban Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy

Description: This report discusses Afghanistan's historical governments and the activities of the U.S. and other countries during various phases of war against terrorist groups and current U.S. policies in regard to Afghanistan. Topics such as troop numbers, military and governmental strategies, Afghan Army training, developmental aid, the economy, and human rights issues are discussed.
Date: August 22, 2017
Creator: Katzman, Kenneth & Thomas, Clayton

Corporate Expatriation, Inversions, and Mergers: Tax Issues

Description: This report discusses corporate inversions and mergers; these actions change the parent company to one based in another country with a low tax rate to avoid paying U.S. corporate taxes. It discusses past attempts and legislation outlawing varying forms of inversion, the most recent regulations issued by the Treasury Department to decrease inversions, and policy options that would remove the incentive for companies to invert.
Date: August 17, 2017
Creator: Marples, Donald J. & Gravelle, Jane G.

Military Enlisted Personnel

Description: This report provides background information and includes charts that show active military enlisted members by pay grade and branch, as well as associated insignia.
Date: June 3, 2017
Creator: Kapp, Lawrence & Cucchiara, Adam J.

Quatar: Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy

Description: This report outlines Qatar's governmental structure and leaders, economy, human rights issues, their relations with other countries in the region, and U.S. defense partnerships with Qatar.
Date: September 1, 2017
Creator: Katzman, Kenneth

Maritime Territorial and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) Disputes Involving China: Issues for Congress

Description: 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.
Date: August 17, 2017
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald

Select Acquisition Reform Provisions in the House and Senate Versions of the Fiscal Year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act

Description: This report discusses the Department of Defense's acquisition reform provisions in the House and Senate versions of the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2018. The main areas of acquisition addressed by these provisions are commercial items, service contracts, Other Transaction (OT) authority, intellectual property, and acquisition system management.
Date: August 21, 2017
Creator: Rumbaugh, Russell

Iran Sanctions

Description: 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.
Date: July 24, 2017
Creator: Katzman, Kenneth

Retirement Benefits for Federal Law Enforcement Personnel

Description: 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.
Date: September 5, 2017
Creator: Isaacs, Katelin P.

Medicare: Insolvency Projections

Description: This report focuses on the two separate trust funds that fund Medicare, the Hospital Insurance (HI) trust fund and Supplementary Medical Insurance (SMI) trust fund. Almost from its inception, the HI trust fund has faced a projected shortfall and eventual insolvency. Because of the way it is financed, the SMI trust fund cannot become insolvent; however, the Medicare Trustees continue to express concerns about the rapid growth in SMI costs.
Date: August 16, 2017
Creator: Davis, Patricia A.

Introduction to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)

Description: This report provides introductory information on key components of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), ranging from floodplain mapping to the standard flood insurance forms. This report will be updated as significant revisions are made to the NFIP through legislation or administrative action.
Date: September 12, 2017
Creator: Horn, Diane P. & Brown, Jared T.

Repair, Modification, or Resale of Software-Enabled Consumer Electronic Devices: Copyright Law Issues

Description: This report provides a discussion and analysis of copyright law issues that may be implicated by the repair, modification, or resale of software-enabled consumer electronic devices. These issues include software licensing, fair use, the first sale doctrine, and the anti-circumvention provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).
Date: August 11, 2016
Creator: Yeh, Brian T.

Airline Passenger Rights: The Federal Role in Aviation Consumer Protection

Description: This report examines aviation consumer protections following the 1978 elimination of most governmental control regarding airline business practices. It explains the roles of Congress and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) in protecting airline consumers, and discusses some major passenger rights issues and related laws and regulations.
Date: August 17, 2016
Creator: Tang, Rachel Y.

Department of Homeland Security Appropriations: Fiscal Year 2018

Description: This report provides an overview and analysis of FY2018 appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The primary focus of this report is on Congressional direction and funding provided to DHS through the appropriations process, though note is also made of funding made available to DHS outside this process (e.g., user fees and trust funds). It includes an Appendix with definitions of key budget terms used throughout the suite of Congressional Research Service reports on homeland security appropriations. It also directs the reader to other reports providing context for and additional details regarding specific component appropriations and issues engaged through the FY2018 appropriations process.
Date: August 22, 2017
Creator: Painter, William L.

Methane and Other Air Pollution Issues in Natural Gas Systems

Description: This report discusses the natural gas supply chain that contributes to air pollution in several ways, including (1) the leaking, venting, and combustion of natural gas in the course of production operations; and (2) the combustion of other fossil fuel resources or other emissions during associated operations.
Date: July 27, 2017
Creator: Lattanzio, Richard K.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's (ACA's) Transitional Reinsurance Program

Description: 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.
Date: August 23, 2017
Creator: Uberoi, Namrata K. & Liu, Edward C.