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Federalism-Based Limitations on Congressional Power: An Overview

Description: This report provides a broad overview of the various legal doctrines that inform the boundaries of Congress's authority vis-à-vis the states under the Constitution. It addresses several general principles, discusses "internal" limitations on Congress's exercise of powers, and concludes by outlining several "external" federalism-based limitations on Congress's powers, such as the anti-commandeering, anti-coercion, state sovereign immunity, and equal sovereignty doctrines.
Date: September 27, 2018
Creator: Nolan, Andrew; Freeman, Wilson C.; Lewis, Kevin M.; Hickey, Kevin J. & Sykes, Jay B.

Government Contract Bid Protests: Analysis of Legal Processes and Recent Developments

Description: 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.
Date: September 26, 2018
Creator: Carpenter, David H. & Schwartz, Moshe

Iran Sanctions

Description: 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.
Date: September 26, 2018
Creator: Katzman, Kenneth

Selected Legal Tools for Maintaining Government Contractor Accountability

Description: This report analyzes a selection of the legal tools a procuring agency may use to hold contractors accountable. It assesses contractual remedies that procuring agencies could utilize, discusses performance-related contract source selection criteria, and describes other legal tools--outside of contract law and the contract selection processes--that the government may employ to hold a contractor accountable.
Date: September 26, 2018
Creator: Carpenter, David H. & Ruane, Kathleen Ann

Federal Reserve: Legislation in the 115th Congress

Description: The Federal Reserve (Fed) is the subject of legislation being considered in the 115th Congress. This report analyzes Fed bills that have seen committee or floor action and the policy debate surrounding them. The bills contain wide-ranging changes that can be grouped into five broad categories: Fed governance, oversight and disclosure, monetary policy rules (the Taylor Rule), the Fed's emergency lending powers, and the Fed's balance sheet.
Date: September 25, 2018
Creator: Labonte, Marc

The Islamic State and U.S. Policy

Description: This report provides background on the Islamic State organization, discusses its goals, operations, and affiliates, reviews U.S. legislative and policy debates, and reviews relevant legislation from the 114th and 115th Congresses.
Date: September 25, 2018
Creator: Blanchard, Christopher M. & Humud, Carla E.

The Congressional Review Act: Determining Which "Rules" Must Be Submitted to Congress

Description: This report describes what types of agency actions can be overturned using the Congressional Review Act (CRA) by providing a close examination and discussion of the statutory definition of a "rule." It also explains how Members can use the CRA to overturn agency rules that have not been submitted to Congress.
Date: September 24, 2018
Creator: Brannon, Valerie C. & Carey, Maeve P.

Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs): Issues for Congress

Description: This report discusses policy issues for Congress to address regarding exchange-traded funds (ETFs), which are common ways for Americans to invest. An ETF is an investment vehicle that, similar to a mutual fund, offers public investors shares of a pool of assets; unlike a mutual fund, however, an ETF can be traded on exchanges like a stock.
Date: September 24, 2018
Creator: Su, Eva

The Supreme Court's Overruling of Constitutional Precedent

Description: 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.
Date: September 24, 2018
Creator: Murrill, Brandon J.

Armed Conflict in Syria: Overview and U.S. Response

Description: This report discusses the ongoing conflict in Syria and U.S. policy regarding the conflict and potential resolutions. It includes information on the recent U.S., French, and British joint missile strike in response to the the use of chemical weapons in Douma, Syria by Syrian government forces.
Date: September 21, 2018
Creator: Humud, Carla E.; Nikitin, Mary Beth D. & Blanchard, Christopher M.

Saudi Arabia: Background and U.S. Relations

Description: This report discuses Saudi Arabia's governmental structure, human rights issues, relations with countries in the region, defense policies, and U.S. relations with the country. Special focus is given to military affairs and trade with Saudi Arabia.
Date: September 21, 2018
Creator: Blanchard, Christopher M.

Iran's Nuclear Program: Status

Description: This report looks at the background of Iran's nuclear policy including the current status of Iran's nuclear facilities, and current controversy surrounding them, as well as the effects of international sanctions on Iran, recent sabotages on the Iran Enrichment Program, an estimated timeline of Iran's nuclear weapon capabilities, and whether or not Iran even has a nuclear weapons program.
Date: September 19, 2018
Creator: Kerr, Paul K.