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Abortion at or Over 20 Weeks' Gestation: Frequently Asked Questions

Description: This report provides answers to frequently asked questions concerning abortions that are performed in the second trimester of a woman's pregnancy because Congress and many state legislatures are considering legislation that would limit or ban abortions in midpregnancy. This report does not discuss constitutional or legal questions nor does it discusses differing state regulations regarding such abortions.
Date: April 11, 2018
Creator: Barry, Matthew B.

Class Action Lawsuits: A Legal Overview for the 115th Congress

Description: This report serves as a primer on class action litigation in the federal courts. It begins by discussing the purpose of class actions, as well as the risks class actions may pose to defendants, class members, and society at large. The report also discusses the prerequisites that a class action must satisfy before a court may "certify" it--that is, before a federal court may allow a case to proceed as a class action. An Appendix to the report also contains a reference chart that graphically illustrates those prerequisites for class certification. The report then discusses Rule 23's restrictions on the parties' ability to settle a certified class action. The report concludes by identifying ways in which Congress could modify the legal framework governing class actions if it were so inclined, with a particular focus on a bill currently pending in the 115th Congress that would effectuate a variety of changes to the class action system.
Date: April 11, 2018
Creator: Lewis, Kevin M. & Freeman, Wilson C.

Expulsion of Members of Congress: Legal Authority and Historical Practice

Description: This report discusses the nature of the power of Congress to remove a Member, including the historical background of the Clause, the implications of the limited judicial interpretations of the Clause's meaning, and other potential constitutional limitations in the exercise of the expulsion power. The report then analyzes the potential grounds upon which a Member might be expelled, including an overview of past cases resulting in expulsion and a discussion of the potential exercise of the expulsion power for conduct occurring prior to the Member's election or reelection to Congress.
Date: January 11, 2018
Creator: Brown, Cynthia & Garvey, Todd

Funding and Financing Highways and Public Transportation

Description: This report discusses the current federal funding structure for surface transportation and the budget shortfalls in the Highway Trust Fund (made up of funds from gas taxes). Various options for resolving the funding shortfall are discussed, including raising the gas tax, public-private partnerships, and tolls.
Date: January 11, 2018
Creator: Kirk, Robert S. & Mallett, William J.

Update: Who's the Boss at the CFPB

Description: This report is an update regarding the acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, as there were two indivuduals who claimed the right to the job. The Trump Administration appointed acting director, Mick Mulvaney, was confirmed in his position after a lawsuit filed by the previous acting director, Leandra English, was denied by the DC courts.
Date: January 11, 2018
Creator: Brannon, Valerie C. & Cole, Jared P.

Arms Sales in the Middle East: Trends and Analytical Perspectives for U.S. Policy

Description: This report analyzes state-to-state arms sales in the Middle East with a particular focus on U.S. transfers, as authorized and reviewed by Congress. The information in this report, including sales data, is drawn from a number of official and unofficial open sources. The report focuses on recent arms sales, primarily from the United States, to seven Middle Eastern states: Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Iraq, Turkey, and Qatar. It concludes by considering a number of arms sales-related issues of congressional interest and options available to Members of Congress to influence or control aspects of arms sales, including those related to oversight, reporting requirements, checks on executive action, and conditions on transfers or funding.
Date: October 11, 2017
Creator: Thomas, Clayton

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS)

Description: This report discusses the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) which is a presidential advisory body consisting of nine cabinet members, two ex officio members, and other members appointed by the President to oversee direct investments by foreign countries in the United States. The President has the power to block a direct investment by another country if such an acquisition would pose a threat to U.S. national security. The basics of the committee's operations and laws governing their conduct and power, presidential blocks of investment, previous reforms to the original law governing the committee and its actions and current propositions in Congress to further amend the laws regarding the committee are discussed.
Date: October 11, 2017
Creator: Jackson, James K.

Farm Bill Primer Series: A Guide to Omnibus Legislation on Agriculture and Food Programs

Description: This report constitutes a guide to a series of two-page reports that examine the various programs and policies that comprise periodic omnibus legislation on farm and food policy, commonly known as "the farm bill." The current farm bill (P.L. 113-79) was signed into law in February 2014. Many of the programs authorized by the 2014 farm bill are scheduled to expire in 2018 unless Congress provides for an extension, or reauthorizes them. Without congressional action, key commodity support programs would revert to permanently authorized legislation from the 1930s and 1940s. This report summarizes the farm bill primers listed below while also providing hyperlinks to the full reports. This report in not comprehensive but rather a work in progress in that summaries of additional primer reports will be added as they become available.
Date: October 11, 2017
Creator: McMinimy, Mark A.

The Individual Mandate for Health Insurance Coverage: In Brief

Description: This report provides an overview of the individual mandate, its associated penalty, and the exemptions from the mandate. It discusses the ACA reporting requirements designed, in part, to assist individuals in providing evidence of having met the mandate. The report includes some national- and state-level data on the application of the mandate's penalty in tax year (TY) 2014 and TY2015.
Date: October 11, 2017
Creator: Mach, Annie L.

U.S. Periods of War and Dates of Recent Conflicts

Description: This report lists the beginning and ending dates for "periods of war" found in Title 38 of the Code of Federal Regulations, dealing with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). It also lists and differentiates other beginning dates given in declarations of war, as well as termination of hostilities dates and armistice and ending dates given in proclamations, laws, or treaties. The dates for the recent conflict in Afghanistan and Iraq including the campaign against the Islamic State are included.
Date: October 11, 2017
Creator: Torreon, Barbara Salazar

Farm Bill Primer Series: A Guide to Omnibus Legislation on Agriculture and Food Programs

Description: This report constitutes a guide to a series of two-page reports that examine the various programs and policies that comprise periodic omnibus legislation on farm and food policy, commonly known as "the farm bill." The current farm bill (P.L. 113-79) was signed into law in February 2014. Many of the programs authorized by the 2014 farm bill are scheduled to expire in 2018 unless Congress provides for an extension, or reauthorizes them. Without congressional action, key commodity support programs would revert to permanently authorized legislation from the 1930s and 1940s.
Date: September 11, 2017
Creator: McMinimy, Mark A.

NASA Appropriations and Authorizations: A Fact Sheet

Description: This report provides data on past, current, and proposed NASA appropriations. No bills have yet been introduced in the 115th Congress proposing future-year authorizations of NASA appropriations. Table 1 shows appropriations for NASA from FY2012 through FY2017. The data for FY2012 through FY2016 include supplemental appropriations, rescissions, transfers, reprogramming, and, in the case of FY2013, sequestration, Table 2 shows enacted appropriations for FY2017, and Figure 1 shows NASA's total annual budget authority from the agency's establishment in FY1958 to FY2017, in both current dollars and inflation-adjusted FY2017 dollars.
Date: September 11, 2017
Creator: Morgan, Daniel

U.S. Air Force Pilot Shortage

Description: This report discusses the current shortage of pilots, especially fighter pilots, in the Air Force and factors influencing pilots to leave the Air Force and possible retention and recruitment methods to help alleviate the shortage.
Date: September 11, 2017
Creator: Hoadley, Daniel S.