From the introduction to Resolutions to Censure the President: Procedure and History (R45087, Updated August 1, 2019):
Censure is a reprimand adopted by one or both chambers of Congress against a Member of Congress, President, federal judge, or other government official. While Member censure is a disciplinary measure that is sanctioned by the Constitution (Article 1, Section 5), non-Member censure is not. Rather, it is a formal expression or “sense of” one or both houses of Congress.
Resolutions attempting to censure the President are usually simple resolutions. These resolutions are not privileged for consideration in the House or Senate. They are, instead, considered under the regular parliamentary mechanisms used to process “sense of” legislation.
This report summarizes the procedures that may be used to consider resolutions of censure and the history of attempts to censure the President (1st-115th Congresses). It also provides citations to additional reading material on the subject.
The Senate Intelligence Committee has released a redacted verion of its report on Russian active measures campaigns and interference in the 2016 US election. Download it this link if interested.
From the summary The Legislative Process on the Senate Floor: An Introduction (Updated July 22, 2019 RL 96-548):
The legislative process on the Senate floor reflects a balance between the rights guaranteed to Senators under the standing rules and the willingness of Senators to forego exercising some of these rights in order to expedite the conduct of business.
From the introduction to Freedom of Information Act Fees for Government Information (IF11272, July 17, 2019):
The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) establishes a presumption that information in the possession of executive branch agencies and departments of the U.S. federal government is accessible to the public. Under FOIA, the burden of proof to access government information shifted from a requester’s “need to know” to a “right to know” doctrine, where the federal government has to show a need to keep the information secret (H.Rept. 109-226). However, federal agencies may recoup the costs of providing information to the public by assessing FOIA fees (hereinafter, fees). This piece discusses what fees are used for, how fees are assessed, fee waivers, and payment of fees.
From the introduction to China’s Economic Rise: History, Trends, Challenges, and Implications for the United States (RL33534, updated June 25, 2019):
China’s growing global economic influence and the economic and trade policies it maintains have significant implications for the United States and hence are of major interest to Congress. While China is a large and growing market for U.S. firms, its incomplete transition to a free-market economy has resulted in economic policies deemed harmful to U.S. economic interests, such as industrial policies and theft of U.S. intellectual property. This report provides background on China’s economic rise; describes its current economic structure; identifies the challenges China faces to maintain economic growth; and discusses the challenges, opportunities, and implications of China’s economic rise for the United States.
From the update for When Does the Government Have to Disclose Private Business Information in its Possession? (LSB10294, updated June 25, 2019):
“On June 24, 2019, the Supreme Court issued its decision in FMI v. Argus Leader Media concerning when commercial and financial information may be withheld from disclosure by the government as confidential under Exemption 4 of the Freedom of Information Act (FIOA). The Court, in an opinion authored by Justice Gorsuch (and joined by Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Alito, Kagan, Kavanaugh, and Thomas), held that information is “confidential” under Exemption 4 “[a]t least” when it is (1) “customarily and actually treated as private by its owner” and (2) “provided to the government under an assurance of privacy.” The Supreme Court did not, however, define the precise boundaries of its new test.”
From the introduction to Regulating Big Tech: Legal Implications (LSB10309, updated June 17, 2019):
This Legal Sidebar provides a high-level overview of the current regulatory framework governing Big Tech, several proposed changes to that framework, and the legal issues those proposals may implicate. The Sidebar also contains a list of additional resources that may be helpful for a more detailed evaluation of any given regulatory proposal.
From the summary of The Impeachment Process in the House of Representatives (R45769, June 14, 2019): “The House impeachment process generally proceeds in three phases: (1) initiation of the impeachment process; (2) Judiciary Committee investigation, hearings, and markup of articles of impeachment; and (3) full House consideration of the articles of impeachment.”
From the introduction to Corporate Drug Trafficking Liability—-a New Legal Front in the Opioid Crisis (LSB 10207, June 6, 2019):
In April 2019, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) opened a new front in the struggle against the illicit distribution of prescription opioids by indicting Rochester Drug Cooperative, Inc. (Rochester Drug) and two of its executives under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) based on the company’s sale of oxycodone and fentanyl to pharmacies that illegally distributed the drugs.
Although pharmaceutical companies and their executives have previously been subject to civil sanctions and criminal prosecution related to the marketing and distribution of opioids, the Rochester Drug indictments mark the first time DOJ has brought felony charges against a pharmaceutical company under the general drug trafficking provisions of the CSA. This Sidebar contextualizes the indictments by first providing an overview of the key laws governing prescription opioids, the CSA and the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act).
From the executive summary of Technological Convergence: Regulatory, Digital Privacy, and Data Security Issues (R45746, May 30, 2019):
Technological convergence, in general, refers to the trend or phenomenon where two or more independent technologies integrate and form a new outcome. … Technological convergent devices share three key characteristics. First, converged devices can execute multiple functions to serve blended purpose. Second, converged devices can collect and use data in various formats and employ machine learning techniques to deliver enhanced user experience. Third, converged devices are connected to a network directly and/or are interconnected with other devices to offer ubiquitous access to users.
Technological convergence may present a range of issues where Congress may take legislative and/or oversight actions. Three selected issue areas associated with technological convergence are regulatory jurisdiction, digital privacy, and data security.
From the introduction to Conference Committee and Related Procedures: An Introduction (96-708, Updated May 22, 2019):
“Conference committees are generally free to conduct their negotiations as they choose, but under the formal rules they are expected to address only the matters on which the House and Senate have disagreed. Moreover, they are to propose settlements that represent compromises between the positions of the two houses. When they have completed their work, they submit a conference report and joint explanatory statement, and the House and Senate vote on accepting the report without amendments. Only after the two houses have reached complete agreement on all provisions of a bill can it be sent to the President for his approval or veto.”
From the introduction to An Overview of State and Federal Authority to Impose Vaccination Requirements (LSB 10300, May 22, 2019):
“In addition to measles, for about every 5 years since 2006, outbreaks of other vaccine – preventable diseases, such as mumps, have also been reported in the United States. In light of these outbreaks and their association with unvaccinated individuals, this Sidebar provides an overview of the relevant state and federal authority to require vaccination for U.S. residents.”
From the introduction to The National Popular Vote (NPV) Initiative: Direct Election of the President by Interstate Compact (R43823, updated May 9, 2019):
“The National Popular Vote (NPV) initiative proposes an agreement among the states, an interstate compact that would effectively achieve direct popular election of the President and Vice President without a constitutional amendment. It relies on the Constitution’s grant of authority to the states in Article II, Section 1 to appoint presidential electors “in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct …. Any state that joins the NPV compact pledges that if the compact comes into effect, its legislature will award all the state’s electoral votes to the presidential ticket that wins the most popular votes nationwide, regardless of who wins in that particular state. The compact would, however, come into effect only if its success has been assured; that is, only if states controlling a majority of electoral votes (270 or more) join the compact.”
You can pre-order the Nook book edition online here.
From the introduction to Presidential Terms and Tenure: Perspectives and Proposals for Change (R40864, Apr. 15, 2019):
The length of the President’s term and the question of whether Presidents should be eligible for reelection were extensively debated in 1787 at the Constitutional Convention. Late in the proceedings, the delegates settled on a four-year term for both President and Vice President but did not place a limit on the number of terms a President could serve.
From the introduction to Can the President Close the Border? Relevant Laws and Considerations (LSB10283, Apr. 12, 2019):
Little federal case law addresses these questions. Although recent media articles discuss at least four occasions when past presidents have restricted operations at ports of entry on the southern border, those executive measures apparently did not
prompt legal challenges that required federal courts to assess the Executive’s authority for the measures.
From the summary of Congressional Subpoenas: Enforcing Executive Branch Compliance (R45653, Mar. 27, 2019):
Congress currently employs an ad hoc combination of methods to combat non-compliance with subpoenas. The two predominant methods rely on the authority and participation of another branch of government. First, the criminal contempt statute permits a single house of Congress to certify a contempt citation to the executive branch for the criminal prosecution of an individual who has willfully refused to comply with a committee subpoena. Once the contempt citation is received, any prosecution lies within the control of the executive branch. Second, Congress may try to enforce a subpoena by seeking a civil judgment declaring that the recipient is legally obligated to comply. This process of civil enforcement relies on the help of the courts to enforce congressional demands.
From the summary of Free Speech and the Regulation of Social Media Content (R45650, Mar. 27,2019):
Some have argued that Congress should step in to regulate social media sites. Government action regulating internet content would constitute state action that may implicate the First Amendment. In particular, social media providers may argue that government regulations impermissibly infringe on the providers’ own constitutional free speech rights. Legal commentators have argued that when social media platforms decide whether and how to post users’ content, these publication decisions are themselves protected under the First Amendment. There are few court decisions evaluating whether a social media site, by virtue of publishing, organizing, or even editing protected speech, is itself exercising free speech rights. Consequently, commentators have largely analyzed the question of whether the First Amendment protects a social media site’s publication decisions by analogy to other types of First Amendment cases.
From the summary of Congressional Participation in Litigation: Article III and Legislative Standing (R45636, Mar. 26, 2019):
Houses, committees, and Members of Congress periodically seek to initiate or participate in litigation to, among other purposes, advance their legislative objectives, argue that the Executive is violating their legislative prerogatives, or defend core institutional interests. However, the constitutionally based doctrine of “standing” — which requires a litigant seeking federal judicial relief to demonstrate (1) a concrete and particularized and actual or imminent injury in fact, (2) that is traceable to the allegedly unlawful actions of the opposing party and (3) that is redressable by a favorable judicial decision — may prevent legislators from pursuing litigation in federal court. The U.S. Supreme Court and the lower federal courts have issued several important opinions analyzing whether — and under what circumstances — a legislative entity has standing to seek relief.