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 Language: English
 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Ukraine: Current Issues and U.S. Policy
This report provides an overview of the situation in Ukraine. Following the February 2014 collapse of the Kremlin-supported government of President Viktor Yanukovych, there was an emergence of a pro-Western, pro-reform government and an energized public generally anxious to lessen Moscow's influence, committed to addressing the need for serious reform and determined to draw closer to Europe and the United States.
Climate Change Paris Agreement Opens for Signature
This report briefly provides background on the new international Paris Agreement to address greenhouse-gas-induced climate change. No international agreement has attracted as many signatures on a single day.
Congress and the Budget: 2016 Actions and Events
This report seeks to assist in (1) anticipating what budget-related actions might occur within the upcoming year, and (2) staying abreast of budget actions that occur this year. It provides a general description of the recurrent types of budgetary actions, and reflects on current events that unfold in each category during 2016.
Department of Education Funding: Key Concepts and FAQ
Analyzing the U.S. Department of Education's (ED) budget requires an understanding of a broad range of federal budget and appropriations concepts. This report provides an introduction to these concepts as they are used specifically in the context of the congressional appropriations process for ED.
EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa
This report includes a discussion of the EB-5 visa's requirements and an overview of the Regional Center Program, information on the EB-5 application (petition) process, admissions, and the economic impacts of the visa, a review of policy issues surrounding the visa and the Regional Center Program, and a summary of current legislation on the EB-5 visa and the Regional Center Program in the 114th Congress.
Protection of Trade Secrets: Overview of Current Law and Legislation
This report provides an overview of existing federal, state, and international laws governing trade secret protection, describes the limitations of these legal regimes, and reviews pending legislation, the Defend Trade Secrets Act (S. 1890), that is intended to address such deficiencies.
Saudi Arabia: Background and U.S. Relations
This report discusses the kingdom of Saudi Arabia's relations with the United States; its stability, and its future trajectory are subjects of continuing congressional interest.
Congressional Nominations to U.S. Service Academies: An Overview and Resources for Outreach and Management
This report describes statutory requirements for allocating congressional nominations to service academies. It also identifies the qualifications that must be met by potential nominees, as established by statute and each academy.
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.
Health Care for Veterans: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
This report provides responses to frequently asked questions about health care provided to veterans through the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). It is intended to serve as a quick reference to provide easy access to information. Where applicable, it provides the legislative background pertaining to the question.
Defense Authorization and Appropriations Bills: FY1970-FY2016
This report includes all the pertinent information on the passage of Department of Defense (DOD) authorization and appropriations bills (fiscal years 1970-2016) through the legislative process: bill numbers, report numbers, dates reported and passed, recorded vote numbers and vote tallies, dates of passage of the conference reports with their numbers and votes, vetoes, substitutions, dates of final passage, and public law numbers.
Escalating Violence in El Salvador
This report briefly discusses gangs and violence in El Salvador, and examines the U.S. policy response.
Goldwater-Nichols at 30: Defense Reform and Issues for Congress
This report is designed to assist Congress as it evaluates the many different defense reform proposals suggested by the variety of stakeholders and institutions within the U.S. national security community.
Libya: Transition and U.S. Policy
This report discusses the current political climate in Libya. Libya's political transition has been disrupted by armed non-state groups and threatened by the indecision and infighting of interim leaders.
Negative Interest Rates
In a few foreign economies, including the euro area, Switzerland, and Japan, central banks have purposely set some short-term interest rates used to carry out monetary policy at negative levels. This report briefly discusses the reasons behind this phenomenon.
What's on Television? The Intersection of Communications and Copyright Policies
This report discusses how the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Congress, and the courts have overseen the rise of the internet by applying a combination of communications and copyright laws to regulate the distribution of television programming.
The World Drug Problem: UNGA Convenes for a Special Session
This report briefly discusses the United Nations General Assembly's (UNGA) 2016 special session on "The World Drug Problem." It is the third time the UNGA will convene such a session on global drug issues.
The Affordable Care Act's (ACA) Employer Shared Responsibility Determination and the Potential Employer Penalty
This report describes potential employer penalties as well as regulations to implement the ACA employer provisions. The regulations address insurance coverage requirements, methodologies for determining whether a worker is considered full time, provisions relating to seasonal workers and corporate franchises, and other reporting requirements.
Arms Sales: Congressional Review Process
This report reviews the process and procedures that currently apply to congressional consideration of foreign arms sales proposed by the President. This includes consideration of proposals to sell major defense equipment, defense articles and services, or the re-transfer to third party states of such military items.
Border Security: Immigration Enforcement Between Ports of Entry
This report reviews efforts to combat unauthorized migration across the Southwest border in the nearly three decades since the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) initiated the modern era in migration control. In reviewing such efforts, the report takes stock of the current state of border security and considers lessons that may be learned about enhanced enforcement at U.S. borders.
Funding for Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CSS) at DOE: In Brief
This report discusses current legislation regarding the potential of carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) as a mitigation strategy for lowering global emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2). Congress has appropriated more than $7 billion since FY2008 to CCS activities at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
The Islamic State's Acolytes and the Challenges They Pose to U.S. Law Enforcement
This report discusses an analysis of publicly available information on homegrown violent jihadist activity in the United States since September 11, 2001, which suggests that the Islamic State (IS) and its acolytes may pose broad challenges to domestic law enforcement and homeland security efforts.
The National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP): Issues in Brief
This report discusses the responsibility of four federal agencies for long-term earthquake risk reduction under the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP). Congress has not introduced legislation in the 114th Congress that addresses the NEHRP program directly.
DHS Appropriations FY2016: Protection, Preparedness, Response, and Recovery
This report is part of a suite of reports that discuss appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for FY2016. It specifically discusses appropriations for the components of DHS included in the third title of the homeland security appropriations bill--the National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD), the Office of Health Affairs (OHA), and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
European Security and Islamist Terrorism
This report discusses the current security climate in Europe following recent incidences of terrorism. The report also addresses potential policy responses and challenges.
Navy Littoral Combat Ship (LCS)/Frigate Program: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and issues for Congress on the Navy's Littoral Combat Ship (LCS)/Frigate program, a program to procure a large number of LCSs and modified LCSs. Congress's decisions on the LCS/Frigate program will affect Navy capabilities and funding requirements, and the shipbuilding industrial base.
Afghanistan: Post-Taliban Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy
This report examines the current political state of Afghanistan at length, discussing the political background, security policy, and regional relations.
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.
Coast Guard Polar Icebreaker Modernization: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and issues for Congress on the sustainment and modernization of the Coast Guard's polar icebreaker fleet.
Contested Presidential Nominating Conventions: Brief Background and Questions
This report briefly addresses selected questions about possible contested Democratic and Republican conventions that might be relevant as Members of Congress prepare for the 2016 election.
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.
Sexual Violence at Institutions of Higher Education
This report provides background information on sexual violence on campus and its prevalence, descriptions of the Clery Act and Title IX, and an analysis of prominent policy and legal issues related to these two statutes. It also includes a brief description of a related third statute focused on educational privacy.
Agricultural Disaster Assistance
This report discusses several programs offered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to help farmers recover financially from natural disasters, including drought and floods. Most programs receive funding amounts that are "such sums as necessary" and are not subject to annual discretionary appropriations.
The Islamic State Woos Jihadists in Africa but Faces Competition
This report briefly discusses the Islamic State's attempts to expand its influence in Africa.
Navy Virginia (SSN-774) Class Attack Submarine Procurement: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and issues for Congress on the Virginia-class nuclear-powered attack submarine (SSN) program. Decisions that Congress makes on procurement of Virginia-class boats could substantially affect U.S. Navy capabilities and funding requirements, and the U.S. shipbuilding industrial base.
Counting Casualties in Syria and Iraq: Process and Challenges
This report discusses the difficulties of collecting war-related casualty data in Iraq and Syria and provides an overview of some of the current estimated figures available through selected organizations.
The U.S. Intelligence Community: Selected Cross-Cutting Issues
This report focuses on cross-cutting management issues that affect the Intelligence Community's (IC's) ability to counter "pervasive and emerging threats" to the United States and balance resources both appropriately and wisely. The Director of National Intelligence (DNI) is charged with integrating the community of intelligence agencies so that they operate effectively as one team.
Iran's Nuclear Program: Tehran's Compliance with International Obligations
This report provides a brief overview of Iran's nuclear program and describes the legal basis for the actions taken by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) board and the Security Council.
Brazil in Crisis
Brazil is in the midst of deepening economic and political crises that are closely intertwined and unlikely to be resolved quickly. This report briefly examines the political situation and discusses public opinion regarding the Rousseff Administration.
Cuba: U.S. Restrictions on Travel and Remittances
This report examines developments in U.S. policy restricting travel and remittances to Cuba, including significant changes that have occurred, current permissible travel and remittances, enforcement of the travel restrictions, and debate on lifting the travel restrictions.
Military Retirement: Background and Recent Developments
This report discusses the military retirement system. The system currently includes monthly compensation for qualified active and reserve retirees, disability benefits for those deemed medically unfit to serve, and a survivor annuity program for the eligible survivors of deceased retirees.
Municipal Broadband: Background and Policy Debate
This report discusses the debate surrounding Municipal Broadband, which is controversial because it involves governmental entities entering a commercial telecommunications marketplace that had previously been the exclusive domain of private sector providers.
Peru: Politics, Economy, and Elections in Brief
This report provides an overview of Peru's political, economic, and security conditions and of U.S.-Peruvian relations.
U.S. Crude Oil Exports to International Destinations
This report discusses the export of crude oil produced in the United States and policy considerations in the wake of a provision contained in P.L. 114-113 which repealed a 40-year prohibition on the export.
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.
The 2015 National Security Strategy: Authorities, Changes, Issues for Congress
This report discusses the National Security Strategy (NSS), a document released by the Obama Administration which states that its purpose is to "set out the principles and priorities to guide the use of American power and influence in the world."
The Army's M-1 Abrams, M-2/M-3 Bradley, and M-1126 Stryker: Background and Issues for Congress
This report discusses various issues surrounding the M-1 Abrams Tank, the M-2/M-3 Bradley Fighting Vehicle (BFV), and the M-1126 Stryker Combat Vehicle, centerpieces of the Army's Armored Brigade Combat Teams (ABCTs) and Stryker Brigade Combat Teams (SBCTs).
Discharging a Senate Committee from Consideration of a Nomination
Some press reports have suggested that the full Senate could vote in relation to the nomination of Merrick B. Garland to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, even if the Senate Judiciary Committee does not act on the nomination. This report addresses questions concerning the exact nature of such a vote; it also explains the procedural steps that could be necessary to bring the nomination to a direct vote on the floor.
EPA's Clean Power Plan for Existing Power Plants: Frequently Asked Questions
This report summarizes the issues the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) encountered when developing regulations for "carbon pollution" from existing power plants as part of the Clean Power Plan. The report describes how the EPA resolved these issues.
Millennium Challenge Corporation
This report discusses the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) which provides economic assistance through a competitive selection process to developing nations that demonstrate positive performance in three areas: ruling justly, investing in people, and fostering economic freedom.