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 Resource Type: Report
 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
The Role of Offsets in a Greenhouse Gas Emissions Cap-and-Trade Program: Potential Benefits and Concerns
This report discusses offsets in relation to a greenhouse gas emissions cap-and-trade program. The first section of this report provides an overview of offsets by discussing different types of offset projects and describing how the offsets would likely be used in an emission reduction program. The next section discusses the supply of offsets that might be available in an emission trading program. The subsequent sections examine the potential offset benefits and the potential concerns associated with offsets. The final section offers considerations for Congress.
An Overview of the Tax Provisions in the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012
This report provides an overview of the tax provisions (Titles I-IV and Title X of P.L. 112-240) included in the "fiscal cliff deal," including the permanent extension and modification of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, often referred to collectively as the "Bush-era tax cuts"; the temporary extension of certain tax provisions originally included as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA; P.L. 111-5), often referred to as the "2009 tax cuts"; the permanent extension of the alternative minimum tax (AMT) patch; the temporary extension of a variety of other temporary expiring provisions for individuals, businesses, and energy often referred to as "tax extenders" and the expansion of in-plan conversions of traditional employer-sponsored retirement accounts (like 401(k) plans) to employer-sponsored Roth accounts (like Roth 401(k) plans).
Peacekeeping and Stabilization Missions Abroad: The Development of Civilian Capabilities, 2004-2011
This report provides background on the origins and development of Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization (S/CRS) and related capabilities.
Liberia's Post-War Development: Key Issues and U.S. Assistance
This report covers developments in Liberia, a small, poor West African country. It includes discussion of the country's issues with civil war, political and governance transitions, and its relations with the U.S.
Ebola: 2014 Outbreak in West Africa
This report gives a overview of the West African Ebola outbreak that began in March, 2014. The report discusses the nature of the disease as well as local and international responses to it. The report also briefly examines U.S policy and congressional actions in the wake of the outbreak.
Maritime Security: Potential Terrorist Attacks and Protection Priorities
This report outlines the key dimensions of maritime terrorism and how these dimensions may characterize specific attacks in the global maritime domain. The report illustrates credible maritime attack scenarios based on actual past attacks or potential attacks developed for maritime security exercises or other U.S. counter terrorism activities. It discusses the challenge to maritime security planners of facing a virtually unlimited number of potential attack scenarios and how certain federal programs address this challenge. It also reviews various perspectives on the overall likelihood of maritime terror attacks on the United States. Finally the report discusses implications for homeland security policy.
The Debt Limit: History and Recent Increases
This report presents the means through which the total debt of the federal government can increase, gives a historical overview of debt limits, and discusses how the current economic slowdown has led to higher deficits and thereby a series of debt limit increases, as well as legislation related to these increases.
Veterans Affairs: Health Care and Benefits for Veterans Exposed to Agent Orange
This report provides an overview of health care services and disability compensation benefits available to Vietnam veterans, Children of Vietnam Era veterans, and non-Vietnam veterans exposed to herbicides. This is followed by a discussion of litigation pertaining to Navy veterans of the Vietnam Era who served offshore and were never physically present on Vietnamese soil. The report concludes with a discussion of epidemiologic research conducted to study the health effects of Agent Orange and dioxin exposure on Vietnam veterans.
Department of Defense Food Procurement: Background and Status
This report describes the origin, authority, and policy in the procurement of food for the military. Military food items, also known as subsistence items, are generally procured under the auspices of the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), an agency of the Department of Defense (DOD) which provides worldwide logistics support for the U.S. military services. Under DLA, DLA Troop Services (formerly the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia) is the inventory control point for food, clothing, textiles, medicines, medical equipment, general and industrial supplies, and services for the military, their eligible dependents, and other non-DOD customers worldwide. DLA Troop Services buys and manages about $13.4 billion worth of food, clothing, textiles, and other products.
Party Leaders in the United States Congress, 1789-2009
This report briefly describes current responsibilities and selection mechanisms for 15 House and Senate party leadership posts and provides tables with historical data, including service dates, party affiliation, and other information for each. Tables have been updated as of the report's issuance date to reflect leadership changes. The report will be updated as changes in House and Senate party leadership positions occur.
Polygraph Use by the Department of Energy: Issues for Congress
This report examines how the Department of Energy's (DOE) polygraph testing program has evolved and reviews certain scientific findings with regard to the polygraph's scientific validity. Several issues include whether: DOE's new screening program is focused on an appropriate number of individuals occupying only the most sensitive positions; the program should be expanded in order to adequately safeguard certain classified information; further research into the polygraph's scientific validity is needed; there are possible alternatives to the polygraph; and whether DOE should continue polygraph screening.
Legislative Actions to Repeal, Defund, or Delay the Affordable Care Act
This report summarizes legislative actions taken to repeal, defund, delay, or otherwise amend the ACA since the law's enactment.
Terrorist Watch List Screening and Background Checks for Firearms
This report examines potential policy issues that could arise under the Terror Gap proposal. For context, a basic overview of the U.S. government's post-9/11 terrorist watchlist procedures is provided, as well as an analysis of the Terror Gap proposal, which has been reintroduced in the 113th Congress.
United Nations System Efforts to Address Violence Against Women
This report provides an overview of recent U.N. efforts to address violence against women (VAW) and highlights key U.N. interagency efforts. It also discusses selected U.N. funds, programs, and agencies that address international violence against women. It does not assess the extent to which VAW is directly addressed or is part of a larger initiative or program.
The National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for Particulate Matter (PM): EPA's 2006 Revisions and Associated Issues
This report provides an analysis of the EPA's final 2006 revisions to the particulates National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), and an overview of the estimated costs and benefits of the revised standards and of more stringent alternatives analyzed. The report highlights concerns and issues raised regarding the 2006 revisions to the particulates standards, including those of the science advisory committee (CASAC), and actions in Congress.
The United States and Europe: Current Issues
This report examines a number of issues that illustrate the cooperation of U.S.-European cooperation based on shared interests and present challenges. These issues include specifics topics in economics, foreign policy and international security, terrorism, cybersecurity, and energy.
Trends in U.S. Global AIDS Spending: FY2000-FY2008
This report describes how HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis (TB), and malaria are interlinked and exacerbate efforts to control each disease, but primarily addresses funding issues related to U.S. global HIV/AIDS initiatives. It provides background information on the key U.S. agencies that implement global HIV/AIDS programs, analyzes U.S. spending on HIV/AIDS by U.S. agency and department, and presents some issues Congress might consider, particularly as debate on the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) reauthorization ensues.
The UNESCO World Heritage Convention: Congressional Issues
This report provides background information on the World Heritage Convention, outlines U.S. participation and funding, and highlights criteria for adding and removing sites from the World Heritage Lists. It discusses possible issues for the 111th Congress, including the Convention's possible impact on U.S. sovereignty, the role of the legislative branch in designating sites, and the potential implications for a site's inclusion on the Lists.
Ghana: Recent Developments and U.S. Relations
This report provides information on current developments in Ghana and Ghana's relations with the United States, which are close. It describes the purpose of President Barack Obama's forthcoming trip to Ghana, which will focus on issues of good governance and socio-economic and political development, and characterizes the current state of play in bilateral relations. It also summarizes the policy agenda of Ghana's president, John Atta Mills, who won office by a narrow margin in elections in late 2008. The dynamics of that election are described in the report, as are recent policy-centered developments, economic challenges and performance, and socio-economic prospects. Ghana's international relations and bilateral development cooperation with the United States are also covered in the report.
Intelligence Reform at the Department of Energy: Policy Issues and Organizational Alternatives
This report analyzes the temporary consolidations of the separate counterintelligence (CI) offices at the Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Security Administration (NSA) into a single CI office under DOE control — the first authorized by Congress at Department of Energy request; the second initiated by DOE — and examines the impact of each on the effectiveness of the Department's CI program.
States and Proposed Economic Recovery Plans
This report examines arguments presented by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) and the National Governors Association (NGA) to include state fiscal assistance in an economic recovery plan, several arguments to exclude state assistance from such a plan, and the implications the proposals presented by NCSL and NGA might have for the economy. It also examines issues related to the targeting of state fiscal assistance and arguments for and against including infrastructure construction projects in an economic recovery plan, and presents key provisions in proposed economic recovery plans that directly affect state and local governments.
Military Medical Care: Questions and Answers
This report answers several frequently asked questions about military health care, including: how the system is structured, a TRICARE summary, TRICARE eligibility and plan options, cost of military health care to beneficiaries, relationship of TRICARE to MEDICARE, how the Affordable Care Act affects TRICARE, long-term trends of defense health care costs, and a summary of the fund which funds TRICARE.
Possible Federal Revenue from Oil Development of ANWR and Nearby Areas
"This report estimates the potential revenues to the United States Treasury from Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) oil development should Congress approve such development. [The report] has been prepared according to key oil price assumptions. More specifically, estimates of potential federal revenues are based on market oil prices -- the price at which the ANWR output would be sold -- of $60, $80, $90, $100, and $125 per barrel" (p. CRS-1-2).
Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) Status for Russia and U.S.-Russian Economic Ties
This report discusses the issues surrounding whether or not the U.S. should grant Russia permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) following its accession into the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Taiwan: Major U.S. Arms Sales Since 1990
This report, updated through the 113th Congress, discusses U.S. security assistance to Taiwan (calling itself Republic of China (ROC)), including policy issues for Congress and legislation.
Afro-Latinos in Latin America and Considerations for U.S. Policy
This report reviews and analyzes the situation, concerns, and activities of Afro-descendants in the Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking nations of Latin America. It then discusses current U.S. foreign aid programs, as well as multilateral initiatives, that have directly or indirectly assisted Afro-Latinos. The report concludes with a discussion of potential policy options that have been proposed should the United States elect to provide further support for Afro-Latinos.
Cars, Trucks, and Climate: EPA Regulation of Greenhouse Gases from Mobile Sources
This report discusses the full range of EPA's authority under Title II and provides information regarding other mobile sources that might be regulated under this authority, in addition to describing the car and truck regulations.
Chile: Political and Economic Conditions and U.S. Relations
This report provides a brief historical background of Chile, examines recent political and economic developments, and addresses issues in U.S.-Chilean relations.
Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty: Background and Current Developments
This report discusses the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), which bans all nuclear explosion and was in 1996 adopted by the U.N. General Assembly but rejected by the U.S. Senate in 1997. This report discusses the Obama Administration's stated goal of pursuing U.S. ratification of the CTBT, although the Administration has mainly focused on securing Senate consent to ratification of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START). This report also discusses other nuclear weapons-related issues as well as the long history of nuclear testing.
Marine Corps Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV) and Marine Personnel Carrier (MPC): Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information regarding Marine Corps Amphibious Combat Vehicle(ACV) and Marine Personnel Carrier (MPC). The report discusses the marines' justification for the ACV and MPC and desired operational capabilities.
Securing U.S. Diplomatic Facilities and Personnel Abroad: Legislative and Executive Branch Initiatives
This report briefly summarizes and tracks congressional and State Department actions in response to the attack on U. S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya, and will be updated as necessary to reflect further developments and actions on ongoing policy proposals.
Mongolia: Issues for Congress
This report provides background information on Mongolia, including political and economic conditions. The report discusses the status of U.S.-Mongolian political and economic relations, and key security and foreign policy issues.
Arab League Boycott of Israel
This report briefly discusses the Arab League's boycott of Israeli companies and Israeli-made goods since Israel's founding in 1948, as well as U.S. efforts to end the boycott and prevent U.S. firms in participating in the boycott.
New Zealand: U.S. Security Cooperation and the U.S. Rebalancing to Asia Strategy
This report discusses New Zealand's developing security cooperation with the United States.
Strategic Arms Control After START: Issues and Options
The United States and Soviet Union signed the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty in 1991; it entered into force in December 1994 and expired in December 2009. This report provides background information about the START Treaty and reviews the discussions about a possible successor to START. It also presents a range of alternatives that the United States and Russia might consider if they choose to follow START with a new framework for the arms control process.
Cyprus: Reunification Proving Elusive
This report provides a brief overview of the history of the reunification negotiations, a review of the negotiations since 2008, a description of some of the issues involved in the talks, and where things stand today.
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 IAEA board and the Security Council. It will be updated as events warrant.
Title X (Public Health Service Act) Family Planning Program
This report discusses the Family Planning Program, Title X of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. §§300 to 300a-6), which is the only domestic federal program devoted solely to family planning and related preventive health services. The report discusses various services related to Title X and also considers current legislation related to the program.
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act: A Sketch of Selected Issues
This report briefly outlines three issues relating to electronic surveillance under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and touches upon some of the perspectives reflected in the ongoing debate. These issues include the inherent and often dynamic tension between national security and civil liberties, particularly rights of privacy and free speech; the need for the intelligence community to be able to efficiently and effectively collect foreign intelligence information from the communications of foreign persons located outside the United States in a changing, fast-paced, and technologically sophisticated international environment or from United States persons abroad, and the differing approaches suggested to meet this need; and limitations of liability for those electronic communication service providers who furnish aid to the federal government in its foreign intelligence collection. Two constitutional provisions, in particular, are implicated in this debate — the Fourth and First Amendments. This report briefly examines these issues and sets them in context.
United Nations Regular Budget Contributions: Members Compared, 1990-2010
This report provides the assessment level, actual payment, and total outstanding contributions for the United States and other selected U.N. member states from 1990 to 2010 — the last year for which data are publicly available.
FEMA Disaster Housing and Hurricane Katrina: Overview, Analysis, and Congressional Issues
This report discusses the issues with the housing policies of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), particularly as they relate to the Post-Katrina Act of 2006 (P.L. 109-295) and the Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Plan (P.L. 93-288). It includes an overview of the Stafford Act sections 403 and 408 as well as a breakdown of issues for Congress and possible Congressional approaches to address the policies.
Biofuels Incentives: A Summary of Federal Programs
This report outlines federal programs that provide direct or indirect incentives for biofuels. For each program described, the report provides details including the administering agency, authorizing statute(s), annual funding, and expiration date. The Appendix provides summary information in a table format.
Environmental Exemptions for the Navy's Mid-Frequency Active Sonar Training Program
This report discusses laws related to the protection of marine mammals when using mid-frequency active sonar including the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and the Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA). The report discusses each of the laws generally, and then reviews the litigation surrounding the Navy's compliance with these laws in the context of using the sonar for training purposes off California's coast.
Mobile Technology and Spectrum Policy: Innovation and Competition
This report traces the current and possible future evolution of mobile communications networks and some of the changes in spectrum policy that might better accommodate innovation.
Jordan: Background and U.S. Relations
This report provides an overview of Jordanian politics and current issues in U.S.-Jordanian relations. It provides a brief discussion of Jordan's government and economy and of its cooperation in promoting Arab-Israeli peace and other U.S. policy objectives in the Middle East.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE): Issues for U.S. Policy
This report discusses the open economy and society of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), provides a general description of the UAE's government and political structure, and outlines the effects of the recent global economic downturn on the UAE in general and on the city of Dubai in particular. It also describes U.S. concern over the proliferation of advanced technology in relation to a recently-signed U.S.-UAE civilian nuclear agreement, due to the UAE economy and the UAE's lax export controls.
Commonly Used Motions and Requests in the House of Representatives
This report identifies the most commonly used motions and requests available to Members during proceedings in the House of Representatives. It does not identify motions and requests used when the House is in the Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union.
Chile: Political and Economic Conditions and U.S. Relations
This report provides a brief historical background of Chile, examines recent political and economic developments, and addresses issues in U.S.-Chilean relations.
Honduran-U.S. Relations
This report examines current political and economic conditions in Honduras as well as issues in Honduran-U.S. relations.
Navy Force Structure and Shipbuilding Plans: Background and Issues for Congress
This report discusses how Congress should respond to the Navy's proposed force structure and shipbuilding plans. Decisions that Congress makes on this issue could significantly affect future U.S. military capabilities, Navy funding requirements, and the Navy shipbuilding industrial base.