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 Decade: 2010-2019
 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Access to Broadband Networks: The Net Neutrality Debate
This report discusses the continued debate amongst congressional policymakers regarding telecommunications reform. A major point of the ongoing discussion is whether action is needed to ensure unfettered access to the Internet.
Iran-Iraq Relations
This report provides background information on Iran's support to armed groups and Iranian political influence and specifically discusses the relationship between Iran and Iraq.
Clean Air Issues in the 113th Congress: An Overview
This report discusses air pollution regulations and the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) regulatory actions on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and also addresses some climate change issues.
Conventional Prompt Global Strike and Long-Range Ballistic Missiles: Background and Issues
This report provides an overview of the rationale for the Prompt Global Strike (PGS) mission and the possible deployment of conventional warheads on long-range ballistic missiles or boost-glide systems in support of this mission. It also reviews the Air Force and Navy efforts to develop these systems, summarizes Congressional reaction to these proposals, and provides a more detailed account of the issues raised by these concepts and programs.
Sudan: The Crisis in Darfur and Status of the North-South Peace Agreement
This report discusses the history of Sudan's civil unrest and the subsequent crisis in Darfur, as well as United Nations and United States aid and peacekeeping efforts, and current related policy under the Obama Administration.
Israel's Blockade of Gaza and the Mavi Marmara Incident
This report discusses the blockade that has severely affected the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, although Israel and its critics differ about the effects. It provides information on the number of trucks allowed to enter Gaza and lists their cargos of food, medicine, and other supplies.
Overview of Selected Federal Criminal Civil Rights Statutes
Federal criminal civil rights laws impose criminal penalties for deprivation of certain federal rights, privileges, or immunities. These laws prohibit hate crimes based on race, color, religion, or national origin; the burning of places of worship; violence against health care providers; and the transport of persons (particularly women and children) for the purpose of enslavement or forced labor. Some of these laws require a discriminatory motivation while others, such as human trafficking, do not. Some cover offenders acting "under color of any law." The Federal Bureau of Investigation investigates alleged violations. Punishments can range from a fine to lifetime imprisonment; in some cases the death penalty may be imposed, depending upon the circumstances and the resulting injury, if any. This report provides a brief summary of selected federal criminal civil right statutes.
North Korea's Second Nuclear Test: Implications of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1874
This report discusses North Korea's second nuclear test and the implications of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1874. The resolution puts in place a series of sanctions on North Korea's arms sales, luxury goods, and financial transactions related to its weapons programs, and calls upon states to inspect North Korean vessels suspected of carrying such shipments.
Thailand: Background and U.S. Relations
This report looks at the relationship between the U.S. and Thailand. This includes recent rivalries between populist political forces, nepotism in government, and Thai relationships with neighboring countries.
Medicare Provisions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA)
This report covers the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and U.S. - Mexico drug trafficking. It also looks at migration, environmental issues, legislation in the 111th, and the relationship between the Obama Administration and Mexico.
Air Quality: EPA's 2013 Changes to the Particulate Matter (PM) Standard
This report summarizes the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) January 15, 2013, final and June 2012 proposed changes to the National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) and includes comparisons with previous (1997 and 2006) promulgated and proposed standards. Key actions leading up to the agency's determination, and potential issues and concerns associated with changing the Particulate Matter annual standard, are also highlighted.
Federal Evacuation Policy: Issues for Congress
This report discusses federal evacuation policy and analyzes potential lessons learned from the evacuations of individuals in response to the Gulf Coast hurricanes of 2005. It also highlights several issue areas that might arise concerning potential lawmaking and oversight on evacuation policy.
The Army's Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV): Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information on the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV) and it discusses the Army's proposed replacement to the Vietnam-era M-113 personnel carriers, which are still in service in a variety of support capacities in Armored Brigade Combat Teams (ABCTs).
The 2010 Decennial Census: Background and Issues
The U.S. Constitution--Article 1, Section 2, clause 3, as modified by Section 2 of the Fourteenth Amendment--requires a population census every 10 years, to serve as the basis for reapportioning seats in the House of Representatives. Decennial census data also are used for within-state redistricting and in certain formulas that determine the annual distribution of more than $400 billion dollars in federal and state funds. This report discusses the major innovations that were planned for the 2010 census, problems encountered with the attempt to automate certain census field operations, the persistent differential census undercount of less advantaged groups in the population, and efforts to ensure an equitable census.
Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) Acquisition: Issues for Congress
This report discusses Congressional issues regarding Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) systems, which are integral components of both national policymaking and military operations, including counterterrorism operations. ISR systems are costly and complicated, and the relationships among organizations responsible for designing and operating these systems are equally complicated.
Domestic Food Assistance: Summary of Programs
This report gives an overview of the federal programs that provide food assistance within the United States and the territories, including a discussion of common concepts and themes across the network of domestic food assistance programs.
Legislation to Facilitate Cybersecurity Information Sharing: Economic Analysis
This report analyzes the incentives for companies to share information about cybersecurity breaches with other companies and the federal government. Data breaches, such as those at Target, Home Depot, Neiman Marcus, and JPMorgan Chase, affecting financial records of tens of millions of households seem to occur regularly. Companies typically respond by trying to increase their cybersecurity by hiring consultants and purchasing new hardware and software. Policy analysts have suggested that sharing information about these breaches could be an effective and inexpensive part of improving cybersecurity. Firms share information directly on an ad hoc basis and through private-sector, nonprofit organizations such as Information Sharing and Analysis Centers (ISACs) that can analyze and disseminate information.
Changes in the Purposes and Frequency of Authorizations of Appropriations
This report discusses general principles in how the language concerning the purposes and frequency of authorizations of appropriations has changed over the past century. These general principles are illustrated through case studies on the authorizations of appropriations that were enacted during this period for three agencies: the National Science Foundation, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the Peace Corps.
Navy Nuclear Aircraft Carrier (CVN) Homeporting at Mayport: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and issues for Congress on the Navy's proposal to homeport a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier (CVN) at Mayport, Florida. Transferring a CVN from Norfolk, Virginia, to Mayport would also shift the local economic activity associated with homeporting a CVN, which some sources estimate as being worth hundreds of millions of dollars per year.
Biochar: Examination of an Emerging Concept to Mitigate Climate Change
Biochar is a charcoal produced under high temperatures using crop residues, animal manure, or any type of organic waste material. Depending on the feedstock, biochar may look similar to potting soil or to a charred substance. The combined production and use of biochar is considered a carbon-negative process, meaning that it removes carbon from the atmosphere. This report briefly describes biochar, its potential advantages and disadvantages, legislative support, and research and development activities underway in the United States.
How Social Security Benefits Are Computed: In Brief
This report discusses how Social Security benefits are currently computed, including information about eligibility, earnings, cost-of-living adjustments, factors that can affect benefit levels, and benefits for dependents.
Bitcoin: Questions, Answers, and Analysis of Legal Issues
This report has three major sections. The first section answers some basic questions about Bitcoin and the operation of the Bitcoin network and its interaction with the current dollar-based monetary system. The second section summarizes likely reasons for and against widespread Bitcoin adoption. The third section discusses legal and regulatory matters that have been raised by Bitcoin and other digital currencies.
Japan-U.S. Relations: Issues for Congress
This report discusses issues regarding U.S.-Japan economic relations, since the economic condition of each nation can affect the world economy and a U.S.-Japan bilateral economic relationship could influence economic conditions in other countries. U.S. and Japanese leaders have several options on how to manage their relationship, including stronger reliance on the World Trade Organization; special bilateral negotiating frameworks and agreements; or a free trade agreement.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Global Health Programs: FY2001-FY2011
This report explains the role the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) plays in U.S. global health assistance, highlights how much the agency has spent on global health efforts from FY2001 to FY2010, and discusses how funding to each of its programs has changed during this period.
Department of Homeland Security Assistance to States and Localities: A Summary and Issues for the 111th Congress
This report summarizes several emergency management and homeland security programs, and identifies and analyzes potential issues for the 111th Congress. These issues include the purpose and number of assistance programs; the evaluation of the use of grant funding; the determination of eligible grant recipients; the programs' funding amounts; and the programs; funding distribution methodologies.
Navy LPD-17 Amphibious Ship Procurement: Background, Issues, and Options for Congress
This report discusses the Navy's FY2011-FY2015 shipbuilding plan that calls for procuring an 11th and final San Antonio (LPD-17) class amphibious ship in FY2012. This report discusses the procurement cost estimates of this ship, as well as related issues for Congress.
The April 2010 Coup in Kyrgyzstan and its Aftermath: Context and Implications for U.S. Interests
This report discusses the most recent developments after the coup in Kyrgyzstan and its aftermath.
Military Pay and Benefits: Key Questions and Answers
The military compensation system is complex and includes an array of cash compensation elements, non-cash compensation (benefits), deferred compensation (retirement pay and benefits), and tax advantages. This report focuses primarily on the cash compensation provided to members of the active component armed forces.
Federal Research and Development Funding: FY2011
This report summarizes the FY2011 budget request for research & development (R&D) funding, including comparisons to R&D funding requests in the FY2010 budget. Congress will play a central role in defining the nation's R&D priorities, especially with respect to two overarching issues: the extent to which the Federal R&D investment can grow in the context of increased pressure on discretionary spending and how available funding will be prioritized and allocated. This report breaks down in detail the various aspects of the President's FY2011 R&D funding request.
The Jurisprudence of Justice John Paul Stevens: Leading Opinions on Wartime Detentions
This report discusses the justice John Paul Stevens that played a pivotal role in determining the scope of executive-branch power in a post-9/11 world. After 9/11, Congress quickly authorized the Executive to respond to the terrorist attacks using military force
U.S.-EU Cooperation Against Terrorism
This report examines the evolution of counterterrorism cooperation between the United States and the European Union (EU), particularly since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. It includes a discussion of U.S.-EU cooperation progress and ongoing challenges, as well as perspectives and issues for Congress.
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization: An Overview of Legislative Action in the 111th Congress
This report tracks the status of ongoing legislative action and debate related to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization. It is organized into six major program areas: aviation system finance; airport financing; FAA management and organizational issues; system capacity and safety; environmental issues; and airline industry issues. In several cases, provisions that appear in various unrelated sections of proposed legislation have been rearranged in this report in an effort to group and discuss related items in an issue-driven or programmatic context. Since this report is primarily written as a means of communicating key legislative provisions under consideration in the ongoing FAA reauthorization process, it does not go into detail regarding the specific policy issues behind these legislative proposals.
Afghanistan: Post-Taliban Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy
This report discusses the current political state of Afghanistan, focusing particularly on the influence of the Taliban and other militant groups and on the leadership of Afghan President Hamid Karzai. This report also discusses the U.S.-Afghanistan relationship and U.S. efforts under the Obama Administration to provide military, reconstructive, and stabilization aid.
A Shift in the International Security Environment: Potential Implications for Defense--Issues for Congress
A shift in the international security environment could have significant implications for U.S. defense plans and programs. A previous shift in the international security environment--from the Cold War to the post-Cold War era--prompted a broad reassessment by the Department of Defense (DOD) and Congress of defense funding levels, strategy, and missions that led to numerous changes in DOD plans and programs. The issue for Congress is whether a shift in the international security environment has occurred, and if so, how to respond to that shift. This report briefly describes the shift in the international security environment that some observers believe has occurred, and identifies some defense-related issues for Congress that could arise from it. Congress' decisions on these issues could have significant implications for U.S. defense capabilities and funding requirements.
Iraqi and Afghan Special Immigrant Visa Programs
This report analyzes the special immigrant visas (SIVs) classifications for Iraqis and Afghans within the context of both the larger INA special immigrant category and selected other permanent admissions categories. It discusses the legislative changes to the individual Iraqi and Afghan special immigrant programs since their initial authorization, provides statistics on visa issuances, and considers challenges that have faced the programs.
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA): An Overview of Programs and Funding
This report provides an overview of funding and programs of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) bureau.
The Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act: Overview and Issues
This report discusses the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) of 1986, which was enacted to improve absentee registration and voting for this group of voters and to consolidate existing laws.
Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia: Political Developments and Implications for U.S. Interests
This report discusses the history and political background of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia since breaking away from the former Soviet Union at the end of 1991. It looks at key issues for the 112th Congress including economies, energy, regional politics, local crime, and terrorism.
Proposed Retirement of A-10 Aircraft: Background in Brief
The Administration's fiscal 2015 budget proposed to retire the entire fleet of A-10 Thunderbolt II attack aircraft beginning in FY2016. This report covers the background to that decision and legislative action as of the end of 2014.
Navy Nuclear Aircraft Carrier (CVN) Homeporting at Mayport: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and issues for Congress on the Navy's proposal to homeport a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier (CVN) at Mayport, Florida. Transferring a CVN from Norfolk, Virginia, to Mayport would also shift the local economic activity associated with homeporting a CVN, which some sources estimate as being worth hundreds of millions of dollars per year.
State, Foreign Operations Appropriations: A Guide to Component Accounts
The State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs appropriations legislation provides annual funding for almost all of the international affairs programs generally considered as part of the 150 International Affairs Budget Function (the major exception being food assistance). The legislation has also served as a vehicle for Congress to place conditions on the expenditure of those funds, and express its views regarding certain foreign policy issues. This report briefly discusses the legislation generally and then provides a short description of the various funding accounts as they appear in Division J, "Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2015," of the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015.
Disaster Relief Funding and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations
This report describes the various components of the Disaster Relief Fund (DRF) within the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), including (1) what authorities have shaped it over the years; (2) how FEMA determines the amount of the appropriation requested to Congress (pertaining to the DRF); and (3) how emergency supplemental appropriations are requested. In addition to the DRF, information is provided on funds appropriated in supplemental appropriations legislation to agencies other than the Department of Homeland Security. Aspects of debate concerning how disaster relief is budgeted are also highlighted and examined, and alternative budgetary options are summarized.
Navy SSBN(X) Ballistic Missile Submarine Program: Background and Issues for Congress
This report discusses the Navy's plan to develop and design a class of 12 next-generation ballistic missile submarines, or SSBN(X)s, as replacements for the 14 Ohio class SSBNs currently in operation. The report explores certain related issues for Congress, including the affordability of the project and its potential impact on other Navy shipbuilding programs, alternatives to the program, and which shipyard or shipyards will build the proposed ships.
Haiti Earthquake: Crisis and Response
The largest earthquake ever recorded in Haiti devastated parts of the country, including the capital, on January 12, 2010. This report discusses the disaster and various responses, ranging from the Haitian government's initial response to foreign humanitarian and financial aid.
The Haitian Economy and the HOPE Act
This report discusses Haiti's economic, political, and social development that has been on a slow track since the transition from dictatorship to democracy began in the mid-1980s.
Navy Ford (CVN-78) Class Aircraft Carrier Program: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and potential oversight issues for Congress on the CVN-78 program, which includes the CVN-78, CVN-79, and CVN-80 as the first three ships in the Navy's new Gerald R. Ford (CVN- 78) class of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers (CVNs).
The "Deeming Resolution": A Budget Enforcement Tool
Deeming resolution" is a term that refers to legislation which is deemed to serve as an annual budget resolution for purposes of establishing enforceable budget levels for a budget cycle. A deeming resolution is used when the House and Senate are late in reaching final agreement on a budget resolution or fail to reach agreement altogether. Either chamber may initiate its own budget enforcement procedures by adopting a "deeming resolution" in the form of a simple resolution. This report describes substantive enforcement procedures associated with the budget resolution, explains the concept of a "deeming resolution," discusses House and Senate action on deeming resolutions, and provides information on a related topic, waiving a bar against the consideration of budgetary legislation for a fiscal year before a budget resolution for that fiscal year has been adopted.
Director of National Intelligence Statutory Authorities: Status and Proposals
This report discusses the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) position created by the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (P.L. 108-458). It includes an overview of the authorities granted to the DNI by legislation in 2004 and later as well as the varying opinions of Congress regarding new DNI authorities, as well as related legislation from FY2010 through FY2012.
Latin America and Climate Change
This report briefly discusses recent policy efforts in Latin America to confront climate change and the Obama Administrations' Energy and Climate Partnership for the Americas (ECPA).
China's Mineral Industry and U.S. Access to Strategic and Critical Minerals: Issues for Congress
This report will examine China's position in the global mineral and metal markets; its growth in mineral reserves; the growth of supply, demand, and imports; and the role of China's state-owned enterprises (SOEs). The report takes a look at U.S. mineral import dependence, U.S. import dependence on China, and selected policy options. There are Appendices on mineral end-use applications, and selected critical minerals legislation in the 113th Congress.