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 Decade: 2010-2019
 Year: 2011
 Month: October
 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
The Intelligence Appropriations Process: Issues for Congress
The intelligence appropriations process remains complicated and not well understood, but intelligence is an important and sizable part of the federal budget and will undoubtedly be addressed as Congress considers various alternatives for spending. This report reviews the intelligence appropriations process, describes various changes that have been proposed, and analyzes the issues associated with the proposals.
Solar Projects: DOE Section 1705 Loan Guarantees
This report discusses the solar energy initiative and the political implications. The objective of this report is to provide Congress with insight regarding solar projects supported by Department of Energy (DOE’s) loan guarantee program, the risk characteristics of these projects, and how other DOE loan guarantee projects are either similar to or different from the Solyndra solar manufacturing project.
Regulatory Incentives for Electricity Transmissions-Issues and Cost Concerns
This report will focus on issues related to the need for transmission incentives, and consumer cost concerns related to these incentives. Given the changes that FERC cites in the electric industry, the question arises as to whether the need for transmission incentives continues. FERC is bound by EPACT to make incentives available, and is not proposing to end the incentives. However, with concerns raised over the effects of transmission incentives on consumer rates, implications of related federal policies on the electric power sector, additional FERC regulatory policies for transmission, and the aging of electricity infrastructure among key issues, the need for continuing transmission incentives may be a matter for Congress to consider.
Presidential Nominating Process: Current Issues
This report discusses issues regarding the Presidential Nomination Process including information about the 2008 election, calendar changes from 1988 to 2008, changes to national party rules for 2012, an evaluation of the primary system, reform proposals, and legislative considerations.
The Arsenal Act: Context and Legislative History
This report describes the roles of the federal manufacturing arsenals during the years surrounding the enactment of the two sections of the Arsenal Act, one as part of the Army Appropriations Act for 1854, and the other within the Defense Act of 1920, also known as the Army Reorganization Act of 1920, and provides historical context. The report also shows the change in language between the sections' original enactment and today, and it provides details on the Army's policy in implementing the manufacturing sourcing portion of the statute.
State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs: FY2012 Budget and Appropriations
This report focuses on the $59.65 billion requested for programs and activities funded through the State-Foreign Operations appropriations bill, which excludes some portions of the International Affairs request such as certain commissions and foreign food aid requested as part of other budget functions.
Trade Preferences for Developing Countries and the World Trade Organization (WTO)
This report discusses the trade preferences and General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) most-favored-nation (MFN) requirements, World Trade Organization (WTO) waivers for preferential trade agreements, and WTO waivers for U.S. preference programs.
Trade Preferences for Developing Countries and the World Trade Organization (WTO)
This report discusses the trade preferences and General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) most-favored-nation (MFN) requirements, World Trade Organization (WTO) waivers for preferential trade agreements, and WTO waivers for U.S. preference programs.
An Analysis of the “Buffett Rule”
This report examines the Buffett rule, but uses a measure of income that captures the ability to pay taxes and incorporates the effect of the corporate income tax in addition to the individual income tax and the payroll tax. The Buffet rule states that "no household making over $1 million annually should pay a smaller share of its income in taxes than middle-class families pay" and is named after Warren Buffett, the chairman of Berkshire Hathaway. The report includes figures, tables, and appendices to illustrate calculations and issues involved with the topic.
Agriculture in Pending U.S. Free Trade Agreements with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama
This report discusses pending U.S. free trade agreements (FTAs) with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama. The bills to implement these agreements will now be debated under trade promotion authority, or fast-track rules, designed to expedite congressional consideration. The report includes an overview of agricultural issues regarding FTAs and pending FTA partners, as well as a closer breakdown of the specific issues for each of the countries.
Afghanistan: Politics, Elections, and Government Performance
This report discusses the current political state of Afghanistan, as well as the Afghan government. This report also discusses Afghanistan's relationship with the United States, particularly U.S. efforts to urge President Hamid Karzai, to address corruption within the Afghan government. The report also includes discussion of election fraud and corruption in Afghanistan.
Bahrain: Reform, Security, and U.S. Policy
This report discusses the current state of Bahrain, which has undergone substantial political reforms since the late 1990s, but which still suffers from tension between the Shiite majority and the Sunni-led government. This report focuses particularly on Bahrain's relationship with the United States and with regional issues.
Bahrain: Reform, Security, and U.S. Policy
This report discusses the current state of Bahrain, which has undergone substantial political reforms since the late 1990s, but which still suffers from tension between the Shiite majority and the Sunni-led government. This report focuses particularly on Bahrain's relationship with Iran and Bahrain's relationship with the United States.
Iran Sanctions
This report focuses on the United States' relationship with Iran and how the Obama Administration is handling prior administration's economic sanctions against Iran. The Obama Administration's policy approach toward Iran has contrasted with the Bush Administration's by attempting to couple the imposition of sanctions to an active and direct U.S. effort to negotiate with Iran on the nuclear issue. That approach was not initially altered because of the Iranian dispute over its June 12, 2009, elections. However, with subsequent negotiations yielding no firm Iranian agreement to compromise, since early 2010 the Administration has focused on achieving the imposition of additional U.N., U.S., and allied country sanctions whose cumulative effect would be to compel it to accept a nuclear bargain.
Pakistan-U.S. Relations: A Summary
This report summarizes important recent developments in Pakistan and in Pakistan-U.S. relations. Obama Administration engagement with Pakistan has been seriously disrupted by recent events. A brief analysis of the current state of Pakistan-U.S. relations illuminates the main areas of contention and uncertainty. Vital U.S. interests related to links between Pakistan and indigenous American terrorism, Islamist militancy in Pakistan and Islamabad's policies toward the Afghan insurgency, Pakistan's relations with historic rival India, nuclear weapons proliferation and security, and the troubled status of Pakistan's domestic setting are reviewed. Ongoing human rights concerns and U.S. foreign assistance programs for Pakistan are briefly summarized, and the report closes with an analysis of current U.S.-Pakistan relations.
Funding Emergency Communications: Technology and Policy Considerations
This report identifies areas where changes in existing policies and practices may facilitate achievement of the important goals for emergency communications that Congress and others have identified. Why these goals have become important, and recent planning efforts to achieve these goals, is discussed first. Next, possible barriers to achieving these goals are identified and described. The conclusion revisits key options presently under consideration by Congress.
Central Asia: Regional Developments and Implications for U.S. Interests
This report discusses the current status of Central Asian states and U.S. policy, which has been aimed at facilitating their cooperation with U.S. and NATO stabilization efforts in Afghanistan and their efforts to combat terrorism, proliferation, and trafficking in arms, drugs, and persons. Congress will be considering an increase in support for the programs in Central Asia.
Securing Nuclear Materials: The 2010 Summit and Issues for Congress
The 2010 Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, DC, was part of President Obama's pledge to secure nuclear material around the world by 2013. Nuclear security measures refer to a wide range of actions to prevent theft or diversion of nuclear material or sabotage at an installation or in transit. Congress will continue to decide on funding for the U.S. domestic and international programs focused on nuclear material security and nuclear terrorism prevention. Congress is also likely to assess implementation of the Administration's goal to secure nuclear materials by the end of 2013.
Budget Control Act: Potential Impact of Automatic Spending Reduction Procedures on Health Reform
The Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA; P.L. 112-25) established new budget enforcement mechanisms for reducing the federal deficit by at least $2.1 trillion over the 10-year period FY2012-FY2021. The BCA places statutory limits, or caps, on discretionary spending for each of those 10 fiscal years, which will save an estimated $0.9 trillion during that period. In addition, it creates a Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (Joint Committee), which is instructed to develop legislation to reduce the federal deficit by at least another $1.5 trillion through FY2021.
Interior Immigration Enforcement: Programs Targeting Criminal Aliens
This report begins by defining and quantifying the criminal alien population, to the extent possible. The following sections describe current and historical programs designed in whole or in part to target this population, including CAP, Secure Communities, the § 287(g) program, and NFOP. After describing how these programs function and key differences among them, the report reviews their recent appropriations history and enforcement statistics.
Synthetic Drugs: Overview and Issues for Congress
This report discusses the federal scheduling of controlled substances, including the temporary scheduling of substances. It also provides an overview of current trends in selected synthetic cannabinoids and stimulants. It concludes with a review of selected relevant legislation in the 112th Congress as well as issues for policymakers to consider.
Farm Safety Net Proposals for the 2012 Farm Bill
This report discusses three proposals-one by the National Cotton Council, one by Representative Neugebauer, and another by a private crop insurance company-focus on modifications to crop insurance programs. The National Farmers Union proposes to replace existing farm programs with a combination of farmer-owned-reserves, increased loan rates, and set asides. A proposed new dairy program-the Dairy Security Act-would provide a voluntary margin insurance program and market stabilization activities in place of current dairy programs. Finally, the proposed REFRESH Act (Senator Lugar) would eliminate most commodity programs (including the sugar program), and incorporate ARRM, the Dairy Security Act, and expanded whole-farm revenue insurance in their place.
Cuba: U.S. Restrictions on Travel and Remittances
This report discusses details of policy changes regarding travel to Cuba, which have been a key and often contentious component in U.S. efforts to isolate Cuba's communist government since the early 1960s. In January 2011, the Obama Administration announced policy changes further easing restrictions on travel and remittances. In the first session of the 112th Congress, there were several attempts aimed at rolling back the Obama Administration's actions easing restrictions on travel and remittances. Several initiatives were also introduced that would further ease or lift such restrictions altogether.
Numerical Limits on Employment-Based Immigration: Analysis of the Per-Country Ceilings
The report opens with brief explanations of the employment-based preference categories and the per-country ceilings governing annual admissions of LPRs. The focus is on the major employment-based preference categories. The report continues with a statistical analysis of the pending caseload of approved employment-based LPR petitions.
U.S. Foreign Aid to the Palestinians
U.S. aid to the Palestinians has fluctuated considerably over the past three years, largely due to Hamas's changing role within the Palestinian Authority (PA). Since Hamas's forcible takeover of the Gaza Strip in June 2007, the U.S. has dramatically boosted aid levels to bolster the PA and President Mahmoud Abbas vis-à-vis Hamas. Because of congressional concerns that, among other things, U.S. funds might be diverted to Palestinian terrorist groups, much of this assistance is subject to legislative restrictions. Experts advise that PA stability hinges on, now more than ever, improved security, economic development, Israeli cooperation, and the continuation of high levels of foreign assistance.
Access to Broadband Networks: The Net Neutrality Debate
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Agriculture and Related Agencies: FY2012 Appropriations
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Antipoverty Effects of Unemployment Insurance
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Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia: Political Developments and Implications for U.S. Interests
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The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Meetings in Honolulu: A Preview
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Background and Issues for Congressional Oversight of ARRA Broadband Awards
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Broadband Internet Access and the Digital Divide: Federal Assistance Programs
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Broadband Loan and Grant Programs in the USDA’s Rural Utilities Service
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The Budget Control Act of 2011: Effects on Spending Levels and the Budget Deficit
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Child Welfare: Recent and Proposed Federal Funding
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Child Welfare: The Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act (P.L. 112-34)
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China Naval Modernization: Implications for U.S. Navy Capabilities—Background and Issues for Congress
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Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies: FY2012 Appropriations
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Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty: Background and Current Developments
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Cuba: Issues for the 112th Congress
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Dairy Farm Support: Legislative Proposals in the 112th Congress
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Defense: FY2012 Budget Request, Authorization and Appropriations
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Definition of Income in PPACA for Certain Medicaid Provisions and Premium Credits
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Dependent Care: Current Tax Benefits and Legislative Issues
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Deregulating Genetically Engineered Alfalfa and Sugar Beets: Legal and Administrative Responses
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Dispute Settlement in the U.S.-South Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA)
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The Education of Students with Disabilities: Alignment Between the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
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Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s Financial Problems
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The FCC’s Authority to Regulate Net Neutrality After Comcast v. FCC
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The Federal Budget: Issues for FY2011, FY2012, and Beyond
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