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 Decade: 2010-2019
 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Iran: U.S. Concerns and Policy Responses
This report discusses the reasons that Iran is considered a threat to U.S. security, including Iran's nuclear program, involvement with terrorist organizations, and involvement with neighboring countries' local governments. It also discusses ways in which the U.S. hopes to modify Iran's behavior with sanctions, and the effectiveness of these sanctions.
Iran: U.S. Economic Sanctions and the Authority to Lift Restrictions
The United States has led the international community in imposing economic sanctions on Iran, in an effort to change the government of that country's support of acts of international terrorism, poor human rights record, weapons and missile development and acquisition, role in regional instability, and development of a nuclear program. This report identifies the legislative bases for sanctions imposed on Iran, and the nature of the authority to waive or lift those restrictions. It comprises two tables that present legislation and executive orders that are specific to Iran and its objectionable activities in the areas of terrorism, human rights, and weapons proliferation. It will be updated if and when new legislation is enacted, or, in the case of executive orders, if and when the President takes additional steps to change U.S. policy toward Iran.
PILT (Payments in Lieu of Taxes): Somewhat Simplified
This report explains Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT), with an analysis of the five major factors affecting the calculation of a payment to a given county. It also describes the effects of recent legislative changes to PILT.
Federal Inspectors General: History, Characteristics, and Recent Congressional Actions
This report discusses federal inspectors general (IGs), who are authorized to combat waste, fraud, and abuse within their affiliated federal entities. To execute their missions, offices of inspector general (OIGs) conduct and publish audits and investigations--among other duties. Two major enactments--the Inspector General Act of 1978 and its amendments of 1988 (codified at 5 U.S.C. Appendix)--established federal IGs as permanent, nonpartisan, and independent offices in more than 70 federal agencies.
Federal Lands and Natural Resources: Overview and Selected Issues for the 113th Congress
This report introduces some of the broad themes and issues Congress considers when addressing federal land policy and resource management. Federal land policy includes questions about the extent and location of the federal estate.
Hospital-Based Emergency Departments: Background and Policy Considerations
This report describes Emergency departments (EDs), the role they play in the health care delivery system, and current federal involvement in supporting EDs. It then discusses the causes and consequences of three commonly identified and interrelated challenges that EDs face: (1) crowding, (2) providing repeat care to a subset of patients who are frequent users, and (3) providing care to a large population who have behavioral health conditions when an ED lacks the appropriate resources to provide such treatment. The report concludes with policy options that Congress may consider to potentially improve ED functioning and reduce payer costs.
The "Islamic State" Crisis and U.S. Policy
This report discusses the problems facing Iraq as the Islamic State (IS, aka the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL/ISIS) gains power in the region. IS is a transnational Sunni Islamist insurgent and terrorist group that has expanded its control over areas of northwestern Iraq and northeastern Syria since 2013, threatening the security of both countries and drawing increased attention from the international community. The Islamic State has thrived in the disaffected Sunni Muslim-inhabited areas of Iraq and in the remote provinces of Syria torn by the civil war. The Islamic State's tactics have drawn the ire of the international community, increasing U.S. attention on Iraq's political problems and on the civil war in Syria.
Israel: Background and U.S. Relations
This report describes issues related to U.S. aid provided to Palestine to support prevention/combating against terrorism, creating coexistence with Israel and self-governance, and meeting humanitarian needs. In includes introductory and historical background as well as in-depth analysis of the types of U.S. bilateral aid to Palestine, U.S. contributions to the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the near East (UNRWA), and the issues involved in determining future aid.
Nuclear Energy Cooperation with Foreign Countries: Issues for Congress
This report begins with a brief overview of the global nuclear power industry, including the possessors of enrichment and reprocessing technology. It then describes the state of the U.S. nuclear industry, particularly its dependence on both international trade and foreign suppliers. The report then reviews the multilateral nuclear nonproliferation mechanisms. It concludes with a detailed summary of U.S. nuclear cooperation agreements, the primary mechanism by which the United States both promotes U.S. nuclear commerce and ensures that such commerce does not contribute to clandestine nuclear weapons programs.
Security Assistance Reform: "Section 1206" Background and Issues for Congress
This report discusses Section 1206 of the FY2006 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which provides the Secretary of Defense with authority to train and equip foreign military forces for two specified purposes--counterterrorism and stability operations--and foreign security forces for counterterrorism operations.
State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs: FY2015 Budget and Appropriations
This report tracks the FY2015 State Department, Foreign Operations and Related Programs appropriations process. It includes information about recent actions, current requests and past trends, state operations and related agencies, and foreign operations.
Army Active Component (AC)/Reserve Component (RC) Force Mix: Considerations and Options for Congress
The Army is composed of both an Active Component (AC) and a Reserve Component (RC). The AC consists of soldiers who are in the Army as their full-time occupation. The RC is composed primarily of soldiers who serve part-time but who can be ordered to full-time duty. The Army's RC is made up of both the Army National Guard (ARNG) and the United States Army Reserve (USAR). AC/RC force mix refers to the distribution of units between the active and reserve components of the armed forces. This report discusses the ongoing debate over the AC/RC mix, which center on whether or not to shift force structure between the AC and the RC and, if so, what types of units to shift.
China-U.S. Trade Issues
This report discusses the U.S.-China economic relationship and China's rapid expansion as a global economic market, both with respect to the current global economic crisis. It also examines major U.S.-China trade issues and related legislation.
Closing a Congressional Office: Overview of House and Senate Practices
Turnover of membership in the House and Senate necessitates closing congressional offices. The closure of a congressional office requires an outgoing Member of Congress to evaluate pertinent information regarding his or her staff; the disposal of personal and official records; and final disposition of office accounts, facilities, and equipment. This report is designed to address questions that arise when a congressional office is closing.
The First Day of a New Congress: A Guide to Proceedings on the House Floor
This report focuses on the floor activities of the House during its first formal session in a new Congress, and serves as a guide for those participating in or watching these proceedings.
The Help America Vote Act and Election Administration: Overview and Issues
The deadlocked November 2000 presidential election focused national attention on previously obscure details of election administration. Even before the U.S. Supreme Court had resolved the election in December, numerous bills to address the failings of the election system were introduced in Congress and state legislatures. The response at the federal level was the Help America Vote Act (HAVA; P.L. 107-252), enacted in 2002. HAVA created the Election Assistance Commission (EAC), established a set of election administration requirements, and provided federal funding, but did not supplant state and local control over election administration. Several issues have arisen or persisted in the years since HAVA was enacted. This report provides background information about HAVA and its provisions, the EAC, funding for the agency and for state programs to improve elections, and a number of enduring election administration issues.
Preventing the Introduction and Spread of Ebola in the United States: Frequently Asked Questions
This report answers common legal and policy questions about the potential introduction and spread of Ebola Virus Disease in the United States.
The Receipt of Gifts by Federal Employees in the Executive Branch
This report provides information on the federal statutes, regulations, and guidelines concerning the restrictions on the acceptance of gifts and things of value by officers or employees in the executive branch of the United States government.
Selected Privileges and Courtesies Extended to Former Members of Congress
This report discusses the courtesies and privileges afforded to Members of the House and Senate, after they leave office.
Attorney General Nominations Since the Reagan Administration
On November 9, 2014, President Obama announced his intention to nominate U.S. Attorney Loretta E. Lynch to replace Eric H. Holder Jr. as Attorney General (AG). Presidents have nominated a total of 11 individuals, including Lynch, for the position of AG since the beginning of the Reagan Administration in 1981. This report provides a table with information regarding these 11 nominations.
FY2015 Budget Requests to Counter Ebola and the Islamic State (IS)
This report discusses the emergency request for the U.S. Ebola response and provides data on health and human services funds for Ebola and other infectious diseases.
The Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Strategy: In Brief
This report briefly analyzes the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Strategy (HSRS), which is the key strategic document released by the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force established by executive order. This report also discusses overarching issues for Congress that may arise during oversight of the Hurricane Sandy recovery process and how lessons learned from Hurricane Sandy can be applied to future disasters.
"Living Wills": The Legal Regime for Constructing Resolution Plans for Certain Financial Institutions
One of the chief objectives of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (DFA) is to promote financial stability within the United States, without the need for emergency governmental assistance to troubled firms. To achieve this goal, the DFA establishes a heightened regulatory regime for certain, generally large "covered financial institutions." A pillar of this heightened regulatory regime is that each covered financial institution must submit "credible" plans to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (FRB) and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) detailing how the firm could be quickly resolved in an orderly fashion under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code or other applicable insolvency regime "in the event of a material financial distress or failure." These resolution plans are commonly referred to as "living wills." This report reviews the legal structure of the DFA's living will requirements, pursuant to both DFA Section 165(d) and the regulations and guidance issued jointly by the FRB and FDIC, and explains the August 2014 joint announcement of the FRB and FDIC regarding the inadequacies of the 2013 living wills filed by the 11 largest, most complex financial institutions in the country. This report also examines some of the steps that these institutions might voluntarily take.
State Marijuana Legalization Initiatives: Implications for Federal Law Enforcement
This report provides a background on federal marijuana policy as well as an overview of state trends with respect to marijuana decriminalization and legalization--for both medical and recreational uses. It then analyzes relevant issues for U.S. federal law enforcement as well as for the criminal organizations involved in producing, distributing, and profiting from the black market sale of marijuana. This report also outlines a number of related policy questions that Congress may confront.
U.S. Rail Transportation of Crude Oil: Background and Issues for Congress
This report discusses the challenges in the transportation of oil, as refineries that once received crude oil principally from oceangoing tankers are now seeing increasing deliveries by domestic transport. It also outlines possible issues for Congress including rail transport of oil versus pipelines, and the possible increase of oil spills from rail transport.
The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC): An Overview
The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a refundable tax credit available to eligible workers earning relatively low wages. This report provides an overview of the EITC, first discussing eligibility requirements for the credit, followed by how the credit is computed and paid. The report then provides data on the growth of the EITC since it was first enacted in 1975. Finally the report concludes with data on the EITC claimed on 2012 tax returns, examining EITC claims by number of qualifying children, income level, tax filing status, and location of residence.
Fact Sheet: Selected Highlights of H.R. 3979, the Carl Levin and Howard "Buck" McKeon National Defense Authorization Act for FY2015
This report contains selected highlights of S. 1847, the version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for FY2015, agreed to on December 2, 2014, by negotiators for the House and Senate Armed Services Committees.
International Climate Change Financing: The Green Climate Fund (GCF)
This report discusses United States commitments for climate change through financial and technical assistance and multilateral programs.
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, in both the short and long term, and U.S. efforts under the Obama Administration to provide military, reconstructive, and stabilization aid.
Conflict Minerals and Resource Extraction: Dodd-Frank, SEC Regulations, and Legal Challenges
This report discusses the two sections of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Protection Act (Dodd-Frank) that require the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC or Commission) to issue regulations to make public the involvement of U.S. companies in conflict minerals and in resource extraction payments.
Congressional Liaison Offices of Selected Federal Agencies
This report provides a list of roughly 200 congressional liaison offices with phone numbers, addresses, and other contact information.
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 with U.S. policy objectives in the Middle East, including the promotion of Arab- Israeli peace.
The Peace Corps: Current Issues
The report discusses the President's annual funding request for the Peace Corps, efforts to reauthorize the Peace Corps, and related issues. Current issues include the extent to which there is available funding for Peace Corps expansion, whether the Peace Corps has the institutional capacity to expand, and whether volunteers are able to function in a safe and secure environment.
U.S. Assistance Programs in China
This report examines U.S. foreign assistance activities in the People's Republic of China (PRC), undertaken by the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The report also discusses related foreign operations appropriations, policy history, and legislative background. International programs supported by U.S. departments and agencies other than the Department of State and USAID, as well as Department of State public diplomacy programs, are not covered in this report.
U.S. International Corporate Taxation: Basic Concepts and Policy Issues
This report provides a general introduction to the basic concepts and issues relevant to the U.S. international corporate tax system. The explanations provided in this report emphasize the underlying concepts of the international tax system and are intended to be as simplified as possible.
The Corporate Income Tax System: Overview and Options for Reform
This report presents information and research on the corporate tax to help policy makers understand and evaluate arguments presented in the tax reform debate. This report first reviews the structure of the corporate income tax. Data on which companies pay the corporate tax, corporate tax revenue, and how the U.S. system compares to the rest of the world are then presented and analyzed. Next, the economic effects of the corporate tax are reviewed--including a discussion of the purpose of the corporate tax, who bears the burden of the tax, and how to evaluate alternative corporate tax systems. The report then reviews broad reform options and concludes with a comparison of specific proposals that have been offered.
EPA Delays Decision on 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard to 2015
This report discusses the 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) that sets the annual minimum use requirements for biofuels in the nation's transportation fuel supply.
Major Disaster Declarations for Snow Assistance and Severe Winter Storms: An Overview
This report describes snow assistance and assistance for severe winter storms, the declaration process, the criteria used to make eligibility determinations, and the types of assistance that are provided after the President has issued a major disaster declaration for the incident. This report also provides historical data on winter incidents since 2009 including obligations for the incidents from FEMA's Disaster Relief Fund (DRF). The DRF is the main account used to fund a wide variety of programs, grants, and other forms of emergency and disaster assistance to states, local governments, certain nonprofit entities, and families and individuals affected by disasters.
Taxation of Internet Sales and Access: Legal Issues
This report first looks at the Constitution's requirement of nexus, including an examination of whether recent state laws comply with the nexus standard and federal legislation that would affect the standard. It then looks at the scope of the Internet Tax Freedom Act (ITFA) moratorium on multiple or discriminatory taxes on electronic commerce and taxes on Internet access.
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.
What Is the Current State of the Economic Recovery?
This report discusses the U.S. economy's recovery from the 2007-2009 recession.
"Amazon Laws" and Taxation of Internet Sales: Constitutional Analysis
As more purchases are made over the Internet, states are looking for new ways to collect taxes on online sales. There is a common misperception that the U.S. Constitution prohibits states from taxing Internet sales. This report discusses "Amazon laws", which try to capture uncollected taxes on Internet sales and yet still comply with the Constitution's requirements.
The Committee Markup Process in the House of Representatives
This report focuses on the markup stage of the legislative process in committee. It discusses the selection of the text to be marked up, the procedures for proposing and debating amendments to that text, the voting and quorum procedures that govern markups, and the final stages of ordering the marked-up text reported to the House for its consideration.
Employment Growth and Progress Toward Full Employment
This report provides figures on job growth since October 2010 to the second half of 2012.
Speaking on the House Floor: Gaining Time and Parliamentary Phraseology
This report discusses the House rules and precedents that structure Members' opportunities to speak on the floor about pending legislation. Under some circumstances, Members arrange to speak on legislation by communicating with the leaders of the committee that reported the bill. Sometimes the arrangements can be made on the floor during the debate, and at other times they are made prior to floor consideration. The committee leaders from both sides of the aisle manage the consideration of a bill on the floor, under what is known as controlled time, by allocating the debate time among several Members.
Counting Regulations: An Overview of Rulemaking, Types of Federal Regulations, and Pages in the Federal Register
This report serves to inform the congressional debate over rulemaking by analyzing different ways to measure federal rulemaking activity. The report provides data on and analysis of the total number of rules issued each year, as well as information on other types of rules, such as "major" rules, "significant" rules, and "economically significant" rules.
Export-Import Bank Reauthorization: Frequently Asked Questions
This report addresses frequently asked questions about Ex-Im Bank, grouped in the following categories: congressional interest and the Ex-Im Bank reauthorization debate; market context; international context; organizational structure and management; programs; statutory requirements and policies; risk management; budget and appropriations; implications of a sunset in authority; and historical and current approaches to reauthorization.
Guam: U.S. Defense Deployments
This report discusses the strategic significance of Guam for defense buildup and the force relocation and deployments from the U.S. mainland. It also discusses the concerns and issues for Congress, such as allies and partners, relations with China, and legislation.
Internet Domain Names: Background and Policy Issues
This report discusses the Domain Name System (DNS), which is the distributed set of databases that contain address numbers mapped to corresponding domain names, making it possible to send and receive messages and to access information on the Internet. The report includes background on the DNS and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) that manages the services, as well as related issues for the 113th Congress.
Internet Governance and the Domain Name System: Issues for Congress
This report provides a definition regarding Internet governance and how the Internet is currently governed. The report discusses the role of United States government and future model of Internet governance.