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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
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Selected Theories of Constitutional Interpretation
This report examines theories of constitutional interpretation, the role of the judiciary in this interpretation, and constitutional protections for fundamental rights. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc103125/
U.S.-Mexican Security Cooperation: the Mérida Initiative and Beyond
This report looks at the funding and Congressional oversight for the U.S.-Mexican governments joint effort to curb drug trafficking and violence via the Initiative. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc103104/
Nuclear Cooperation with Other Countries: A Primer
This report discusses section 123 of the Atomic Energy Act (AEA), the specific requirements of which must be met in order for the United States to engage in civilian nuclear cooperation with other states. The AEA also provides for exemptions to these requirements, export control licensing procedures, and criteria for terminating cooperation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc33113/
Mandatory Vaccinations: Precedent and Current Laws
This report provides an overview of the legal precedent for mandatory vaccination laws, and of state laws that require certain individuals or populations, including school-aged children and health care workers, to be vaccinated against various communicable diseases. Also discussed are state laws providing for mandatory vaccinations during a public health emergency or outbreak of a communicable disease. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31489/
U.S. Immigration Policy on Temporary Admissions
This report begins with a discussion of the policy tensions surrounding temporary admissions. It follows with a synthesis of the nonimmigrant categories according to the purpose of the visa. It discusses the periods of admission and length of stay and then summarizes grounds for inadmissibility and removal as well as reasons for termination of status. It also describes the circumstances under which nonimmigrants may work in the United States. The second portion of the report analyzes trends in temporary migration. It describes changes over time in nonimmigrant visas issued and nonimmigrant admissions. Various data on nonimmigrants who establish residence in the United States are also discussed. The report concludes with two detailed tables analyzing key admissions requirements across all nonimmigrant visa types. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc99079/
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc33088/
National Flood Insurance Program: Background, Challenges, and Financial Status
In 1968, Congress created the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to address the increasing costs of taxpayer-funded disaster relif for flood victims and the increasing amount of damage caused by floods. This report provides an analysis of the NFIP and its financial status; summarizes the major challenges facing the program, including issues affecting its long-term financial solvency; presents some alternative approaches for managing and financing the flood losses; and describes pending legislation on this issue. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc33010/
International Criminal Court Cases in Africa: Status and Policy Issues
The International Criminal Court (ICC) has, to date, opened cases exclusively in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Statute of the ICC, also known as the Rome Statute, entered into force on July 1, 2002, and established a permanent, independent Court to investigate and bring to justice individuals who commit war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. As of October 2010, 114 countries-including 31 African countries, the largest regional block-were parties to the Statute. The United States is not a party. This report provides background on current ICC cases and examines issues raised by the ICC's actions in Africa. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc33072/
Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) Status for Russia and U.S.-Russian Economic Ties
Granting Russia permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) status requires a change in law because Russia is prohibited from receiving unconditional and permanent NTR under Title IV of the Trade Act of 1974. This provision includes the so-called Jackson-Vanik amendment. Extension of PNTR has implications for Russia's accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO). This report examines this legislative issue in the context of Russian accession to the WTO and U.S.-Russian economic ties. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc33091/
Advertising by the Federal Government: An Overview
This report looks at what government agencies are spending on advertising, including the difficulties of estimating advertising expenditures and the restrictions on government advertising. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc103147/
International Criminal Court and the Rome Statute: 2010 Review Conference
This report is a summary of the 2010 International Criminal Court (ICC) Review Conference in which several countries discuss political and legal ramifications of the ICC. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc103148/
Mandatory Vaccinations: Precedent and Current Laws
This report provides an overview of the legal precedent for mandatory vaccination laws, and of state laws that require certain individuals or populations, including school-aged children and health care workers, to be vaccinated against various communicable diseases. Also discussed are state laws providing for mandatory vaccinations during a public health emergency or outbreak of a communicable disease. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc33092/
Liability and Compensation Issues Raised by the 2010 Gulf Oil Spill
The first section of this report provides an overview of the existing liability and compensation framework as it relates to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The second section highlights many of the liability and compensation issues raised by the event. The third section discusses options for policymakers to adjust, amend, or supplement the current framework. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc103145/
Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response: The SAFER Grant Program
The Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Act (the "SAFER Act") was enacted by the 108th Congress as part of the FY2004 National Defense Authorization Act. This report describes the SAFER Act in brief, discusses possible budgetary modifications to the SAFER Act that are being considered due to the recent economic downturn, and explores related issues for the 112th Congress as they consider reauthorization. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc33054/
Supreme Court Nominations: Senate Floor Procedure and Practice, 1789-2011
This report examines the ways in which the Senate has handled the 160 Supreme Court nominations the President has sent to the Senate. As the purpose of this report is to examine the forms taken by Senate proceedings on these 160 nominations, it treats each nomination as a separate case. It is not couched in terms of the smaller number of different individuals nominated or the ultimate outcome the confirmation process may have had for each individual. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc33052/
The Origination Clause of the U.S. Constitution: Interpretation and Enforcement
Article I, Section 7, clause 1 of the U.S. Constitution is known as the Origination Clause because it provides that "All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives." The meaning and application of this clause has evolved through practice and precedent since the Constitution was drafted. The Constitution does not provide specific guidelines as to what constitutes a "bill for raising revenue." This report analyzes congressional and court precedents regarding that constitutes such a bill. Second, this report describes the various ways in which the Origination Clause has been enforced. Finally, this report looks at the application of the Origination Clause to other types of legislation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc33039/
Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies: FY2011 Appropriations
This report provides an overview of actions taken by Congress to provide FY2011 appropriations for Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS). It also provides an overview of FY2010 appropriations for agencies and bureaus funded under the CJS bill. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc33015/
EPA Regulations: Too Much, Too Little, or On Track?
This report provides background information on recent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rulemaking to help address dissenting concerns from critics and the EPA. It examines 43 major or controversial regulatory actions taken by or under development at EPA since January 2009. The report also discusses factors that affect the timeframe in which regulations take effect. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc98962/
Overview of Immigration Issues in the 112th Congress
This report synthesizes immigration issues as a multi-tiered debate. It breaks down the U.S. immigration law and policy into key elements: border control and visa security; legal immigration; documentation and verification; interior immigration enforcement; integration, status, and benefits; and refugees and other humanitarian populations. This report also delineates the debate in the 112th Congress for a range of issues, including border security, criminal aliens, and worksite enforcement. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc33030/
Funeral Protests: Selected Federal Laws and Constitutional Issues
This report discusses the Supreme Court's decision in Snyder vs. Phelps, which deals with the question of Westboro Baptist Church's tort liability, a church that has protested military funerals for a number of years. It analyzes the constitutional issues facing federal laws that create funeral protest buffer zones and examines legislative options for amending the federal laws restricting funeral protests, including H.R. 961. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc99031/
Unauthorized Alien Students: Issues and “DREAM Act” Legislation
This report discusses the "DREAM Act", a measure to enable certain unauthorized alien students to legalize their status, as well as related issues. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc99101/
Outer Continental Shelf Moratoria on Oil and Gas Development
This report discusses moratoria measures for the outer continental shelf (OCS) which establish bans or restrictions on oil and gas exploration and development in federal ocean areas. It includes a background of offshore oil and gas development, the sources of U.S. moratorium policy, the background of ocean governance, U.S. moratoria in international areas, and related issues for congress. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc98955/
The Technology Innovation Program
This report discusses the elimination of the Technology Innovation Program (TIP) - specifically a renewal of the debate over the role of the federal government in promoting commercial technology development. TIP was established in 2007 at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to replace the Advanced Technology Program (ATP). This effort was designed "to support, promote, and accelerate innovation in the United States through high-risk, high-reward research in areas of critical national need," according to the authorizing legislation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc99131/
The Exon-Florio National Security Test for Foreign Investment
This report covers the recent background of the Exon-Florio provision with special regards to issues faced in the 112th Congress. The Exon-Florio provision grants the President the authority to block proposed or pending foreign acquisitions of “persons engaged in interstate commerce in the United States” that threaten to impair the national security. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc99092/
Supreme Court Appellate Jurisdiction Over Military Court Cases
This report discusses events in which the U.S. Supreme Court would have jurisdiction over military court cases. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc99117/
Military Justice: Courts-Martial, An Overview
This report gives a detailed overview of the military court-martial system, including a discussion of the three types of court-martials: summary, special, and general. It includes a chart showing procedural safeguards in federal and military courts. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc99044/
Protecting Classified Information and the Rights of Criminal Defendants: The Classified Information Procedures Act
This report gives an overview of the Classified Information Procedures Act, enacted by the 96th Congress, which provides uniform procedures for prosecutions involving classified information. It provides a background of the act and discusses its various sections. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc99046/
The National Directory of New Hires
This report details the National Directory of New Hires - including its background, how data is managed in the directory, and concerns regarding the directory. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc99133/
Iran Sanctions
This report looks at the purposes and results of U.S. sanctions in Iran, which were initiated as a result of Iran's nuclear program and human rights issues. It ends by discussing future issues that Congress can consider regarding the sanctions. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc99120/
Federal Agency Actions Following the Supreme Court’s Climate Change Decision: A Chronology
This report presents a chronology of major federal agency actions related to environmental concerns following the decision of Massachusetts v. EPA; it particularly looks at actions of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In Massachusetts v. EPA, the Supreme Court held that greenhouse gases (GHGs), widely viewed as contributing to climate change, constitute “air pollutants” as that phrase is used in the Clean Air Act (CAA). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc99015/
Judicial Discipline Process: An Overview
The first part of this report covers the process for handling complaints against federal judges and judicial discipline, which was enacted on November 2, 2002 as the Judicial Improvements Act of 2002. The second part of this report covers two impeachments during the 111th Congress, those of Judge Samuel B. Kent and Judge G. Thomas Porteous Jr. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc99060/
Tort Suits Against Federal Contractors: An Overview of the Legal Issues
This report provides an overview of key legal issues that have been raised to date in recent tort suits against government contractors. Most of these issues pertain to jurisdiction, or the court’s power over the parties or subject matter of the case. A number of cases are pending that could affect courts’ treatment of the issues discussed here. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc99058/
The Congressional Research Service and the American Legislative Process
The Legislative Reference Service, it was charged with responding to congressional requests for information. For more than 50 years, this department assisted Congress primarily by providing facts and publications and by transmitting research and analysis done largely by other government agencies, private organizations, and individual scholars. In 1970, Congress enacted a law transforming the Legislative Reference Service into the Congressional Research Service (CRS) and directing CRS to devote more of its efforts and increased resources to performing research and analysis that assists Congress in direct support of the legislative process. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc40208/
Federalism Issues in Surface Transportation Policy: Past and Present
This report provides an historical perspective on contemporary federalism issues in surface transportation policy that are likely to be addressed by Congress during the 112th Congress, including possible devolution of programmatic responsibility to states and proposals to change state maintenance-of-effort requirements and state cost matching requirements. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc40072/
Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response: The SAFER Grant Program
The Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Act (the "SAFER Act") was enacted by the 108th Congress as part of the FY2004 National Defense Authorization Act. This report describes the SAFER Act in brief, discusses possible budgetary modifications to the SAFER Act that are being considered due to the recent economic downturn, and explores related issues for the 112th Congress as they consider reauthorization. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc40203/
Nuclear Cooperation with Other Countries: A Primer
This report discusses section 123 of the Atomic Energy Act (AEA), the specific requirements of which must be met in order for the United States to engage in civilian nuclear cooperation with other states. The AEA also provides for exemptions to these requirements, export control licensing procedures, and criteria for terminating cooperation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc40276/
North Korea: Legislative Basis for U.S. Economic Sanctions
This report discusses the economic sanctions the United States imposes on North Korea for activities related to weapons proliferation, destabilizing the region, anti-terrorism, and undemocratic governance. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc40108/
The Technology Innovation Program
The Technology Innovation Program (TIP) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) was established in 2007 to replace the Advanced Technology Program (ATP). This effort is designed "to support, promote, and accelerate innovation in the United States through highrisk, high-reward research in areas of critical national need," according to the authorizing legislation. Grants are provided to small and medium-sized firms for individual projects or joint ventures with other research organizations. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc40275/
Piracy off the Horn of Africa
This report discusses recent (2010) pirate attacks on vessels, including United States vessels, in the waters off the Horn of Africa. The Horn of Africa is sometimes called the Somali Peninsula and includes the nations of Eritrea, Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Somalia. This report explores reasons behind the increased number of pirate attacks in recent years, as well as what efforts are being taken to combat said attacks, including those by the 111th Congress and President Obama and his Administration. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc40075/
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization: An Overview of Legislative Action in the 112th Congress
This report looks at issues faced by the 112th Congress in regards to reauthorization of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) programs. The House has passed a bill which would authorize programs through FY2014, while the Senate's bill would only last until FY2011. The Senate's bill also proposes an increase in jet fuel tax for general aviation and a new jet fuel surcharge for fractionally owned air crafts. The report covers key issues that need to be addressed for reconciliation between the two bills. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc93870/
DNA Testing in Criminal Justice: Background, Current Law, Grants, and Issues
This report provides an overview of how DNA is used to investigate crimes and help protect the innocent. It also reviews current statutory law on collecting DNA samples, sharing DNA profiles generated from those samples, and providing access to post-conviction DNA testing. The report also includes a summary of grant programs authorized by Congress to assist state and local governments with reducing DNA backlogs, provide post-conviction DNA testing, and promote new technology in the field. It also reviews select issues Congress might consider should it legislate or conduct oversight in this area. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc40144/
Energy Tax Policy: Historical Perspectives on and Current Status of Energy Tax Expenditures
This report presents Energy Tax Policy from 1916 to 1970, throughout the 1970s, in the 1980s, and in the 1990s. It also discusses the economic rationale for Intervention in energy markets, energy tax expenditures, and other energy tax provisions. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc40098/
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc40246/
Offshore Oil and Gas Development: Legal Framework
The development of offshore oil, gas, and other mineral resources in the United States is impacted by a number of interrelated legal regimes, including international, federal, and state laws. International law provides a framework for establishing national ownership or control of offshore areas, and domestic federal law mirrors and supplements these standards. This report discusses these issues. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc40204/
Energy Projects on Federal Lands: Leasing and Authorization
The report first reviews the laws and regulations affecting leasing of federal lands for exploration and production of oil, natural gas, and coal, as well as the permits that lessees must obtain in order to explore for and produce these resources. The report also addresses existing laws and regulations that govern the use of federal lands for renewable energy projects, including geothermal, wind, and solar energy. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc40081/
Outer Continental Shelf Moratoria on Oil and Gas Development
Moratoria measures for the outer continental shelf (OCS) establish bans or restrictions on oil and gas exploration and development in federal ocean areas. With some exceptions for marine sanctuaries and monuments, no portion of the federal OCS has a permanent moratorium on oil and gas leasing and development. While some areas are under temporary development bans, such as suspensions or moratoria directed by either legislative or executive powers, most of the OCS is free of such restrictions and is considered permissible for offshore leasing activity. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc40092/
National Flood Insurance Program: Background, Challenges, and Financial Status
In 1968, Congress created the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to address the increasing costs of taxpayer-funded disaster relif for flood victims and the increasing amount of damage caused by floods. This report provides an analysis of the NFIP and its financial status; summarizes the major challenges facing the program, including issues affecting its long-term financial solvency; presents some alternative approaches for managing and financing the flood losses; and describes pending legislation on this issue. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc40078/
National Flood Insurance Program: Background, Challenges, and Financial Status
This report provides an analysis of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and its financial status; summarizes the major challenges facing the program, including issues affecting its long-term financial solvency; presents some alternative approaches for managing and financing the flood losses; and describes pending legislation on this issue. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc97975/
Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response: The SAFER Grant Program
The Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Act (the "SAFER Act") was enacted by the 108th Congress as part of the FY2004 National Defense Authorization Act. This report describes the SAFER Act in brief, discusses possible budgetary modifications to the SAFER Act that are being considered due to the recent economic downturn, and explores related issues for the 112th Congress as they consider reauthorization. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc94028/
Iran Sanctions
This report focuses on the United States' relationship with Iran and how the Obama Administration is handling prior administrations' economic sanctions against Iran. However, with subsequent negotiations yielding no firm Iranian agreement to compromise regarding their nuclear program, 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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc96809/