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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Legislative Options for Financing Water Infrastructure

Legislative Options for Financing Water Infrastructure

Date: February 18, 2016
Creator: Copeland, Claudia; Maguire, Steven & Mallett, William J.
Description: This report addresses several options considered by Congress to address the financing needs of local communities for wastewater and drinking water infrastructure projects and to decrease or close the gap between available funds and projected needs. Possible options include expanding or modifying current programs, establishing long-term revenue to support programs, or encouraging private participation in financing projects.
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The Role of Local and Regional Food Systems in U.S. Farm Policy

The Role of Local and Regional Food Systems in U.S. Farm Policy

Date: February 18, 2016
Creator: Johnson, Renée
Description: This report provides background information on many of the type of operations engaged in the U.S. local and regional food system. A wide range of farm businesses are involved in local foods, such as direct-to-consumer marketing, farmers' markets, farm-to-school programs, community-supported agriculture,6 community gardens, school gardens, food hubs and market aggregators, kitchen incubators, and mobile slaughter units. This report also highlights some of the available resources within existing federal programs administered by USDA and other agencies.
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IAEA Budget and U.S. Contributions: In Brief

IAEA Budget and U.S. Contributions: In Brief

Date: February 17, 2016
Creator: Epstein, Susan B. & Kerr, Paul K.
Description: This report discusses the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA's) budget and funding. In addition to its other missions, the IAEA is monitoring and verifying Iranian compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and is to report on these activities regularly. The accord is intended to lift nuclear related U.S., European Union, and United Nations sanctions on Iran in exchange for restrictions on the country's nuclear program.
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U.S. Family-Based Immigration Policy

U.S. Family-Based Immigration Policy

Date: February 17, 2016
Creator: Kandel, William A.
Description: This report provides an examination of family-based immigration policy. It outlines a brief history of U.S. policies, discusses current law governing admissions, and summarizes recommendations made by previous congressionally-mandated committees charged with evaluating immigration policy. It then presents descriptive figures on legal immigrants entering the United States during the past decade and discusses the sizable queue of approved immigrant petitioners waiting for an immigrant visa. It closes by discussing selected policy issues.
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FY2016 Changes to DOD's 1033 Program

FY2016 Changes to DOD's 1033 Program

Date: February 16, 2016
Creator: Else, Daniel H.
Description: This report briefly discusses the current status of the Department of Defense's (DOD's) 1033 Program, under which excess DOD property -- such as personal computers, vehicles, and firearms -- are made available to qualified federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies.
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What Does Justice Scalia's Death Mean for Congress and the Nation?

What Does Justice Scalia's Death Mean for Congress and the Nation?

Date: February 16, 2016
Creator: unknown
Description: This legal sidebar briefly provides an overview of the major implications of Justice Scalia's death for Congress. Justice Scalia's absence may alter the outcome of several cases of interest to Congress pending before the Court and could mark a seismic shift in many legal doctrines, depending on who is confirmed to fill the newly vacant seat on the Court. The job of confirming the President's nomination to fill the vacancy resides with the Senate, making Justice Scalia's death likely to have a profound impact in both the short and long term on Congress.
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Appointment of African American U.S. Circuit and District Court Judges: Historical Overview and Current Data

Appointment of African American U.S. Circuit and District Court Judges: Historical Overview and Current Data

Date: February 12, 2016
Creator: McMillion, Barry J.
Description: This report briefly provides historical and statistical information related to the appointment of African Americans as U.S. circuit and district court judges. Such information addresses ongoing congressional interest in the demographic characteristics of lower federal court judges.
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The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS): Waiver Authority and Modification of Volumes

The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS): Waiver Authority and Modification of Volumes

Date: February 10, 2016
Creator: Bracmort, Kelsi
Description: This report discusses the process and criteria for the Environmental Protection Agency to waive various portions of the renewable fuel standard (RFS), and the modification of applicable volumes.
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Water Infrastructure Financing: The Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) Program

Water Infrastructure Financing: The Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) Program

Date: February 9, 2016
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Description: This report examines "Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act" (WIFIA), which details a program that would provide a way to help finance water infrastructure projects. This program was included in the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014 (WRRDA, P.L. 113-121). A five-year WIFIA pilot program was outlined in Title V, Subtitle C, of the legislation.
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The Good Cause Exception to Notice and Comment Rulemaking: Judicial Review of Agency Action

The Good Cause Exception to Notice and Comment Rulemaking: Judicial Review of Agency Action

Date: January 29, 2016
Creator: Cole, Jared P.
Description: This report will examine judicial analysis of the good cause standard and map several factors that lead courts to uphold or reject agencies' invocation of the exception. Federal agencies issue numerous rules pursuant to congressionally delegated authority. The Administrative Procedure Act's (APA's) "good cause" exception, however, permits agencies to forgo Section 553's notice and comment requirement if "the agency for good cause finds" that compliance would be "impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest" and to bypass its requirement that rules be published 30 days before implementation if good cause exists.
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Body Armor for Law Enforcement Officers: In Brief

Body Armor for Law Enforcement Officers: In Brief

Date: January 28, 2016
Creator: James, Nathan
Description: This report contains an overview of the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Initiative (BPV program). It also provides a discussion of data on law enforcement agencies that require their officers to wear armor vests while on duty, research on why officers may choose to wear armor vests, research on the life cycle for armor vests, data on the use of body armor by law enforcement officers who were killed with a firearm, and research on the effectiveness of armor vests.
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Unaccompanied Alien Children--Legal Issues: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Unaccompanied Alien Children--Legal Issues: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Date: January 27, 2016
Creator: Manuel, Kate M. & Garcia, Michael J.
Description: This report addresses the questions regarding the number of children arriving at the United States southern border, their reasons for coming to the United States, and current and potential responses of the federal government and other entities to their arrival.
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Iran: U.S. Economic Sanctions and the Authority to Lift Restrictions

Iran: U.S. Economic Sanctions and the Authority to Lift Restrictions

Date: January 22, 2016
Creator: Rennack, Dianne E.
Description: 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.
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Iran Sanctions

Iran Sanctions

Date: January 21, 2016
Creator: Katzman, Kenneth
Description: This report analyzes U.S. and international sanctions against Iran and provides some examples, based on open sources, of companies and countries that conduct business with Iran.
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Iran-U.S. Air Service Not Imminent

Iran-U.S. Air Service Not Imminent

Date: January 21, 2016
Creator: Tang, Rachel Y.
Description: This report discusses the prospect of air travel between Iran and the U.S., which last operated during 1979, when the U.S. government imposed an embargo on flights following the Iran hostage crisis. Since then, travel and air cargo shipments between the two countries have been routed through third countries, and their extent has been limited by U.S. sanctions.
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EPA and the Army Corps' "Waters of the United States" Rule: Congressional Response and Options

EPA and the Army Corps' "Waters of the United States" Rule: Congressional Response and Options

Date: January 20, 2016
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Description: This report discusses several options Congress had in order to respond to controversy caused by the May 27th, 2015 rule that was finalized by the Army Corps of Engineers (the Corps) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This finalized rule revised regulations that defined the scope of waters protected under the Clean Water Act (CWA). Congress' legislative options are reflected in bills in the 114th Congress.
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Federal Conspiracy Law: A Brief Overview

Federal Conspiracy Law: A Brief Overview

Date: January 20, 2016
Creator: Doyle, Charles
Description: This report is a brief discussion of the common features of federal conspiracy law that evolved over the years, with passing references to some of the distinctive features of some of the statutory provisions.
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Federal Conspiracy Law: A Sketch

Federal Conspiracy Law: A Sketch

Date: January 20, 2016
Creator: Doyle, Charles
Description: This is a brief discussion of the common features of federal conspiracy law that evolved over the years, with passing references to some of the distinctive features of some of the statutory provisions.
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Changes in the Arctic: Background and Issues for Congress

Changes in the Arctic: Background and Issues for Congress

Date: January 19, 2016
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald
Description: This report provides an overview of Arctic-related issues for Congress such as: Arctic sovereignty claims; commercial shipping through the Arctic; Arctic oil, gas, and mineral exploration; endangered Arctic species; and increased military operations in the Arctic that could cause the region in coming years to become an arena of international cooperation or competition.
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The Glass-Steagall Act: A Legal and Policy Analysis

The Glass-Steagall Act: A Legal and Policy Analysis

Date: January 19, 2016
Creator: Carpenter, David H.; Murphy, Edward V. & Murphy, M. M.
Description: This report provides background on the economic conditions in which the Glass-Steagall Act was enacted and provides an economic and legal analysis of the Glass-Steagall Act's enactment, erosion, and partial repeal by GLBA. The report concludes with an analysis of the Glass-Steagall Act's relationship with financial stability and the Glass-Steagall-like provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act.
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Iran Nuclear Agreement

Iran Nuclear Agreement

Date: January 19, 2016
Creator: Katzman, Kenneth & Kerr, Paul K.
Description: This report provides background on the agreement negotiated by Iran and six other countries (the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, China, and Germany--collectively known as the P5+1) regarding Iran's nuclear program, and discusses the implications for U.S.-Iran relations.
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"Regulatory Relief" for Banking: Selected Legislation in the 114th Congress

"Regulatory Relief" for Banking: Selected Legislation in the 114th Congress

Date: January 19, 2016
Creator: Hoskins, Sean M.; Gnanarajah, Raj; Labonte, Marc; Murphy, Edward V. & Shorter, Gary
Description: This report discusses regulatory relief legislation for banks in the 114th Congress that has seen floor action or has been ordered to be reported by a committee. Many, but not all, of the bills would make changes to the Dodd-Frank Act (P.L. 111-203), a wide-ranging financial reform enacted in response to the financial crisis.
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North Korea: A Comparison of S. 1747, S. 2144, and H.R. 757

North Korea: A Comparison of S. 1747, S. 2144, and H.R. 757

Date: January 15, 2016
Creator: Rennack, Dianne E.
Description: This report compares S. 1747, the North Korea Sanctions Enforcement Act of 2015, as introduced in the Senate by Senator Menendez on July 9, 2015; S. 2144, the North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act of 2015, introduced in the Senate by Senator Gardner on October 6, 2015; and H.R. 757, the North Korea Sanctions Enforcement Act of 2015, introduced in the House by Representative Royce on February 5, 2015, and passed, as amended by the Committee on Foreign Affairs, by the House on January 12, 2016, by a vote of 418-2.
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U.S.-Mexican Security Cooperation: The Mérida Initiative and Beyond

U.S.-Mexican Security Cooperation: The Mérida Initiative and Beyond

Date: January 15, 2016
Creator: Ribando Seelke, Clare & Finklea, Kristin
Description: This report begins with a brief discussion of security challenges in Mexico and Mexico's security strategy. It then provides information on congressional funding and oversight of the Mérida Initiative, with details about each of the program's four pillars. The report concludes by raising policy issues that Congress may wish to consider.
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