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 Decade: 2010-2019
 Year: 2010
 Month: December
 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Iran Sanctions

Iran Sanctions

Date: December 13, 2010
Creator: Katzman, Kenneth
Description: 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.
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Securing America's Borders: The Role of the Intelligence Community

Securing America's Borders: The Role of the Intelligence Community

Date: December 7, 2010
Creator: Best, Jr., Richard A.
Description: Maintaining the security of U.S. borders is a fundamental responsibility of the federal government. This report discusses the contribution of intelligence agencies to the border security efforts of the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense, and other federal agencies that work in cooperation with state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies. Much of the intelligence community's border security-related efforts are classified, however.
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Unauthorized Alien Students: Issues and "DREAM Act" Legislation

Unauthorized Alien Students: Issues and "DREAM Act" Legislation

Date: December 1, 2010
Creator: Bruno, Andorra
Description: Supporters of comprehensive immigration reform have urged the President and Congress to pursue reform legislation. While legislative action on comprehensive reform does not appear likely during the remainder of the 111th Congress, there may be an effort to enact a measure, commonly referred to as the "DREAM Act," to enable certain unauthorized alien students to legalize their status. This report discusses the DREAM act and related issues.
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The Army Corps of Engineers' Nationwide Permits Program: Issues and Regulatory Developments

The Army Corps of Engineers' Nationwide Permits Program: Issues and Regulatory Developments

Date: December 28, 2010
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Description: Congressional interest in wetlands permit regulatory programs has been evident in the past in oversight hearings and in connection with bills to fund the Corps' regulatory programs. For some time, there has been a stalemate over legislation that would revise wetlands regulatory law and that could, if enacted, modify the nationwide permit program. During this time, no consensus has emerged on whether or how to reform overall wetlands policy legislatively. Recently, Obama Administration initiatives and actions intended to restrict harmful effects of surface coal mining activities in Appalachia have drawn congressional attention and criticism that is likely to continue in the 112th Congress and that could include oversight of the Corps' regulatory program generally.
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Cybercrime: An Overview of the Federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Statute and Related Federal Criminal Laws

Cybercrime: An Overview of the Federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Statute and Related Federal Criminal Laws

Date: December 27, 2010
Creator: Doyle, Charles
Description: The federal computer fraud and abuse statute, 18 U.S.C. 1030, outlaws conduct that victimizes computer systems. It is a cyber security law. It protects federal computers, bank computers, and computers connected to the Internet. It shields them from trespassing, threats, damage, espionage, and from being corruptly used as instruments of fraud. It is not a comprehensive provision, but instead it fills cracks and gaps in the protection afforded by other federal criminal laws. This is a brief sketch of Section 1030 and some of its federal statutory companions, including the amendments found in the Identity Theft Enforcement and Restitution Act.
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Abortion Services and Military Medical Facilities

Abortion Services and Military Medical Facilities

Date: December 16, 2010
Creator: Burrelli, David F.
Description: The purpose of this report is to describe and discuss the provisions for providing abortion services to military personnel, their dependents, and other military health care beneficiaries at military medical facilities. The report describes the history of these provisions, with particular emphasis on legislative actions. Finally, this report discusses a number of proposals to modify the law, as well as other related legislative and administrative actions.
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Ocean Dumping Act: A Summary of the Law

Ocean Dumping Act: A Summary of the Law

Date: December 15, 2010
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Description: The Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act has two basic aims: to regulate intentional ocean disposal of materials, and to authorize related research. Permit and enforcement provisions of the law are often referred to as the Ocean Dumping Act. The basic provisions of the act have remained virtually unchanged since 1972, when it was enacted to establish a comprehensive waste management system to regulate disposal or dumping of all materials into marine waters that are within U.S. jurisdiction, although a number of new authorities have been added. This report presents a summary of the law.
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Federal Civil and Criminal Penalties Possibly Applicable to Parties Responsible for the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill

Federal Civil and Criminal Penalties Possibly Applicable to Parties Responsible for the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill

Date: December 16, 2010
Creator: Meltz, Robert
Description: The Deepwater Horizon oil spill that began on April 20, 2010 lead Congress to give attention to the compensatory liability provisions of the Oil Pollution Act and, to a lesser extent, those of the Jones Act and the Death on the High Seas Act. However, federal laws possibly relevant to the oil spill also impose civil and criminal money penalties, which may reach dollar amounts in connection with the Gulf spill greater than those for compensatory liability. This report summarizes selected federal civil and criminal penalty provisions that may be found violated in connection with the Gulf spill and related worker fatalities.
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The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and All-Hazard Warnings

The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and All-Hazard Warnings

Date: December 14, 2010
Creator: Moore, Linda K.
Description: This report discusses the mainstays of the U.S. capacity to issue warnings: the Emergency Alert System (EAS), which relies primarily on broadcasting media, the NOAA Weather Radio All-Hazards Network.
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Unauthorized Alien Students: Issues and "DREAM Act" Legislation

Unauthorized Alien Students: Issues and "DREAM Act" Legislation

Date: December 14, 2010
Creator: Bruno, Andorra
Description: In recent years, multiple bills have been introduced in Congress to provide relief to unauthorized alien students. In most cases, these bills have proposed to repeal the 1996 provision and enable certain unauthorized alien students to adjust to legal permanent resident (LPR) status in the United States. These bills have often been entitled the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act, or the DREAM Act. This report discusses the background and debate surrounding "Dream Act" legislation in the 110th and 111th Congress.
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The Technology Innovation Program

The Technology Innovation Program

Date: December 3, 2010
Creator: Schacht, Wendy H.
Description: This report discusses the Technology Innovation Program (TIP) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) that 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 high-risk, 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.
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Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) Status for Russia and U.S.-Russian Economic Ties

Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) Status for Russia and U.S.-Russian Economic Ties

Date: December 2, 2010
Creator: Cooper, William H.
Description: This report discusses the issues surrounding whether or not the U.S. should grant Russia permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) following its accession into the World Trade Organization (WTO). The change in Russia's trade status will require legislation to lift the restrictions of Title IV of the Trade Act of 1974 as they apply to Russia, which includes the "freedom-of-emigration" requirements of the Jackson-Vanik amendment.
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Piracy: A Legal Definition

Piracy: A Legal Definition

Date: December 13, 2010
Creator: Mason, R. Chuck
Description: This report first examines the historical development of the offense of piracy, as defined by Congress and codified in the United States Code. The focus then turns to how contemporary international agreements define piracy. Finally, the report highlights developments in two trials involving charges of piracy in the federal district court in Norfolk, VA, United States v. Said and United States v. Hasan, specifically focusing on how the courts interpreted the definition of piracy under 18 U.S.C. § 1651.
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Litigation Seeking to Establish Climate Change Impacts as a Common Law Nuisance

Litigation Seeking to Establish Climate Change Impacts as a Common Law Nuisance

Date: December 10, 2010
Creator: Meltz, Robert
Description: This report discusses recent legislative initiatives seeking to establish climate change impacts as a common law nuisance. The report explains what private and public nuisances are, the issues faced by policymakers when litigating a climate-change/nuisance suit, and also discusses five climate-chance/nuisance suits that are now or formerly active, as a basis of comparison. The report also explores arguments of those both for and against addressing the complex issue of climate change through common law suits.
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Fishery, Aquaculture, and Marine Mammal Issues in the 111th Congress

Fishery, Aquaculture, and Marine Mammal Issues in the 111th Congress

Date: December 24, 2010
Creator: Buck, Eugene H. & Upton, Harold F.
Description: This report discusses federal laws and regulations regarding fish and marine mammals that are important resources in open ocean and nearshore coastal areas. These lows and regulations guide their management as well as the management of their habitat.
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The National Directory of New Hires

The National Directory of New Hires

Date: December 20, 2010
Creator: Solomon-Fears, Carmen
Description: This report details the National Directory of New Hires - including its background, how data is managed in the directory, and concerns regarding the directory.
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Legislative Approaches to Defining "Waters of the United States"

Legislative Approaches to Defining "Waters of the United States"

Date: December 29, 2010
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Description: This report seeks to clarify the scope of the Clean Water Act (CWA) in the wake of Supreme Court decisions in 2001 and 2006 that interpreted the law's jurisdiction more narrowly than prior case law.
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Federal Agency Actions Following the Supreme Court's Climate Change Decision: A Chronology

Federal Agency Actions Following the Supreme Court's Climate Change Decision: A Chronology

Date: December 3, 2010
Creator: Meltz, Robert
Description: This report presents a chronology of major federal agency actions taken in the wake of Massachusetts v. EPA. In Massachusetts v. EPA, the 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). As a result, said the Court, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had improperly denied a petition seeking CAA regulation of GHGs from new motor vehicles by saying the agency lacked authority over such emissions.
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Lobbying the Executive Branch: Current Practices and Options for Change

Lobbying the Executive Branch: Current Practices and Options for Change

Date: December 6, 2010
Creator: Straus, Jacob R.
Description: This report outlines the development of registration requirements for lobbyists engaging executive branch officials since 1995. It also summarizes steps taken by the Obama Administration to limit and monitor lobbying of the executive branch; discusses the development and implementation of restrictions placed on lobbying for Recovery Act and EESA funds; examines the Obama Administration's decision to stop appointing lobbyists to federal advisory bodies and committees; considers third-party criticism of current executive branch lobbying policies; and provides options for possible modifications in current lobbying laws and practices.
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State and Local Restrictions on Employing, Renting Property to, or Providing Services for Unauthorized Aliens: Legal Issues and Recent Judicial Developments

State and Local Restrictions on Employing, Renting Property to, or Providing Services for Unauthorized Aliens: Legal Issues and Recent Judicial Developments

Date: December 20, 2010
Creator: Manuel, Kate M.; Feder, Jody & Smith, Alison M.
Description: This report discusses the constitutional issues raised by state and local laws intended to deter the presence of unauthorized aliens by limiting their access to housing, employment, and public benefits, as well as the implications that federal civil rights statutes might have for the implementation and enforcement of these laws. It also discusses recent federal court cases addressing the constitutionality of such measures.
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Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA): A Summary of the Act and Its Major Requirements

Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA): A Summary of the Act and Its Major Requirements

Date: December 10, 2010
Creator: Tiemann, Mary
Description: This report summarizes the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) and its major programs and regulatory requirements. The SDWA, Title XIV of the Public Health Service Act, is the key federal law for protecting public water supplies from harmful contaminants. First enacted in 1974 and substantially amended in 1986 and 1996, the act is administered through programs that establish standards and treatment requirements for public water supplies, control underground injection of wastes, finance infrastructure projects, and protect sources of drinking water.
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Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) Status for Russia and U.S.-Russian Economic Ties

Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) Status for Russia and U.S.-Russian Economic Ties

Date: December 22, 2010
Creator: Cooper, William H.
Description: This report discusses the issues surrounding whether or not the U.S. should grant Russia permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) following its accession into the World Trade Organization (WTO). The change in Russia's trade status will require legislation to lift the restrictions of Title IV of the Trade Act of 1974 as they apply to Russia, which includes the "freedom-of-emigration" requirements of the Jackson-Vanik amendment.
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Nuclear Cooperation with Other Countries: A Primer

Nuclear Cooperation with Other Countries: A Primer

Date: December 8, 2010
Creator: Kerr, Paul K. & Nikitin, Mary Beth
Description: 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.
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Food Safety on the Farm: Federal Programs and Legislative Action

Food Safety on the Farm: Federal Programs and Legislative Action

Date: December 15, 2010
Creator: Johnson, Renée
Description: In recent years, major outbreaks of foodborne illnesses, product recalls, and reports about unsafe food imports have caused some to question the adequacy of the U.S. food safety system. Stakeholders appear to agree that an optimal system should encompass a comprehensive, preventive approach to food safety, focusing on those foods and points in the food system that pose the greatest public health risks, starting at the point of production - that is, on farms and ranches. This report discusses differing opinions on this topic, as well as related legislation.
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