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 Language: English
 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Item Veto and Expanded Impoundment Proposals: History and Current Status
This report discusses various points of contention in regards to presidential budgeting authority, specifically that of impoundment and the line item veto. Presidential impoundment actions have sometimes been controversial. The subject of granting the President item veto authority, akin to that exercised by 43 governors, also has elicited considerable debate. With an item veto, the executive can delete specific provisions in a piece of legislation presented for signature, and then proceed to sign the measure into law.
Pending U.S. and EU Free Trade Agreements with South Korea: Possible Implications for Automobile and Other Manufacturing Industries
This report provides U.S. lawmakers with a comparison of the manufacturing components in the South Korea free trade agreement (KORUS) and the European Union and South Korea free trade agreement (KOREU FTA). Also included is a brief overview of the possible implications of the two pending FTAs on other selected industrial sectors affected by the FTAs: home appliances, consumer electronics, textiles and apparel, and pharmaceuticals and medical devices.
U.S. International Trade: Trends and Forecasts
This report discusses the U.S. trade deficit in light of the 2008 global financial crisis, with emphasis on international trade and U.S. trade policy, most recent developments in trade of goods and service, trade forecasts for the future, and how issues such as the U.S. trade deficit and international trade, particularly with China, are commonly perceived.
Animal Identification and Traceability: Overview and Issues
This report provides a summary of current developments in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA's) effort to establish a national animal traceability capacity with the intended goal of being able to rapidly identify and respond to an animal disease outbreak. National animal identification and traceability appear to have substantial economic value, yet federal proposals have proven controversial among certain segments of the U.S. cattle industry. This report provides background on animal ID and traceability in general, and the development of the current U.S. system of animal ID and traceability in particular. In addition, it reviews the claims and counter-claims of proponents and opponents of a national animal ID system, and describes many of the unresolved issues related to program development. Finally, two appendixes offer a brief chronology of the development of the U.S. National Animal Identification System (NAIS) and its successor program, and a brief description of the major international organizations involved in setting standards and rules for animal health and trade in animal products, along with summary descriptions of animal ID and traceability programs found in other major livestock producer and consumer countries.
Cooperative R&D: Federal Efforts to Promote Industrial Competitiveness
This report provides background and rationale on collaborative R&D, and discusses federal initiative in cooperative R&D.
The Economic Effects of Capital Gains Taxation
One provision of the 1913 individual income tax that generated a great deal of confusion was the taxation of income from the sale of property (i.e., capital gains income). This initial confusion has led to almost 100 years of legislative debates over capital gains. Beginning in 1922 capital gains were first subject to lower tax rates than ordinary income. This preferential treatment has continued throughout most of the history of the income tax. Proposals dealing with the taxation of capital gains have ranged from the outright elimination of capital gains taxation to the reduction of capital gains tax rates for certain classes of taxpayers to the elimination of the preferential tax treatment. This report discusses the manner in which capital gains are taxed, including rates and revenue figures. It also examines various economic issues regarding such taxes.
Air Force KC-X Tanker Aircraft Program: Background and Issues for Congress
This report discusses issues for Congress in FY2011, which are whether to approve, reject, or modify DOD's new KC-X competition strategy, and whether to approve, reject, or modify the Air Force's request for FY2011 research and development funding for the new KC-X program.
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.
Geoengineering: Governance and Technology Policy
This report is intended as a primer on the policy issues, science, and governance of geoengineering technologies. The report will first set the policy parameters under which geoengineering technologies may be considered. It will then describe selected technologies in detail and discuss their status. The third section provides a discussion of possible approaches to governmental involvement in, and oversight of, geoengineering, including a summary of domestic and international instruments and institutions that may affect geoengineering projects.
Considerations for Possible Authorization for Use of Military Force Against the Islamic State
This report discusses the concerns for the Middle Eastern governments and the United States regarding the armed offensive of the Islamic State (IS, also known as ISIL or ISIS) in northern and western Iraq and northeastern Syria.
Afghanistan: U.S. Foreign Assistance
The U.S. program of assistance to Afghanistan is intended to stabilize and strengthen the Afghan economic, social, political, and security environment so as to blunt popular support for extremist forces in the region. Since 2001, nearly $38 billion has been appropriated toward this effort. This report provides a "big picture" overview of the U.S. aid program and congressional action. It describes what various aid agencies report they are doing in Afghanistan. It does not address the effectiveness of their programs.
Security and the Environment in Pakistan
This report focuses on the nexus between security and environmental concerns in Pakistan that have the potential to affect American security and foreign policy interests. The report examines the potentially destabilizing effect that, when combined with Pakistan's demographic trends and limited economic development, water scarcity, limited arable land, and food security may have on an already radicalized internal and destabilized international political security environment.
China Naval Modernization: Implications for U.S. Navy Capabilities--Background and Issues for Congress
This report focuses on the potential implications of China's naval modernization for future required U.S. Navy capabilities. The question of how the United States should respond to China's military modernization effort, including its naval modernization effort, has emerged as a key issue in U.S. defense planning.
How Legislation Is Brought to the House Floor: A Snapshot of Recent Parliamentary Practice
The House of Representatives has several different parliamentary procedures through which it can bring legislation to the chamber floor. Which of these will be used in a given situation depends on many factors, including the type of measure being considered, its cost, the amount of political or policy controversy surrounding it, and the degree to which members want to debate it and propose amendments. This report provides a snapshot of the forms and origins of measures which, according to the Legislative Information System of the U.S. Congress (LIS), received action on the House floor in the 110th Congress (2007-2008) and the parliamentary procedures used to bring them up.
Defense: FY2011 Authorization and Appropriations
The President's FY2011 budget request, released February 1, 2010, included $733.3 billion in new budget authority for national defense. This report discusses and break downs these defense appropriations.
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.
China-U.S. Trade Issues
This report provides an overview of U.S.- China economic relations, surveys major trade disputes, and lists bills introduced in Congress that could affect bilateral commercial ties.
FY2010 Supplemental for Wars, Disaster Assistance, Haiti Relief, and Other Programs
This report discusses the $64 billion in requested supplemental appropriations for FY2010, which includes $2.8 billion for Haiti earthquake-related reconstruction and foreign aid and $243 million for activities related to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and more.
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 National Flood Insurance Program: Status and Remaining Issues for Congress
This report provides an analysis of flood risk management, summarizes major challenges facing the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), and outlines key reforms in the recently enacted Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012. The report also identifies and presents some key remaining flood management issues for congressional considerations, and it concludes with a discussion of relevant policy options for the future financial management of flood hazards in the United States.
Economic Recovery: Sustaining U.S. Economic Growth in a Post-Crisis Economy
This report looks at how Congress has been proactive in helping the economy recover after the 2008-2009 recession, as well as how it can help to keep recessions at bay in the future. Issues include typical post-war recessions, insufficient pace of private spending, and the long-term debt problem.
NAFTA and the Mexican Economy
This report provides an overview of Mexico's motivations for entering the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the Mexican economy, the economic effects of NAFTA in Mexico, and the views of NAFTA within Mexico. It also provides information on NAFTA's effect on Mexico's agricultural sector because this has been one of the more controversial issues surrounding NAFTA in Mexico.
Unauthorized Alien Students: Issues and "DREAM Act" Legislation
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.
United Nations System Funding: Congressional Issues
This report tracks the process by which Congress provides the funding for U.S. assessed contributions to the regular budgets of the United Nations, its agencies, and U.N. peacekeeping operation accounts, as well as for U.S. voluntary contributions to U.N. system programs and funds. It includes information on the President's request and the congressional response, as well as congressional initiatives during this legislative process. Basic information is provided to help the reader understand this process.
Cyprus: Reunification Proving Elusive
This report discusses attempts to resolve the Cyprus problem and reunify the island which have undergone various levels of negotiation for almost 40 years. Prospects for a settlement that would end the political division of Cyprus appear to have reached a stalemate and may now enter a period of retrenchment possibly dominated by harder-line views by both sides and more difficult negotiations.
Somalia: Current Conditions and Prospects for a Lasting Peace
This report discusses the political climate of Somalia, which has undergone extreme unrest for years. The report focuses on events since October 2002, including the formation of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) in 2007 and the TFG's cooperation with the Re-Liberation of Somalia (ARS) in 2008. The report also discusses the U.S. relationship with Somalia under the Obama Administration, including U.S. economic assistance given to Somalia and U.S. efforts to contain Somalian terrorist groups.
Financial Services and General Government (FSGG): FY2011 Appropriations
This report discusses the Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) FY2011 appropriations bill, which includes funding for the Department of the Treasury, the Executive Office of the President (EOP), the judiciary, the District of Columbia, and 26 independent agencies, including the Small Business Administration and the United States Postal Service.
The Federal Food Safety System: A Primer
Numerous federal, state, and local agencies share responsibilities for regulating the safety of the U.S. food supply, which many experts say is among the safest in the world. This report discusses various food safety proposals in Congress, as well as agencies with food safety related responsibilities.
Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA): Resources for Frequently Asked Questions
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA; P.L. 111-148, as amended) has numerous provisions affecting private health insurance and public health coverage programs. This report provides resources to help congressional staff respond to constituents' frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the law. The report lists selected resources regarding consumers, employers, and other stakeholders, with a focus on federal sources. It also lists CRS reports that summarize ACA's provisions.
The Law of Church and State: Public Aid to Sectarian Schools
This report gives a brief overview of the evolution of the Court's interpretation of the Establishment Clause in this area and analyzes the categories of aid that have been addressed by the Court. The report explains which categories have been held to be constitutionally permissible or impermissible, both at the elementary and secondary school level and at the postsecondary level. The report also briefly addresses a set of cases (Arizona Christian School Tuition Organization v. Winn; Garriott v. Winn) currently before the Court regarding the constitutionality of an Arizona statute that permits individuals to claim a tax credit for certain donations to school tuition organizations that use the funds for scholarships to private and, in some instances, religious schools.
Double-Dip Recession: Previous Experience and Current Prospect
This report discusses factors suggesting an increased risk of double-dip recession. It discusses other factors that suggest economic recovery will continue. The U.S. historical experience with double-dip recessions is also presented. It examines the role of deleveraging by households and businesses in the aftermath of the recent financial crisis in shaping the likely pace of economic recovery. The report concludes with a look at current economic projections.
Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: The Fate of the Oil
This report highlights actions taken and issues raised as a result of the April 20, 2010, explosion on the Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling rig, and the resulting oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
The Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Improvements Act of 2010
Since enactment of the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008 (Post-9/11 GI Bill; P.L. 110-252; Title 38 U.S.C., Chapter 33), there has been discussion of problems and possible enhancements to improve the program's implementation, administration, and benefits. This report summarizes provisions in the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Improvements Act of 2010 (S. 3447), as reported by the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs on August 5, 2010, for full Senate consideration.
Retirement and Survivor Annuities for Former Spouses of Federal Employees
This report discusses the retirement benefits for federal employees that are governed by chapters 83 (CSRS) and 84 (FERS) of Title 5 of the United States Code.
Navy Virginia (SSN-774) Class Attack Submarine Procurement: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and oversight issues for Congress on the Virginia-class nuclear-powered attack submarine (SSN) program. The Navy's proposed FY2012 budget requests procurement funding for the 15th and 16th Virginia-class boats, and advance procurement (AP) funding for Virginia-class boats to be procured in future years. Decisions that Congress makes on procurement of Virginia-class boats could substantially affect U.S. Navy capabilities and funding requirements, and the U.S. shipbuilding industrial base.
Department of Defense Contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan: Background and Analysis
The Department of Defense (DOD) increasingly relies upon contractors to support operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, which has resulted in a DOD workforce that has 19% more contractor personnel (207,600) than uniformed personnel (175,000). This report discusses the issues raised by this fact including (1) what role contractors should play in contingency operations, (2) whether DOD is gathering and analyzing the right data on the use of contractors, (3) what steps DOD is taking to improve contract management and oversight, and (4) the extent to which contractors are being effectively included into military doctrine and strategy. This report examines current contractor trends in Iraq and Afghanistan, the steps DOD has taken to improve contractor oversight and management, and the extent to which DOD has incorporated the role of contractors into its doctrine and strategy. The report also reviews steps Congress has taken to exercise oversight over DOD contracting, including contracting issues that have been the focus of hearings and legislation.
America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 (H.R. 5116) and the America COMPETES Act (P.L. 110-69): Selected Policy Issues
This report provides background information on P.L. 110-69 and H.R. 5116, includes information about related legislative activity in the 111th Congress, and analyzes four policy issues addressed by these measures: (1) STEM Education, (2) Federal Research Programs and Activities, (3) Broadening Participation, and (4) Funding. It also discusses selected policy concerns identified in the debate about U.S. competitiveness and describes how the House-passed version of H.R. 5116 responds to those concerns. It contains a description of federal multi-agency research and development initiatives that are included in H.R. 5116, as passed by the House.
"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.
Kuwait: Security, Reform, and U.S. Policy
This report looks at Kuwait's relationships with its neighbors in the Persian Gulf, and its own political system which has been in turmoil since 2006.
Navy DDG-51 and DDG-1000 Destroyer Programs: Background and Issues for Congress
This report discusses issues Congress faces regarding the Navy's proposed FY2011 budget, particularly as relating to destroyer procurement plans and programs.
Africa: U.S. Foreign Assistance Issues
The United States provides assistance to 47 African countries, and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has 23 missions in Africa. In recent years, U.S. assistance to Africa saw a major increase, especially in health-related programs. This report provides an overview of U.S. aid to Africa, including the strategic objectives that shape U.S. aid to Africa, information about specific aid programs and initiatives, and the Obama Administration's FY2011 foreign aid budget request.
Veterans Affairs: Presumptive Service Connection and Disability Compensation
The purpose of this report is to examine the very complex and sometimes controversial policy issue of establishing presumptive service connection. The material in it is based in large part on VA's "Analysis of Presumptions of Service Connection," and IOM's "Improving the Presumptive Disability Decision-Making Process for Veterans" reports.
Potential Stafford Act Declarations for the Gulf Coast Oil Spill: Issues for Congress
This report discusses the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, which authorizes the President to issue "major disaster" or "emergency" declarations before or after catastrophes occur. Emergency declarations trigger aid that protects property, public health, and safety and lessens or averts the threat of an incident becoming a catastrophic event. A major disaster declaration, issued after a catastrophe occurs, constitutes broader authority for federal agencies to provide supplemental assistance to help state and local governments, families and individuals, and certain nonprofit organizations recover from the incident.
Navy SSBN(X) Ballistic Missile Submarine Program: Background and Issues for Congress
This report discusses the Navy's plan to develop and design a class of 12 next-generation ballistic missile submarines, or SSBN(X)s, as replacements for the 14 Ohio class SSBNs currently in operation. The report explores certain related issues for Congress, including the affordability of the project and its potential impact on other Navy shipbuilding programs, alternatives to the program, and which shipyard or shipyards will build the proposed ships.
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.
Cuba: Issues for the 111th Congress
This report discusses the current political conditions of Cuba, as well as its relationship with the United States. In particular, the report focuses on U.S. policy regarding Cuba, including various economic sanctions, human rights issues, and foreign aid appropriations.
Cyprus: Reunification Proving Elusive
This report discusses attempts to resolve the Cyprus problem and reunify the island which have undergone various levels of negotiation for almost 40 years. Prospects for a settlement that would end the political division of Cyprus appear to have reached a stalemate and may now enter a period of retrenchment possibly dominated by harder-line views by both sides and more difficult negotiations.
Estonia: Current Issues and U.S. Policy
This report provides background information on the political and economical situation in Estonia. The report discusses the U.S. - Estonia relations, and Estonia's foreign policy.
Spectrum Policy in the Age of Broadband: Issues for Congress
This report discusses spectrum policy issues in the 111th Congress. In formulating spectrum policy, mainstream viewpoints generally diverge on whether to give priority to market economics or social goals. Among the spectrum policy initiatives that have been proposed in Congress in recent years are: allocating more spectrum for unlicensed use; auctioning airwaves currently allocated for federal use; and devising new fees on spectrum use, notably those collected by the FCC's statutory authority to implement these measures is limited.