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 Resource Type: Report
 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Reducing Cost-of-Living Adjustments for Military Retirees and the Bipartisan Budget Act: In Brief
This report discusses the reduction of cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) for military retirees through the Bipartisan Budget Act (BBA). It includes an overview of the changes, demographics of military retirees, and potential effects of the changes.
FBI Director: Appointment and Tenure
This report reviews the legislative history surrounding the enactment of the 1968 and 1976 amendments to the appointment of the FBI Director, as well as information on the nominees to the FBI Directorship since 1972. It also provides a legal overview of the extension of a Director's tenure.
The Army's Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV) Program: Background and Issues for Congress
This report looks at the history and current need for a Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV) program. Potential issues for Congress include the role of the GCV and the need for the program in a downsized Army that will likely have fewer heavy brigade combat teams (HBCTs).
Bahrain: Reform, Security, and U.S. Policy
This report discusses the current state of Bahrain, which has undergone substantial political reforms since the late 1990s, but which still suffers from tension between the Shiite majority and the Sunni-led government. It focuses particularly on Bahrain's relationship with Iran and with the United States.
Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda): U.S. and International Response to Philippines Disaster
This report examines the impact of Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda), which struck the central Philippines on November 8, 2013, and the U.S. and international response.
The 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) and Defense Strategy: Issues for Congress
This report briefly reviews the statutory Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) mandate and characterizes the context for the 2014 QDR. It also raises a series of issues that Congress may choose to consider in evaluating the QDR mandate, the 2014 QDR, and the Department of Defense (DOD) strategic direction more broadly.
Military Funeral Honors and Military Cemeteries: Frequently Asked Questions
This report provides answers to frequently asked questions about military funeral honors and military cemeteries, including information on the eligibility criteria, required components of the honor detail, and the funeral ceremony. It also cites legislation that mandates that the Department of Defense (DOD) make military funeral honors available to every eligible veteran upon request.
FY2014 Continuing Resolutions: Overview of Components
This report summarizes the components of the four FY2014 continuing resolutions. They include P.L. 113-39 (Pay Our Military Act), P.L. 113-44 (Department of Defense Survivor Benefits Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2014), P.L. 113-46 (Continuing Appropriations Act, 2014), and P.L. 113-73 (Making Further Continuing Appropriations for Fiscal Year 2014, and for Other Purposes).
Itemized Tax Deductions for Individuals: Data Analysis
This report analyzes data about reforming itemized tax deductions for individuals.
Changes in the Arctic: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides an overview of Arctic-related issues for Congress and refers readers to more in-depth CRS reports on specific relevant topics.
Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) Negotiations
This report provides: (1) context for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations; (2) analysis of possible trade and investment issues in the negotiations; and (3) discussion of issues for Congress. The U.S.-EU negotiations on TTIP are not public, however, the information and analysis in this report on issues in the negotiations are based on publicly-available information.
Bahrain: Reform, Security, and U.S. Policy
This report discusses the current state of Bahrain, which has undergone substantial political reforms since the late 1990s, but which still suffers from tension between the Shiite majority and the Sunni-led government. It focuses particularly on Bahrain's relationship with Iran and with the United States.
Health Care for Veterans: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
This report provides responses to frequently asked questions about health care provided to veterans through the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). It is intended to serve as a quick reference to provide easy access to information. Where applicable, it provides the legislative background pertaining to the question.
Transportation Spending and "Buy America" Requirements
This report discusses the Buy America Act, the popular name for a group of domestic content restrictions that have been attached to funds administered by the Department of Transportation (DOT).
The U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement: Background and Issues
This report discusses the proposed U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement (CFTA) signed November 22, 2006, which has not yet been approved by Congress. It includes an overview of the proposed CFTA and U.S.-Colombia trade, background on Colombia, issues for Congress to consider, Colombia's plan to improve labor rights, and the actions that Colombia has already taken to improve violence, labor, and human rights within the country.
Mandatory Minimum Sentencing Legislation in the 113th Congress
This report discusses legislation that would establish or enhance a statutory minimum term of imprisonment for some federal crimes, including drug offenses, crimes involving firearms, aggravated computer abuse, illegal reentry, and violence against public servants.
A Guide to U.S. Military Casualty Statistics: Operation New Dawn, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation Enduring Freedom
This report presents statistics regarding U.S. military casualties in the active Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF, Afghanistan), as well as operations that have ended: Operation New Dawn (OND, Iraq) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF, Iraq). It includes statistics on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI), amputations, evacuations, and the demographics of casualties. Some of these statistics are publicly available at the Department of Defense's (DOD's) website; others have been obtained through contact with experts at the DOD.
FY2014 National Defense Authorization Act: Selected Military Personnel Issues
This report focuses exclusively on the annual defense authorization process and the interest Congress members have in the military.
Lebanon: Background and U.S. Policy
This report provides an overview of Lebanon and current issues of U.S. interest. It offers background information, analyzes recent developments and key legislative debates, and tracks legislation, U.S. assistance, and recent congressional action.
Navy Force Structure and Shipbuilding Plans: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and presents potential issues for Congress concerning the Navy's ship force-structure goals and shipbuilding plans. The planned size of the Navy, the rate of Navy ship procurement, and the prospective affordability of the Navy's shipbuilding plans have been matters of concern for the congressional defense committees for the past several years. Decisions that Congress makes on Navy shipbuilding programs can substantially affect Navy capabilities and funding requirements, and the U.S. shipbuilding industrial base.
Democratic Republic of Congo: Background and U.S. Policy
This report reviews the status of the Democratic Republic of the Congo peace process, provides background on recent conflicts in the Congo, briefly summarizes the political history that led to these conflicts, and assesses prospects for the future. It also describes relevant U.S. policy and congressional involvement.
Women in the United States Congress: Historical Overview, Tables, and Discussion
This report discusses the impact of women in Congress and historical information, such as the number and percentage of women in Congress over time, means of entry to Congress, comparisons to international and state legislatures, records for tenure, firsts for women in Congress, women in leadership, and African-American and Asian-Pacific American women in Congress.
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. It also discusses overarching issues for Congress that may arise in oversight of the Hurricane Sandy recovery process and how lessons learned from Hurricane Sandy can be applied to future disasters.
The European Parliament
This report provides background on the Congress-European Parliament (EP) relationship and the role of the Transatlantic Legislators' Dialogue (TLD). It also explores potential future options that coukd strengthen ties between the two bodies.
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.
EU-U.S. Economic Ties: Framework, Scope, and Magnitude
This report provides background information and analysis of the U.S.-EU (European Union) economic relationship related to the costs and benefits of closer U.S. economic ties with the EU. It examines the economic and political framework of the relationship and the scope and magnitude of the ties based on data from various sources. In addition, the report analyzes the implications these factors have for U.S. economic policy toward the EU.
U.S.-Japan Economic Relations: Significance, Prospects, and Policy Options
This report discusses issues regarding U.S.-Japan economic relations, since the economic condition of each nation can affect the world economy and a U.S.-Japan bilateral economic relationship could influence economic conditions in other countries. U.S. and Japanese leaders have several options on how to manage their relationship, including stronger reliance on the World Trade Organization; special bilateral negotiating frameworks and agreements; or a free trade agreement.
Career and Technical Education (CTE): A Primer
This report discusses Career and Technical Education (CTE), often referred to as vocational education, that provides occupational and non-occupational preparation at the secondary, post-secondary, and adult education levels.
Homelessness: Targeted Federal Programs and Recent Legislation
This report describes existing federal programs that provide targeted assistance to homeless individuals and families, and discusses federal efforts to end homelessness. It also contains tables that outline funding levels for various related programs.
Prevalence of Mental Illness in the United States: Data Sources and Estimates
This report briefly describes the methodology and results of three large surveys (funded in whole or in part by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) that provide national prevalence estimates of diagnosable mental illness: the National Comorbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R), the National Comorbidity Survey Replication Adolescent Supplement (NCS-A), and the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). The report then presents prevalence estimates of any mental illness and serious mental illness based on each survey and ends with a brief discussion of how these prevalence estimates might inform policy discussions
Syria: Overview of the Humanitarian Response
This report examines the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Syria and the U.S. and international response. It discusses the use of chemical weapons in Syria on August 21, 2013 that triggered an intense debate over possible U.S. military intervention.
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child
This report provides an overview of the United Nations (U.N.) Convention on the Rights of the Child's (CRC's) background and structure and examines evolving U.S. policy toward the CRC, including past and current Administration positions and congressional perspectives. It also highlights issues for the 112th Congress, including the CRC's possible impact on federal and state laws, U.S. sovereignty, parental rights, and U.S. family planning and abortion policy. In addition, the report addresses the effectiveness of CRC in protecting the rights of children internationally and its potential use as an instrument of U.S. foreign policy.
Wildfire Fuels and Fuel Reduction
This report examines wildfire biomass fuels. It discusses fuel characteristics and their relation to wildfire intensity and spread, and includes a description of actions proposed to reduce biomass fuel levels, their effectiveness for protecting property and resources from wildfires, and their impacts on other resource values. It concludes with an examination of the federal authorities for fuel reduction activities on federal and non-federal lands, together with data on the funding provided under each of these authorities.
Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia: Political Developments and Implications for U.S. Interests
This report discusses the history and political background of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia since their breakaway from the former Soviet Union at the end of 1991. It looks at key issues for the 112th Congress including economies, energy, regional politics, local crime, and terrorism.
Saudi Arabia: Background and U.S. Relations
This report discusses the current state of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, its relationship with the United States, and future initiatives to further develop U.S.-Saudi relations.
The Social Security Number: Legal Developments Affecting Its Collection, Disclosure, and Confidentiality
This report provides a comprehensive list of federal developments affecting use of the social security number, from 1935 to the present. This list includes federal statutes regulating the collection and disclosure of SSNs, as well as specific authorizations for the use of SSNs, confidentiality provisions, and criminal provisions relating to SSN misuse.
Reducing Cost-of-Living Adjustments for Military Retirees and the Bipartisan Budget Act: In Brief
This report discusses the reduction of cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) for military retirees through the Bipartisan Budget Act (BBA). It includes an overview of the changes, demographics of military retirees, and potential effects of the changes.
Independence of Federal Financial Regulators
This report discusses institutional features that make federal financial regulators (as well as other independent agencies) relatively independent from the President and Congress.
Crime and Forfeiture
This report provides an overview of federal forfeiture law. It sketches the origins and general attributes of forfeiture, describes the distribution of the hundreds of millions of dollars it generates, and identifies some of the related constitutional issues.
Direct Overt U.S. Aid Appropriations for and Military Reimbursements to Pakistan, FY2002-FY2015
This report provides data regarding the direct overt U.S. aid appropriations and military reimbursements to Pakistan.
Countering Violent Extremism in the United States
This report provides examples of Administration "combating violent extremism" (CVE) activity and examines some of the risks and challenges evident in the "Strategic Implementation Plan for Empowering Local Partners to Prevent Violent Extremism in the United States" (SIP's) three objectives. The report also diagrams and briefly discusses the "future activities and efforts" outlined in the SIP for each of these three objectives.
The Debt Limit Since 2011
This report discusses the federal debt increase. The accumulation of federal debt accelerated in the wake of the 2007-2008 financial crisis and subsequent recession. Rising debt levels, along with continued differences in views of fiscal policy, led to a series of contentious debt limit episodes in recent years.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE): Issues for U.S. Policy
This report discusses the open economy and society of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), provides a general description of the UAE's government and political structure, and outlines the effects of the recent global economic downturn on the UAE in general and on the city of Dubai in particular. It also describes U.S. concern over the proliferation of advanced technology in relation to a recently-signed U.S.-UAE civilian nuclear agreement, due to the UAE economy and the UAE's lax export controls.
Employment for Veterans: Trends and Programs
This report discusses veterans' employment trends and programs. The first section presents data on veterans' employment outcomes, identifying recent trends, and discussing issues to consider when interpreting veterans' employment data. The following sections present brief discussions of existing programs that provide employment-related services to veterans. These services are divided into (1) general programs that are broadly available to veterans, (2) programs that target veterans with service-connected disabilities, and (3) competitive grant programs that provide additional employment-related services to veterans but may be limited in scope or availability.
Drought in the United States: Causes and Current Understanding
This report discusses how drought is defined (e.g., why drought in one region of the country is different from drought in another region) and why drought occurs in the United States. It briefly describes periods of drought in the country's past that equaled or exceeded drought conditions experienced during the 20th century. This is followed by a discussion of the nature and extent of recent droughts that affected Texas and the U.S. midcontinent, and the current drought in California. Lastly, the report discusses future prospects for a climate in the western United States that might be drier than the average 20th-century climate and the possible influence of human-induced climate change.
Critical Infrastructures: Background, Policy, and Implementation
This report discusses the evolution of a national critical infrastructure policy and the institutional structures established to implement it. Critical infrastructure includes physical assets used to produce and distribute services such as electricity (including the power plants and electric grid), communications, and computers. The report highlights five issues of Congressional concern: identifying critical assets; assessing vulnerabilities and risks; allocating resources; information sharing; and regulation.
Unemployment Insurance: Programs and Benefits
This report describes three kinds of unemployment benefit programs: regular Unemployment Compensation (UC), Extended Benefits (EB), and Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC08). The report explains their basic eligibility requirements, benefits, and financing structure.
Terrorism Risk Insurance: Issue Analysis and Overview of Current Program
This report looks at the background and current Congressional status of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act of 2002.
The Affordable Care Act and Small Business: Economic Issues
This report explains how employer-sponsored insurance can be used to address concerns about health insurance coverage and cost. Then, it summarizes the three ACA provisions most relevant to small businesses. Also, it analyzes these provisions for their potential effects on small businesses. Last, this report presents several approaches that could address some concerns associated with these provisions (particularly the employer penalty).
Salaries of Members of Congress: Congressional Votes, 1990-2013
The report contains information on the pay procedure for members of Congress and recent adjustments. It provides information on previous actions and votes by year, from 1990-2010.