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 Resource Type: Report
 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
American Jihadist Terrorism: Combating a Complex Threat
This report describes homegrown violent jihadists and the plots and attacks that have occurred since 9/11. "Homegrown" and "domestic" are terms that describe terrorist activity or plots perpetrated within the United States or abroad by American citizens, legal permanent residents, or visitors radicalized largely within the United States. The report also discusses the radicalization process and the forces driving violent extremist activity. It analyzes post-9/11 domestic jihadist terrorism and describes law enforcement and intelligence efforts to combat terrorism and the challenges associated with those efforts.
House and Senate Floor and Committee Action to Reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act: 1966 to Present
The report provides vote information on comprehensive Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) reauthorization bills that have been considered in the committees of jurisdiction or on the House or Senate floors since the enactment of No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB).
Iran: Interim Nuclear Agreement and Talks on a Comprehensive Accord
This report discusses the nuclear agreement talks between Iran and the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, China, and Germany--collectively known as the "P5+1, which finalized an interim agreement ("Joint Plan of Action," JPA) requiring Iran to freeze many aspects of its nuclear program in exchange for relief from some international sanctions.
Comparison of the Current World Trade Center Medical Monitoring and Treatment Program and the World Trade Center Health Program Proposed by Title I of H.R. 847
This report compares the current federally supported medical screening and treatment program offered to various persons affected by the terrorist attack on New York City on September 11, 2001, with the federal program proposed to be established by Title I of H.R. 847, the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010, as amended and passed by the House of Representatives.
China's Economic Conditions
This report provides background on China's economic rise; describes its current economic structure; identifies the challenges China faces to keep its economy growing strong; and discusses the challenges, opportunities, and implications of China's economic rise for the United States.
Federal Cocaine Sentencing Disparity: Sentencing Guidelines, Jurisprudence, and Legislation
This report discusses legislation and several court cases to examine the changing nature of Crack Cocaine penalties in comparison to powder cocaine. Until 2005, the Guidelines were binding on federal courts: the judge had discretion to sentence a defendant, but only within the narrow sentencing range that the Guidelines provided. In its 2005 opinion United States v. Booker, the Supreme Court declared that the Guidelines must be considered advisory rather than mandatory, in order to comply with the Constitution. Instead of being bound by the Guidelines, sentencing courts must treat the federal guidelines as just one of a number of sentencing factors (which include the need to avoid undue sentencing disparity).
The United States and Europe: Current Issues
This report examines the current state of the transatlantic relationship and discusses the key issues outlined above, which are likely to have implications for U.S. interests during the 112th Congress.
Afghanistan: Post-Taliban Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy
This report discusses the current political state of Iran, focusing particularly on the influence of the Taliban and other militant groups and on the leadership of Afghan President Hamid Karzai. This report also discusses the U.S.-Iran relationship and U.S. efforts under the Obama Administration to provide military, reconstructive, and stabilization aid.
Federal Funding Gaps: A Brief Overview
This report gives a brief overview of funding gaps. The interval during the fiscal year when agency appropriations are not enacted into law, either in the form of a regular appropriations act or a continuing resolution (CR), is referred to as a funding gap. When a funding gap occurs, the federal government begins a shutdown of the affected agencies, entailing the prompt furlough of non-emergency personnel and curtailment of agency activities. The general practice of the federal government after the shutdown has ended has been to pay furloughed employees for time missed, even when no work was performed.
Currency Manipulation: The IMF and WTO
This report describes how the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Trade Organization (WTO) deal with the issue of currency manipulation. It also discusses apparent discrepancies in their charters and ways those differences might be addressed.
Navy Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Program: Background, Issues, and Options for Congress
This report provides background information and potential issues for Congress on the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), a relatively inexpensive Navy surface combatant equipped with modular "plug-and-fight" mission packages. The Navy's proposed FY2012 budget requests funding for the procurement of four LCSs. Current issues for Congress concerning the LCS program include changes or potential changes to the composition of LCS mission modules announced by the Navy in January 2011, the combat survivability of the LCS, and hull cracking on LCS-1. Congress's decisions on the LCS program could affect Navy capabilities and funding requirements, and the shipbuilding industrial base.
Past Government Shutdowns: Key Resources
This report provides an annotated list of historical documents and other resources related to several past government shutdowns. Sources for these documents and resources include the Congressional Research Service (CRS), Government Accountability Office (GAO), House and Senate Committees, Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Office of Personnel Management (OPM), and Executive Office of the President.
Spyware: Background and Policy Issues for Congress
This report discusses whether to enact new legislation specifically addressing spyware, or to rely on industry self-regulation and enforcement actions by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Department of Justice under existing law, as well as the opinions of both the opponents and the supporters of industry self-regulation.
Casework in a Congressional Office: Background, Rules, Laws, and Resources
This report discusses House and Senate rules and guidelines, laws, and regulations affecting congressional casework, as well as the role of caseworkers. It also provides sample outlines and document templates for implementing and managing congressional casework.
The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: Coastal Wetland and Wildlife Impacts and Response
This report addresses the importance of wetlands in general, the ecology of the coastal wetlands in the Gulf, impacts of oil spills on wetland habitats, response options, the implications of hurricane season for the spill's impacts, and cleanup and recovery issues.3 The emphasis is on the nearshore environment, though a few species found in deeper waters will be mentioned. In addition, some lessons from past spills such as the Exxon Valdez in Alaska will be discussed along with issues that may arise in the years after the leak from the deepwater well is capped.
Japan-U.S. Relations: Issues for Congress
This report discusses the relationship between the United States and Japan, including Japanese efforts to support the U.S. in the wake of the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks and the two countries' economic ties, especially with regards to the recent economic downturn. This report also discusses the general political atmosphere of Japan, including the recent and ongoing political turmoil in Tokyo.
Supreme Court Appointment Process: Roles of the President, Judiciary Committee, and Senate
This report discusses the appointment of Supreme Court Justices, including the President's selection of a nominee and process to reach confirmation in the Senate. The appointment of a Supreme Court Justice is an event of major significance in American politics. Each appointment is of consequence because of the enormous judicial power the Supreme Court exercises as the highest appellate court in the federal judiciary. Appointments are usually infrequent, as a vacancy on the nine-member Court may occur only once or twice, or never at all, during a particular President's years in office. Under the Constitution, Justices on the Supreme Court receive lifetime appointments. Such job security in the government has been conferred solely on judges and, by constitutional design, helps insure the Court's independence from the President and Congress.
Child Welfare: Health Care Needs of Children in Foster Care and Related Federal Issues
The report begins with a discussion of major findings. It then briefly describes the foster care population and their unique health-related issues. Next is an overview of the federal programs and policies in three areas--child welfare, Medicaid, and private health insurance--that directly or indirectly address some of the health care needs of such children and young adults. The report concludes with a discussion of issues pertaining to these federal policies.
Ballistic Missile Defense and Offensive Arms Reductions: A Review of the Historical Record
This report seeks to shed some light on the past relationship between ballistic missile defenses and negotiations on offensive arms control treaties. It provides an historical review of the way in which the United States and Soviet Union addressed ballistic missile defense issues during their negotiations on the first Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) in the 1980s and early 1990s. It also provides a review of U.S. missile defense policy and summarizes data on missile defense spending during the 1980s, 1990s, and the past decade. The report then reviews the recent record on the way the New START negotiations addressed ballistic missile defense issues and offers some observations about whether this historical record may provide insights into how the United States might proceed with its ballistic missile defense programs in the future.
Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Disaster: Risk, Recovery, and Insurance Implications
This report begins with a review of the Deepwater Horizon incident and identifies the limits of liability facing the operators of offshore oil rigs. The next two sections of the report examine risk management in the offshore energy exploration and production business, the scope of the oil spill financial responsibility and insurance requirements, and the marine insurance industry that offers specialized coverage for offshore oil and gas firms. The fourth section outlines the various approaches to compensating oil pollution victims, including compensation funds, commercial insurance, federal disaster assistance, and tort law. The report concludes with a discussion of four specific policy issue consideration for Congress, including new liability limits and insurance capacity, future insurability of offshore oil spill perils, availability of insurance, and the potential effects on domestic offshore energy production.
The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS)
This report discusses the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). CFIUS is an interagency committee that serves the President in overseeing the national security implications of foreign investment in the economy. Originally established by an Executive Order of President Ford in 1975, the committee generally has operated in relative obscurity.
Bisphenol A (BPA) in Plastics and Possible Human Health Effects
This report discusses Bisphenol A (BPA). BPA is used to produce certain types of plastic that are used in thousands of formulations for myriad products. Containers made with these plastics may expose people to small amounts of BPA in food and water. Medical devices and other more ubiquitous products, such as thermal paper coatings, also may contribute significantly to human exposure. Some animal experiments have found that fetal and infant development may be harmed by small amounts of BPA, but scientists disagree about the value of the animal studies for predicting harmful effects in people.
United Nations Reform: U.S. Policy and International Perspectives
This report focuses on U.N. reform efforts and priorities from the perspective of several key actors, including the U.S. government, the U.N. Secretary-General, selected groups of member states, and a cross-section of groups tasked with addressing U.N. reform. It also examines congressional actions related to U.N. reform, as well as future policy considerations.
Treating Ebola Patients in the United States: Health Care Delivery Implications
This report discusses the recent response to Ebola patients in the United States. While the U.S. health care system has the resources to effectively identify and treat Ebola cases, a situation that is novel, emergent, and resource-intensive may test the system's ability to effectively mobilize those resources.
Water Infrastructure Needs and Investment: Review and Analysis of Key Issues
This report identifies a number of issues receiving attention in connection with water infrastructure. It begins with a brief review of federal involvement, describes the debate about funding needs, and then examines key issues, including what is the nature of the problems to be solved; who will pay, and what is the federal role; and questions about mechanisms for delivering federal support, including state-by-state allotment. Recent congressional and Administration activity on these issues also is reviewed.
Trade Remedies and the WTO Rules Negotiations
At the November 2001 Ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Doha, Qatar, member countries launched a new round of trade talks known as the Doha Development Agenda (DDA). This report examines trade remedy issues in DDA in three parts. The first part provides background information and contextual analysis. The second section focuses on how these issues fit into the DDA. A third section provides a more specific overview of major reform proposals that are being considered.
Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP): Status and Issues
The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-246, 2008 farm bill) created the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP). This report discusses the two main purposes of BCAP, which are (1) to support the establishment and production of eligible crops for conversion to bioenergy in selected areas, and (2) to assist agricultural and forest land owners and operators with collection, harvest, storage, and transportation of eligible material for use in a biomass conversion facility.
China and Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction and Missiles: Policy Issues
This report discusses the security problem of China's role in weapons proliferation and issues related to the U.S. policy response since the mid-1990s. China has taken some steps to mollify U.S. and other foreign concerns about its role in weapons proliferation.
International Trade: Rules of Origin
This report deals with rules of origin (ROO) in three parts. First, we describe in more detail the reasons that country of origin rules are important and briefly describe U.S. laws and methods that provide direction in making these determinations. Second, we discuss briefly some of the more controversial issues involving rules of origin, including the apparently subjective nature of some CBP origin determinations, and the effects of the global manufacturing process on ROO. Third, we conclude with some alternatives and options that Congress could consider that might assist in simplifying the process.
Spectrum Policy in the Age of Broadband: Issues for Congress
This report considers the possibility of modifying spectrum policy: (1) to support national goals for broadband deployment by placing more emphasis on attracting new providers of wireless broadband services; and (2) to accommodate the wireless broadband needs of industries that are considered by many to be the economic drivers of the future, not only communications, but also areas such as energy, health care, transportation, and education.
Immigration Policies and Issues on Health-Related Grounds for Exclusion
This report discusses the criteria that foreign nationals must meet before admission to the United States, including the reasons why a foreign national might be denied admission, most particularly on health-related grounds. This report discusses such issues in relation to the recent outbreak of the 2009 H1N1 ("swine flu") virus, and how the outbreak has affected various government agencies, such as the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). This report also discusses efforts to confront and address such issues on a legislative front.
The "Volcker": Proposals to Limit "Speculative" Proprietary Trading by Banks
This report briefly discusses the permissible proprietary trading activities of commercial banks and their subsidiaries under current law. It then analyzes the Volcker Rule proposals under the House- and Senate-passed financial reform bills and under the Conference Report, which would limit the ability of commercial banking institutions and their affiliated companies and subsidiaries to engage in trading unrelated to customer needs and investing in and sponsoring hedge funds or private equity funds.
International Trade and Finance: Key Policy Issues for the 112th Congress
The 112th Congress, in both its legislative and oversight capacities, faces numerous international trade and finance issues. In addition to the broader congressional oversight of the economic and political context of the current U.S. participation in the global economy, this report highlights major international trade and finance issues Congress may address this year and next.
Identity Theft: Trends and Issues
This report first provides a brief federal legislative history of identity theft laws. It analyzes the current trends in identity theft, including prevalent identity theft-related crimes, the federal agencies involved in combating identity theft, and the trends in identity theft complaints and prosecutions. The report also discusses the relationship between data breaches and identity theft as well as possible effects of the FTC's Identity Theft Red Flags Rule, effective June 1, 2010. It also examines current legislation on identity theft and possible issues for the 111th Congress to consider.
Independent Evaluators of Federal Programs: Approaches, Devices, and Examples
Congress and the executive, as well as outside organizations, have long been attentive to the evaluation of federal programs, with frequent interest paid to the independent status of the evaluator. This interest continues into the current era, with numerous illustrations of the multifaceted approaches adopted and proposed. This report focuses on examples of independent evaluators (IEs): when an evaluation is to be conducted by an entity outside the immediate organization that is responsible for policy implementation, and the entity also is intended to have one or more dimensions of independence.
Afghanistan Casualties: Military Forces and Civilians
This report collects statistics from a variety of sources on casualties sustained during Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), which began on October 7, 2001. OEF actions took place primarily in Afghanistan; however, OEF casualties also includes American casualties in Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Guantanamo Bay (Cuba), Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Jordan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, the Philippines, Seychelles, Sudan, Tajikistan, Turkey, and Yemen.
Africa: U.S. Foreign Assistance Issues
This report discusses the issue of U.S. economic assistance to sub-Saharan Africa, highlighting the importance of continued assistance in light of U.S. national security and also various U.S.-led efforts to promote reform amongst African citizens themselves. U.S. assistance finds its way to Africa through a variety of channels, including the USAID-administered DA program, food aid programs, and indirect aid provided through international financial institutions and the United Nations.
Spectrum Policy in the Age of Broadband: Issues for Congress
This report discusses some of the commercial and federal radio frequency spectrum policy changes required by the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012. It also summarizes new policy directions for spectrum management under consideration in the 112th Congress, such as the encouragement of new technologies that use spectrum more efficiently.
U.S.-China Counterterrorism Cooperation: Issues for U.S. Policy
This report discusses short-term policy issues about how to elicit cooperation and how to address People's Republic of China (PRC) concerns about the U.S.-led war (Operation Enduring Freedom).
Questioning Supreme Court Nominees About Their Views on Legal or Constitutional Issues: A Recurring Issue
This report discusses a recurring Senate issue regarding what kinds of questions are appropriate for Senators to pose to a Supreme Court nominee appearing at hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Particularly at issue has been whether, or to what extent, questions by committee members should seek out a nominee's personal views on current legal or constitutional issues or on past Supreme Court decisions that have involved those issues.
The Bush Tax Cuts and the Economy
The George W. Bush Administration enacted a series of tax cuts through the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 and the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003. This report examines these tax cuts within the context of the current and long-term economic environment.
Organized Retail Crime
This report provides an overview of organized retail crime (ORC) rings, their operations, and goods targeted. It then examines the domestic impact of ORC in the arenas of the economy, public health and safety, and domestic security. The report also outlines current efforts by retailers, resale markets, and the federal government to combat ORC. It then analyzes various policy issues that Congress may wish to consider, including whether current federal resources provided for the investigation of ORC are adequate, whether to amend the U.S. Code to criminalize ORC, and whether to regulate resale marketplaces that may be utilized as fences for criminals to sell stolen goods.
The Bush Tax Cuts and the Economy
This report examines the Bush tax cuts within the context of the current and long-term economic and budgetary environment.
Unemployment Compensation (Insurance) and Military Service
This report discusses Unemployment Compensation for Ex-Servicemembers (UCX), which provides income support while former active duty military personnel or reservists released from active duty search for work. The report addresses funding for this service, who is entitled to UCX benefits, and Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC08) and the Extended Benefits (EB) payments, which a servicemember receives when regular unemployment benefits are exhausted.
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.
Poverty in the United States: 2013
This report discusses poverty in United States that varies widely across the population according to age, education, labor force attachment, family living arrangements, and area of residence, among other factors. The report elaborates on the poverty among selected groups, the geography of poverty, and the research supplemental poverty measure.
Navy Nuclear Aircraft Carrier (CVN) Homeporting at Mayport: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and issues for Congress on the Navy's proposal to homeport a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier (CVN) at Mayport, Florida. Economic and homeland security concerns are discussed.
Legislative Planning: Considerations for Congressional Staff
The Congressional Research Service frequently receives inquiries about legislative planning. Legislative and office action plans are often used by congressional offices for almost every significant project, from organizing an extensive conference in the district or state to introducing and guiding legislation. A major action plan requires a firm understanding of the project's goal, a research strategy, and a time line for completing the project. This report presents some of the factors usually considered in preparing an action plan. The information is provided in three sections. The first provides an overview which lays out summary considerations. The second raises questions to consider in preparing an outline for a project. The third details a sample action plan.
The Budget Control Act and Trends in Discretionary Spending
This report mostly discusses trends in outlays (disbursements from the U.S. Treasury).
Securities and Exchange Commission Rule 151A and Annuities: Issues and Legislation
This report explains the different types of annuities, the taxation of annuities, and disentangles the federal and state roles in the regulation of annuities. It outlines the SEC rule, including practical considerations for implementation. It also discusses congressional action in response to the SEC rule.