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 Decade: 2010-2019
 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
An Overview of the Tax Provisions in the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012
This report provides an overview of the tax provisions (Titles I-IV and Title X of P.L. 112-240) included in the "fiscal cliff deal," including the permanent extension and modification of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, often referred to collectively as the "Bush-era tax cuts"; the temporary extension of certain tax provisions originally included as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA; P.L. 111-5), often referred to as the "2009 tax cuts"; the permanent extension of the alternative minimum tax (AMT) patch; the temporary extension of a variety of other temporary expiring provisions for individuals, businesses, and energy often referred to as "tax extenders" and the expansion of in-plan conversions of traditional employer-sponsored retirement accounts (like 401(k) plans) to employer-sponsored Roth accounts (like Roth 401(k) plans).
Peacekeeping and Stabilization Missions Abroad: The Development of Civilian Capabilities, 2004-2011
This report provides background on the origins and development of Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization (S/CRS) and related capabilities.
Liberia's Post-War Development: Key Issues and U.S. Assistance
This report covers developments in Liberia, a small, poor West African country. It includes discussion of the country's issues with civil war, political and governance transitions, and its relations with the U.S.
U.S.-Funded Assistance Programs in China
This report provides legislative and policy background concerning U.S. assistance programs in the People's Republic of China (PRC). The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) does not have an official presence in China. The majority of congressional foreign operations appropriations for the PRC promotes the rule of law, civil society, and political development in the country. These programs constitute a key component of U.S. efforts to promote democratic change in the PRC. Other related U.S. activities include participation in official bilateral dialogues on human rights, public diplomacy programs, and open criticism of PRC policies.
Ebola: 2014 Outbreak in West Africa
This report gives a overview of the West African Ebola outbreak that began in March, 2014. The report discusses the nature of the disease as well as local and international responses to it. The report also briefly examines U.S policy and congressional actions in the wake of the outbreak.
The Debt Limit: History and Recent Increases
This report presents the means through which the total debt of the federal government can increase, gives a historical overview of debt limits, and discusses how the current economic slowdown has led to higher deficits and thereby a series of debt limit increases, as well as legislation related to these increases.
The U.N. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW): Issues in the U.S. Ratification Debate
This report discusses issues surrounding the proposed Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would prohibit discrimination based on an individual's actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity by public and private employers in hiring, discharge, compensation, and other terms and conditions of employment.
Department of Defense Food Procurement: Background and Status
This report describes the origin, authority, and policy in the procurement of food for the military. Military food items, also known as subsistence items, are generally procured under the auspices of the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), an agency of the Department of Defense (DOD) which provides worldwide logistics support for the U.S. military services. Under DLA, DLA Troop Services (formerly the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia) is the inventory control point for food, clothing, textiles, medicines, medical equipment, general and industrial supplies, and services for the military, their eligible dependents, and other non-DOD customers worldwide. DLA Troop Services buys and manages about $13.4 billion worth of food, clothing, textiles, and other products.
Restrictions on Itemized Tax Deductions: Policy Options and Analysis
This report analyzes various proposals to restrict itemized deductions--both across-the-board and individually tailored--using standard economic criteria of economic efficiency, distribution, simplicity, and estimated revenue effects. In particular, this report estimates each proposal's potential to contribute to revenue-neutral reductions in income tax rates and the consequences for economic behavior.
Human Rights in China and U.S. Policy: Issues for the 113th Congress
This report examines human rights issues in the People's Republic of China (PRC), including ongoing rights abuses, legal reforms, and the development of civil society.
Army Corps of Engineers Water Resource Projects: Authorization and Appropriations
This report summarizes congressional authorization and appropriations processes for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. It also discusses agency activities under general authorities.
Coast Guard Cutter Procurement: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and potential oversight issues for Congress on the Coast Guard's programs for procuring 8 National Security Cutters (NSCs), 25 Offshore Patrol Cutters (OPCs), and 58 Fast Response Cutters (FRCs).
Legislative Actions to Repeal, Defund, or Delay the Affordable Care Act
This report summarizes legislative actions taken to repeal, defund, delay, or otherwise amend the ACA since the law's enactment.
Afghanistan: Politics, Elections, and Government Performance
This report discusses the current political state of Afghanistan, as well as the Afghan government. This report also discusses Afghanistan's relationship with the United States, particularly U.S. efforts to urge President Hamid Karzai to address corruption within the Afghan government.
Terrorist Watch List Screening and Background Checks for Firearms
This report examines potential policy issues that could arise under the Terror Gap proposal. For context, a basic overview of the U.S. government's post-9/11 terrorist watchlist procedures is provided, as well as an analysis of the Terror Gap proposal, which has been reintroduced in the 113th Congress.
The National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for Particulate Matter (PM): EPA's 2006 Revisions and Associated Issues
This report provides an analysis of the EPA's final 2006 revisions to the particulates National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), and an overview of the estimated costs and benefits of the revised standards and of more stringent alternatives analyzed. The report highlights concerns and issues raised regarding the 2006 revisions to the particulates standards, including those of the science advisory committee (CASAC), and actions in Congress.
The United States and Europe: Current Issues
This report examines a number of issues that illustrate the cooperation of U.S.-European cooperation based on shared interests and present challenges. These issues include specifics topics in economics, foreign policy and international security, terrorism, cybersecurity, and energy.
Ghana: Recent Developments and U.S. Relations
This report provides information on current developments in Ghana and Ghana's relations with the United States, which are close. It describes the purpose of President Barack Obama's forthcoming trip to Ghana, which will focus on issues of good governance and socio-economic and political development, and characterizes the current state of play in bilateral relations. It also summarizes the policy agenda of Ghana's president, John Atta Mills, who won office by a narrow margin in elections in late 2008. The dynamics of that election are described in the report, as are recent policy-centered developments, economic challenges and performance, and socio-economic prospects. Ghana's international relations and bilateral development cooperation with the United States are also covered in the report.
Military Medical Care: Questions and Answers
This report answers several frequently asked questions about military health care, including: how the system is structured, a TRICARE summary, TRICARE eligibility and plan options, cost of military health care to beneficiaries, relationship of TRICARE to MEDICARE, how the Affordable Care Act affects TRICARE, long-term trends of defense health care costs, and a summary of the fund which funds TRICARE.
Safe Drinking Water Act: Selected Regulatory and Legislative Issues
This report provides an overview of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), and examines recent issues such as infrastructure funding needs, regulatory compliance issues, and concerns caused by the detection of unregulated contaminants in drinking water.
Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) Status for Russia and U.S.-Russian Economic Ties
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).
Taiwan: Major U.S. Arms Sales Since 1990
This report, updated through the 113th Congress, discusses U.S. security assistance to Taiwan (calling itself Republic of China (ROC)), including policy issues for Congress and legislation.
Cars, Trucks, and Climate: EPA Regulation of Greenhouse Gases from Mobile Sources
This report discusses the full range of EPA's authority under Title II and provides information regarding other mobile sources that might be regulated under this authority, in addition to describing the car and truck regulations.
Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty: Background and Current Developments
This report discusses the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), which bans all nuclear explosion and was in 1996 adopted by the U.N. General Assembly but rejected by the U.S. Senate in 1997. This report discusses the Obama Administration's stated goal of pursuing U.S. ratification of the CTBT, although the Administration has mainly focused on securing Senate consent to ratification of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START). This report also discusses other nuclear weapons-related issues as well as the long history of nuclear testing.
Marine Corps Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV) and Marine Personnel Carrier (MPC): Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information regarding Marine Corps Amphibious Combat Vehicle(ACV) and Marine Personnel Carrier (MPC). The report discusses the marines' justification for the ACV and MPC and desired operational capabilities.
Securing U.S. Diplomatic Facilities and Personnel Abroad: Legislative and Executive Branch Initiatives
This report briefly summarizes and tracks congressional and State Department actions in response to the attack on U. S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya, and will be updated as necessary to reflect further developments and actions on ongoing policy proposals.
Mongolia: Issues for Congress
This report provides background information on Mongolia, including political and economic conditions. The report discusses the status of U.S.-Mongolian political and economic relations, and key security and foreign policy issues.
New Zealand: U.S. Security Cooperation and the U.S. Rebalancing to Asia Strategy
This report discusses New Zealand's developing security cooperation with the United States.
Block Grants: Perspectives and Controversies
This report provides an overview of the six grant types with criteria for defining a block grant and a list of current block grants. It also examines competing perspectives concerning the use of block grants versus other grant mechanisms to achieve national goals, provides an historical overview of the role of block grants in American federalism, and discusses recent changes to existing block grants and proposals to create new ones.
Cyprus: Reunification Proving Elusive
This report provides a brief overview of the history of the reunification negotiations, a review of the negotiations since 2008, a description of some of the issues involved in the talks, and where things stand today.
Iran's Nuclear Program: Tehran's Compliance with International Obligations
This report provides a brief overview of Iran's nuclear program and describes the legal basis for the actions taken by the IAEA board and the Security Council. It will be updated as events warrant.
Title X (Public Health Service Act) Family Planning Program
This report discusses the Family Planning Program, Title X of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. §§300 to 300a-6), which is the only domestic federal program devoted solely to family planning and related preventive health services. The report discusses various services related to Title X and also considers current legislation related to the program.
United Nations Regular Budget Contributions: Members Compared, 1990-2010
This report provides the assessment level, actual payment, and total outstanding contributions for the United States and other selected U.N. member states from 1990 to 2010 — the last year for which data are publicly available.
Biofuels Incentives: A Summary of Federal Programs
This report outlines federal programs that provide direct or indirect incentives for biofuels. For each program described, the report provides details including the administering agency, authorizing statute(s), annual funding, and expiration date. The Appendix provides summary information in a table format.
Mobile Technology and Spectrum Policy: Innovation and Competition
This report traces the current and possible future evolution of mobile communications networks and some of the changes in spectrum policy that might better accommodate innovation.
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.
Commonly Used Motions and Requests in the House of Representatives
This report identifies the most commonly used motions and requests available to Members during proceedings in the House of Representatives. It does not identify motions and requests used when the House is in the Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union.
Omnibus Appropriations Acts: Overview of Recent Practices
This report discusses Omnibus appropriations acts, which have become a significant feature of the legislative process in recent years as Congress and the President have used them more frequently to bring action on the regular appropriations cycle to a close. Following a discussion of pertinent background information, the report reviews the recent enactment of such measures and briefly addresses several issues raised by their use.
Nuclear Cooperation with Other Countries: A Primer
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.
The Federal Prison Population Buildup: Overview, Policy Changes, Issues, and Options
Since the early 1980s, there has been a historically unprecedented increase in the federal prison population. Some of the growth is attributable to changes in federal criminal justice policy during the previous three decades. An issue before Congress is whether policymakers consider the rate of growth in the federal prison population sustainable, and if not, what changes could be made to federal criminal justice policy to reduce the prison population while maintaining public safety. This report explores the issues related to the growing federal prison population.
An Overview of the HOME Investment Partnerships Program
This report provides an introduction to the HOME Investment Partnerships Program, including a brief history, an overview of allowable uses of HOME funds, and a description of certain program requirements. It also provides information on funding for the program and how that funding has been used.
Navy Ohio Replacement (SSBN[X]) Ballistic Missile Submarine Program: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and potential oversight issues for Congress on the Ohio replacement program (ORP), a program to design and build a new class of 12 ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) to replace the Navy's current force of 14 Ohio-class SSBNs. The Ohio replacement program is also known as the SSBN(X) program. The Navy's proposed FY2013 budget requests $564.9 million for continued research and development work on the Ohio replacement program. Decisions that Congress makes on the Ohio replacement program could substantially affect U.S. military capabilities and funding requirements, and the U.S. shipbuilding industrial base.
Implementation of Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS): Issues for Congress
This report analyzes data from a variety of Department of Homeland Security (DHS) presentations, testimony, and other sources to present a historical overview of program performance to date. It identifies an ongoing gap between the number of facilities that have received final risk tier assignments and the total number of regulated facilities.
Iraqi and Afghan Special Immigrant Visa Programs
This report analyzes the special immigrant visa (SIV) classifications for Iraqis and Afghans within the context of both the larger Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) special immigrant category and selected other permanent admissions categories. It discusses the legislative changes to the individual Iraqi and Afghan special immigrant programs since their initial authorization, provides statistics on visa issuance, and considers challenges facing the programs today.
Protection of Trade Secrets: Overview of Current Law and Legislation
This report starts out with background information regarding trade secrets and an overview of current legal landscape for trade secret protection.
Burma's Political Prisoners and U.S. Sanctions
This report discusses the current issues in Burma (Myanmar) in regards to political prisoners and the resulting U.S. sanctions against the nation. It includes an introduction and definitions; information about current estimates of prisoners and prisoner releases; the relation of political prisoners, parliamentary elections and national reconciliation; and U.S. sanctions and U.S. efforts regarding political prisoners, as well as relevant issues for Congress to consider.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership Negotiations and Issues for Congress
This report examines the issues related to the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the state and substance of the negotiations (to the degree that the information is publically available), the specific areas under negotiation, the policy and economic contexts in which the TPP would fit, and the issues for Congress that the TPP presents.
Federal Permitting and Oversight of Export of Fossil Fuels
This report reviews federal laws and the regulatory regime governing the export of natural gas, crude oil, and coal. This report provides an overview of federal laws and regulations and agency roles in authorizing and regulating the export of these fossil fuels.
NAFTA at 20: Overview and Trade Effects
This report provides an overview of North American trade liberalization before the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), an overview of NAFTA provisions, the economic effects of NAFTA, and policy considerations.
Taiwan: Major U.S. Arms Sales Since 1990
This report discusses U.S. security assistance to Taiwan (calling itself Republic of China (ROC)), including policy issues for Congress and legislation.