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 Decade: 2010-2019
 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Guinea: Background and Relations with the United States
This report discusses the current political conditions in Guinea, as well as the considerable changes to Guinea's political landscape that have taken place over the past two years. The report also discusses U.S. interests and associated policy challenges in Guinea, centering around democratization, counternarcotics issues, regional stability, and socioeconomic development, among other issues.
Navy Ford (CVN-78) Class Aircraft Carrier Program: Background and Issues for Congress
This report discusses the U.S. Navy's Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) class aircraft carrier program, including the CVN-78, CVN-79 and CVN-80, which are the first of the class of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers (CVNs). The report provides background on the program and funding, as well as related issues for Congress.
Closing a Congressional Office: Overview of House and Senate Practices
Turnover of membership in the House and Senate necessitates closing congressional offices. The closure of a congressional office requires an outgoing Member of Congress to evaluate pertinent information regarding his or her staff; the disposal of personal and official records; and final disposition of office accounts, facilities, and equipment. This report is designed to address questions that arise when a congressional office is closing.
The Committee Markup Process in the House of Representatives
This report focuses on the markup stage of the legislative process in committee. It discusses the selection of the text to be marked up, the procedures for proposing and debating amendments to that text, the voting and quorum procedures that govern markups, and the final stages of ordering the marked-up text reported to the House for its consideration.
Coast Guard Polar Icebreaker Modernization: Background, Issues, and Options for Congress
This report provides background information and issues for Congress on the modernization of the Coast Guard's polar icebreaker fleet, which performs a variety of missions supporting U.S. interests in polar regions.
Air Force KC-X Tanker Aircraft Program: Background and Issues for Congress
This report discusses the Department of Defense (DOD) released its Request for Proposals for a program to build 179 new KC-X aerial refueling tankers for the Air Force, a contract valued at roughly $35 billion in February, 2010.
"Don't Ask, Don't Tell": A Legal Analysis
This report provides a legal analysis of the various constitutional challenges that have been brought against "Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT)".
U.S. Secret Service Protection Mission Funding and Staffing: Fact Sheet
The U.S. Secret Service (USSS) has two broad missions, criminal investigations and protection. The protection mission, which is the focus of this fact sheet, covers the President, Vice President, their families, and candidates for those offices, along with the White House and Vice President's residence, through the Service's Uniformed Division. Protective duties also extend to foreign missions in the District of Columbia and to designated individuals, such as the DHS Secretary and visiting foreign dignitaries. This fact sheet provides information on USSS funding and staffing because congressional attention has turned to the USSS and its operations due to several recent incidents.
The Federal Budget: Overview and Issues for FY2015 and Beyond
This report will provide an overview of federal budget issues, focusing on recent fiscal policy changes. It will also discuss the major policy proposals contained in the President's FY2015 budget and the House and Senate budget resolutions. Finally, it also addresses major short- and long-term fiscal challenges. This report will track legislative events related to the federal budget and will be updated as budgetary legislation moves through Congress.
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 legal and congressional action in response to the SEC rule.
Navy Irregular Warfare and Counterterrorism Operations: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and potential issues for Congress on the Navy's irregular warfare (IW) and counterterrorism (CT) operations. The Navy's IW and CT activities pose a number of potential oversight issues for Congress, including the definition of Navy IW activities and how much emphasis to place on IW and CT activities in future Navy budgets.
Nuclear Power Plant Security and Vulnerabilities
This report discusses the physical security at nuclear power plants. The physical security of nuclear power plants and their vulnerability to deliberate acts of terrorism was elevated to a national security concern following the attacks of September 11, 2001. Since the attacks, Congress has repeatedly focused oversight and legislative attention on nuclear power plant security requirements established and enforced by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).
Navy LX(R) Amphibious Ship Program: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and issues for Congress on the LX(R) amphibious ship program, a Navy program to build a new class of 11 amphibious ships.
The TANF Emergency Contingency Fund
This report describes the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Emergency Contingency Fund (ECF) as well as proposals to extend and modify TANF emergency funding.
Unemployment Insurance: Legislative Issues in the 113th Congress
This report provides a brief overview of the three unemployment insurance programs--UC, EUC08 (expired), and EB--that may provide benefits to eligible unemployed workers. It contains a brief explanation of how the EUC08 program, as well as some other UC-related payments, began to experience reductions in benefits as a result of the sequester order contained within the Budget Control Act of 2011 (P.L. 112-25).
Cyprus: Reunification Proving Elusive
This report discusses attempts to resolve the political division of Cyprus that have occurred over the last 45 years. Current issues include the Republic of Cyprus receiving EU presidency in July 2012 and a recent discovery of natural gas deposits off the southern coast of Cyprus.
Speed of Presidential and Senate Actions on Supreme Court Nominations, 1900-2010
This report provides information on the amount of time taken to act on all Supreme Court nominations occurring between 1900 and the present. It focuses on the actual amounts of time that Presidents and the Senate have taken to act (as opposed to the elapsed time between official points in the process). This report focuses on when the Senate became aware of the President's selection (e.g., via a public announcement by the President).
Assistance to Firefighters Program: Distribution of Fire Grant Funding
This report discusses the firefighting activities that are traditionally the responsibility of states and local communities. The report also talks about the funding for firefighters, which is provided mostly by state and local governments. However, during the 106th Congress, many in the fire community asserted that local fire departments require and deserve greater support from the federal government.
Gas Hydrates: Resource and Hazard
This report discusses gas hydrates, which are potentially huge resource of natural gas for the United States. The U.S. Geological Survey estimated that there are about 85 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of technically recoverable gas hydrates in northern Alaska. The Minerals Management Service estimated a mean value of 21,000 TCF of in-place gas hydrates in the Gulf of Mexico. By comparison, total U.S. natural gas consumption is about 23 TCF annually. Gas hydrates are both a potential resource and a risk, representing a significant hazard to conventional oil and gas drilling and production operations, and to date gas hydrates have no confirmed commercial production.
Tariff Modifications: Miscellaneous Tariff Bills
Importers often request that Members of Congress introduce bills seeking to suspend or reduce tariffs on certain imports on their behalf. This report discusses the current process by which duty suspension bills and other provisions are introduced, reviewed by several government agencies and committee staff, made available for public comment, and finally included in omnibus miscellaneous trade and technical corrections bills (MTB) legislation reported out by the committees of jurisdiction.
Continuing Resolutions: Latest Action and Brief Overview of Recent Practices
This report is divided into two segments. The first section provides the most recent information on the FY2011 continuing resolutions. The second segment focuses on the history and recent trends, including the nature, scope, and duration of CRs during the past 35 years; CR types by duration; major substantive legislative provisions included in some CRs; and funding gaps.
The 2010 Oil Spill: MMS/BOEMRE and NEPA
This report reviews the environmental procedures required following the explosion of an oil well on a tract leased by BP from the federal government.
Federal Efforts to Address the Threat of Bioterrorism: Selected Issues for Congress
This report focuses on four areas under congressional consideration deemed critical to the success of the biodefense enterprise: strategic planning; risk assessment; surveillance; and the development, procurement, and distribution of medical countermeasures. This report also discusses the effectiveness and sufficiency of programs implementing these aspects of the federal biodefense efforts, outside analysts' suggestions for improving the government's efforts, and current issues under congressional consideration.
Committee Types and Roles
This report briefly describes the function and types of congressional committees and subcommittees.
Guide to Individuals Seated on the House Dais
The House of Representatives meets in the House chamber of the Capitol. In the front of the chamber is a three-tiered, elevated dais. This report discusses the seating arrangements and traditions in regards to the dais.
Qatar: Background and U.S. Relations
This report presents an overview of Qatar's history and recent economic and political developments. The report discusses U.S. relations with Qatar, U.S. military cooperation and foreign assistance, political reform and elections, as well as human rights and social issues.
The Middle East: Selected Key Issues and Options for the 112th Congress
This report provides an overview of key issues, relating to the Middle East including the war in Afghanistan, terrorism, foreign assistance, democracy promotion, a summary of past congressional action on these issues, and options for congressional consideration during the 112th Congress.
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.
Infringement of Intellectual Property Rights and State Sovereign Immunity
This report discusses the Eleventh Amendment and the concept of state sovereign immunity. Although the amendment appears to be focused on preventing suits against a state by non-residents in federal courts, the U.S. Supreme Court has expanded the concept of state sovereign immunity to reach much further than the literal text of the amendment, to include immunity from suits by the states' own citizens and immunity from suits under federal law within a state's own court system.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services' Immigration Fees and Adjudication Costs: Proposed Adjustments and Historical Context
This report discusses the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service's (USCIS) newly proposed fee schedule for immigration services. Issues for Congress to consider might include how USCIS fees have been computed and justified; whether anticipated revenue from revised fees will cover agency costs; how fiscal shortfalls might be funded; and what impact higher fees might have on the applicant pool.
State Marijuana Legalization Initiatives: Implications for Federal Law Enforcement
This report provides a background on federal marijuana policy as well as an overview of state trends with respect to marijuana decriminalization and legalization--for both medical and recreational uses. It then analyzes relevant issues for U.S. federal law enforcement as well as for the criminal organizations involved in producing, distributing, and profiting from the black market sale of marijuana. This report also outlines a number of related policy questions that Congress may confront.
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, but OEF casualties also include American casualties in other countries, listed within this report.
Recently Expired Community Assistance Related Tax Provisions ("Tax Extenders"): In Brief
This report briefly summarizes four community assistance-related tax provisions included in the Expiring Provisions Improvement Reform and Efficiency (EXPIRE) Act, which are the New Markets Tax Credit, Empowerment Zone Tax Incentives, allocation of bond limitations for Qualified Zone Academy Bonds, and the American Samoa Economic Development Credit. The EXPIRE Act would extend each of these provisions for two years (through 2015). A discussion of their economic impact and related extension bills in the 113th Congress is also included.
Turkey: Selected Foreign Policy Issues and U.S. Views
This report focuses on the foreign policy of Turkey, a long-time valued U.S. NATO ally, and examines the ruling Justice and Development Party's (AKP) recalculation of the country's approach to foreign affairs and its possible effects on relations with the United States. This report surveys Turkish foreign policy issues that are of critical interest to U.S. officials and Members of Congress.
The Farm Safety Net: In Brief
This report discusses the several programs operated by The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that supplement the income of farmers and ranchers in times of low farm prices and natural disasters. The programs are collectively called the farm safety net.
Yemen: Background and U.S. Relations
This report provides an overview and analysis of U.S.-Yemeni relations and issues, including evolving political change in Yemeni leadership, ongoing U.S. counterterrorism operations against Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) operatives at large in Yemen's hinterlands, and international efforts to bolster the country's stability despite an array of daunting socio-economic problems.
The EU-South Korea Free Trade Agreement and Its Implications for the United States
This report discusses the free trade agreement (FTA) between South Korea and the European Union (EU). It looks at various aspects of the South Korea-EU FTA (KOREU FTA) including economic ties, trade strategies, and an overview of the key provisions of the agreement focusing on manufactured goods, agriculture, services, and various other provisions of particular interest to U.S. policymakers and the U.S. business community. The report also gives an analysis of the potential economic impact of the KOREU FTA and potential implications of the agreement for the United States.
Immigration of Foreign Workers: Labor Market Tests and Protections
This report examines the current state of employment-based immigration, and discusses its perceived effects on the labor market.
Iran: U.S. Economic Sanctions and the Authority to Lift Restrictions
This report identifies the legislative bases for sanctions imposed on Iran, and the nature of the authority to waive or lift those restrictions. It comprises two tables that present legislation and executive orders that are specific to Iran and its objectionable activities in the areas of terrorism, human rights, and weapons proliferation.
The Millennium Development Goals: The September 2010 U.N. High-level Meeting
This report discusses overarching trends in Millennium Development Goals (MDG) progress and lessons learned from previous and ongoing efforts to achieve them. The MDGs are a group of measurable development targets agreed to by 189 U.N. member states - including the United States - as part of the 2000 Millennium Declaration. The MDGs cover a number of issues, such as eradicating extreme hunger and poverty, combating HIV/AIDS, and promoting gender equality and women's empowerment. This report examines U.S. policy toward the MDGs and how, if at all, the Goals fit into U.S. development and foreign assistance policy. It also examines different schools of thought regarding the effectiveness of the Goals, their role in international development, and their long-term sustainability. This report addresses the MDGs as a whole; it does not assess or analyze issues pertaining to the individual Goals.
The Corporate Income Tax System: Overview and Options for Reform
This report presents information and research on the corporate tax to help policy makers understand and evaluate arguments presented in the tax reform debate. This report first reviews the structure of the corporate income tax. Data on which companies pay the corporate tax, corporate tax revenue, and how the U.S. system compares to the rest of the world are then presented and analyzed. Next, the economic effects of the corporate tax are reviewed--including a discussion of the purpose of the corporate tax, who bears the burden of the tax, and how to evaluate alternative corporate tax systems. The report then reviews broad reform options and concludes with a comparison of specific proposals that have been offered.
China Naval Modernization: Implications for U.S. Navy Capabilities--Background and Issues for Congress
This report focuses on the implications that certain elements of China's military modernization may have for future required U.S. Navy capabilities. The issue for Congress addressed in this report is: How should China's military modernization be factored into decisions about U.S. Navy programs? Congress's decisions on this issue could significantly affect future U.S. Navy capabilities, U.S. Navy funding requirements, and the U.S. defense industrial base, including the shipbuilding industry.
Ballast Water Management to Combat Invasive Species
The 111th Congress may elect to consider legislation (H.R. 500 and S. 237) that has been introduced to amend and reauthorize the Nonindigenous Aquatic Nuisance Prevention and Control Act of 1990 to further study vessel ballast water management standards and modify how ballast water is handled. This report provides background on various approaches to ballast water management and reviews current ballast water management laws and programs.
Security Assistance Reform: "Section 1206" Background and Issues for Congress
This report discusses Section 1206 of the FY2006 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which provides the Secretary of Defense with authority to train and equip foreign military forces for two specified purposes--counterterrorism and stability operations--and foreign security forces for counterterrorism operations.
Honduran-U.S. Relations
This report examines current political and economic conditions in Honduras as well as issues in Honduran-U.S. relations.
Navy Ship Names: Background for Congress
This report discusses the process of naming Navy ships, which have traditionally been chosen and announced by the Secretary of the Navy.
Venezuela: Issues in the 111th Congress
This report discusses U.S.-Venezuela relations, including an historical overview. It also discusses the current political conditions in Venezuela, and certain Venezuela-related concerns the 111th Congress faces, such as Venezuela's human rights situation and its deepening relations with Iran.
Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: Selected Issues for Congress
On April 20, 2010, an explosion and fire occurred on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico. This resulted in 11 worker fatalities, a massive oil release, and a national response effort in the Gulf of Mexico region by the federal and state governments as well as BP. This report provides an overview of selected issues related to the Deepwater Horizon incident and is not intended to be comprehensive.
Conflict Minerals and Resource Extraction: Dodd-Frank, SEC Regulations, and Legal Challenges
This report discusses the two sections of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Protection Act (Dodd-Frank) that require the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC or Commission) to issue regulations to make public the involvement of U.S. companies in conflict minerals and in resource extraction payments.
Civilian Nuclear Waste Disposal
This report looks at the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 (NWPA), Yucca Mountain, and the Obama Administration's de-funding of Yucca Mountain. Federal policy is based on the premise that nuclear waste can be disposed of safely, but proposed storage and disposal facilities have frequently been challenged on safety, health, and environmental grounds. Most of the current debate surrounding civilian radioactive waste focuses on highly radioactive spent fuel from nuclear power plants.