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 Decade: 2010-2019
 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Reducing the Budget Deficit: Overview of Policy Issues
This report discusses why the federal government's fiscal path is unsustainable and provides an overview of proposals of selected groups that have published detailed recommendations on how to return the federal budget to a sustainable course. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc463275/
Multiyear Procurement (MYP) and Block Buy Contracting in Defense Acquisition: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and issues for Congress on multiyear procurement (MYP) and block buy contracting (BBC), which are special contracting mechanisms that Congress permits the Department of Defense (DOD) to use for a limited number of defense acquisition programs. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc463284/
U.S. Manufacturing in International Perspective
This report is designed to inform the debate over the health of U.S. manufacturing through a series of charts and tables that depict the position of the United States relative to other countries according to various metrics. Understanding which trends in manufacturing reflect factors that may be unique to the United States and which are related to broader changes in technology or consumer preferences may be helpful in formulating policies intended to aid firms or workers engaged in manufacturing activity. This report does not describe or discuss specific policy options. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc463253/
The Debt Limit: History and Recent Increases
This report gives an historical overview of debt limits, discusses how the total debt of the federal government can increase and 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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc463280/
U.S.-Vietnam Economic and Trade Relations: Issues for the 113th Congress
This report examines the bilateral trade issues between United States and Vietnam, discussing their main elements and exploring their potential implications for the 113th Congress. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc463246/
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. Congress in recent years has proposed, and sometimes passed, legislation regarding the naming of specific ships. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc463261/
The National Broadband Plan Goals: Where Do We Stand?
This report discusses next generation broadband service; universal broadband service; mobile wireless broadband innovation and coverage; broadband access of Community Anchor Institutions; a nationwide, wireless, interoperable broadband public safety network; and broadband for tracking energy consumption. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc463271/
Role of Home State Senators in the Selection of Lower Federal Court Judges
This report examines the role that home state Senators, historically and in the contemporary era, have played in the selection of nominees to U.S. district court and circuit court of appeals judgeships. It also identifies issues that have arisen in recent years over the role of home state Senators in the selection process for federal judges. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc463299/
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc463285/
Sequestration at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA): Air Traffic Controller Furloughs and Congressional Response
This report provides a brief overview of FAA's implementation of the sequester in April 2013, as it relates to air traffic control operations and staff furloughs. It then considers the congressional response, including the potential impact of the funds transfers authorized under P.L. 113-9 on FAA's Airport Improvement Program (AIP). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc463256/
Cluster Munitions: Background and Issues for Congress
This report discusses the background of cluster munitions in the U.S. military, and the current Department of Defense (DOD) and Obama Administration stances on the topic. It also discusses the two major international initiatives to address cluster munitions: the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) and negotiations under the U.N. Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc463295/
House Office of Congressional Ethics: History, Authority, and Procedures
This report describes the history and rationale behind the creation of the House Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE), its operations, and its relationship with the House Committee on Ethics, and options potentially available for Congress if further amendments to the House ethics process are desired. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc463210/
National Monuments and the Antiquities Act
This report discusses the Antiquities Act of 1906, which authorizes the President to proclaim national monuments on federal lands that contain historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, or other objects of historic or scientific interest. The President is to reserve "the smallest area compatible with the proper care and management of the objects to be protected." The act was designed to protect federal lands and resources quickly, and Presidents have proclaimed a total of 137 monuments. Congress has modified many of these proclamations and has abolished some monuments. Congress also has created monuments under its own authority. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc463245/
Legal Services Corporation: Background and Funding
This report discusses the responsibilities of Legal Services Corporation (LSC), which is a private, nonprofit, federally funded corporation that helps provide legal assistance to low-income people in civil (i.e., noncriminal) matters. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc463247/
The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC): An Overview
This report discusses the earned income tax credit (EITC), established in the tax code in 1975, which offers cash aid to working parents with relatively low incomes who care for dependent children. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc463251/
Medal of Honor: History and Issues
This report briefly describes the history of the Medal of Honor and the criteria and rules used in awarding the medal. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc463212/
Agricultural Disaster Assistance
This report has four sections. The first describes recent developments in weather and policy. The second provides an overview of the current U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) disaster assistance programs: federal crop insurance, Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) payments, and emergency disaster loans. The third section discusses the now-expired disaster programs under the 2008 farm bill, specifically Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments Program (SURE) and four other smaller disaster programs. The fourth section briefly reviews congressional issues. An appendix reviews the recent history of emergency supplemental farm disaster assistance and administrative actions by USDA. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc463234/
Extending Unemployment Compensation Benefits During Recessions
This report describes the history of temporary federal extensions to unemployment benefits from 1980 to the present. It has five sections which discuss: [1] background information on unemployment compensation (UC) benefits, [2] a definition of a recession and the process of declaring a recession, [3] a summary of the legislative history of federal extensions of unemployment benefits, [4] figures examining the statistics of recessions, and [5] previous methods for financing temporary recession programs. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462174/
Veterans' Medical Care: FY2013 Appropriations
This report focuses on appropriations for the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). It begins with a brief overview of the Veterans Affairs' (VA) budget for FY2012 and the President's request for FY2013 as a whole. It then presents a brief overview of VHA's budget formulation, a description of the accounts that fund the VHA, and a summary of the FY2012 VHA budget. The report ends with a section discussing recent legislative developments pertaining to the FY2013 VHA budget. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462116/
Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Countries: Comparative Trade and Economic Analysis
This report focuses primarily on U.S. economic interests in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. It provides a comparative economic analysis of the countries currently negotiating the TPP and describes the U.S. trade flows with these countries at the bilateral level and in relation to the countries' economic linkages with the rest of the world. It also provides information on the existing trade agreements of TPP countries. As such, this report aims to serve as an introduction to the economic relationship these countries have, both individually and collectively, with the United States. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462181/
Drones in Domestic Surveillance Operations: Fourth Amendment Implications and Legislative Responses
This report first explores the potential uses of drones in the domestic sphere by federal, state, and local governments. It then surveys current Fourth Amendment jurisprudence, including cases surrounding privacy in the home, privacy in public spaces, location tracking, manned aerial surveillance, and those involving the national border. Next, it considers how existing jurisprudence may inform current and proposed drone uses. It then describes the various legislative measures introduced in the 113th Congress to address the legal and policy issues surrounding drones. Finally, it briefly identifies several alternative approaches that may constrain the potential scope of drone surveillance. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462113/
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act: History, Impact, and Issues
This report examines debates over what constitutes an unfunded federal mandate and UMRA's implementation. It focuses on UMRA's requirement that CBO issue written cost estimate statements for federal mandates in legislation, its procedures for raising points of order in the House and Senate concerning unfunded federal mandates in legislation, and its requirement that federal agencies prepare written cost estimate statements for federal mandates in rules. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462119/
Coast Guard Polar Icebreaker Modernization: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and issues for Congress on the sustainment and modernization of the Coast Guard's polar icebreaker fleet, which performs a variety of missions supporting U.S. interests in polar regions. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462187/
The World Bank Group Energy Sector Strategy
This report summarizes the provisions of the proposed Energy Sector Strategy of the World Bank Group (WBG). It situates the strategy within current WBG lending practices and in response to various stakeholder critiques. A final section outlines issues for Congress. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462127/
The Help America Vote Act and Election Administration: Overview and Issues
This report discusses the Help America Vote Act (HAVA; P.L. 107-252) enacted in 2002. It provides background information about HAVA and its provisions, the Election Assistance Commission (EAC), funding for the agency and for state programs to improve elections, and a number of enduring election administration issues. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc463106/
Procedural Distinctions Between the House and the Committee of the Whole
This report very briefly explains some of the chief distinctions between consideration in the House operating as the House and consideration in Committee of the Whole. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc463104/
Navy Virginia (SSN-774) Class Attack Submarine Procurement: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and issues for Congress on the Virginia-class nuclear-powered attack submarine (SSN) program. The Navy's proposed FY2013 budget requests $4,092.5 in procurement and advance procurement (AP) funding for the program. 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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc463136/
Country-of-Origin Labeling for Foods and the WTO Trade Dispute on Meat Labeling
This report covers the dispute between the U.S with its neighbors, Canada and Mexico, who say that the recent country-of-origin labeling (COOL) system implemented by the U.S. Department of Agriculture is unfair and does not meet its original objectives. This dispute was brought before the WTO dispute panel and found to be valid. The report ends with a discussion of options for the U.S. in regards to modifying COOL to follow WTO rulings. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc463123/
Mérida Initiative for Mexico and Central America: Funding and Policy Issues
This report provides an overview of the funding provided for the Mérida Initiative and related assistance programs in Central America and the Caribbean, the status of Mérida implementation, and a discussion of some policy issues that Congress may consider as it oversees the initiative and related programs. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc463158/
U.S. Textile Manufacturing and the Trans-Pacific Partnership Negotiations
This report examines the potential implications of a prospective Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) on the U.S. textile manufacturing industry. The TPP is a proposed regional free trade agreement (FTA) currently under negotiation among 11 Pacific Rim countries. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc463188/
Analysis of the Sandy Recovery Improvement Act of 2013
This report analyzes the provisions of the Sandy Recovery Improvement Act of 2013. In general, these provisions amend the Stafford Act with a stated goal of improving the efficiency and quality of disaster assistance provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc463100/
Increased Department of Defense Role in U.S. Ebola Response
This report discusses the Department of Defense's (DOD) requests to Congress to make excess Overseas Contingency Operations funds appropriated for FY2014 available to use in response to the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc463137/
Lame Duck Sessions of Congress, 1935-2012 (74th-112th Congresses)
This report discusses how lame duck sessions occur, and the background of the lame duck sessions between 1940 and 2012. A "lame duck" session of Congress occurs whenever one Congress meets after its successor is elected, but before the term of the current Congress ends. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc463184/
Summary Cost Data for Federally-Facilitated Exchanges, 2014
This report provides fact sheets for Federally-Facilitated exchanges offering individual plans. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc463139/
Scotland's Independence Referendum
This report examines varying opinion in regards to Scotland's Independence Referendum. The report also discusses U.S. views on the topic. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc463164/
"Gang of Four" Congressional Intelligence Notifications
This report reviews the history of the Gang of Four notification process and compares this procedure with that of the "Gang of Eight" notification procedure. The "Gang of Eight" procedure is statutorily based and provides that the chairmen and ranking Members of the intelligence committee, along with the Speaker and minority leader of the House, and Senate majority and minority leaders--rather than the full membership of the intelligence committees-- are to receive prior notice of particularly sensitive covert action programs, if the President determines that limited access to such programs is essential to meet extraordinary circumstances affecting vital U.S. interests. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc463194/
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc463105/
Senkaku (Diaoyu/Diaoyutai) Islands Dispute: U.S. Treaty Obligations
Since the mid-1990s, tensions have spiked periodically among Japan, China, and Taiwan over the disputed Senkaku (Diaoyu/Diaoyutai) islets in the East China Sea. Each time tensions erupt over the islets, questions have arisen concerning the U.S. relationship to the islets. This report focuses on that issue. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc463190/
Procedures for Considering Changes in Senate Rules
This report discusses procedures and related issues involved in considering changes to Senate rules. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc463163/
"Hollowing Out" in U.S. Manufacturing: Analysis and Issues for Congress
Statistics showing that domestic value added represents a diminishing share of the value of U.S. factory output have been interpreted by many analysts as indicating that manufacturing is "hollowing out" as U.S. manufacturers undertake more highvalue work abroad. Economic data have been slow to take note of this development, which raises the question of whether the United States will continue to generate highly skilled, high-wage jobs related to advanced manufacturing. This report discusses economic evidence related to the "hollowing out" thesis with respect to the manufacturing sector. It then considers the policy implications of the debate. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc463166/
Coast Guard Polar Icebreaker Modernization: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and issues for Congress on the sustainment and modernization of the Coast Guard's polar icebreaker fleet, which performs a variety of missions supporting U.S. interests in polar regions. The report is written in response to the Coast Guard's budget request for a new polar ice breaker (none are currently in operation). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc463182/
U.S. and World Coal Production, Federal Taxes, and Incentives
This report serves as a primer on U.S. and world coal resources and production and highlights some of the congressional interest related to coal production on U.S. federal lands. The report primarily describes the past 10 years of coal activity but also includes a discussion of future coal production projections and federal coal incentives, many of which do not expire. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc463159/
Veterans' Benefits: The Department of Veterans Affairs and the Duty to Assist Claimants
This report analyzes court decisions that have examined the Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA's) obligation to assist veterans during the claims process. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc463168/
Security Assistance Reform: "Section 1206" Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background on the pre-Section 1206 status of security assistance authorities and the factors contributing to the enactment of Section 1206, which provides the Secretary of Defense with authority to train and equip foreign military forces and foreign maritime security forces. It then sets out the purposes of the legislation and scope of its activities, restrictions on its use, the DOD-State Department planning process, and funding. It concludes with a discussion of issues for Congress. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc463140/
U.S.-Mexican Security Cooperation: The Mérida Initiative and Beyond
This report provides a framework for examining the current status and future prospects for U.S.- Mexican security cooperation. It begins with a brief discussion of the threat that drug trafficking and related crime and violence pose to both nations, followed by an analysis of the evolution of the Mérida Initiative. The report then provides an overview of the Peña Nieto government's security strategy and how it is affecting the Mérida Initiative. The report then examines key aspects of the current U.S.-Mexican security strategy and concludes by raising policy issues that may affect bilateral efforts. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc463170/
Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Countries: Comparative Trade and Economic Analysis
This report provides a comparative economic analysis of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) countries and their economic relations with the United States. It suggests that the TPP negotiating partners encompass great diversity in population, economic development, and trade and investment patterns with the United States. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc463121/
Proposed Train and Equip Authorities for Syria: In Brief
This report presents the President's requests for authority and funding for the Department of Defense to provide overt assistance, including possible military training and weapons, to vetted members of the Syrian opposition and other vetted Syrians for select purposes are the subject of close congressional consideration. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc463131/
Congressional Authority to Regulate Firearms: A Legal Overview
Courts have been confronted with the question of whether federal laws can be applied to intrastate possession and intrastate transfers of firearms, or whether such application exceeds the authority of Congress. This report explores these cases and how courts have analyzed these as-applied challenges under the Supreme Court's Commerce Clause jurisprudence primarily set forth in United States v. Lopez. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc463160/
Nonstrategic Nuclear Weapons
This report provides basic information about U.S. and Russian nonstrategic nuclear weapons. It begins with a brief discussion of how these weapons have appeared in public debates in the past few decades, then summarizes the differences between strategic and nonstrategic nuclear weapons. It then provides some historical background, describing the numbers and types of nonstrategic nuclear weapons deployed by both nations during the Cold War and in the past decade; the policies that guided the deployment and prospective use of these weapons; and the measures that the two sides have taken to reduce and contain their forces. The report reviews the issues that have been raised with regard to U.S. and Russian nonstrategic nuclear weapons, and summarizes a number of policy options that might be explored by Congress, the United States, Russia, and other nations to address these issues. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc463167/
The Army's Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV): Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information on the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV) and it discusses the Army's proposed replacement to the Vietnam-era M-113 personnel carriers, which are still in service in a variety of support capacities in Armored Brigade Combat Teams (ABCTs). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc463146/