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 Decade: 2010-2019
 Year: 2010
 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Panama: Political and Economic Conditions and U.S. Relations
This report discusses the current political and economic conditions in the country of Panama, which has made notable political and economic progress since the 1989 U.S. military intervention that ousted the regime of General Manuel Noriega from power. It also describes the U.S.-Panama relationship at length, including trade relations.
Key Issues in Derivatives Reform
This report provides background related to financial derivatives. It also analyzes market structure and regulation, derivatives reform, legislative proposals and exemptions for end users, safeguards for uncleared over-the-counter (OTC) swaps, and hypothetical examples.
Foreign Direct Investment: Current Issues
This report presents an overview of current issues related to foreign direct investment in the economy and the development of U.S. policy toward inward and outward direct investment. This report also assesses the role of foreign direct investment in the economy and the costs and benefits of direct investment.
Permissible Securities Activities of Commercial Banks Under the Glass-Steagall Act (GSA) and the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA)
This report explains the extent to which commercial banks, their subsidiaries, and affiliates were able to engage in securities activities, including securities underwriting, dealing, and brokerage, under the authorities of the Glass-Steagall Act (GSA) and other pre-GLBA (Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act) banking laws, most notably the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956 (BHCA; 70 Stat. 133). It also discusses how the volume and scope of these securities activities expanded over time, and how the GLBA changed the GSA construct by facilitating affiliations among commercial banks and securities firms..
Trends in Discretionary Spending
This report discusses historical, current, and projected discretionary spending trends. It also describes how current discretionary spending trends reflect national priorities. Discretionary spending is provided in, and controlled by, annual appropriations acts, which fund many of the routine activities commonly associated with such federal government functions as running executive branch agencies, congressional offices and agencies, and international operations of the government.
Accelerated Vehicle Retirement for Fuel Economy: "Cash for Clunkers"
This report outlines the key provisions of the Consumer Assistance to Recycle and Save (CARS) program established by P.L. 111-32, which provide rebates to prospective purchasers toward the purchase of new, fuel-efficient vehicles, provided the trade-in vehicles are scrapped. It discusses the impact of the program on the economy and also summarizes similar programs in other industrial countries.
Ongoing Government Assistance for American International Group (AIG)
This report discusses government assistance for American International Group (AIG), the future of AIG and the ultimate government cost of the intervention that are unclear. The Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) has been the primary vehicle for most of these actions.
U.S.-Mexico Economic Relations: Trends, Issues, and Implications
This report provides an overview of U.S.-Mexico trade and economic trends, the Mexican economy, the effects of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and major trade issues between the United States and Mexico.
FEMA's Pre-Disaster Mitigation Program: Overview and Issues
This report discusses Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM), "Project Impact," and related legislative issues that Congress currently faces. PDM, as federal law and a program activity, began in 1997. Congress established a pilot program, which FEMA named "Project Impact," to test the concept of investing prior to disasters to reduce the vulnerability of communities to future disasters. From its beginnings as "Project Impact" to its current state, the PDM program has grown in its level of appropriated resources and the scope of participation nationwide.
Automatic Cost of Living Adjustments: Some Economic and Practical Considerations
This report looks at how automatic cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) influence the budget and identifies major programs that have indexing provisions. It also explains what price indexes attempt to measure and discusses some of their weaknesses. Finally, it points out some practical things to keep in mind when establishing an indexing provision.
Long-Term Unemployment and Recessions
This report analyzes the trend in long-term unemployment over the postwar period and offers explanations for its unusually high incidence during the most recent recession. It compares the individual, job, and household characteristics of the long-term unemployed during the latest recession (2007-2009) with the long-term unemployed at the end of the two previous recessions (1990-1991 and 2001).
Industrial Competitiveness and Technological Advancement: Debate Over Government Policy
This report discusses congressional interest in the pace of U.S. technological advancement due to its influence on U.S. economic growth, productivity, and international competitiveness. The proper role of the federal government in technology development and the competitiveness of U.S. industry continues to be a topic of congressional debate.
Europe's Preferential Trade Agreements: Status, Content, and Implications
The first section of this report describes the status and primary motivations of the EU's preferential trade agreements (PTAs) currently in place or under negotiation. The second compares the content and trade coverage of Europe's PTAs to U.S. PTAs. A third section assesses the implications of the EU's PTA program for the multilateral trading system and U.S. trade policy. A concluding section evaluates future directions for Europe's PTA policy.
Military Personnel and Freedom of Religious Expression: Selected Legal Issues
This report provides an overview of the requirements of the First Amendment related to military personnel's religious exercise. Specifically, the report examines the limitations placed on servicemembers in uniform in the exercise of their religious beliefs as well as the role of military chaplains and the legal challenges associated with publicly funding religious personnel. The report analyzes efforts by Congress and the Department of Defense to address the constitutional concerns that are raised by these issues.
The European Union: Leadership Changes Resulting from the Lisbon Treaty
This report discusses EU foreign policy decisions of a political or security-related nature that require unanimous intergovernmental agreement among the 27 member states. And many other issues which may relate to external affairs, however, EU members have agreed to pool their decision-making sovereignty. A number of additional EU actors often have particular relevance in these matters.
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's Economic Conditions: U.S. Policy Issues
This report provides a general overview of Iran's economy, addresses related U.S. policy concerns, and discusses policy options for Congress. The purpose of this report is two-fold. First, it provides insight into important macroeconomic trends, policy reforms and objectives, key economic sectors, international trade patterns, and sources of foreign exchange. Second, in the context of U.S. economic sanctions imposed for national security and foreign policy reasons, it evaluates Iran's economic structure, strengths, and vulnerabilities and discusses issues and options for Congress.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development
This report provides a background of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), financial crisis, and related issues for Congress.
Distribution of Small Business Ownership and Income by Individual Tax Rates and Selected Policy Issues
This report examines how small business owners may be affected by tax increases by exploring what is known about the share of small business owners and of small business income that is subject to the top two marginal income tax rates.
Veterans Benefits: Federal Employment Assistance
This report provides a brief overview of federal employment and training programs and policies specifically targeted to help veterans seeking employment in the civilian economy. Transition assistance programs are operated by the Department of Defense (DOD), the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and the Department of Labor (DOL) to assist servicemembers as they prepare to leave the military.
The Global Economic Crisis: Impact on Sub-Saharan Africa and Global Policy Responses
This report analyzes Africa's vulnerability to the global crisis and potential implications for economic growth, poverty alleviation, fiscal balances, and political stability. The report describes channels through which the crisis is affecting Africa, and provides information on international efforts to address the impact, including U.S. policies and those of multilateral institutions in which the United States plays a major role.
The Global Financial Crisis: Analysis and Policy Implications
This report provides a historical account and analysis of the crisis through January 2010. While business contraction appears to have abated, unemployment is shown to be on the rise and many businesses and countries are still facing difficulties.
Authoritative Resources on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA)
List containing authoritative resources to assist in responding to a broad range of questions and concerns about the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), P.L. 111-5. It includes links to the full text of the act, Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates, White House fact sheets, and federal, state, and municipal government websites are included, along with other useful information.
Intelligence Issues for Congress
This report discusses the efforts currently underway to improve coordination and encourage better analysis amongst the various agencies within the U.S. Intelligence Community, especially with regard to the ongoing and prominent issue of international terrorism. In particular, this report addresses the false intelligence regarding Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and the current efforts in Iraq and Iran in general.
Jordan: Background and U.S. Relations
This report provides an overview of Jordanian politics and current issues in U.S.-Jordanian relations. It provides a brief discussion of Jordan's government and economy and of its cooperation in promoting Arab-Israeli peace and other U.S. policy objectives in the Middle East.
Somalia: Current Conditions and Prospects for a Lasting Peace
This report discusses the political climate of Somalia, which has undergone extreme unrest for years. The report focuses on events since October 2002. The report also discusses the U.S. relationship with Somalia under the Obama Administration, including U.S. economic assistance given to Somalia and U.S. efforts to contain Somalian terrorist groups.
Job Creation Programs of the Great Depression: the WPA and the CCC
This report first describes the social policy environment in which the 1930s job creation programs were developed and examines the reasons for their shortcomings then and as models for current-day countercyclical employment measures. It then provides a brief overview of the two job creation programs of the Depression-era that Members of Congress have asked about most frequently: the Works Progress or Projects Administration (WPA) and the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).
Syria: Background and U.S. Relations
This report discusses the recent conflict in Syria including an overview of the situation, information about anti- and pro-Asad forces, background on chemical weapons and disarmament, plans for U.S. policy and assistance, and a general sense of the future outlook.
Executive Orders: Issuance and Revocation
This report reviews the "definition" of an executive order and how it is distinguishable from other written instruments, and then provides an overview of the President's constitutional authority to issue such directives. It also discusses the legal framework relied on by the courts to analyze the validity of presidential actions, and the roles of the President and Congress in modifying and revoking executive orders.
The European Union's Reform Process: The Lisbon Treaty
This report provides information on the Lisbon Treaty and possible U.S.-EU implications that may be of interest to the 112th Congress.
The Proposed U.S.-South Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA): Provisions and Implications
This report is designed to assist Members of Congress as they consider the costs and benefits of the U.S.-South Korean Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA.) It examines the provisions of the KORUS FTA in the context of the overall U.S.-South Korean economic relationship, U.S. objectives, and South Korean objectives.
Managing the Nuclear Fuel Cycle: Policy Implications of Expanding Global Access to Nuclear Power
This report discusses motivating factors underlying the resurgent interest in nuclear power, the nuclear power industry's current state of affairs, and the interdependence of the various stages of the nuclear fuel cycle. A number of proposals have been offered that are aimed at limiting direct participation in the global nuclear fuel industry by assuring access to nuclear fuel supplies.
F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Program: Background and Issues for Congress
This report discusses the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), also called the Lighting II, which is a new strike fighter being procured in different versions by the Air Force, Marine Corps, and Navy. It details the Obama Administration's proposed FY2010 defense budget requests for F-35 program funding and outlines the issues that Congress must consider when deciding whether to approve, reject, or modify the administration's funding requests.
Navy DDG-51 and DDG-1000 Destroyer Programs: Background and Issues for Congress
This report discusses issues Congress faces regarding the Navy's proposed FY2011 budget, particularly as relating to destroyer procurement plans and programs.
Iraq: Oil and Gas Sector, Revenue Sharing, and U.S. Policy
This report reviews policy proposals and interim contracts, analyzes the positions of various Iraqi political actors, and discusses potential implications for U.S. foreign policy goals in Iraq.
Monetary Policy and the Federal Reserve: Current Policy and Conditions
This report discusses two of the four major responsibilities of the Federal Reserve (Fed) as the nation's central bank: execution of monetary policy and ensuring financial stability through the lender of last resort function. This report provides an overview of these mandates and activities, recent developments, and the role of Congressional oversight.
The International Criminal Court (ICC): Jurisdiction, Extradition, and U.S. Policy
This report focuses on the process by which the Office of the Prosecutor investigates allegations of war crimes and second on U.S policy towards the International Criminal Court (ICC) and how the court might assert jurisdiction over U.S. nationals.
Serbia: Current Issues and U.S. Policy
This report discusses the current state of Serbia; the country is seeking to integrate into the European Union (EU), but its progress has been hindered by a failure to arrest remaining indicted war criminals, and by tensions with the United States and many EU countries over the independence of Serbia's Kosovo province. This report discusses these issues in addition to issues regarding U.S.-Serbia relations.
Federal Domestic Illegal Drug Enforcement Efforts: Are They Working?
This report examines the federal drug enforcement data reported annually by key agencies charged with enforcing federal drug control laws. This report provides background and an overview of current federal drug control efforts and outcomes.
Cuba: U.S. Restrictions on Travel and Remittances
This report covers the contentious travel restrictions between the U.S. and Cuba from the 1960s to the present time. It includes background on the restrictions, enforcement of restrictions, and arguments for or against maintaining travel restrictions. It also provides background on relevant legislative initiatives during the 106th through the 111th Congresses.
The Economics of the Federal Budget Deficit
This report examines the economics the budget deficit. Topics include recent budgetary history, the differences made by deficits and surpluses, and fiscal policy.
The FY2011 Federal Budget
This report provides an historical overview of the budget trends through the most recently completed fiscal year (2009). It discusses major budgetary challenges over the past several fiscal years given the current economic conditions and provides an in-depth discussion of the FY2011 budget process. Finally, it provides context for the issues facing the country's federal budget over the long term.
The European Union: Questions and Answers
This report provides a summary overview of issues regarding the relationship between the United States and the EU, many of which may be of interest to the second session of the 111th Congress. The global financial crisis and recession has challenged both sides to forge a common response. The United States and EU have a number of lingering trade disputes, but have led the push to liberalize world trade, and have sought to reduce non-tariff and regulatory barriers in the transatlantic marketplace.
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.
Is the U.S. Current Account Deficit Sustainable?
This report reviews studies on the America's current account (CA) deficit's sustainability. Some of the studies suggest that a large dollar depreciation could eventually be required to restore sustainability. But the inflation-adjusted 25% depreciation of the dollar from 2002-2008 had little effect on the CA deficit, which kept growing until 2007.
Deforestation and Climate Change
This report provides basic information on forests and climate change. The first section discusses the linkages between forests and climate. The next three describe the characteristics of the three major forest biomes, with an overview of deforestation causes and impacts. This is followed by an overview of approaches to reducing deforestation. The final section examines issues related to forest and deforestation data.
Earmarks Disclosed by Congress: FY2008-FY2010 Regular Appropriations Bills
This report summarizes the earmarks disclosed for the 12 regular, annual appropriations bills for each of FY2008, FY2009, and FY2010 and analyzes the data without additions or deletions. For individual earmarks, the disclosures typically identify the federal agency, project name, amount, and requester. In some cases, other information also has been included, such as an account within an agency, or the purpose or location of the earmark.
Immigration: Policy Considerations Related to Guest Worker Programs
This report discusses guest worker programs. The United States has two main programs for temporarily importing low-skilled workers, or guest workers. Agricultural guest workers enter through the H-2A visa program, and other guest workers enter through the H-2B visa program.
Enemy Combatant Detainees: Habeas Corpus Challenges in Federal Court
This report provides an overview of the early judicial developments and the establishment of Combatant Status Review Tribunals (CSRTs) procedures; summarizes selected court cases related to the detentions and the use of military commissions; and discusses the Detainee Treatment Act, as amended by the Military Commissions Act of 2006 and the Military Commissions Act of 2009, analyzing its effects on detainee-related litigation in federal court. The report summarizes the Supreme Court's decision in Boumediene invalidating Congress's efforts to revoke the courts' habeas jurisdiction, and discusses some remaining issues and subsequent developments.
Judicial Activity Concerning Enemy Combatant Detainees: Major Court Rulings
This report discusses major judicial opinions concerning suspected enemy belligerents detained in the conflict with Al Qaeda and the Taliban.