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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Cuba Sanctions: Legislative Restrictions Limiting the Normalization of Relations
This report provides information on legislative provisions restricting relations with Cuba. It lists the various provisions of law comprising economic sanctions on Cuba, including key laws that are the statutory basis of the embargo, and provides information on the authority to lift or waive these restrictions. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501623/
Telework for Executive Agency Employees: A Side-by-Side Comparison of Legislation Pending in the 111th Congress
The 111th Congress is considering legislation (S. 707 and H.R. 1722) to foster the development of telework in executive agencies of the federal government. Legislation to augment telework in executive agencies of the federal government is currently pending in the 111th Congress. S. 707, the Telework Enhancement Act of 2009, and H.R. 1722, the Telework Improvements Act of 2010, were introduced on March 25, 2009, by Senator Daniel Akaka and Representative John Sarbanes, respectively. This report presents a side-by-side comparison of the provisions of S. 707, as reported, and H.R. 1722, as ordered to be reported. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501677/
U.S. Crude Oil Export Policy: Background and Considerations
The crude oil export policy debate has multiple dimensions and complexities. As U.S. light tight oil (LTO) production has increased--along with additional oil supply from Canada--certain challenges have emerged that affect some oil producers and refiners. While the economic arguments both for and against U.S. crude oil exports are quite complex and dynamic, there are some fundamental concepts and issues that may be worth considering during debate about exporting U.S. crude oil. This report provides background and context about the crude oil legal and regulatory framework, discusses motivations that underlie the desire to export U.S. crude oil, and presents analysis of issues that Congress may choose to consider during debate about U.S. crude oil export policy. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501675/
Telework for Executive Agency Employees: A Side-by-Side Comparison of Legislation Pending in the 111th Congress
The 111th Congress is considering legislation (S. 707 and H.R. 1722) to foster the development of telework in executive agencies of the federal government. Legislation to augment telework in executive agencies of the federal government is currently pending in the 111th Congress. S. 707, the Telework Enhancement Act of 2009, and H.R. 1722, the Telework Improvements Act of 2010, were introduced on March 25, 2009, by Senator Daniel Akaka and Representative John Sarbanes, respectively. This report presents a side-by-side comparison of the provisions of S. 707, as reported, and H.R. 1722, as ordered to be reported. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501699/
Oil Spills in U.S. Coastal Waters: Background, Governance, and Issues for Congress
This report focuses on oil spills in U.S. coastal waters. The first section highlights background issues, including oil spill statistics and potential environmental impacts. The second section discusses the legal framework that governs oil spill prevention and response. The third section examines the threat of future oil spills in coastal waters and whether response personnel are prepared to respond to a major spill. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501883/
The U.S. Postal Service's Financial Condition: Overview and Issues for Congress
This report provides an overview of the U.S. Postal Service's (USPS's) financial condition, recent legislation to alleviate the USPS's financial challenges, and possible issues for the 111th Congress. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501850/
Iran Sanctions
This report focuses on the United States' relationship with Iran and how the Obama Administration is handling prior administrations' 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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501854/
State Challenges to Federal Enforcement of Immigration Law: Historical Precedents and Pending Litigation
This report provides an overview of prior and pending challenges by states to federal officials' alleged failure to enforce the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) or other provisions of immigration law. It begins by discussing the lawsuits filed by six states in the mid-1990s; Arizona's counterclaims to the federal government's suit to enjoin enforcement of S.B. 1070; and Mississippi's challenge to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative. It then describes the challenge brought by over 20 states in 2014 to the recently announced expansion of DACA and the creation of a similar program for unlawfully present aliens whose children are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent resident aliens (LPRs). The report concludes by exploring how the pending litigation resembles, and differs from, the prior litigation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501824/
Iran: U.S. Economic Sanctions and the Authority to Lift Restrictions
The United States has led the international community in imposing economic sanctions on Iran, in an effort to change the government of that country's support of acts of international terrorism, poor human rights record, weapons and missile development and acquisition, role in regional instability, and development of a nuclear program. This report identifies the legislative bases for sanctions imposed on Iran, and the nature of the authority to waive or lift those restrictions. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501839/
Immigration Legislation and Issues in the 111th Congress
The 111th Congress has considered various immigration issues and has enacted a number of targeted immigration provisions. It has passed legislation to extend the life of several immigration programs--the E-Verify electronic employment eligibility verification system, the Immigrant Investor Regional Center Program, the Conrad State J-1 Waiver Program, and the special immigrant visa for religious workers--all of which are currently authorized until September 30, 2012. Among the other subjects of legislation enacted by this Congress are refugees and border security. This report discusses these and other immigration-related issues that have seen legislative action or are of significant congressional interest. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501863/
State Efforts to Deter Unauthorized Aliens: Legal Analysis of Arizona's S.B. 1070
This report discusses the major provisions of S.B.1070, as modified by H.B. 2162, and the legal and constitutional considerations possibly implicated by their implementation. The report focuses primarily on those provisions that require state enforcement of federal immigration law and impose criminal penalties for immigration-related conduct, and discusses preemption issues that might be raised by these measures. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501829/
U.S.-EU Cooperation on Ukraine and Russia
This report discusses the United States, and European Union policies with Russia in response to the crisis in Ukraine. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501912/
Piracy off the Horn of Africa
This report discusses recent pirate attacks on vessels, including United States vessels, in the waters off the Horn of Africa. The Horn of Africa is sometimes called the Somali Peninsula and includes the nations of Eritrea, Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Somalia. This report explores reasons behind the increased number of pirate attacks in recent years, as well as what efforts are being taken to combat said attacks, including those by the 111th Congress and President Obama and his Administration. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501978/
Legislative Approaches to Defining "Waters of the United States"
This report seeks to clarify the scope of the Clean Water Act (CWA) in the wake of Supreme Court decisions in 2001 and 2006 that interpreted the law's jurisdiction more narrowly than prior case law. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501952/
Iran Sanctions
This report analyzes U.S. and international sanctions against Iran. U.S. sanctions have been a major feature of U.S. Iran policy since Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution, but U.N. and worldwide bilateral sanctions on Iran are a relatively recent (post-2006) development. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501941/
Telework for Executive Agency Employees: A Side-by-Side Comparison of Legislation Pending in the 111th Congress
S. 1000, the Telework Enhancement Act of 2007, and H.R. 4106, the Telework Improvements Act of 2008, are currently pending in the 110th Congress. Under the pending legislation and Senate amendments, the heads of executive branch agencies would be required to establish policies under which employees (with some exceptions) could be eligible to participate in telework. This report presents a side-by-side comparison of the provisions of S. 1000, as reported; H.R. 4106, as passed by the House. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501949/
North Korea's Second Nuclear Test: Implications of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1874
This report discusses North Korea's second nuclear test and the implications of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1874. The resolution puts in place a series of sanctions on North Korea's arms sales, luxury goods, and financial transactions related to its weapons programs, and calls upon states to inspect North Korean vessels suspected of carrying such shipments. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501940/
Agricultural Disaster Assistance
This report has two sections. The first provides an overview of the current USDA disaster assistance programs: federal crop insurance, NAP payments, emergency disaster loans, the new Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments Program (SURE), and four other smaller disaster programs authorized in the 2008 farm bill. The second section reviews the recent history of emergency supplemental farm disaster assistance. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501569/
The President's Immigration Accountability Executive Action of November 20, 2014: Overview and Issues
This report discusses President Obama's Immigration Accountability Executive Action which revises some U.S. immigration policies and initiates several programs, including a revised border security policy for the Southwest border. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501547/
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501551/
Iraqi and Afghan Special Immigrant Visa Programs
This report analyzes the special immigrant visas (SIVs) classifications for Iraqis and Afghans within the context of both the larger 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 issuances, and considers challenges that have faced the programs. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501782/
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA): An Overview of Programs and Funding
This report provides an overview of funding and programs of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) bureau. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501759/
International Criminal Court Cases in Africa: Status and Policy Issues
This report provides background on current International Criminal Court (ICC) cases and examines issues raised by the ICC's actions in Africa, including the potential deterrence of future abuses and the potential impact on African peace processes. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501780/
Iran: U.S. Concerns and Policy Responses
This report discusses the reasons that Iran is considered a threat to U.S. security, including Iran's nuclear program, involvement with terrorist organizations, and involvement with neighboring countries' local governments. It also discusses ways in which the U.S. hopes to modify Iran's behavior with sanctions, and the effectiveness of these sanctions. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501799/
The Military Commissions Act of 2009: Overview and Legal Issues
This report provides an analysis of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and its financial status, summarizes the major challenges facing the program, including issues affecting its long-term financial solvency, presents some alternative approaches for managing and financing the flood losses and describes pending legislation on this issue. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501710/
Tax Havens: International Tax Avoidance and Evasion
The first section of this report reviews what countries might be considered tax havens, including a discussion of the Organization for Economic Development and Cooperation (OECD) initiatives and lists. The next two sections discuss, in turn, the corporate profit-shifting mechanisms and evidence on the existence and magnitude of profit-shifting activity. The following two sections provide the same analysis for individual tax evasion. The report concludes with overviews of alternative policy options, a summary of legislation enacted in the 111th Congress, and a summary of specific legislative proposals. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501726/
The U.S. Postal Service's Financial Condition: Overview and Issues for Congress
This report provides an overview of the U.S. Postal Service's (USPS's) financial condition, recent legislation to alleviate the USPS's financial challenges, and possible issues for the 111th Congress. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501750/
Telework for Executive Agency Employees: A Side-by-Side Comparison of Legislation Pending in the 111th Congress
S. 1000, the Telework Enhancement Act of 2007, and H.R. 4106, the Telework Improvements Act of 2008, are currently pending in the 110th Congress. Under the pending legislation and Senate amendments, the heads of executive branch agencies would be required to establish policies under which employees (with some exceptions) could be eligible to participate in telework. This report presents a side-by-side comparison of the provisions of S. 1000, as reported; H.R. 4106, as passed by the House. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501791/
Iran Sanctions
This report focuses on the United States' relationship with Iran and how the Obama Administration is handling prior administrations' 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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501494/
The Jurisprudence of Justice John Paul Stevens: The Constitutionality of Congressional Term Limits and the Presidential Line Item Veto
While the Supreme Court seems unlikely to address the constitutionality of term limits or the line-item veto in the future, Justice Stevens's conclusion that the absence of constitutional provisions expressly authorizing the exercise of certain powers constitutes a denial of these powers seems likely to influence the Court in the future, particularly in cases involving what Justice Kennedy and others have characterized as "horizontal" or "vertical" separation of powers. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501788/
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501602/
The U.S. Postal Service's Financial Condition: Overview and Issues for Congress
This report provides an overview of the U.S. Postal Service's (USPS's) financial condition, recent legislation to alleviate the USPS's financial challenges, and possible issues for the 111th Congress. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501657/
Iran Sanctions
This report focuses on the United States' relationship with Iran and how the Obama Administration is handling prior administrations' economic sanctions against Iran. However, with subsequent negotiations yielding no firm Iranian agreement to compromise regarding their nuclear program, 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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501907/
Iran: U.S. Economic Sanctions and the Authority to Lift Restrictions
The United States has led the international community in imposing economic sanctions on Iran, in an effort to change the government of that country's support of acts of international terrorism, poor human rights record, weapons and missile development and acquisition, role in regional instability, and development of a nuclear program. This report identifies the legislative bases for sanctions imposed on Iran, and the nature of the authority to waive or lift those restrictions. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501900/
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). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491250/
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491254/
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491264/
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491217/
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491282/
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491215/
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491632/
Ocean Dumping Act: A Summary of the Law
The Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act has two basic aims: to regulate intentional ocean disposal of materials, and to authorize related research. Permit and enforcement provisions of the law are often referred to as the Ocean Dumping Act. The basic provisions of the act have remained virtually unchanged since 1972, when it was enacted to establish a comprehensive waste management system to regulate disposal or dumping of all materials into marine waters that are within U.S. jurisdiction, although a number of new authorities have been added. This report presents a summary of the law. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491386/
Tax Credit Bonds: Overview and Analysis
Almost all state and local governments sell bonds to finance public projects and certain qualified private activities. Most of the bonds issued are tax-exempt bonds because the interest payments are not included in the bondholder's (purchaser's) federal taxable income. In contrast, Tax Credit Bonds (TCBs) are a type of bond that offers the holder a federal tax credit instead of interest. This report explains the tax credit mechanism and describes the market for the bonds. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491320/
Federal Civil and Criminal Penalties Possibly Applicable to Parties Responsible for the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill
The Deepwater Horizon oil spill that began on April 20, 2010 lead Congress to give attention to the compensatory liability provisions of the Oil Pollution Act and, to a lesser extent, those of the Jones Act and the Death on the High Seas Act. However, federal laws possibly relevant to the oil spill also impose civil and criminal money penalties, which may reach dollar amounts in connection with the Gulf spill greater than those for compensatory liability. This report summarizes selected federal civil and criminal penalty provisions that may be found violated in connection with the Gulf spill and related worker fatalities. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491353/
Iran Sanctions
This report analyzes U.S. and international sanctions against Iran and, in so doing, provides examples, based on a wide range of open source reporting, of companies and countries that conduct business with Iran. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491288/
Immigration Legislation and Issues in the 113th Congress
Immigration reform was an active legislative issue in the first session of the 113th Congress. The Senate passed the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act (S. 744), a comprehensive immigration reform bill that includes provisions on border security, interior enforcement, employment eligibility verification and worksite enforcement, legalization of unauthorized aliens, immigrant visas, nonimmigrant visas, and humanitarian admissions. For its part, the House took a different approach to immigration reform. Rather than considering a single comprehensive bill, the House acted on a set of immigration bills that address border security, interior enforcement, employment eligibility verification and worksite enforcement, and nonimmigrant and immigrant visas. House committees reported or ordered to be reported the following immigration bills: Border Security Results Act of 2013 (H.R. 1417); Strengthen and Fortify Enforcement (SAFE) Act (H.R. 2278); Legal Workforce Act (H.R. 1772); Agricultural Guestworker (AG) Act (H.R. 1773); and Supplying Knowledge-based Immigrants and Lifting Levels of STEM Visas (SKILLS Visa) Act (H.R. 2131). This report discusses these and other immigration-related issues that received legislative action or have been of significant congressional interest in the 113th Congress. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491280/
Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA): Liability of Responsible Parties
The Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA) establishes a framework that addresses the liability of responsible parties in connection with the discharge of oil into the navigable waters of the United States, adjoining shorelines, or the exclusive economic zone. Among other provisions, OPA limits certain liabilities of a responsible party in connection with discharges of oil into such areas. This report addresses liability under OPA for removal costs and damages, and the basic procedure for recovering removal costs and damages from the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund in the event that the responsible party fails to settle such claims. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491360/
Nuclear, Biological, Chemical, and Missile Proliferation Sanctions: Selected Current Law
This report offers a listing and brief description of legal provisions that require or authorize the imposition of some form of economic sanction against countries, companies, persons, or entities that violate U.S. nonproliferation norms. For each provision, information is included on what triggers the imposition of sanctions, their duration, what authority the President has to delay or abstain from imposing sanctions, and what authority the President has to waive the imposition of sanctions. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491357/
Maritime Territorial and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) Disputes Involving China: Issues for Congress
This report presents policy and oversight issues for Congress arising from maritime territorial disputes involving China in the South China Sea (SCS), East China Sea (ECS), and an additional dispute over whether China has a right under international law to regulate U.S. and other foreign military activities in its maritime Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc490902/
Farm and Food Support Under USDA's Section 32 Program
"Section 32" is a permanent appropriation that since 1935 has set aside the equivalent of 30% of annual customs receipts to support the farm sector through the purchase of surplus commodities and a variety of other activities. This report first describes how the Section 32 account operates by tracing funds flowing into and out of the account. Second, a more detailed discussion is provided for each type of use, including historical policies. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc490981/