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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Guam: U.S. Defense Deployments
This report discusses the strategic significance of Guam for defense buildup and the force relocation and deployments from the U.S. mainland. It also discusses the concerns and issues for congress, such as allies and partner, China, and legislation.
Efforts to Delay the Gradual Elimination of Flood Insurance Premium Subsidies
This report examines legislative efforts in Congress to delay the gradual phase-out of subsidized flood insurance premiums, which is required under Sections 100205 and 100207 of P.L. 112-141, the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform and Modernization Act of 2012. This new law extended the authorization for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) for five years, through September 30, 2017, while requiring significant program reforms affecting flood insurance, flood hazard mapping, and floodplains management.
Cyprus: Reunification Proving Elusive
This report provides a brief overview of the early history of the negotiations to reunify Cyprus, a more detailed review of the negotiations since 2008, and a description of some of the issues involved in the talks. A side issue involving trade between the European Union and Turkish Cyprus is also addressed.
Navy Virginia (SSN-774) Class Attack Submarine Procurement: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and oversight issues for Congress on the Virginia-class nuclear-powered attack submarine (SSN) program. The Navy's proposed FY2012 budget requests procurement funding for the 15th and 16th Virginia-class boats, and advance procurement (AP) funding for Virginia-class boats to be procured in future years. 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.
The U.S. Trade Deficit: Causes, Consequences, and Policy Options
The first part of this report explains the fundamental macroeconomic forces that cause a trade imbalance (deficit or surplus). In light of those fundamental forces, the report then evaluates the most common economic concerns about trade deficits. Finally, the report examines the efficacy of alternative policy responses to trade imbalances and the economic forces that generate them.
The U.S. Foreign-Born Population: Trends and Selected Characteristics
This report offers context for consideration of immigration policy options by presenting data on key geographic, demographic, social, and economic characteristics of the foreign-born population residing in the United States. Interest in the U.S. foreign-born population stems in part from the changing demographic profile of the United States as well as the rapidity of such change, and how both of these trends correspond to U.S. immigration policy.
United Nations Peacekeeping: Issues for Congress
A major issue facing the United Nations, the United States, and the 111th Congress is the extent to which the United Nations has the capacity to restore or keep the peace in the changing world environment. Associated with this issue is the expressed need for a reliable source of funding and other resources for peacekeeping and improved efficiencies of operation. This report serves as a tracking report for action by Congress on United Nations peacekeeping. Funding and provisioning issues are examined.
EU-U.S. Economic Ties: Framework, Scope, and Magnitude
This report provides background information and analysis of the U.S.-EU economic relationship for Members of the 111th Congress as they contemplate the costs and benefits of closer U.S. economic ties with the EU. It examines the economic and political framework of the relationship and the scope and magnitude of the ties based on data from various sources. In addition, the report analyzes the implications these factors have for U.S. economic policy toward the EU. The report will be revised as events warrant.
Public Safety Communications and Spectrum Resources: Policy Issues for Congress
This report discusses the availability of radio frequency spectrum that is considered essential to developing a modern, interoperable communications network for public safety. Also, other critical discussed are (1) building the network to use this spectrum and (2) developing and deploying the radios to the new standards required for mobile broadband.
The Mexican Economy After the Global Financial Crisis
This report provides an overview of Mexico's economy post-financial crisis, effects of the global economic downturn, structural and other challenges in the Mexican economy, and implications for the United States.
Intelligence Whistleblower Protections: In Brief
This report describes three sources of Intelligence Community (IC) whistleblower protection including the Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act of 1998 (ICWPA), Presidential Policy Directive 19 (PPD-19), and Title VI of the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014 (Title VI). Generally speaking, whistleblowers are those who expose misconduct (e.g., fraud, abuse, or illegal activity) within an organization. In the context of the IC, whistleblowers are generally employees or contractors of federal intelligence agencies who bring to light information on agency wrongdoings.
State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs: FY2011 Budget and Appropriations
The annual State, Foreign Operations, and Related Agencies appropriations bill has been the primary legislative vehicle through which Congress reviews the U.S. international affairs budget and influences executive branch foreign policy making in recent years, as Congress has not regularly considered these issues through a complete authorization process for State Department diplomatic activities since 2003 and for foreign aid programs since 1985. This report analyzes the FY2011 request, recent-year funding trends, and congressional action related to FY2011 State-Foreign Operations legislation.
The Department of Defense's Use of Private Security Contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan: Background, Analysis, and Options for Congress
This report examines current private security contractor (PSC) trends in Iraq and Afghanistan, steps Department of Defense (DOD) has taken to improve oversight and management, and the extent to which DOD has incorporated the role of security contractors into its doctrine and strategy. It also reviews steps Congress has taken to exercise oversight over the use of PSCs and includes options for Congress.
Tax Expenditures and the Federal Budget
Among the options likely to be considered to deal with the long-term fiscal problem is reform of the federal tax system. The growth of the alternative minimum tax (AMT) and the expiration of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts in 2010 will likely force some action on tax policy. The perception that the federal tax system is too complex and unfair could lead to public support for tax reform. Past efforts to reform the federal tax system have included policies to rein in the use and expense of tax expenditures--the special deductions, exclusions, exemptions, and credits resulting in revenue losses. This report examines tax expenditures within the context of the federal budget and discusses tax expenditure analysis.
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. This report will be updated as events warrant.
Rules and Practices Governing Consideration of Revenue Legislation in the House and Senate
This report provides an overview and analysis of the most consequential revenue-specific rules that apply during the process of developing and considering revenue legislation.
Export-Import Bank Reauthorization: Frequently Asked Questions
This report addresses frequently asked questions about Ex-Im Bank, grouped in the following categories: congressional interest and the Ex-Im Bank reauthorization debate; market context; international context; organizational structure and management; programs; statutory requirements and policies; risk management; budget and appropriations; implications of a sunset in authority; and historical and current approaches to reauthorization.
The Endangered Species Act (ESA) in the 111th Congress: Conflicting Values and Difficult Choices
This report discusses oversight issues and legislation introduced in the 111th Congress to address Endangered Species Act (ESA) implementation and management of endangered and threatened species.
Nuclear Energy Policy
This report discusses nuclear energy issues currently facing Congress, such as federal incentives for new commercial reactors, radioactive waste management policy, research and development priorities, power plant safety and regulation, nuclear weapons proliferation, and security against terrorist attacks.
Supreme Court Nominations Not Confirmed, 1789-August 2010
From 1789 through August 2010, Presidents submitted 160 nominations to Supreme Court positions. Of these, 36 were not confirmed by the Senate. This report provides a summary of these unsuccessful nominations and the factors that lead to them.
Venezuela: Background and U.S. Relations
While historically the United States has had close relations with Venezuela, a major oil supplier, friction in bilateral relations rose over the past decade under the leftist populist government of President Hugo Chávez, who died in March 2013. This report examines Venezuela's political and economic climate and then discusses the U.S.'s policy in relation to the state.
China Naval Modernization: Implications for U.S. Navy Capabilities--Background and Issues for Congress
This report focuses on the potential implications of China's naval modernization for future required U.S. Navy capabilities. The report discusses the question of how the United States should respond to China's military modernization effort, including its naval modernization effort, has emerged as a key issue in U.S. defense planning.
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 include American casualties in Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Guantanamo Bay (Cuba), Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Jordan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, the Philippines, Seychelles, Sudan, Tajikistan, Turkey, and Yemen.
China and Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction and Missiles: Policy Issues
This report, updated through the 113th Congress, discusses the security problem of China's role in weapons proliferation and issues related to the U.S. policy response since the mid-1990s.
The Advanced Spectroscopic Portal Program: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides an overview of the advanced spectroscopic portals (ASPs) program's history and outlines issues for Congress as the program moves forward.
The G-20 and International Economic Cooperation: Background and Implications for Congress
This report discusses the background of the G-20 (an international forum for discussing and coordinating economic policies) and some of the issues that it has addressed. It includes historic background on the work of the G-20, information about how the group operates, overviews of G-20 summits, major issues that the group is likely to address and the likely effectiveness of the G-20 in the near future. The members of the G-20 include Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union.
Membership of the 113th Congress: A Profile
This report presents a profile of the membership of the 113th Congress (2013-2014). Statistical information is included on selected characteristics of Members, including data on party affiliation, average age, occupation, education, length of congressional service, religious affiliation, gender, ethnicity, foreign births, and military service.
Ocean Dumping Act: A Summary of the Law
his report presents a summary of the law. The Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act that has two basic aims: to regulate intentional ocean disposal of materials, and to authorize related research.
Terrorism Risk Insurance Legislation: Issue Summary and Side-by-Side Analysis
This reports briefly outlines the issues involved with terrorism insurance, summarizes the extension legislation, and includes a side-by-side of the current TRIA law and the bills that have been ordered reported by the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs (S. 2244) and the House Committee on Financial Services (H.R. 4871).
U.S. International Corporate Taxation: Basic Concepts and Policy Issues
This report provides a general introduction to the basic concepts and issues relevant to the U.S. international corporate tax system. The explanations provided in this report emphasize the underlying concepts of the international tax system and are intended to be as simplified as possible.
The National Broadband Plan
This report discusses the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) National Broadband Plan (NBP), which mandated by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) is a 360-page document composed of 17 chapters containing 208 specific recommendations directed to the FCC, to the Executive Branch (both to individual agencies and to Administration as a whole), to Congress, and to nonfederal and nongovernmental entities. The ARRA specified that the NBP should "seek to ensure that all people of the United States have access to broadband capability."
Access to Broadband Networks: The Net Neutrality Debate
This report discusses the current debate over "net neutrality." While there is no single accepted definition of "net neutrality," most agree that any such definition should include the general principles that owners of the networks that compose and provide access to the Internet should not control how consumers lawfully use that network, and they should not be able to discriminate against content provider access to that network.
Mexico-U.S. Relations: Issues for Congress
This report covers the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and U.S. - Mexico drug trafficking. It also looks at migration, environmental issues, legislation in the 111th Congress, and the relationship between the Obama Administration and Mexico.
Honduran-U.S. Relations
This report examines current political and economic conditions in Honduras as well as issues in Honduran-U.S. relations.
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.
U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea: Living Resources Provisions
This report describes provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (LOS Convention) relating to living marine resources and discusses how these provisions comport with current U.S. marine policy.
U.S.-Vietnam Relations in 2010: Current Issues and Implications for U.S. Policy
This report looks at issues that impact the relationship between the U.S. and Vietnam such as: goals and interests by both countries in a bilateral relationship, economic and trade issues, human rights, U.S. foreign assistance to Vietnam, and recent Vietnamese political events.
Afghanistan: Post-Taliban Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy
This report discusses the current political state of Iran, focusing particularly on the influence of the Taliban and other militant groups and on the leadership of Afghan President Hamid Karzai. This report also discusses the U.S.-Iran relationship and U.S. efforts under the Obama Administration to provide military, reconstructive, and stabilization aid.
An Overview of Unconventional Oil and Natural Gas: Resources and Federal Actions
This report focuses on the growth in U.S. oil and natural gas production driven primarily by tight oil formations and shale gas formations. It also reviews selected federal environmental regulatory and research initiatives related to unconventional oil and gas extraction, including the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) proposed hydraulic fracturing rule and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) actions.
Sexual Violence in African Conflicts
This report covers the issue of sexual violence in the midst of civil conflict in African nations. Civilians in Africa's conflict zones are often vulnerable to sexual violence, including rape, mutilation, and sexual slavery. This violence is carried out by government security forces and non-state actors, including, rebel groups, militias, and criminal organizations. Some abuses appear to be opportunistic, or the product of a larger breakdown in the rule of law and social order that may occur amid conflict.
Congressional Budget Office: Appointment and Tenure of the Director and Deputy Director
This report discusses the means through which the Director and Deputy Director of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) are appointed and briefly lists the people who have held the two positions.
The Cost of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Other Global War on Terror Operations Since 9/11
In the ninth year of operations since the 9/11 attacks while troops are being withdrawn in Iraq and increased in Afghanistan, the cost of war continues to be a major issue including the total amount appropriated, the amount for each operation, average monthly spending rates, and the scope and duration of future costs. This report analyzes war funding for the Defense Department and tracks funding for USAID and VA Medical funding.
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. It then sets out the purposes of the legislation and scope of its activities, restrictions on its use, the Department of Defense (DOD0-State Department planning process, and funding. It concludes with a discussion of issues for Congress.
Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies: FY2011 Appropriations
This report discusses the President's Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 budget request for the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies appropriations bill, which provides funding for the planning, design, construction, alteration, and improvement of facilities used by active and reserve military components worldwide.
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.
Guam: U.S. Defense Deployments
This report discusses the strategic significance of Guam for defense buildup and the force relocation and deployments from the U.S. mainland. It also discusses the concerns and issues for Congress, such as allies and partners, relations with China, and legislation.
The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: Coastal Wetland and Wildlife Impacts and Response
The explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, 2010, and the resulting oil spill began a cascade of effects on the coastal areas of the Gulf and on the wealth of species that inhabit those areas. This report addresses the importance of wetlands in general, the ecology of the coastal wetlands in the Gulf, impacts of oil spills on wetland habitats, response options, the implications of hurricane season for the spill's impacts, and cleanup and recovery issues. The emphasis is on the nearshore environment, although a few species found in deeper waters will be mentioned. In addition, some lessons from past spills such as the Exxon Valdez in Alaska will be discussed, along with issues that may arise as response and recovery transition to restoration of the Gulf.
Seafood Safety: Background and Issues
Although seafood consumption can contribute to a healthy diet, some fish and shellfish can cause foodborne illnesses or contain environmental contaminants. This report discusses whether current food safety programs are sufficiently protecting consumers, and if not, what changes should be considered.
Homeland Security Department: FY2011 Appropriations
This report describes the FY2011 appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The Administration requested a net appropriation of $45.0 billion in budget authority for FY2011. This amounts to a $1.1 billion, or a 2.4% increase from the $43.9 billion enacted for FY2010. Total budget authority requested by the Administration for DHS for FY2011 amounts to $52.6 billion as compared to $51.7 billion enacted for FY2010.
Contract Types: An Overview of the Legal Requirements and Issues
This report provides an overview of the various contract types (e.g., fixed-price, cost-reimbursement) used in federal procurement and the legal requirements and issues pertaining to each. Current congressional and public interest in contract types is, in part, an outgrowth of the reported increase in the use of cost-reimbursement contracts during the George W. Bush Administration and the Obama Administration's proposal to reduce by at least 10% the funds obligated by "high risk-contracting authorities," such as cost-reimbursement, time-and-materials, and labor-hour contracts, in FY2010.