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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Energy Tax Policy: History and Current Issues
This report provides historical context regarding energy tax policy and discusses what may lie ahead.
Can Agencies Take Actions That They Are Not Expressly Authorized by Statute to Take?
This Legal Sidebar on statutory interpretation addresses the question of whether executive branch agencies are barred from taking actions that Congress has not specifically authorized them to take.
Arsenic in Drinking Water: Regulatory Developments and Issues
This report discusses the 1996 Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments. These amendments directed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to update the standard for arsenic in drinking water.
Charitable Choice Rules and Faith-Based Organizations
This report discusses the Bush administration's "Charitable Choice" agenda aimed at expanding the ability of faith-based organizations to provide federally funded social services.
Justice Antonin Scalia: His Jurisprudence and His Impact on the Court
This report discusses Justice Scalia's jurisprudence on key areas of law, as well as how that jurisprudence could be seen to have influenced the Court's approach to these subject matters.
Navy DDG-51 and DDG-1000 Destroyer Programs: Background and Issues for Congress
This report presents background information and potential oversight issues for Congress on the Navy's Arleigh Burke (DDG-51) and Zumwalt (DDG-1000) class destroyer programs. Decisions that Congress makes concerning destroyer procurement could substantially affect Navy capabilities and funding requirements, and the U.S. shipbuilding industrial base.
Amtrak Issues in the 108th Congress
This report discusses a number of issues connected with Amtrak that Congress may consider. Amtrak does not earn enough revenue, or receive enough assistance, to cover its operating costs and capital needs. As a result, Amtrak is regularly on the verge of insolvency.
Freedom of Information Act Legislation in the 114th Congress: Issue Summary and Side-by-Side Analysis
This report provides a side-by-side comparison of two bills relevant to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), using the versions that have passed each of their originating congressional chambers. The report also provides context related to bill amendments and language additions that occurred between bill versions, when applicable. Finally, the report provides analysis of certain provisions of the bills.
Congress and the Budget: 2016 Actions and Events
This report seeks to assist in (1) anticipating what budget-related actions might occur within the upcoming year, and (2) staying abreast of budget actions that occur this year. It provides a general description of the recurrent types of budgetary actions, and reflects on current events that unfold in each category during 2016.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Budget for FY2007: President's Request, Congressional Appropriations, and Related Issues
This report tracks appropriation action on the President's FY2007 funding request for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Issues of possible congressional concern are summarized, including a Joint Ocean Commission Initiative statement on ocean science and fisheries-related funding.
Wartime Detention Provisions in Recent Defense Authorization Legislation
This report offers a brief background of the salient issues raised by the detainee provisions of the FY2012 NDAA, provides a section-by-section analysis, and discusses executive interpretation and implementation of the act's mandatory military detention provision. It also addresses detainee provisions in subsequent defense authorization legislation.
Energy Policy: Conceptual Framework and Continuing Issues
This report discusses major policy approaches, provides a conceptual framework for categorizing energy policy proposals, and briefly describes energy issues that remain current in the debate after the enactment of EPACT.
Public Trust and Law Enforcement--A Brief Discussion for Policymakers
This report provides a brief overview of police-community relations and how the federal government might be able to promote more accountability and better relationships between citizens and law enforcement.
Leaking Underground Storage Tanks: Prevention and Cleanup
This report reviews the Leaking Underground Storage Tank (LUST) program, related issues, and legislative changes made by the 109th Congress.
Cybersecurity: Critical Infrastructure Authoritative Reports and Resources
This report serves as a starting point for congressional staff assigned to cover cybersecurity issues as they relate to critical infrastructure. Much is written about protecting U.S. critical infrastructure, and this report directs the reader to authoritative sources that address many of the most prominent issues.
United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR): U.S. Membership
This short report provides an overview of the U.N. Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR and Administration and Congressional responses to recent developments.
EPA's Clean Power Plan for Existing Power Plants: Frequently Asked Questions
This report summarizes the Clean Power Plan rule as it was finalized on August 3, 2015, before discussing how the ongoing litigation may potentially impact the rule and its deadlines. EPA faced a number of issues and questions while developing the regulations. This report describes how EPA answered these and other questions.
Stewardship Contracting for the National Forests
This report discusses the advantages and limitations of proposed approaches to stewardship contracting to reduce threats to national forests exacerbated by unnaturally high amounts of biomass.
Medicare: Enrollment in Medicare Drug Plans
This report discusses the enrollment process for private prescription drug plans (PDPs) or Medicare Advantage prescription drug (MA-PD) plans. At a minimum, these plans offer "standard coverage" or alternative coverage with actuarially equivalent benefits. Beneficiaries are required to enroll in one of these private plans in order to obtain coverage.
Wave, Tidal, and In-Stream Energy Projects: Which Federal Agency Has the Lead?
This report describes wave, tidal, and in-stream energy generation technologies -- also referred to as hydrokinetic or marine energy. It discusses the recent changes in law aimed to clarify the federal role in ocean wave and renewable energy.
Mountaintop Mining: Background on Current Controversies
This report provides background on regulatory requirements, controversies, and legal challenges to Clean Water Act regulation of mountaintop mining. Congressional attention to these issues also is discussed.
Health Care Spending: Context and Policy
This report seeks to put health spending in context. Health care costs and spending are persistent concerns for the Congress. On one hand, policymakers worry about access to care and the burden of health costs on household and employer budgets. On the other hand, rising costs put growing pressure on the federal budget from Medicare, Medicaid, and tax expenditures for private health insurance.
DHS Appropriations FY2016: Protection, Preparedness, Response, and Recovery
This report is part of a suite of reports that discuss appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for FY2016. It specifically discusses appropriations for the components of DHS included in the third title of the homeland security appropriations bill--the National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD), the Office of Health Affairs (OHA), and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Information Sharing for Homeland Security: A Brief Overview
This report reviews some of the principal existing homeland security information sharing arrangements, as well as some projected arrangements in this regard, and discusses related policy, evaluations, and proposed legislation.
Teacher Recruitment and Retention: Federal, State, and Local Programs
The recruitment and retention of a high-quality teaching force is critical to the future success of our nation's school system. To address this issue, a wide range of programs have been put into place at the federal, state, and local levels in recent years. This report is to review the range of these efforts nationwide and provide a context for the issues that may yet arise during HEA reauthorization.
Water Infrastructure Financing: History of EPA Appropriations
This report summarizes, in chronological order, congressional activity to fund items in the State and Tribal Assistance Grants (STAG) account since 1987. In appropriations legislation, funding for EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) wastewater assistance is contained in the measure providing funds for the Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies.
Federally Supported Water Supply and Wastewater Treatment Programs
This report provides background information on the types of water supply and wastewater treatment projects traditionally funded by the federal government and the several existing programs to assist communities with water supply and wastewater recycling and treatment.
Funding Levels for Conservation Programs in the 2007 Farm Bill
This report consists of two tables, preceded by a brief narrative. The first table summarizes the annual funding provisions, by program, in (1) current law, (2) H.R. 2419 as passed, and (3) the Bush Administration's farm bill proposals. The second table compares FY2007 authorized and actual funding levels for programs authorized in the 2002 farm bill with FY2008 and FY2012 funding levels that would be authorized in the 2007 House-passed farm bill.
European Security and Islamist Terrorism
This report discusses challenges the European Union faces in light of the continuing threat of Terrorism at the hands of the Islamic State and the implications for U.S. policy.
National Environmental Education Act of 1990: Overview, Implementation, and Reauthorization Issues
This report presents an overview of the National Environmental Education Act of 1990, discusses appropriations, examines the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) implementation of the act, and analyzes reauthorization issues relevant to legislation introduced in recent Congresses.
Alaska Natural Gas Pipelines: Interaction of the Natural Gas and Steel Markets
In 1976, Congress approved legislation to establish the regulatory framework for building a pipeline to bring natural gas from the Alaska North Slope to the lower 48 states. This report focuses on two major issues or uncertainties that may serve as economic constraints on a capital investment undertaking of this major scale.
Humane Treatment of Farm Animals: Overview and Issues
This report provides an overview of the debate and legislation to modify or curtail some practices regarding animal care on the farm, during transport, or at slaughter.
Military Retirement: Background and Recent Developments
This report discusses the military retirement system. The system currently includes monthly compensation for qualified active and reserve retirees, disability benefits for those deemed medically unfit to serve, and a survivor annuity program for the eligible survivors of deceased retirees.
Cybersecurity: Legislation, Hearings, and Executive Branch Documents
This report provides links to cybersecurity-related committee hearings in the 112th, 113th, and 114th Congresses. It also provides a list of executive orders and presidential directives pertaining to information and computer security.
U.S. Trade Deficit and the Impact of Rising Oil Prices
This report provides an estimate of the initial impact of the rising oil prices on the nation's merchandise trade deficit.
Financial Aid for Students: Print and Web Guides
This report provides a list of books and Web addresses intended to help students locate financial aid. This list includes both general and comprehensive works, as well as ones targeted toward specific types of aid and circumstances (e.g., non-need-based scholarships, female and minority students, or students studying abroad).
Rural Water Supply and Sewer Systems: Background Information
This report discusses the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Clean Water Act, which impose requirements regarding drinking water quality and wastewater treatment in rural areas. Approximately 27% of the U.S. population lives in areas defined by the Census Bureau as rural. Many rural communities need to complete water and waste disposal projects to improve the public health and environmental conditions of their citizens.
Lead in Flint, Michigan's Drinking Water: Federal Regulatory Role
This report discusses the federal regulatory role in regards to drinking water, more specifically in the context of the Flint water crisis. EPA's current Flint responses include providing technical assistance for water testing and treatment, conducting water monitoring, and identifying lead service line locations.
Safe Drinking Water Act: Implementation and Issues
This report discusses key drinking water issues in the 109th Congress, including problems caused by specific contaminants, such as methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) and perchlorate, as well as the related issue of the appropriate federal role in providing financial assistance for water infrastructure projects.
Justice Antonin Scalia's Last Opinion
This report discusses Justice Antonin Scalia's last opinion for the court (Kansas v. Carr). There, the Court reversed two decisions of the Kansas Supreme Court and held that "the Eighth Amendment [does not] require... capital-sentencing courts to instruct the jury that mitigating circumstances need not be proved beyond a reasonable doubt." It also held that the Eighth Amendment did not require separate trials for two of the defendants in one of the Kansas cases.
Social Security: The Government Pension Offset (GPO)
This report discusses the social security benefits and the spousal benefits of individuals who are not financially dependent on their spouses because they receive benefits based on their own work records.
The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP): Program and Funding
This report discusses Low-Income Home Energy Assistance program (LIHEAP) funds for FY2006 and FY2007. It also discusses current issues and legislation related to LIHEAP.
U.S. Strategic Nuclear Forces: Background, Developments, and Issues
This report reviews the ongoing programs that will affect the expected size and shape of the U.S. strategic nuclear force structure.
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.
Federal R&D Funding Under a Continuing Resolution
This report discusses the continuing resolution, or CR (P.L. 109-383, H.J.Res. 102) which provides spending at FY2006 levels (through February 15, 2007), for those agencies lacking enacted FY2007 appropriations bills.
Soil and Water Conservation: An Overview
This report offers the most recent development regarding the soil and water conservation topics and current major conservation activities. The House completed action on its version of the farm bill (H.R. 2419), passing it by a vote of 231 to 191 on July 27, 2007.
U.S. Trade Concepts, Performance, and Policy: Frequently Asked Questions
This report provides information and context for trade topics. It is intended to assist Members and staff who may be new to trade issues. The report is divided into four sections in a question-and-answer format: trade concepts; U.S. trade performance; formulation of U.S. trade policy; and trade and investment issues.
Pipeline Safety and Security: Federal Programs
This report discusses the United States pipeline networks and their security. The Surface Transportation and Rail Security Act of 2007 (S. 184) would require federal plans for critical pipeline security and incident recovery, and would mandate pipeline security inspections and enforcement.
The Federal Communications Commission: Current Structure and Its Role in the Changing Telecommunications Landscape
This report discusses current issues regarding the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which is an independent federal agency charged with regulating interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable.
The 2015 National Security Strategy: Authorities, Changes, Issues for Congress
This report discusses the National Security Strategy (NSS), a document released by the Obama Administration which states that its purpose is to "set out the principles and priorities to guide the use of American power and influence in the world."