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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Afghanistan: Post-Taliban Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy
This report discusses the current political state of Afghanistan, 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.-Afghanistan relationship, in both the short and long term, and U.S. efforts under the Obama Administration to provide military, reconstructive, and stabilization aid.
Major U.S. Arms Sales and Grants to Pakistan Since 2001
A brief listing of major arms sales and grants made to Pakistan since 2001.
Assistance to Firefighters Program: Distribution of Fire Grant Funding
This report discusses the firefighting activities that are traditionally the responsibility of states and local communities. The report also talks about the funding for firefighters, which is provided mostly by state and local governments. However, during the 106th Congress, many in the fire community asserted that local fire departments require and deserve greater support from the federal government.
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA): An Overview
This report discusses the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) that provides workers with minimum wage, overtime pay, and child labor protections.
The Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008 (Post-9/11 GI Bill): Primer and Issues
This report provides a description of the eligibility requirements, benefit availability, benefit payments, participation, and obligations of the Post-9/11 GI Bill. The report also describes a few issues that may be addressed by Congress.
Authorization of Appropriations: Procedural and Legal Issues
This report provides a brief explanation of the distinction between authorized and unauthorized appropriations, and its significance for understanding how appropriations and other legislation work in conjunction to determine how agencies may spend appropriated funds.
The U.S. Export Control System and the President's Reform Initiative
This report discusses some of the proposed legislation and other issues related to the U.S. export control system.
State CO2 Emission Rate Goals in EPA's Proposed Rule for Existing Power Plants
This report discusses the methodology EPA used to establish state-specific CO2 emission rate goals that apply to states' overall electricity generation portfolio.
The Motion to Recommit in the House of Representatives: Effects, Recent Trends, and Options for Change
This report provides an overview of House rules and precedents governing the motion to recommit, examines the use of the motion in the 110th Congress, and discusses arguments both favoring and opposing changing House procedures governing the motion. This report will be updated to reflect any changes in House rules governing the usage of the motion to recommit.
Navy Shipboard Lasers for Surface, Air, and Missile Defense: Background and Issues for Congress
This report focuses on potential Navy shipboard lasers for countering surface, air, and ballistic missile threats. It does not discuss the use of lasers on Navy aircraft or submarines, or the use of lasers by other military services.
Venezuela: Background and U.S. Relations
This report discusses current Congressional issues in relation to Venezuela, including background on the political situation and recent developments, the economic conditions, relevant U.S. policies, and the legislative initiatives in the 111th and 112th Congresses.
Cuba: U.S. Policy and Issues for the 113th Congress
This report discusses the current political conditions of Cuba as well as its relationship with the United States. In particular, the report focuses on U.S. policy regarding Cuba including various economic sanctions, human rights issues, and foreign aid appropriations.
The Democratic Republic of Congo: Background and Current Developments
This report discusses in brief the current political state of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as the crisis situation in eastern Congo that has displaced more than 250,000 civilians. It also describes U.S., U.N., and other international efforts to aid in resolving the crisis.
Foreign Assistance Act of 1961: Authorizations and Corresponding Appropriations
This report presents the authorities of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended, and correlates those authorities with the operative appropriations measure (division F of P.L. 111-117; 123 Stat. 3312) that funds those authorities.
China's Economic Conditions
This report provides background on China's economic rise and current economic structure and the challenges China faces to keep its economy growing strong, and describes Chinese economic policies that are of concern to U.S. policymakers.
Congressional Gold Medals, 1776-2008
This report responds to congressional inquiries concerning the nature, history, and contemporary application of the process for awarding Gold Medals, and includes a historical examination and chronological list of these awards. It is intended to assist Members of Congress and staff in their consideration of future Gold Medal proposals, and will be updated as Gold Medals are approved.
Iran Sanctions
This report analyzes U.S. and international sanctions against Iran, and provides examples, based on a wide range of open source reporting, of companies and countries that conduct business with Iran. It also discusses the effectiveness of sanctions on Iran.
Party Leaders in the United States Congress, 1789-2014
This report briefly describes current responsibilities and selection mechanisms for 15 House and Senate party leadership posts and provides tables with historical data, including service dates, party affiliation, and other information for each.
Closing the Guantanamo Detention Center: Legal Issues
This report provides an overview of major legal issues likely to arise as a result of executive and legislative action to close the Guantanamo detention facility. It discusses legal issues related to the transfer of Guantanamo detainees, the continued detention of such persons in the United States, and the possible removal of persons brought into the country. It also discusses selected constitutional issues that may arise in the criminal prosecution of detainees, emphasizing the procedural and substantive protections that are utilized in different adjudicatory forums.
The Islamic State in Syria and Iraq: A Possible Threat to Jordan?
This report briefly examines the extent to which the Islamic State (IS, formerly referred to as ISIS or ISIL) may pose a threat to Jordan, an "important U.S. partner." The report discusses Jordanian actions to address threats, and U.S. policy implications.
The Specialty Metal Provision and the Berry Amendment: Issues for Congress
This report examines the specialty metal provision which was originally part of the Berry Amendment; the potential oversight issues for Congress, and options that Congress may wish to consider. The debate over the specialty metal provision may also renew interest in the debate over the viability of other domestic source restrictions. There is congressional interest in the specialty metal provision because: (1) the specialty metal restriction affects major defense contractors who produce components for commercial airplanes; (2) some prime defense contractors as well as subcontractors on the second, third, and fourth tiers have stated that they were unable to comply with the Berry Amendment specialty metal requirement; (3) the Department of Defense (DOD) has authorized the use of waivers to purchase non-compliant items (non-compliant specialty metal are metal that do not meet the 100% domestic source requirement of the Berry Amendment); and (4) the long-term impact of the specialty metal provision on the costs of defense equipment and programs, particularly on the requirement that weapon system components be certified as made in the United States.
U.S.-South Korea Relations
This report contains two main parts: a section describing recent events and a longer background section on key elements of the U.S.-South Korea relationship. The end of the report provides a list of CRS products on South Korea and North Korea.
Job Loss and Infrastructure Job Creation Spending During the Recession
This report takes an in-depth look at job creation estimates, including the limitations of the methodology often used to derive them and the difficulties associated with developing job estimates for green infrastructure in particular. The report views these topics in the context of the 2007-2008 recession and its aftermath. The report closes with a review of what is known to date about the number of jobs supported by infrastructure spending and other provisions in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA, P.L. 111-5).
Statutory Authority for the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS): A Comparison of H.R. 4007 and P.L. 109-295, Section 550
This report compares H.R. 4007, as passed by the House, to the existing statutory authority. It provides a brief overview of H.R. 4007, as passed by the House; identifies select differences for comparison; analyzes each section of H.R. 4007, as passed by the House, in the context of the existing statutory authority; and discusses several policy issues raised by the Obama Administration in the context of chemical facility security legislation.
The Effectiveness of the Community Reinvestment Act
This report informs the congressional debate concerning the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) effectiveness to incentivize bank lending and investment activity tolow- and moderate-income (LMI) borrowers. After a discussion of the CRA's origins, the examination process and bank activities that are eligible for consideration of CRA credits are presented. Next, the difficulty of determining the CRA's influence on bank behavior is discussed.
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.
Iran's Nuclear Program: Tehran's Compliance with International Obligations
This report provides a brief overview of Iran's nuclear program and describes the legal basis for the actions taken by the IAEA board and the Security Council. It will be updated as events warrant.
Drug Enforcement in the United States: History, Policy, and Trends
This report reviews federal domestic drug enforcement. First, it provides a history and background of drug enforcement in the United States including how drugs came under the control of federal justice authorities and how legislation and administrative actions changed domestic drug enforcement. It then provides a brief overview of drug enforcement in the United States and summarizes U.S. drug policy. Finally, the report presents trends in federal drug enforcement and concludes with a discussion of drug enforcement issues going forward.
Nanotechnology: A Policy Primer
This report provides an overview of Congressional support for the economic and societal benefits of nanotechnology; discusses three areas of focus - federal research and development (R&D) in nanotechnology, U.S. competitiveness, and environmental, health, and safety (EHS) concerns; and also discusses nanomanufacturing and public understanding of and attitudes toward nanotechnology.
The Federal Budget: Current and Upcoming Issues
This report examines changes to the Federal Budget for Fiscal Years 2008-2010. The report considers the factors that have an effect on various budgetary functions and decisions. The report specifically focuses on the effect of the 2007-2008 financial recession on the budget, but also considers more long-term fiscal issues such as health care for retiring Baby-Boomers.
Child Welfare: An Overview of Federal Programs and Their Current Funding
This report begins with a review of federal appropriations activity in FY2014 as it relates to child welfare programs, including the effect of the automatic spending cuts, known as sequestration. The bulk of the report provides a short description of each federal child welfare program, including its purpose and recent (FY2012-FY2014) funding levels.
Trends in Discretionary Spending
This report discusses recent trends in discretionary spending. Topics examined include fiscal policy in the wake of the recession, discretionary spending limits reimposed in 2011, the FY2013 sequestration, long term trends, and security spending.
International Illegal Trade in Wildlife: Threats and U.S. Policy
This report addresses illegal wildlife trade through several national and international venues and how this trade presents several potential environmental and national security threats to the United States. It also focuses on the international trade in terrestrial fauna, largely excluding trade in illegal plants, including timber, and fish.
Votes on Measures to Adjust the Statutory Debt Limit, 1978 to Present
This report provides roll call vote data identified by the Congressional Research Service for measures to adjust the statutory debt limit.
Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Import Terminals: Siting, Safety, and Regulation
This report provides an overview of recent industry proposals for new LNG import terminals. The report summarizes LNG hazards and the industry's safety record. It discusses federal laws and regulations related to LNG terminal siting with a focus on the authorities of key federal agencies and safety provisions in the permitting of onshore facilities. The report reviews controversial safety issues in recent LNG siting proceedings, such as safety zones, marine hazards, hazard modeling, and remote siting. The report outlines policy issues related to LNG terminal safety, including the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (FERC's) LNG siting authority, regional LNG siting, "remote" siting requirements in federal regulations, state permitting requirements, terrorism, and other issues.
Transatlantic Regulatory Cooperation: Background and Analysis
This report is intended to serve as an introduction and primer on a complicated, broad, and often highly technical set of issues. It is presented in seven parts: the first section describes the nature and scope of U.S.-EU regulatory barriers; the second section explains the rationale for regulatory cooperation; the third section highlights the differences in U.S.-EU regulatory approaches; the fourth section examines the various forms of regulatory cooperation; the fifth section evaluates the results of past initiatives at regulatory cooperation; the sixth section analyses the creation and operation of the Transatlantic Economic Council; and the last section highlights the role of Congress in transatlantic regulatory cooperation.
Canadian Oil Sands: Life-Cycle Assessments of Greenhouse Gas Emissions
This report discusses the basic methodology of life-cycle assessments and compares several of the publicly available studies of GHG emissions data for Canadian oil sands crudes against each other and against those of other global reference crudes.
U.S. Immigration Policy on Temporary Admissions
This report begins with a synthesis of the nonimmigrant categories according to the purpose of the visa. It discusses the periods of admission and length of stay and then summarizes grounds for inadmissibility and removal as well as reasons for termination of status. It describes the circumstances under which nonimmigrants may work in the United States and follows with an analysis of nonimmigrant admissions. The report concludes with a discussion of issues, followed by two detailed tables analyzing key admissions requirements across all nonimmigrant visa types.
Revising Insurance Regulation: Policy Considerations
This report discusses federal regulation of insurers — whether optional or mandatory — in the broader context of national interests. To assist that discussion, it traces the evolving rationale for regulation generally, explains insurers' roles as risk managers and financial intermediaries, and reviews briefly important aspects of the major lines of insurance.
Tolling of Interstate Highways: Issues in Brief
In recent years, the revenues flowing into the highway trust fund have been insufficient to maintain even current levels of federal funding for highways. Political resistance to raising the federal fuels tax is high. This report discusses arguments for and against expanding tolling of the Interstate highways as a means of generating needed funds.
Climate Change: Current Issues and Policy Tools
This report introduces the reader to fundamentals of the climate change issue. Part one summarizes current understandings and controversies concerning the science, economics, international cooperation, and other aspects of the climate change policy problem. Part two is a brief update on the status of domestic and international policies. Part three outlines the policy toolbox seen as being available to policymakers to address the challenge as they define the emerging legislative agenda.
Job Loss and Infrastructure Job Creation Spending During the Recession
This report takes an in-depth look at job creation estimates, including the limitations of the methodology often used to derive them and the difficulties associated with developing job estimates for green infrastructure in particular. The report views these topics in the context of the 2007-2008 recession and its aftermath. The report closes with a review of what is known to date about the number of jobs supported by infrastructure spending and other provisions in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA, P.L. 111-5).
Iran's Activities and Influence in Iraq
This report discusses the relationship between Iraq and Iran in the post-Saddam Hussein era, with particular focus on what Iran's intentions and/or long-term goals may be for increasing its influence in Iraq. The report explores the various strategies that Iran has used to spread its influence throughout Iraq's military and political spheres. The report also addresses the United States' concern over the Iran-Iraq relationship, especially as it concerns armed Shiite factions and U.S. efforts to stabilize Iraq.
Climate Change and Existing Law: A Survey of Legal Issues Past, Present, and Future
This report surveys existing law for legal issues that have arisen, or may arise in the future, on account of climate change and government responses thereto.
U.S.-Japan Economic Relations: Significance, Prospects, and Policy Options
This report discusses issues regarding U.S.-Japan economic relations, since the economic condition of each nation can affect the world economy and a U.S.-Japan bilateral economic relationship could influence economic conditions in other countries. U.S. and Japanese leaders have several options on how to manage their relationship, including stronger reliance on the World Trade Organization; special bilateral negotiating frameworks and agreements; or a free trade agreement.
U.S. Crude Oil and Natural Gas Production in Federal and Non-Federal Areas
This report examines U.S. oil and natural gas production data for federal and non-federal areas with an emphasis on the past six years of production.
International Climate Change Financing: The Green Climate Fund (GCF)
This report discusses the Green Climate Fund (GCF), which aims to assist developing countries in their efforts to combat climate change through the provision of grants and other concessional financing for mitigation and adaptation projects, programs, policies, and activities.
Reauthorization of the FISA Amendments Act
This report describes the changes that were made by the Foreign Intelligence Suveillance Act (FISA) Amendments Act within the context of the government's authority to conduct surveillance for foreign intelligence purposes.
Gun Control Legislation in the 113th Congress
This report looks at past gun control legislation and also how recent events (such as the shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, Aurora, Colorado, and Tucson, Arizona) have influenced current congressional discourse and legislation. The report also specifically examines certain contentious, gun related topics including universal background checks, gun trafficking, and military style firearms.
International Parental Child Abductions
This report discusses the applicability of the Hague Convention and current U.S. laws, both civil and criminal, which seek to address the quandary of children abducted by parents to foreign nations.