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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Brazil: Background and U.S. Relations
This report discusses the current political and economic situation in Brazil, and examines the U.S.'s commercial relationship with the country. The United States traditionally has enjoyed robust economic and political relations with Brazil, which is the seventh-largest economy in the world and is recognized by the Obama Administration as a "major global player" and an "indispensable partner" on issues ranging from international development to climate change.
World Trade Organization Negotiations: The Doha Development Agenda
This report discusses the World Trade Organization (WTO) Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations, begun in November 2001, which has entered its 11th year. It includes background on Doha and the significance of the negotiations, as well as a breakdown of issues on the Doha agenda and the role of the Congress.
Encryption and Evolving Technology: Implications for U.S. Law Enforcement Investigations
This report provides an overview of the perennial issue involving technology outpacing law enforcement and discusses how policy makers and law enforcement officials have dealt with this issue in the past. It discusses the current debate surrounding smartphone data encryption and how this may impact U.S. law enforcement operations. The report also discusses existing law enforcement capabilities, the debate over whether law enforcement is "going dark" because of rapid technological advances, and resulting issues that policy makers may consider.
Regulating Ballast Water Discharges: Current Legislative Issues
This report discusses different views on the measures to control ballast water discharges from vessels which are a major pathway for introduction of invasive species into U.S. waters.
North Korean Crime-for-Profit Activities
This report discusses the North Korean regime and its involvement in the production and trafficking of illicit drugs, counterfeit currency, cigarettes, and pharmaceuticals.
Climate Change and International Deforestation: Legislative Analysis
This report discusses climate change and deforestation. Deforestation results in carbon emissions when trees and underlying vegetation are burning or decomposing. Legislative policies on deforestation and climate change are analyzed in this report, and challenges for restoring forests in the tropics are discussed.
California Agricultural Production and Irrigated Water Use
This report provides an overview of California's farm economy, specifically examining the current state of the water supply and the use of irrigation water.
Allocation of Wastewater Treatment Assistance: Formula and Other Changes
This report describes the formula and eligibility changes adopted by Congress since 1972 related to the allocation of wastewater treatment assistance. It focuses on the interplay and decision-making by Congress on factors to include in the formula.
Nuclear Cooperation Agreement with Russia: Statutory Procedures for Congressional Consideration and Their Implementation
This report sketches the procedures prescribed by the Atomic Energy Act (AEA) for congressional action in relation to nuclear cooperation agreements, then summarizes legislative proceedings occurring in relation to the proposed agreement with Russia, beginning with its recent submission. It also addresses several questions regarding the implementation and intent of these statutory requirements related to the proposed agreement with the Russian Federation. Special attention is given to the definition of "days of continuous session" and possible implications of this definition depending on whether or not the requisite period ends before the end of the 110th Congress.
Pakistan-U.S. Relations
This report summarizes important recent developments in Pakistan and in Pakistan-U.S. relations, including: high-profile political assassinations in early 2011; the Raymond Davis affair involving a CIA operative accused of murder in the city of Lahore; and the May killing of Osama bin Laden in the city of Abbottabad, among others. The report also summarizes key issues in the bilateral relationship.
Earmark Reform: Comparison of New House and Senate Procedural Rules
This report describes and compares the new House and Senate procedures, including an additional House requirement regarding the use of earmarks as leverage for votes.
Comparing Global Influence: China's and U.S. Diplomacy, Foreign Aid, Trade, and Investment in the Developing World
This report compares the People's Republic of China's (PRC) and U.S. projections of global influence, with an emphasis on non-coercive means or "soft power," and suggests ways to think about U.S. foreign policy options in light of China's emergence.
The Mid-Session Review of the President's Budget: Timing Issues
This report provides information on the timing of submission of the mid-session review for FY1980-FY2009, a 30-year period that covers all or part of the administrations of five Presidents, applying to the last two years of the Carter Administration, and the full terms of the Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Clinton, and George W. Bush Administrations.
Essential Air Service (EAS)
This report discusses Congress' establishment of the Essential Air Service (EAS), a program to ensure that small communities that were served by certificated air carriers before the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978 would continue to receive scheduled passenger service, with subsidies if necessary. Deregulation gave airlines almost total freedom to determine which domestic markets to serve and what airfares to charge, which raised the concern that communities with relatively low passenger levels would lose service as carriers shifted their operations to serve larger and often more profitable markets.
Navy Attack Submarine Procurement: Background and Issues for Congress
This report discusses the Navy's proposed FY2009 budget, which requested $2,107.0 million to complete the procurement funding for an 11th Virginia-class (SSN-774) nuclear-powered attack submarine (SSN). This boat had already received $756.0 million in prior-year advance procurement funding.
U.S.-China Nuclear Cooperation Agreement
This report discusses renewal of the peaceful nuclear cooperation agreement between the United States and the People's Republic of China (PRC). It focuses on congressional roles in crafting and carrying out the agreement. Such agreements are subject to Section 123 of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 as amended (AEA, P.L. 95-242, 42 U.S.C. 2011 et seq.) and commonly are called "123 agreements."
Air Force Air Refueling: The KC-X Aircraft Acquisition Program
This report discusses the U.S. Air Force in-flight aerial refueling aircraft program. The KC-135, which makes up the preponderance of the Air Force's tanker force, is among the Air Force's oldest aircraft.
Spectrum Management: Auctions
This report discusses the radio frequency spectrum that is used for all forms of wireless communications, including cellular telephony, paging, personal communications service, radio and television broadcast, telephone radio relay, aeronautical and maritime radio navigation, and satellite command and control. The issues discussed here refer principally to spectrum management for terrestrial technologies rather than satellite transmissions.
Navy Attack Submarine Procurement: Background and Issues for Congress
This report discusses Navy procurement of Virginia-class (SSN-774) nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSNs) at a rate of one-per-year for the past several years. The procurement rate is scheduled to increase to two boats per year starting in FY2011. A total of 11 boats have been procured through FY2009. The eight Virginia-class submarines to be procured in the five-year period FY2009-FY2013 (boats 11 through 18) are being procured under a multiyear procurement (MYP) arrangement.
Coalition Contributions to Countering the Islamic State
This report discusses the coalition organized as part of a global campaign to counter the Islamic State (ISIL/ISIS), including its military aspects and challenges to its coherence.
Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies: FY2009 Appropriations
This report is a guide to one of the regular appropriations bills that Congress considers each year. It is designed to supplement the information provided by the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies. It summarizes the status of the bill, its scope, major issues, funding levels, and related congressional activity, and is updated as events warrant.
Navy DDG-1000 and DDG-51 Destroyer Programs: Background, Oversight Issues, and Options for Congress
This report provides background information on the DDG-1000 (Zumwalt) program. It discusses the Navy's proposed FY2010 budget requests of $1,084.2 million to complete the cost of a third Zumwalt-class destroyer that was authorized but only partially funded in FY2009.
Cuba: Issues for the 110th 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 how to best support political and economic change in one of the world's remaining communist nations, in the context of Fidel Castro's departure from heading the government because of poor health.
U.S. National Science Foundation: Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR)
This report discusses current policy involving The Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR), as well as budget requests.
The Excise Tax on High-Cost Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance: Estimated Economic and Market Effects
This report examines several issues: it evaluates the potential of the Cadillac tax to affect health insurance coverage (and, therefore, the health market), and examines the expected incidence (burden) of the tax--that is, which group will pay the price of the tax.
Veterans' Benefits: The Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Program
This report describes Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment Service (VR&E) program services available to veterans with service-connected disabilities and to their families. It provides a brief history of the program as well as information about eligibility and entitlement, the application process, and resources available through other agencies.
An Emergency Communications Safety Net: Integrating 911 and Other Services
This report deals primarily with 911 and its recent history. It discusses the existing situation of 911's capacity to respond in emergencies, some proposals to improve the system, and recent legislative activity. Proposals include better connections between 911 call centers and emergency responders, building a more robust capacity, incorporating Internet protocols, developing the capacity for back-up call centers after disasters have occurred, and coordinating 911 with other types of call centers, such as the 211 centers that provide municipal services.
Comparing DHS Appropriations by Component, FY2016: Fact Sheet
This report provides a table and figure that compare homeland security appropriations enacted in FY2015 to those requested for FY2016. Generally, the homeland security appropriations bill includes all annual appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), providing resources to every departmental component.
F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Program: Background, Status, and Issues
This report discusses the background, status, and current issues of the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program. The Defense Department's F-35 Lightning II JSF is one of three aircraft modernization programs in tactical aviation, the others being the Air Force F-22A fighter and the Navy F/A-18E/F fighter/attack plane.
Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS): Commercial Outlook for a New Industry
This report discusses unmanned aircraft systems (UAS)--commonly referred to as drones-- which have become a staple of U.S. military reconnaissance and weapons delivery in overseas war zones such as Afghanistan. Now some new technologies and pending federal regulations are enabling the manufacture and use of UAS in domestic commerce, giving rise to a growing commercial UAS industry.
Federal Government Corporations: An Overview
This report provides an overview of federal government corporations, a category currently consisting of some 17 corporate agencies performing functions assigned to them in law. A government corporation, as defined in this report, is a government agency that is established by Congress to provide a market-oriented public service and required to produce revenues that meet or approximate its expenditures.
Reforming the Regulation of Government-Sponsored Enterprises in the 110th Congress
This report provides background on the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs), discusses reform issues, and summarizes the provisions of House- and Senate-passed versions of H.R. 3221.
Military Medical Care: Questions and Answers
This report answers several frequently-asked questions about military health care, including: how the system is structured, a TRICARE summary, TRICARE eligibility and plan options, cost of military health care to beneficiaries, relationship of TRICARE to MEDICARE, how the Affordable Care Act affects TRICARE, long-term trends of defense health care costs, and a summary of the fund which funds TRICARE (the Medicare Eligible Retiree Health Care fund).
Animal Waste and Water Quality: EPA's Response to the Waterkeeper Alliance Court Decision on Regulation of CAFOs
This report discusses the Clean Water Act, which prohibits the discharge of pollutants from any "point source" to waters of the United States unless authorized under a permit that is issued by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or a qualified state. The act also expressly defines confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs) as point sources.
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 Ashraf Ghani. It 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.
Phthalates in Plastics and Possible Human Health Effects
This report provides background information about human exposure to phthalates in plastics and possible health effects. It also discusses evaluation and regulation of pthalates in the U.S. and internationally, as well as related legislative proposals.
Expedited Removal Authority for VA Senior Executives (38 U.S.C. ยง 713): Selected Legal Issues
This report discusses selected legal issues relating to the authority for summary removal of individuals in senior executive positions at the Department of Veterans Affairs. Section 707 of the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act, P.L. 113-146, enacted on August 7, 2014, created this authority by adding Section 713 to Title 38 of the United States Code. It authorizes the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to remove an individual in a senior executive position from federal service or transfer him or her to a position in the General Schedule if the Secretary determines that the individual's performance or misconduct warrants removal.
Russia-Georgia Conflict in South Ossetia: Context and Implications for U.S. Interests
This report provides background information and recent developments in the Russia-Georgia conflict in South Ossetia.
FY2009 National Defense Authorization Act: Selected Military Personnel Policy Issues
This report discusses military personnel issues that typically generate significant interest from many Members of Congress and their staffs. The Congressional Research Service (CRS) selected a number of the military personnel issues considered in deliberations on the House-passed version of the National Defense Authorization Act for FY2010. This report provides a brief synopsis of sections that pertain to personnel policy; it focuses exclusively on the annual defense authorization process.
Iran Nuclear Agreement: Selected Issues for Congress
This report addresses some of the many issues raised by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), including: those related to monitoring and enforcing the Iran Nuclear Agreement itself, how the sanctions relief provided by the agreement would affect Iran's regional and domestic policies, the implications for regional security, and the potential for the agreement to change the course of U.S.-Iran relations.
Air Force Air Refueling: The KC-X Aircraft Acquisition Program
The report discusses the KC-X program which is expected to acquire 179 new, commercial, off-the-shelf airliners modified to accomplish air refueling.
Foreign Investor Visas: Policies and Issues
This report provides a brief legislative background, discussions of immigrant and nonimmigrant investor's visas, a comparison of U.S. and Canadian immigrant investor programs, an analysis of the relationship between investment and migration, and finally a review of current issues.
Kosovo and U.S. Policy: Background to Independence
This report discusses the current political state of Kosovo, which declared its independence from Serbia on February 7, 2008. Since then, Serbia has contested Kosovo's declaration of independence, leading to parallel governing institutions and ongoing talks between the two nations. This report discusses challenges that Kosovo faces regarding international recognition and the status of its ethnic minorities, Kosovo's relationship with the United States, and U.S. foreign aid efforts to Kosovo.
Iraqi Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons: A Deepening Humanitarian Crisis?
This report provides an analysis of the current crisis, including an overview of the conditions for those displaced in Iraq and the refugee situations in Syria, Jordan, and elsewhere. It also provides information on the U.S. and international response and examines refugee resettlement options in the United States. Aspects of this crisis that may be of particular interest to the 111th Congress include a focus on an immediate response (providing humanitarian relief funding), examining resettlement policies, and developing a strategy to manage the displaced, particularly within Iraq.
The African Development Bank Group
This report discusses the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group, which is a regional development bank (RDB) "dedicated to combating poverty and improving the lives of people of the continent." It comprises three lending facilities: the market rate facility, the AfDB; a concessional lending facility, the African Development Fund; and a trust fund established by Nigeria to lend to low-income African countries. The Bank has 53 African members, as well as 24 non-regional members, including the United States.
The First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit: An Economic Analysis
This report analyzes the ability of the first-time homebuyer tax credit to stimulate home buying and stabilize home prices. It includes information about current economic conditions, the tax credit with an economic analysis, marginal first-time home buyers, the cost of home ownership, the influence of the economy, and information about policy options and specific ways to adjust the tax credit.
Trafficking in Persons in Latin America and the Caribbean
This report describes the nature and scope of the problem of human trafficking in Latin America and the Caribbean, including U.S. efforts to deal with trafficking in persons in the region, as well as the successes and failures of some recent country and regional antitrafficking efforts. The report concludes by raising issues that may be helpful for the 113th Congress to consider as it continues to address human trafficking as part of its authorization, appropriations, and oversight activities.
VA Accountability Act of 2015 (H.R. 1994), as Reported to the House
This report describes the VA Accountability Act of 2015 (H.R. 1994) as reported to the House by the Committee on Veterans' Affairs on July 23 2015 and compares it to current law where appropriate.
Temporary Protected Status: Current Immigration Policy and Issues
This report is a brief overview of current policies regarding temporary protected status (TPS), which is relief from removal under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). It includes information about humanitarian migrants, temporary protected status, other blanket forms of relief, nationalities receiving protections, and issues with TPS, as well as recent legislation.
Violence Against Women Act: History and Federal Funding
This report provides a brief legislative history of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and an overview of the crimes addressed through VAWA. It concludes with a brief description of the most recent reauthorization of VAWA.