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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Publishing Scientific Papers with Potential Security Risks: Issues for Congress
This report describes the underlying controversy, the potential benefits and harms of publishing manuscripts with potential security risks, the actions taken by domestic and international stakeholders, and options that may improve the way research is handled to minimize security concerns.
Governmental Drug Testing Programs: Legal and Constitutional Developments
This report examines the current state of constitutional law on the subject of governmentally mandated drug testing in employment and of students in the public schools, which is followed by a brief review of federal drug-free workplace programs presently in effect.
Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Assistance: Summary Data and Analysis
This report provides summary information on supplemental appropriations legislation enacted since FY2000 after significant large-scale disasters. It includes funds appropriated to various departments and agencies.
Ukraine: Current Issues and U.S. Policy
This report offers background information on Ukraine's current political and economic situation. The report covers the country's "intensified dialogue" with NATO regarding membership and also discusses U.S. policy, U.S. aid to Ukraine, the congressional response, and related legislation.
Wind Energy: Offshore Permitting
This report discusses the disputes over Corps jurisdiction prior to enactment of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 as well as the current law applicable to siting offshore wind facilities.
Brazil-U.S. Relations
This report analyzes Brazil's political, economic, and social conditions, and how those conditions affect its role in the region and its relationship with the United States. It then discusses a number of key issues in Brazil-U.S. relations.
Economic Stimulus: Issues and Policy
This report discusses the passing of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which included tax cut and spending provisions totaling at a cost of $787 billion in an attempt to mitigate the economic fallout of the housing and financial crises on the general economy. The report examines issues surrounding fiscal stimulus such as timeliness, the magnitude of stimulus, long-term effects and previously adopted policies.
Foreign Aid Reform: Studies and Recommendations
This report gives a brief history of modern U.S. foreign aid and modern legislative efforts to reform foreign aid practices. The report also examines various recommendations from recent studies relating to foreign aid reform.
EPA's Upcoming Ozone Standard: How Much Will Compliance Cost?
This report briefly discusses upcoming changes in climate policy and cost associated with them. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is under a court order to complete a review of its ambient air quality standard for ozone (the "ozone NAAQS") by October 1, 2015. The agency must propose any change to the standard by December 1 of [2014].
Forest Carbon Markets: Potential and Drawbacks
This report describes current markets for forest carbon sequestration, the potential for using forest to offset other sources of greenhouse gas emissions, and the drawbacks related to forest carbon sequestration efforts.
Foreign Aid: International Donor Coordination of Development Assistance
This report provides a summary of official development assistance (ODA), discusses coordination goals established by donors at high-level development policy forums, and provides an overview of U.S. efforts to meet these goals. The report concludes by identifying key issues in donor coordination of development assistance, with an emphasis on the U.S. perspective.
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.
The New START Treaty: Central Limits and Key Provisions
This report provides an overview of the New Strategic Arms Reductions Treaty (START), including a comparison to the original START Treaty, the belief of the Obama Administration and outside analysts that New START will enhance U.S. national security, and the criticisms of those who say that New START is a distraction from more important items on the nonproliferation agenda.
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.
Small Business Size Standards: A Historical Analysis of Contemporary Issues
This report provides a historical examination of the SBA's size standards, assesses competing views concerning how to define a small business, and discusses how the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 might affect program eligibility. It also discusses H.R. 585, the Small Business Size Standard Flexibility Act of 2011, which would authorize the SBA's Office of Chief Counsel for Advocacy to approve or disapprove a size standard proposed by a federal agency if it deviates from the SBA's size standards.
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.
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. The report also discusses ways which the U.S. hopes to modify Iran's behavior with sanctions, and the effectiveness of these sanctions.
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.
Expiring Unemployment Insurance Provisions
Several key provisions related to extended federal unemployment benefits are temporary and, therefore, scheduled to expire.This report describes the consequences of these expirations for the financing and availability of unemployment benefits in states.The report also summarizes current legislative proposals to extend these expiring provision.
Detention of U.S. Persons as Enemy Belligerents
This report analyzes the existing law and authority to detain U.S. persons, including American citizens and resident aliens, as well as other persons within the United States who are suspected of being members, agents, or associates of Al Qaeda or possibly other terrorist organizations as "enemy combatants."
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.