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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations
This report provides information and analysis relevant for Congress on the following: assessments of U.S.-Turkey relations, Turkish foreign policy, and Turkey's strategic orientation, Turkish efforts to cooperate with the United States against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, and key issues regarding Turkey's domestic politics.
Burma Holds Peace Conference
This report discusses the Burma Peace conference that could be a step toward ending Burma's six-decade long, low-grade civil war and establishing a process eventually leading to reconciliation and possibly the formation of a democratic federated state.
Security Cooperation and the FY2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)
This report discusses provisions in the FY2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that have elevated ongoing debates over U.S. security sector assistance to foreign countries--and raised questions over whether the policy architecture is suited to meet current and emerging requirements.
Turkey: Failed Coup and Implications for U.S. Policy
This report briefly examines the failed coup in Turkey and what it means for U.S. foreign policy. On July 15-16, 2016, elements within the Turkish military tried, but failed, to seize political power from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Binali Yildirim.
Navy Force Structure: A Bigger Fleet? Background and Issues for Congress
This report presents background information and potential issues for Congress on the question of whether to increase the Navy's force-level goal (i.e., the planned size of the Navy) to something more than the current goal of 308 ships.
Numerical Limits on Permanent Employment-Based Immigration: Analysis of the Per-country Ceilings
The report opens with brief explanations of the employment-based preference categories and the per-country ceilings governing annual admissions of lawful permanent residents (LPRs). It continues with a statistical analysis of the pending caseload of approved employment-based LPR petitions and concludes with a set of legislative options to revise per-country ceilings that are meant to serve as springboards for further discussions.
Information Warfare: Russian Activities
This report discusses Russia's engagement in activities that some may describe as Information Warfare (IW): the range of military and government operations to protect and exploit the information environment.
Nicaragua: In Brief
This report discusses Nicaragua's current politics, economic development and relations with the United States and provides context for Nicaragua's controversial November 6, 2016, elections.
Navy Lasers, Railgun, and Hypervelocity Projectile: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and issues for Congress on three potential new weapons that could improve the ability of Navy surface ships to defend themselves against enemy missiles: solid state lasers (SSLs), the electromagnetic railgun (EMRG), and the hypervelocity projectile (HVP). Any one of these new weapon technologies, if successfully developed and deployed, might be regarded as a "game changer" for defending Navy surface ships against enemy missiles.
EPA's Clean Power Plan for Existing Power Plants: Frequently Asked Questions
This report provides a series of frequently-asked questions with answers regarding the Clean Power Plan and related litigation. On August 3, 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) promulgated standards for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from existing fossil-fuel-fired power plants under Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act (CAA); the rule, known as the Clean Power Plan (CPP), appeared in the Federal Register on October 23, 2015.
Intellectual Property Rights Violations: Federal Civil Remedies and Criminal Penalties Related to Copyrights, Trademarks, Patents, and Trade Secrets
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.
The FDA Medical Device User Fee Program: MDUFA IV Reauthorization
This report describes current law regarding medical device user fees, the impact of Medical Device User Fee and Modernization Act (MDUFMA) on Federal Drug Administration (FDA) review time of various medical device applications, and the agency's medical device program budget.
Coast Guard Polar Icebreaker Modernization: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and issues for Congress on the sustainment and modernization of the Coast Guard's polar icebreaker fleet. The Coast Guard's proposed FY2017 budget requests $150 million in acquisition funding for a new polar icebreaker that the Coast Guard wants to begin building in FY2020. The issue for Congress is whether to approve, reject, or modify the Administration's FY2017 acquisition funding request for a new polar icebreaker, and, more generally, whether to approve, reject, or modify the Coast Guard's overall plan for sustaining and modernizing the polar icebreaking fleet.
Funding for Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) at DOE: In Brief
This report discusses issues regarding funding for carbon capture and sequestration (or storage) programs. CCS is a physical process that involves capturing man-made carbon dioxide (CO2) at its source and storing it before its release to the atmosphere.
FY2017 Defense Appropriations Fact Sheet: Selected Highlights of H.R. 5293 and S. 3000
This report summarizes selected highlights of the FY2017 Defense Appropriations Act passed by the House on June 16, 2016 (H.R. 5293), and the version reported by the Senate Appropriations Committee on May 26, 2016 (S. 3000).
Navy Irregular Warfare and Counterterrorism Operations: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and potential issues for Congress on the Navy's irregular warfare (IW) and counterterrorism (CT) operations. The Navy's IW and CT activities pose a number of potential oversight issues for Congress, including how much emphasis to place on IW and CT activities in future Navy budgets.
Trade-Based Money Laundering: Overview and Policy Issues
This report discusses the scope of the trade-based money laundering (TBML) problem and analyzes selected U.S. government policy responses to address TBML. It includes a listing of hearings in the 114th Congress that addressed TBML.
Bahrain: Reform, Security, and U.S. Policy
This report discusses the current state of reform and foreign policy in Bahrain. Outward signs of the uprising against Bahrain's Al Khalifa ruling family that began on February 14, 2011 have diminished, but continued smaller demonstrations, opposition boycotts of elections, and incarceration of dissident leaders counter government assertions that Bahrain has "returned to normal."
Maritime Territorial and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) Disputes Involving China: Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and issues for Congress on maritime territorial and exclusive economic zone (EEZ) disputes in the East China (ECS) and South China Sea (SCS) involving China, with a focus on how these disputes may affect U.S. strategic and policy interests.
Navy LX(R) Amphibious Ship Program: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and issues for Congress on the LX(R) amphibious ship program, a Navy program to build a new class of 11 amphibious ships. The Navy wants to procure the first LX(R) in FY2020. Decisions Congress makes on the LX(R) program will affect Navy capabilities and funding requirements, and the U.S. shipbuilding industrial base.
The World Drug Problem: UNGA Convenes for a Special Session
This report briefly discusses the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), which has convened in New York for a special session on "The World Drug Problem." It is the third time the UNGA will convene such a session on global drug issues. Previous special sessions on drugs were held in 1990 and 1998.
Navy Lasers, Railgun, and Hypervelocity Projectile: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and issues for Congress on three potential new weapons that could improve the ability of Navy surface ships to defend themselves against enemy missiles--solid state lasers (SSLs), the electromagnetic railgun (EMRG), and the hypervelocity projectile (HVP).
Presidential References to the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force in Publicly Available Executive Actions and Reports to Congress
This memorandum sets out information and analysis concerning presidential references in official notifications and records to the Authorization for Use of Military Force (2001 AUMF; Public Law 107-40; 50 U.S.C. § 1541 note), enacted in response to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States. It contains very brief discussions of the relevant provisions of the 2001 AUMF, and the uses of U.S. armed forces connected with 2001 AUMF authority, as well as excerpted language and other information from the notifications.
Display of the Confederate Flag at Federal Cemeteries in the United States
This report discusses policies regarding the display of the Confederate Flag at national cemeteries. If a state observes a Confederate Memorial Day, National Park Service (NPS) cemeteries in the state may permit a sponsoring group to decorate the graves of Confederate veterans with small Confederate flags. Additionally, such flags may also be displayed on the nationally observed Memorial Day, to accompany the U.S. flag on the graves of Confederate veterans.
Fact Sheet: Selected Highlights of the FY2017 National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 4909)
This report provides selected highlights of H.R. 4909, the FY2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) reported by the House Armed Services Committee on May 4, 2016 (H.Rept. 114-537). Table 1 provides a summary of amounts recommended for authorization. Table 2 provides a summary of selected congressional budget reductions and restrictions, and Table 3 provides a summary of selected Administration policy and cost-cutting proposals. Table 4 provides a summary of selected congressional budget increases and policy initiatives.
Unemployment Benefits: Legislative Issues in the 108th Congress
This report discusses the federal-state unemployment compensation (UC) system, which pays benefits to covered workers who become involuntarily unemployed for economic reasons and meet state-established eligibility rules.
An Overview of Air Quality Issues in Natural Gas Systems
This report provides information on the natural gas industry and the types and sources of air pollutants in the sector. It examines the role of the federal government in regulating these emissions, including the provisions in the Clean Air Act and Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) regulatory activities. It concludes with a brief discussion of the outstanding issues.
Forest Fire/Wildfire Protection
This report provides historical background on wildfires, and describes concerns about the wildland-urban interface and about forest and rangeland health. It discusses fuel management, fire control, and fire effects and also examines federal, state, and landowner roles and responsibilities in protecting lands and resources from wildfires. The report concludes by discussing current issues for federal wildfire management.
China Naval Modernization: Implications for U.S. Navy Capabilities--Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and issues for Congress on China's naval modernization effort and its implications for U.S. Navy capabilities. The issue for Congress is how the U.S. Navy should respond to China's military modernization effort, particularly its naval modernization effort.
Declining Dynamism in the U.S. Labor Market
This report discusses certain measures of the U.S. labor market "dynamism" or "fluidity"--including job reallocation, worker churn, and geographic labor mobility-- which some observers note have been declining for the past 20 years or more.
Economic Growth Slower Than Previous 10 Expansions
This report briefly discusses the recent pace of economic growth in the United States. A recent poll found that nearly 60% of U.S. adults believe that the economy is performing poorly. Although this expansion is already the fourth longest since the 1850's (34 quarters to date), the slow pace of economic growth means the overall gains have been relatively small.
U.S.-EU Data Privacy: From Safe Harbor to Privacy Shield
This report provides background on U.S. and European Union (EU) data protection policies and the Safe Harbor Agreement, discusses the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruling, and reviews the key elements of the newly-proposed Privacy Shield. It also explores various issues for Congress, including implications for U.S. firms of Safe Harbor's invalidation and the role of the Judicial Redress Act in helping to ameliorate U.S.-EU tensions on data privacy and protection issues.
Social Security Notch Issue: A Summary
This report discusses recent attempts at legislative action regarding changes to the computation of benefits under Social Security Amendments of 1977 (P.L. 95-216), which directly affected retirees born in the 5- to 15-year period after 1916. These persons fall in the "notch" between previous Social Security legislation and those affected by the amendments.
The State of Campaign Finance Policy: Recent Developments and Issues for Congress
This report provides an overview of the campaign finance landscape and policy issues that may confront Congress. It includes information about the development of campaign finance law with selected litigation as well as potential policy considerations and emerging issues.
What, If Anything, Has Judge Garland Said About the Second Amendment and Guns?
This legal sidebar briefly examines D.C. Circuit Judge Merrick Garland's views on the second amendment.
Emergency Relief for Disaster-Damaged Roads and Transit Systems: In Brief
This report describes Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) assistance for the repair and reconstruction of highways and bridges damaged by disasters (such as Hurricane Sandy in 2012) or catastrophic failures (such as the collapse of the Skagit River Bridge in Washington State in 2013). It begins with a brief discussion of the legislative origins of federal assistance, and then addresses eligibility issues and program operation.
Athletic Footwear for the Military: The Berry Amendment Controversy
This report briefly examines issues regarding the Berry Amendment, which is a 1941 federal law (10 U.S.C. §2533a) requiring the Department of Defense (DOD) to purchase only wholly American-made clothing, textiles, and other essential items for the military.
Zika Response Funding: In Brief
This report presents the Administration's request for supplemental appropriations for the Zika response. It includes sections outlining Congressional actions, the emergency supplemental appropriations request for Zika response efforts -- by both U.S. health and human services agencies and international assistance programs -- and information about unobligated Ebola response funds.
Appropriations for FY2005: Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs
This report is a guide to one of the 13 regular appropriations bills that Congress considers each year, related to foreign operations, export financing and other programs. It is designed to supplement the information provided by the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees on Foreign Operations. It summarizes the status of the bill, its scope, major issues, funding levels, and related congressional activity, and is updated as events warrant.
Financing U.S. Agricultural Exports to Cuba
This report discusses a new policy approach toward Cuba that, in part, seeks to reduce the role of long-standing U.S. sanctions on commercial relations with Cuba while also promoting greater engagement and normal relations with the island nation.
Orlando Nightclub Mass Shooting: Gun Checks and Terrorist Watchlists
This report discusses the policy climate surrounding gun control in the wake of the attack in an Orlando, Florida nightclub. On June 12, 2016, an armed assailant killed 49 people and wounded over 50 others in the club.
Navy Ford (CVN-78) Class Aircraft Carrier Program: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and potential oversight issues for Congress on the Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) class aircraft carrier program. The Navy's proposed FY2017 budget requests a total of $2,662.6 million in procurement and advance procurement (AP) funding for CVN-79 and CVN-80, the second and third ships in the program.
The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016 (S. 524): Comparison of Senate- and House-Passed Versions
This report discusses selected differences and similarities between the Senate- and House-passed versions of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016 (CARA; S. 524), which aims to address the problem of opioid addiction in the United States. The two versions of the bill differ substantially. The scope of the differences may be illustrated by their structures: The Senate bill has 28 sections organized in 8 titles, whereas the House bill has 69 sections organized in 18 titles.
EPA Policies Concerning Integrated Planning and Affordability of Water Infrastructure
This report examines two recent initiatives by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in which the agency works with states to develop and implement new approaches for water quality goals that will be more cost-effective and address the most pressing water infrastructure problems first. The examples include an integrated planning policy and a framework policy for assessing a community's financial capability to meet objectives and requirements of the Clean Water Act (CWA).
Legislative Options for Financing Water Infrastructure
This report discusses several options considered by Congress to address the financing needs of local communities for wastewater and drinking water infrastructure projects and to decrease or close the gap between available funds and projected needs.
Iran's Nuclear Program: Status
This report looks at the background of Iran's nuclear policy. It covers the current status of Iran's nuclear facilities, and current controversy surrounding them, as well as the effects of international sanctions on Iran, recent sabotages on the Iran Enrichment Program, an estimated timeline of Iran's nuclear weapon capabilities, and whether or not Iran even has a nuclear weapons program.
Medicare Financial Status: In Brief
This report provides an overview on Medicare, discussing its various components and sources of funding. It also examines projections for spending within the program.
Foreign Aid: An Introduction to U.S. Programs and Policy
This report provides an overview of the U.S. foreign assistance program by answering frequently asked questions on the subject. It is intended to provide a broad view of foreign assistance over time.
Military Officer Personnel Management: Key Concepts and Statutory Provisions
This report provides an overview of selected concepts and statutory provisions that shape and define military officer appointments, assignments, grade structure, promotions, and separations. It also provides a set of questions that policymakers may wish to consider when discussing proposed changes to current law.
Overview of Commercial (Depository) Banking and Industry Conditions
This report begins with a general overview of the banking industry. It describes how banks facilitate the financial intermediation process as well as the associated financial risks. It also explains the market structure of the banking industry, referring primarily to the asset distribution. Next, this report summarizes profitability and lending activity levels in the banking industry. Particular attention is paid to metrics related to capitalization levels, asset performance, and earnings of depository banks.