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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
China Naval Modernization: Implications for U.S. Navy Capabilities--Background and Issues for Congress
This report focuses on the potential implications of China's naval modernization for future required U.S. Navy capabilities. The report discusses the question of how the United States should respond to China's military modernization effort, including its naval modernization effort, has emerged as a key issue in U.S. defense planning.
State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs: FY2015 Budget and Appropriations
This report tracks the FY2015 State Department, Foreign Operations and Related Programs appropriations process. It includes information about recent actions, current requests and past trends, state operations and related agencies, and foreign operations.
Keeping America's Pipelines Safe and Secure: Key Issues for Congress
This report discusses new legislation being considered by the 111th Congress to improve the safety and security of the U.S. pipeline network. H.R. 6008 would require pipeline operators to provide immediate telephonic notice of a pipeline release to federal emergency response officials and would increase civil penalties for pipeline safety violations. S. 3824 would increase the number of federal pipeline safety inspectors, would require automatic shutoff valves for natural gas pipelines, and would mandate internal inspections of transmission pipelines, among other provisions
Maritime Territorial and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) Disputes Involving China: Issues for Congress
This report presents policy and oversight issues for Congress arising from maritime territorial disputes involving China in the South China Sea (SCS), East China Sea (ECS), and an additional dispute over whether China has a right under international law to regulate U.S. and other foreign military activities in its maritime Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
"Amazon Laws" and Taxation of Internet Sales: Constitutional Analysis
As more purchases are made over the Internet, states are looking for new ways to collect taxes on online sales. There is a common misperception that the U.S. Constitution prohibits states from taxing Internet sales. This report discusses "Amazon laws", which try to capture uncollected taxes on Internet sales and yet still comply with the Constitution's requirements.
Federal Research and Development Funding: FY2011
This report summarizes the FY2011 budget request for research & development (R&D) funding, including comparisons to R&D funding requests in the FY2010 budget. Congress will play a central role in defining the nation's R&D priorities, especially with respect to two overarching issues: the extent to which the Federal R&D investment can grow in the context of increased pressure on discretionary spending and how available funding will be prioritized and allocated. This report breaks down in detail the various aspects of the President's FY2011 R&D funding request.
Farm and Food Support Under USDA's Section 32 Program
"Section 32" is a permanent appropriation that since 1935 has set aside the equivalent of 30% of annual customs receipts to support the farm sector through the purchase of surplus commodities and a variety of other activities. This report first describes how the Section 32 account operates by tracing funds flowing into and out of the account. Second, a more detailed discussion is provided for each type of use, including historical policies.
Congressional Careers: Service Tenure and Patterns of Member Service, 1789-2011
The average service tenure of members of the Senate and House of Representatives has varied substantially since 1789. This report presents data on member tenure and a historical analysis of tenure trends.
Western Sahara
This report discusses how Morocco and the independence-seeking Popular Front for the Liberation of Saqiat al Hamra and Rio de Oro (Polisario) have been vying for control of the Western Sahara, a former Spanish territory, since the 1970s. The report discusses recent settlement attempts, as well as how the Western Sahara issue has affected Algerian-Moroccan bilaterial relations, Moroccan relations with the African Union, and regional cooperation on economic and security issues. The report also discusses the United States' involvement in and stance on the issue.
North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) Implementation: The Future of Commercial Trucking Across the Mexican Border
This report discusses the implementation of trucking provisions set forth by NAFTA that would have opened the border states to cross-border trucking competition in 1995 and all of North America in 2000. The full implementation of the provisions has been stalled because of concern with the safety of Mexican trucks.
Terrorism, Miranda, and Related Matters
This report provides background information regarding Miranda rights and public safety exception. The report discusses Supreme Court decisions on Miranda v. Arizona, due process inquiry, and the Fifth Amendment right.
The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and All-Hazard Warnings
This report discusses the mainstays of the U.S. capacity to issue warnings: the Emergency Alert System (EAS), which relies primarily on broadcasting media, the NOAA Weather Radio All-Hazards Network.
Gun Control Legislation
This report provides basic firearms-related statistics, an overview of federal firearms law, and a summary of legislative action in the 111th Congress.
The G-20 Summit: Brisbane, November 15-16, 2014
This report discusses the G-20 Summit held in Brisbane, Australia. In February 2014, the G-20 finance ministers and central bank governors pledged to develop policies that would boost the G-20's collective GDP by more than two percentage points over the coming five years.
Department of Defense Energy Initiatives: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and identifies issues for Congress on Department of Defense (DOD) energy initiatives. DOD spends billions of dollars per year on fuel, and is pursuing numerous initiatives for reducing its fuel needs and changing the mix of energy sources that it uses. DOD's energy initiatives pose several potential policy and oversight issues for Congress, and have been topics of discussion and debate at hearings on DOD's proposed FY2013 budget. Congress' decisions on DOD energy initiatives could substantially affect DOD capabilities, funding requirements, and U.S. energy industries.
Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: Highlighted Actions and Issues
This report highlights actions taken and issues raised as a result of the April 20, 2010, explosion on the Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling rig, and the resulting oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Readers can access more extensive discussions in various CRS reports, identified at the end of this report.
International Climate Change Financing: The Green Climate Fund (GCF)
This report discusses United States commitments for climate change through financial and technical assistance and multilateral programs.
EPA Delays Decision on 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard to 2015
This report discusses the 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) that sets the annual minimum use requirements for biofuels in the nation's transportation fuel supply.
Zivotofsky v. Kerry: The Jerusalem Passport Case
This report briefly describes legislative efforts to modify U.S. policy with respect to Jerusalem, in particular multiple enactments of the passport provision. The report summarizes the appellate court's opinion finding the passport measure unconstitutional and presents brief synopses of the petitioner's argument before the Supreme Court, the Secretary of State's brief in response, and briefs of amici curiae submitted by the Senate (pursuant to S.Res. 504) and by some Members of the House of Representatives. Finally, the report concludes by suggesting some factors that may affect the outcome.
The FCC's Authority to Regulate Net Neutrality After Comcast v. FCC
This report examines the ramifications of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit's April 6, 2010 ruling that the FCC could not base ancillary authority to regulate cable Internet services solely upon broad policy goals contained in the Communications Act. The decision has intensified the Net Neutrality debate and made the governments regulatory authority on the matter less clear.
Federal Programs Available to Unemployed Workers
This report presents information on federal programs targeted to unemployed workers specifically, but does not attempt to discuss means-tested programs (such as Medicaid or SSI) that are available regardless of employment status.
Tanzania: Background and Current Conditions
This report discusses the current political climate in Tanzania, an important U.S. ally in Africa. The report also provides some general background information.
The Receipt of Gifts by Federal Employees in the Executive Branch
This report provides information on the federal statutes, regulations, and guidelines concerning the restrictions on the acceptance of gifts and things of value by officers or employees in the executive branch of the United States government.
Deprivation of Honest Services as a Basis for Federal Mail and Wire Fraud Convictions
The United States Supreme Court in Skilling v. United States construed the honest services branch of the federal mail and wire fraud statutes to reach no more than cases involving bribery or kickbacks. The mail and wire fraud statutes, 18 U.S.C. ยงยง 1341 and 1343, impose criminal penalties for the use of mail or interstate wire communications to deprive another of money or property through a "scheme or artifice to defraud." This report discusses wire and mail fraud and examines relevant court cases.
Supreme Court Nominee Elena Kagan: Presidential Authority and the Separation of Powers
In light of Elena Kagan's nomination to serve as an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, this report analyzes then-Professor Kagan's views of executive power and the doctrine of separation of powers as laid most extensively out in her 2001 Harvard Law Review article Presidential Administration.
The Power to Regulate Commerce: Limits on Congressional Power
This report discusses the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution, which provides that the Congress shall have the power to regulate interstate and foreign commerce.
Federal Lands and Natural Resources: Overview and Selected Issues for the 113th Congress
This report provides references to analytical reports on cybersecurity from CRS, other government agencies, trade associations, and interest groups. The reports and related websites are grouped under the following cybersecurity topics: policy overview; National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC); cloud computing and FedRAMP; critical infrastructure; cybercrime, data breaches and data security; national security, cyber espionage, and cyberwar (including Stuxnet); international efforts; education/training/workforce; and research and development (R&D).
Asian Carp and the Great Lakes Region
This report provides an overview of four species of non-indigenous Asian carp that are expanding their range in U.S. waterways, resulting in a variety of concerns and problems. This report details the environmental and economic threats from this invasion, as well as ways to combat the spread of Asian carp in U.S. water.
Veterans Affairs: Presumptive Service Connection and Disability Compensation
This report discusses presumptive service connection, its legislative history, and current challenges in making evidence-based determinations of presumptions. It also discusses the Agent Orange Act (P.L. 102-4) and suggests implications of the process established by the act for future presumptive service-connected determinations.
U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Recent Trends and Factors
A question for policy makers is whether U.S. GHG emissions will remain at current levels, decrease to meet the President's 2020 and 2025 goals, or increase to former (or even higher) levels. Multiple factors, including socioeconomics, technology, and climate policies, may impact GHG emission levels. The first section of this report provides current levels and recent trends in U.S. GHG emissions. The second section takes a closer look at some of the key factors that influence emission levels. The third section discusses the challenges in making GHG emission projections by comparing observed emissions with pre-observed emission estimates.
The Medical Device Excise Tax: Economic Analysis
This report reviews the issues surrounding the medical devices tax within the framework of basic principles surrounding the choice of commodities to tax under excise taxes. The next section describes the tax and its legislative origins. After that, the report analyzes the arguments for retaining and repealing the tax.
The Exon-Florio National Security Test for Foreign Investment
This report covers the recent background of the Exon-Florio provision with special regards to issues faced in the 112th Congress. The Exon-Florio provision grants the President the authority to block proposed or pending foreign acquisitions of "persons engaged in interstate commerce in the United States" that threaten to impair the national security.
FY2010 Supplemental for Wars, Disaster Assistance, Haiti Relief, and Other Programs
This report discusses the $64 billion in requested supplemental appropriations for FY2010, which includes $2.8 billion for Haiti earthquake-related reconstruction and foreign aid and $243 million for activities related to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and more.
Saudi Arabia: Background and U.S. Relations
The kingdom of Saudi Arabia, ruled by the Al Saud family since its founding in 1932, wields significant political and economic influence as the birthplace of the Islamic faith and by virtue of its large energy reserves. This report provides background information about Saudi Arabia and analyzes current issues in U.S.-Saudi relations.
Samantar v. Yousef: The Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act and Foreign Officials
On June 1, 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court decided unanimously in Samantar v. Yousef that the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA), which governs the immunity of foreign states in U.S. courts, does not apply in suits against foreign officials. This report provides an overview of the FSIA, followed by a consideration of the remaining options for foreign officials who seek immunity from lawsuits, as well as some of the questions that may emerge from each option. The report also addresses legislation that would affect the immunity of foreign officials, including S. 2930.
Congressional Careers: Service Tenure and Patterns of Member Service, 1789-2011
The average service tenure of members of the Senate and House of Representatives has varied substantially since 1789. This report presents data on member tenure and a historical analysis of tenure trends.
Outer Continental Shelf Moratoria on Oil and Gas Development
This report discusses moratoria measures for the outer continental shelf (OCS) which establish bans or restrictions on oil and gas exploration and development in federal ocean areas. It includes a background of offshore oil and gas development, the sources of U.S. moratorium policy, the background of ocean governance, U.S. moratoria in international areas, and related issues for congress.
Tax Havens: International Tax Avoidance and Evasion
The first section of this report reviews what countries might be considered tax havens, including a discussion of the Organization for Economic Development and Cooperation (OECD) initiatives and lists. The next two sections discuss, in turn, the corporate profit-shifting mechanisms and evidence on the existence and magnitude of profit shifting activity. The following two sections provide the same analysis for individual tax evasion. The report concludes with overviews of alternative policy options and a summary of specific legislative proposals.
Coast Guard Deepwater Acquisition Programs: Background, Oversight Issues, and Options for Congress
This report provides background information and oversight issues for Congress on the Coast Guard's Deepwater acquisition programs for replacing and modernizing the service's aging fleet of deepwater-capable ships and aircraft.
U.S. Nuclear Cooperation with India: Issues for Congress
This report discusses the United States' relationship with India as it relates to nuclear arsenals and nuclear nonproliferation policies. The report includes background information on India's nuclear history and nuclear weapons-specific U.S. legislation.
Electoral College Reform: 111th Congress Proposals and Other Current Developments
This report examines and analyzes alternative proposals for change within the electoral college, presents pro and con arguments, and identifies and analyzes 111th Congress proposals and contemporary alternative reform developments.
Renewable Energy Programs and the Farm Bill: Status and Issues
This report discusses the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-246, the 2008 farm bill) which extends and expands many of the renewable energy programs originally authorized in the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (P.L. 107-171, 2002 farm bill). The bill also continues the emphasis on the research and development of advanced and cellulosic bioenergy authorized in the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act (P.L. 110-140).
The U.S. Postal Service's Financial Condition: Overview and Issues for Congress
This report provides an overview of the U.S. Postal Service's (USPS's) financial condition, recent legislation to alleviate the USPS's financial challenges, and possible issues for the 111th Congress. It also addresses current legislation that aims to improve the USPS's financial condition--H.R. 22, S. 1507, and H.R. 5746.
Coast Guard Polar Icebreaker Modernization: Background, Issues, and Options for Congress
This report provides background information and issues for Congress on the modernization of the Coast Guard's polar icebreaker fleet, which performs a variety of missions supporting U.S. interests in polar regions.
History of the Clery Act: Fact Sheet
This report discusses the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (Clery Act, 20 U.S.C. 1092). The Clery Act was enacted to increase the accountability and transparency of Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs) in meeting certain responsibilities with regard to the safety and security of students on their campuses.
Project BioShield: Authorities, Appropriations, Acquisitions, and Issues for Congress
This report discusses the Project BioShield Act (P.L. 108-276), In 2004, passed by Congress to encourage the private sector to develop medical countermeasures against chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) terrorism agents and to provide a novel mechanism for federal acquisition of those newly developed countermeasures. This law provides three main authorities: (1) relaxing regulatory requirements for some CBRN terrorism-related spending, including hiring personnel and awarding research grants; (2) guaranteeing a federal market for new CBRN medical countermeasures; and (3) permitting emergency use of unapproved countermeasures.
Federal Lands and Natural Resources: Overview and Selected Issues for the 113th Congress
This report introduces some of the broad themes and issues Congress considers when addressing federal land policy and resource management. Federal land policy includes questions about the extent and location of the federal estate.
Detection of Nuclear Weapons and Materials: Science, Technologies, Observations
The United States currently uses several types of nuclear detection equipment. All have significant shortcomings. Some work only at very short range; some cannot identify the material emitting radiation, which can lead to false alarms and interrupt commerce; some depend on operator skill, and may be defeated by a clever smuggler or a sleepy operator; and some are easily defeated by shielding. In an effort to overcome such problems, Congress has funded a pipeline of advanced-technology research, development, and acquisition. This report seeks to help Congress understand this technology. It discusses the science of detecting nuclear weapons and materials, describes nine advanced U.S. technologies selected to illustrate the range of projects in the pipeline, and offers observations for Congress.
China and the United States--A Comparison of Green Energy Programs and Policies
This report will look at the laws, programs, and policies encouraging development of wind, solar, and biomass power in China and the United States as the major renewable energy technologies common to both countries. While hydropower is the most developed source of renewable energy in both China and the United States, additional development of conventional hydropower is not a major focus of U.S. or China's renewable energy policy and will not be featured in this discussion.
U.S.-Taiwan Relationship: Overview of Policy Issues
This report is a succinct overview of the U.S.-Taiwan relationship including an analysis of issues. For decades, Taiwan has been of significant security, economic, and political interest to the United States. While the United States does not diplomatically recognize Taiwan, it is a significant autonomous actor in the world.