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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
The United States and Europe: Responding to Change in the Middle East and North Africa
This report assesses some of the policy implications of recent and ongoing events in the Middle East region, provides an overview of U.S. responses to date, and explores select case studies to illustrate some key questions and dilemmas that Congress and the executive branch may face with regard to these issues and others in the future.
U.S. Foreign Aid to the Palestinians
This report provides an overview of current issues in U.S.-Palestinian relations. It also contains an overview of Palestinian society and politics and descriptions of key Palestinian individuals and groups -- chiefly the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), the Palestinian Authority (PA), Fatah, Hamas, and the Palestinian refugee population.
U.S. Air Force Bomber Sustainment and Modernization: Background and Issues for Congress
This report addresses potential congressional oversight and appropriations concerns for the sustainment and modernization of the U.S. Air Force's bomber force.
Guatemala: Political, Security, and Socio- Economic Conditions and U.S. Relations
This report provides an overview of Guatemala's current political and economic conditions, relations with the United States, and several issues likely to figure in future decisions by Congress and the Administration regarding Guatemala. With respect to continued cooperation and foreign assistance, these issues include security and governance, protection of human rights and human rights conditions on some U.S. military aid to Guatemala, support for the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala, combating narcotics trafficking and organized crime, trade relations, and inter-country adoption.
The Independent Payment Advisory Board
This report, which provides an overview of the Payment Advisory Board, begins with a discussion of the rationale behind the creation of an independent Medicare board and briefly reviews prior proposals for similar boards and commissions. The report then describes the structure of the Board, the calculations and determinations required to be made by the Office of the Chief Actuary (the Chief Actuary) in the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) that trigger a Board proposal, and the content of and constraints on Board proposals--including the Medicare productivity exemptions under Section 3401 of the The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).
U.S. Citizens Kidnapped by the Islamic State
This report briefly discusses the Islamic State's (IS, or alternatively, Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, ISIL, or Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, ISIS) kidnapping of American citizens and the implications for congressional response.
Saudi Arabia: Background and U.S. Relations
This report discusses the current state of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, its current relationship with the United States, and future initiatives to further develop U.S.-Saudi relations.
Wind Energy: Offshore Permitting
This report will discuss the disputes over the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) jurisdiction prior to enactment of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 as well as the current law applicable to siting offshore wind facilities.
Codes of Conduct for Multinational Corporations: An Overview
This report examines corporate social responsibility (CSR) on the part of multinational corporations in the globalized economy. The report discusses the U.S. government's role through regulation, as well as industry-specific codes of conduct.
Gangs in Central America
This report describes the gang problem in Central America, discusses country approaches to deal with the gangs, and analyzes U.S. policy with respect to gangs in Central America.
Ozone Air Quality Standards: EPA's 2015 Revision
This report discusses the standard-setting process, the specifics of the current and most recent reviews, and issues that may be raised as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) brings the current review of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ground-level ozone to completion.
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.
Whales and Sonar: Environmental Exemptions for the Navy's Mid-Frequency Active Sonar Training
This report discusses laws related to the protection of marine mammals when using mid-frequency active sonar including the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and the Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA). The report discusses each of the laws generally, and then reviews the litigation surrounding the Navy's compliance with these laws in the context of using the sonar for training purposes off California's coast.
Drug Offenses: Maximum Fines and Terms of Imprisonment for Violation of the Federal Controlled Substances Act and Related Laws
This report is a chart of the maximum fines and terms of imprisonment that may be imposed as a consequence of conviction for violation of the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and other drug supply and drug demand related laws.
H.R. 2: The Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009
This report summarizes changes to current law across the major provisions of H.R. 2 that would occur if The Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009 (CHIPRA) were enacted.
The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and All-Hazard Warnings
This report gives an overview of issues and legislation relating to the Emergency Alert System (EAS). It includes a discussion of the EAS administration, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather radios, all-hazard warning technology, proposals and programs, the executive order regarding the public alert and warning system and legislation from the 109th and 110th Congresses.
Spectrum Policy in the Age of Broadband: Issues for Congress
This report discusses some of the commercial and federal radio frequency spectrum policy changes required by the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012. It also summarizes new policy directions for spectrum management under consideration in the 112th Congress, such as the encouragement of new technologies that use spectrum more efficiently.
Aviation War Risk Insurance: Background and Options for Congress
This report discusses aviation war risk insurance that provides coverage for hostile acts of violence against airlines, such as terrorism, hijackings, and sabotage.
Medal of Honor Recipients: 1979-2008
This report covers additions and changes to the list of recipients of the medal since the release of the committee print. The Medal of Honor (MOH) is the nation's highest award for military valor. It is presented by the President in the name of Congress and thus is often called the Congressional Medal of Honor.
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.
Restrictions on Itemized Tax Deductions: Policy Options and Analysis
This report analyzes various proposals to restrict itemized deductions--both across-the-board and individually tailored--using standard economic criteria of economic efficiency, distribution, simplicity, and estimated revenue effects. In particular, this report estimates each proposal's potential to contribute to revenue-neutral reductions in income tax rates and the consequences for economic behavior.
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.
Compulsory DNA Collection: A Fourth Amendment Analysis
This report examines compulsory DNA collection by law enforcement and its implications in regards to 4th amendment protections by examining legal precedents and considering the contemporary scientific understanding of DNA.
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 Increase in Unemployment Since 2007: Is It Cyclical or Structural?
This report assesses the relative magnitudes of cyclical and structural unemployment as they respond to different policy measures. An analysis of changes since 2007 in a variety of labor market indicators across industries and areas finds patterns that strongly suggest most of the increase in the U.S. unemployment rate is cyclical (i.e., due to depressed aggregate demand). Empirical studies suggest that, although structural unemployment has temporarily increased, it accounted for a minority of the rise in the unemployment rate in recent years.
Marine Corps Drawdown, Force Structure Initiatives, and Roles and Missions: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information regarding the Marine Corps that characterizes itself as a crisis response expeditionary force, which is task organized and able to conduct operations across the entire spectrum of military operations. The report discusses the force reduction and shaping programs, force structure initiatives, marine corps roles, missions, and force structure.
Severe Thunderstorms and Tornadoes in the United States
This report discusses the natural basis of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes and the risk associated with them. The report also examines several options Congress could consider to potentially reduce the costs these destructive natural events.
Argentina's Defaulted Sovereign Debt: Dealing with the "Holdouts"
This report reviews Argentina's financial crisis, the bond exchanges of 2005 and 2010, ongoing litigation, prospects for a final solution, related U.S. legislation, and broader policy issues. These include lessons on the effectiveness and cost of Argentina's default strategy, the ability to force sovereigns to meet their debt obligations, and ways to avoid future defaults like Argentina's.
The United Kingdom and U.S.-UK Relations
This report discusses the relations between United Kingdom (UK) and the United States, including a sense of shared history, values, and culture, as well as extensive and long-established cooperation on a wide range of foreign policy and security issues.
Understanding China's Political System
This report is designed to provide Congress with a perspective on the contemporary political system of China, the only Communist Party-led state in the G-20 grouping of major economies. China's Communist Party dominates state and society in China, is committed to maintaining a permanent monopoly on power, and is intolerant of those who question its right to rule.
The Google Library Project: Is Digitization for Purposes of Online Indexing Fair Use Under Copyright Law?
This report provides background on the Google Library Project, legal issues raised by digitization and indexing projects, and the proposed settlement between Google and rights holders.
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.
Latin America and the Caribbean: U.S. Policy and Key Issues for Congress in 2012
This report provides an overview of U.S. policy toward Latin America and the Caribbean, including the Obama Administration's priorities for U.S. policy and a brief comparison of policies under the Obama and Bush Administrations. It then examines congressional interest in Latin America, first providing an overview, and then looking at selected countries and regional issues and identifying key policy issues facing Congress in 2012. The final section of the report analyzes several key events in the region in 2012: the Pope's trip to Cuba in March, the sixth Summit of the Americas in April, Mexico's elections in July, and Venezuela's upcoming elections in October.
Worker Safety in the Construction Industry: The Crane and Derrick Standard
This report first examines the incidence of fatal and nonfatal on-the-job injuries in the private sector. It next analyzes the causes of fatalities in the construction industry and the involvement of cranes in those deaths. The report then addresses the status of a proposed rule to update the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) crane and derrick standard. It closes with an overview of jurisdictions having safety regulations for cranes more stringent, in whole or part, than the existing federal standard.
Army Drawdown and Restructuring: Background and Issues for Congress
This report discusses the new defense strategy, which was unveiled by senior Department of Defense (DOD) leadership based on a review of potential future security challenges, current defense strategy, and budgetary constraints. This strategy will rebalance the Army's global posture and presence, emphasizing where potential problems are likely to arise, such as the Asia-Pacific region and the Middle East.
State and Local Economic Sanctions: Constitutional Issues
This report discusses the Constitutionality and ongoing legal concerns of sanctions enacted by states and localities restricting their agencies from conducting economic transactions with firms that do business with or in foreign countries whose conduct the jurisdictions find objectionable.
Bolivia: Political and Economic Developments and Relations with the United States
This report includes background information on Bolivia's political unrest, particularly regarding instability in shifting leaderships, economic situation, and relations with the United States.
Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty: Background and Current Developments
This report discusses the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), which bans all nuclear explosion and was in 1996 adopted by the U.N. General Assembly but rejected by the U.S. Senate in 1997. This report discusses the Obama Administration's stated goal of pursuing U.S. ratification of the CTBT, although the Administration has mainly focused on securing Senate consent to ratification of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START). This report also discusses other nuclear weapons-related issues as well as the long history of nuclear testing.
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 the definition of Navy IW activities and how much emphasis to place on IW and CT activities in future Navy budgets.
No-Fly Zones: Strategic, Operational, and Legal Considerations for Congress
This report discusses the establishment of no-fly zones and several related issues for Congress surrounding the strategy, including international authorization, congressional authorization, operations, and costs of establishing and maintaining no-fly zones.
Assistance to North Korea
This report summarizes U.S. assistance to the Democratic People's Republic of North Korea (DPRK, also known as North Korea). It will be updated periodically to track changes in U.S. provision of aid to North Korea.
Nuclear Energy Policy
This report discusses the nuclear energy policy issues facing Congress that include the implementation of federal incentives for new commercial reactors, radioactive waste management policy, research and development priorities, power plant safety and regulation, nuclear weapons proliferation, and security against terrorist attacks.
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.
Trafficking in Persons: U.S. Policy and Issues for Congress
This report focuses on human trafficking both internationally and within the United States. The report begins with an overview of human trafficking including a discussion of the definition of human trafficking, the scope of the problem globally, and an examination of the victims. It follows with an analysis of global antitrafficking efforts by the United States and the international community. The report then focuses on trafficking into and within the United States, examining relief for trafficking victims in the United States and discussing U.S. law enforcement efforts to combat domestic trafficking. The report concludes with an overview of antitrafficking legislation in the 110th Congress, and an analysis of policy issues related to human trafficking.
Nondiscrimination in Environmental Regulation: A Legal Analysis
This report will examine the relevant legal authorities that may be asserted to address disproportionate impacts that result from how an agency implements environmental regulations, including the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and various environmental and conservation statutes. It will discuss administrative efforts to address "environmental justice," a term used by some advocates to refer to the distribution of environmental quality across various demographic groups, including the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) Plan EJ 2014. It will also analyze the use of these authorities to prevent such impacts and the likelihood of success for future challenges under each legal theory.
Emergency Assistance for Agricultural Land Rehabilitation
This report discusses the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) several permanently authorized programs to help producers recover from natural disasters. Most of these programs offer financial assistance to producers for a loss in the production of crops or livestock. In addition to the production assistance programs, USDA also has several permanent disaster assistance programs that help producers repair damaged crop and forest land following natural disasters.
Battery Manufacturing for Hybrid and Electric Vehicles: Policy Issues
This report examines the nascent battery manufacturing industry and considers efforts to strengthen U.S. capacity to manufacture batteries and battery components for hybrid and electric vehicles.
War Powers Resolution: Presidential Compliance
This report gives a summary of the usage of the War Powers Resolution (WPR) and various issues related to proposals to modify or repeal the resolution. The report summarizes most recent developments and background, and gives an overview of United Nations actions, and WPR activities in former Yugoslavia/Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq (post-1991), Haiti, and Somalia. It also includes commentary on the instances formally reported under the WPR, consultation with Congress, and the current issues which Congress is considering.
Congressional Oversight of Intelligence: Current Structure and Alternatives
This report first describes the current select committees on intelligence and then the former Joint Committee on Atomic Energy, often cited as a model for a counterpart on intelligence. The study also sets forth proposed characteristics for a joint committee on intelligence, differences among these, and their pros and cons. The report examines other actions and alternatives affecting congressional oversight in the field.
Rwanda: Background and Current Developments
This report discusses the current political conditions of Rwanda, including a brief historical overview. The report also includes information about the poor human rights conditions in Rwanda and U.S. Rwanda relations.