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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
U.S.-China Cyber Agreement
During the state visit on September 24-25, 2015, President Xi Jinping of China and President Barack Obama reached a Cyber Agreement. This report briefly discusses that agreement.
Recess Appointments Made by President George W. Bush, January 20, 2001- October 31, 2008
This report identifies recess appointments made by President George W. Bush from the time he took office on January 20, 2001, through October 31, 2008. Basic descriptive statistics regarding these appointments are also provided.
The Department of Defense Role in Foreign Assistance: Background, Major Issues, and Options for Congress
This report begins with a brief introduction to the three areas in which DOD plays a role in foreign assistance and to Congress's part in authorizing that role and briefly discusses the general evolution of DOD's role and the Department of State's current perception of that role based on current national security needs. The report then provides an overview of the evolution of the DOD role and current activities in the three areas cited above, with a snapshot of the varying perspectives on the DOD roles in these areas.
Drought Legislation: Comparison of Selected Provisions in H.R. 2898 and S. 1894
This report summarizes the provisions of S. 1894, as introduced, and H.R. 2898, as passed by the House for conservation of fish species and their habitats in drought-stricken areas. It identifies comparable provisions between the two bills and discusses some of the ways in which those provisions overlap or differ. It also summarizes selected other major provisions in each bill.
Freedom of Speech and Press: Exceptions to the First Amendment
This report provides an overview of the major exceptions to the First Amendment, i.e., of the ways that the Supreme Court has interpreted the guarantee of freedom of speech and press to provide no protection or only limited protection for some types of speech.
Selected Legal Mechanisms Whereby the Government Can Hold Contractors Accountable for Failure to Perform or Other Misconduct
This report provides an overview of selected legal mechanisms that the federal government could rely upon in holding contractors accountable for deficiencies in their performance under the contract, or for other misconduct.
Navy Littoral Combat Ship (LCS)/Frigate Program: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and issues for Congress on the Navy's Littoral Combat Ship (LCS)/Frigate program, a program to procure 52 LCSs and frigates. The first LCS was funded in FY2005, and a total of 23 have been funded through FY2015.
Retirement Benefits for Members of Congress
This report discusses the Civil Service Retirement Act of 1920 (P.L. 66-215) that established a pension system for federal employees in the executive branch of government.
Russian Compliance with the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty: Background and Issues for Congress
This report describes the current status of the INF Treaty and highlights issues that Congress may address as the United States pursues its compliance concerns with Russia. It includes a historical overview and summary of the provisions of the INF Treaty and Russia's concerns with U.S. compliance with the treaty and concludes with a discussion of options that the United States might pursue to address its concerns with Russia's activities and options that it might pursue if Russia deploys new INF-range missiles.
FY2016 Agriculture and Related Agencies Appropriations: In Brief
This report discusses the Agriculture appropriations bill, which funds the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), except for the Forest Service, as well as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and, in even-numbered fiscal years, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).
The Legislative Process on the House Floor: An Introduction
This report provides an introduction to the legislative process on the House floor, including limitations on debate, calendars and the order of business, modes of floor consideration, senate amendments and conference reports, voting and quorum procedures, and information about a typical day on the House floor.
Presidential Claims of Executive Privilege: History, Law, Practice and Recent Developments
This report discusses the background of claims of executive privilege, a right to preserve the confidentiality of information and documents in the face of legislative demands, ending with a look into how President George W. Bush has used them.
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.
Overview of Filipino Veterans' Benefits
This report defines the four specific groups of Filipino nationals who served under the command of the United States. It also outlines the Rescission Acts of 1946, benefit changes since 1946, current benefits for Filipino veterans by group, and recent legislative proposals and legislation.
Wind Energy: Offshore Permitting
This report will discuss 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.
Economic Analysis of a Mortgage Foreclosure Moratorium
This report discusses the legislation that creates a voluntary program to enable troubled mortgage borrowers and lenders to refinance their loans through the Federal Housing Administration (FHA)
Flag Protection: A Brief History and Summary of Recent Supreme Court Decisions and Proposed Constitutional Amendment
This report gives a brief history of the flag protection issue, from the enactment of the Flag Protection Act in 1968 through current consideration of a constitutional amendment. A second part briefly summarizes the two decisions of the United States Supreme Court -- Texas v. Johnson and United States v. Eichman -- that struck down the state and federal flag protection statutes as applied in the context punishing expressive conduct.
Privacy Law and Online Advertising: Legal Analysis of Data Gathering By Online Advertisers Such As Double Click and NebuAd
This report discusses privacy issues arising from so called "e-havioral" advertising. This individual behavioral targeting has raised a number of privacy concerns.
The U.S. Financial Crisis: The Global Dimension with Implications for U.S. Policy
This report examines the global ramifications of the financial crisis, which exposed fundamental weaknesses in financial systems worldwide, and despite coordinated easing of monetary policy by governments and trillions of dollars in intervention by governments and the International Monetary Fund, the crisis continues.
Instances of Use of United States Armed Forces Abroad, 1798-2015
This report lists hundreds of instances in which the United States has used its Armed Forces abroad in situations of military conflict or potential conflict or for other than normal peacetime purposes. It is intended primarily to provide a rough survey of past U.S. military ventures abroad, without reference to the magnitude of the given instance noted.
Bush Administration Policy Regarding Congressionally Originated Earmarks: An Overview
This report focuses on Bush Administration policy regarding earmarks originated by Congress and related issues. Specific definitions for the term earmark (and related terms, like congressional earmark, presidential earmark, and others) vary considerably and are controversial.
The First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit
This report discusses a refundable tax credit for first-time homebuyers. First-time homebuyers generally include individuals who have not had a present interest in a principal residence within three years before buying the new property.
Russia's Economic Performance and Policies and Their Implications for the United States
This report discusses the Russian economy, which has grown impressively since 1999 and, by some measures, has been one of the fastest growing economies in the world. The improvement in the Russian economy is arguably a factor in the boldness with which the Putin leadership has reasserted Russia's status as a world power.
The Cost of Government Financial Interventions, Past and Present
The results of previous government financial interventions are summarized in this report. In response to ongoing financial turmoil that began in the subprime mortgage-backed securities market, the federal government has intervened with private corporations on a large scale and in an ad hoc manner three times from the beginning of 2008 through September 19, 2008.
Selected CRS Materials on Detention and Interrogation of Terrorist Suspects and Enemy Belligerents
This legal sidebar discusses issues of contention, which include whether U.S. detention and interrogation practices were permissible under domestic and international law, and whether U.S. personnel who authorized or engaged in such practices could be subject to criminal liability.
Proposals for a New Foreign Service Compensation System in the 110th Congress
This report discusses (1) the legislative background leading to a proposal to change the compensation system, (2) the current Foreign Service personnel system and why the Foreign Service views its personnel system as already performance-based, (3) an examination of why the Foreign Service and the Administration are both requesting that Congress change the compensation system, (4) an examination of H.R. 3202 and S. 3426, the "Foreign Service Overseas Pay Equity Act of 2008," and (5) some issues that Congress might be asked to consider.
Potential Trade Effects of Adding Vietnam to the Generalized System of Preferences Program
This reports describes the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program and discusses the effect of adding Vietnam as a "developing country" to this program.
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.
Commitee Assignment Process in the U.S. Senate: Democratic and Republican Party Procedures
This report describes the process of creating Senate committees, including the nomination process and rules and regulations specifically pertaining to said process.
The Discharge Rule in the House: Principal Features and Uses
This report discusses the "discharge rule" of the House of Representatives, which allows a measure to come to the floor for consideration, even if the committee of referral does not report it and the leadership does not schedule it. The rule permits either (1) the committee of referral to be discharged from the measure itself; or (2) the Committee on Rules to be discharged from a special rule for considering the measure.
The 2009 Influenza A(H1N1) "Swine Flu" Outbreak: U.S. Responses to Global Human Cases
This report discusses the April 2009 outbreak of the influenza strain known as H1N1, or swine influenza. This report describes the distribution of the virus and the statistics of affected areas, as well as international and U.S. efforts to treat infected persons, respond to outbreaks in various countries, and prepare for a possible influenza pandemic.
Federal Reserve: Dividends Paid to Commercial Banks
This report briefly provides background on dividends paid to banks by the Federal Reserve (Fed), which would be reduced in the Senate-passed highway trust fund bill (H.R. 22) as a budgetary offset.
Social Security: The Cost-of-Living Adjustment in January 2005
This report discusses how the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for Social Security benefits are determined. The 2.7% COLA payable in January 2005 was triggered by the rise in the CPI-W (Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers) from the third quarter of 2003 to the third quarter of 2004. This COLA triggers identical percentage increases in Supplemental Security Income (SSI), veterans' pensions, and railroad retirement benefits, and causes other changes in the Social Security program.
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. 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.
Navy Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Program: Background, Oversight Issues, and Options for Congress
This report discusses the 2007 restructuring of the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) program, as well as various financial information relating to the program. The report raises potential oversight issues for Congress relating to various aspects of the program.
Taiwan-U.S. Relations: Recent Developments and Their Policy Implications
This report focuses on current developments in Taiwan, analyzing how those developments are affecting choices the United States makes about its policy toward Taiwan specifically and toward the People's Republic of China (PRC) more broadly.
Navy DDG-1000 and DDG-51 Destroyer Programs: Background, Oversight Issues, and Options for Congress
This report provides background information on DDG-1000 (Zumwalt) program. The issue for Congress for FY2009 was how to take the Navy's new position on destroyer procurement into account in marking up the Navy's proposed FY2009 budget.
International Population Assistance and Family Planning Programs: Issues for Congress
This report discusses the U.S. population assistance issues, policy issues in the U.S. family planning debate, and U.S. funding levels.
Afghanistan: Post-Taliban Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy
This report examines the current political state of Afghanistan at length, discussing the political background, security policy, and regional relations.
The Effects on U.S. Farm Workers of an Agricultural Guest Worker Program
This report discusses the debate concerning an agricultural guest worker program and the impact an agricultural guest worker program might have on U.S. workers. Guest worker programs are meant to assure employers (e.g., fruit, vegetable, and horticultural specialty growers) of an adequate supply of labor when and where it is needed while not adding permanent residents to the U.S. population. They include mechanisms, such as the H-2A program's labor certification process, intended to avoid adversely affecting the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers.
Social Security: Calculation and History of Taxing Benefits
This report discusses the Social Security system that provides monthly benefits to qualified retirees, disabled workers, and their spouses and dependents.
Suspension of Rules in the House: Measure Sponsorship by Party
This report provides a brief analysis and tables that show the breakdown of motions to suspend the rules in the House of Representatives by party of the sponsor (100th-108th Congresses).
Retirement Saving Plans: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
This report provides answers to 10 of the most frequently-asked questions related to rules and provisions that govern savings in individual retirement accounts (IRAs).
European Security, Islamist Terrorism, and Returning Fighters
This report discusses European security after the terrorist attacks in Paris. French President Fran├žois Hollande attributed the attacks to the Islamic State terrorist organization (which subsequently claimed responsibility), and asserted that France's response would be "merciless."
Oil Industry Financial Performance and the Windfall Profits Tax
This report discusses the fourth option: the windfall profit tax. The report analyzes the major oil companies profit performance, a brief legislative history of windfall profit tax proposals and legislation in both the 109th and 110th Congresses, and the idea of a windfall profits tax, including experiences with the tax of the 1980s, its viability, and potential role in the tax system and economy.
The Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB): Frequently Asked Questions
This report responds to frequently asked questions about the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), including the board's background, current status, controversial issues including legal challenges, and recent legislative efforts to repeal the IPAB.
Navy TAO(X) Oiler Shipbuilding Program: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and issues for Congress on the TAO(X) oiler shipbuilding program, a program to build a new class of 17 fleet oilers for the Navy. The Navy wants to procure the first TAO(X) in FY2016. Decisions that Congress makes regarding the program could affect Navy capabilities and funding requirements and the U.S. shipbuilding industrial base.
Presidential Vetoes of Annual Defense Authorization Bills
This report briefly discusses the historical precedent of Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter's recommendation that President Obama veto the conference report on H.R. 1735, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for FY2016. If Obama were to veto the measure, it would mark the fifth time since 1961 that a president has vetoed that measure.
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.
Pay-for-Performance: Linking Employee Pay to Performance Appraisal
This report discusses issues related to measuring performance across the federal government and analyzes a variety of methods utilized by the government to measure employee performance and its linkage to pay.