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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
People Crossing Borders: An Analysis of U.S. Border Protection Policies
This report provides an overview of the current border protection framework and its operationally oriented strategic elements and measures their effectiveness. The report draws on documents from Congress and the Administration, as well as other publications, to pull together an overarching picture of protection at the border. This overview includes a historical background and a definition of what "border protection" means in a contemporary context. Building on this definition, the report provides two theoretical models for border protection approaches based on unilateral and cooperative approaches, followed by an extended analysis of the major elements within the current border protection framework. This analysis also includes discussions of how and why, certain strategic elements notwithstanding, many of the current border-related security policies focus on the physical border rather than conceptualizing the border in broader terms. Lastly, this report offers some policy options--both short-term and long-term--for addressing the effectiveness of current border protection policies. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501669/
Running Deficits: Positives and Pitfalls
This report discusses how deficit finance can help governments manage their economies and how large and persistent deficits can lead to severe economic problems. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501644/
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 CVN-78 program, which includes the CVN-78, CVN-79, and CVN-80 as the first three ships in the Navy's new Gerald R. Ford (CVN- 78) class of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers (CVNs). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501673/
Navy Virginia (SSN-774) Class Attack Submarine Procurement: Background and Issues for Congress
The Navy has been procuring Virginia (SSN-774) class nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSNs) at a rate of one per year for the past several years, and a total of 11 boats have been procured through FY2009. This report discusses the Navy's proposed FY2010 budget, which requests $1,964.3 million in procurement funding to complete the procurement cost of a 12th Virginia-class boats. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501688/
Disaster Relief Funding and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations
This report describes the various components of the Disaster Relief Fund (DRF) within the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), including (1) what authorities have shaped it over the years; (2) how FEMA determines the amount of the appropriation requested to Congress (pertaining to the DRF); and (3) how emergency supplemental appropriations are requested. In addition to the DRF, information is provided on funds appropriated in supplemental appropriations legislation to agencies other than the Department of Homeland Security. Aspects of debate concerning how disaster relief is budgeted are also highlighted and examined, and alternative budgetary options are summarized. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501600/
U.S. Crude Oil Export Policy: Background and Considerations
The crude oil export policy debate has multiple dimensions and complexities. As U.S. light tight oil (LTO) production has increased--along with additional oil supply from Canada--certain challenges have emerged that affect some oil producers and refiners. While the economic arguments both for and against U.S. crude oil exports are quite complex and dynamic, there are some fundamental concepts and issues that may be worth considering during debate about exporting U.S. crude oil. This report provides background and context about the crude oil legal and regulatory framework, discusses motivations that underlie the desire to export U.S. crude oil, and presents analysis of issues that Congress may choose to consider during debate about U.S. crude oil export policy. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501675/
Sudan: The Crisis in Darfur and Status of the North-South Peace Agreement
This report discusses the history of Sudan's civil unrest and the subsequent crisis in Darfur, as well as United Nations and United States aid and peacekeeping efforts, and current related policy under the Obama Administration. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501638/
Iraq: Politics, Elections, and Benchmarks
This report discusses Iraq's political system, which has been restructured through a U.S.-supported election process. The Iraqi government is increasingly characterized by peaceful competition rather than violence, but sectarianism and ethnic and factional infighting still remain. This report discusses issues relating to opponents of the Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and also discusses the atmosphere of nationwide provincial elections. The report also addresses the Obama Administration's plan to reduce the U.S. troop presence in Iraq by August 2010 and briefly addresses the Iranian influence in Iraq. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501637/
The Swiss National Bank's Recent Currency Actions
This report presents the foreign exchange value of the Swiss franc relative to the euro and dollar. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501609/
Definitions of "Inherently Governmental Function" in Federal Procurement Law and Guidance
This report surveys the definitions of inherently governmental function given in Policy Letter 11- 01, the FAIR Act, and other sources. It also notes specific functions that have been designated as inherently governmental or commercial by statute, regulation, policy, or Government Accountability Office (GAO) or judicial decision. Its primary focus is upon government-wide statutes, regulations, and policy documents, not agency-specific ones. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501684/
The United Arab Emirates (UAE): Issues for U.S. Policy
This report describes the open economy and society of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), as well as U.S. concern over proliferation of advanced technology due to said open economy and the UAE's lax export controls. This report describes these issues in relation to a recently-signed U.S.-UAE civilian nuclear agreement. It also provides a general description of the UAE's government and political structure, as well as the effects of the recent global economic downturn on the UAE in general and on the city of Dubai in particular. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501653/
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization: An Overview of Legislative Action in the 111th Congress
This report tracks the status of ongoing legislative action and debate related to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization. It is organized into six major program areas: aviation system finance; airport financing; FAA management and organizational issues; system capacity and safety; environmental issues; and airline industry issues. In several cases, provisions that appear in various unrelated sections of proposed legislation have been rearranged in this report in an effort to group and discuss related items in an issue-driven or programmatic context. Since this report is primarily written as a means of communicating key legislative provisions under consideration in the ongoing FAA reauthorization process, it does not go into detail regarding the specific policy issues behind these legislative proposals. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501679/
The FY2011 Federal Budget
This report examines the federal budgets for the fiscal years 2011 and 2012. It gives an overview of the federal budget, addresses the problems of budgeting in a strained economy, and discusses considerations for Congress, both in the short term and the long term. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501667/
Navy Force Structure and Shipbuilding Plans: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and presents potential issues for Congress concerning the Navy's ship force-structure goals and shipbuilding plans. The planned size of the Navy, the rate of Navy ship procurement, and the prospective affordability of the Navy's shipbuilding plans have been matters of concern for the congressional defense committees for the past several years. Decisions that Congress makes on Navy shipbuilding programs can substantially affect Navy capabilities and funding requirements, and the U.S. shipbuilding industrial base. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501680/
Nigeria's 2015 Elections and the Boko Haram Crisis
This report provides an overview of recent 2011 Nigerian elections, development challenges, reform initiatives, social issues, security concerns, and international relations in Nigeria. It ends with some concerns for Congress, including U.S.-Nigerian trade issues, Nigerian counter-terrorism efforts, and U.S. assistance to Nigeria. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501646/
The U.S. Secret Service: An Examination and Analysis of Its Evolving Missions
This report frames potential policy questions concerning the U.S. Secret Service's (USSS's) mission and organization through an examination of the USSS history and its statutory authorities, mission, and present activities within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501661/
The European Union: Questions and Answers
This report provides a brief overview of the European Union (EU), an economic and political partnership between 27 sovereign member states. The report describes the formation of the EU, the three main institutions of the EU, and the EU's relationship with the United States. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501671/
Assistance to Firefighters Program: Distribution of Fire Grant Funding
This report discusses the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program, also known as fire grants of the FIRE Act grant program, which provides federal grants directly to local fire departments and unaffiliated Emergency Medical Services (EMS) organizations to help address a variety of equipment, training, and other firefighter-related and EMS needs. This report also discusses the possible reauthorization of AFG and the related Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Firefighters (SAFER) program. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501625/
Telework for Executive Agency Employees: A Side-by-Side Comparison of Legislation Pending in the 111th Congress
The 111th Congress is considering legislation (S. 707 and H.R. 1722) to foster the development of telework in executive agencies of the federal government. Legislation to augment telework in executive agencies of the federal government is currently pending in the 111th Congress. S. 707, the Telework Enhancement Act of 2009, and H.R. 1722, the Telework Improvements Act of 2010, were introduced on March 25, 2009, by Senator Daniel Akaka and Representative John Sarbanes, respectively. This report presents a side-by-side comparison of the provisions of S. 707, as reported, and H.R. 1722, as ordered to be reported. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501699/
Economic Development Administration: A Review of Elements of Its Statutory History
This report discusses the Economic Development Administration, which was created with the enactment of the Public Works and Economic Development Act of 1965 and has a 45-year history of supporting job creation and long-term economic recovery efforts in the nation's economically distressed areas. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501685/
Air Force KC-X Tanker Aircraft Program: Background and Issues for Congress
This report discusses the issues for Congress in FY2011, which are whether to approve, reject, or modify DOD's new KC-X competition strategy, and whether to approve, reject, or modify the Air Force's request for FY2011 research and development funding for the new KC-X program. Congress' decision on these issues could affect DOD capabilities and funding requirements, and the aircraft manufacturing industrial base. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501656/
Fiscal Year 2011 Department of Homeland Security Assistance to States and Localities
This report provides overview information on the proposed FY2011 budget request for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) programs that provide assistance to state and local governments. These programs are primarily used by first responders -- including firefighters, emergency medical personnel, emergency managers, and law enforcement officers -- to provide assistance for training, exercises, the purchase of equipment, and other support for terrorism and disaster preparedness and response activities. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501801/
Navy Virginia (SSN-774) Class Attack Submarine Procurement: Background and Issues for Congress
The Navy has been procuring Virginia (SSN-774) class nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSNs) at a rate of one per year for the past several years, and a total of 11 boats have been procured through FY2009. This report discusses the Navy's proposed FY2010 budget, which requests $1,964.3 million in procurement funding to complete the procurement cost of a 12th Virginia-class boats. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501842/
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child: Background and Policy Issues
The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is an international treaty that addresses the rights of children worldwide. It calls on States Parties to take all appropriate measures to ensure that children receive special rights, including the right to a name and nationality; access to healthcare, education, and parental care; and protection from exploitation, abuse, and neglect. This report provides a brief history of the Convention and outlines its objectives and structure, including the role and responsibilities of the treaty's monitoring body, the Committee on the Rights of the Child. It examines U.S. policy toward CRC, including the positions of past and current Administrations and congressional perspectives. The report also addresses selected policy issues that the 111th Congress may wish to take into account if considering ratification of CRC-- including the treaty's possible impact on U.S. sovereignty, federal and state laws, and parental rights. Other issues for possible consideration include the effectiveness of the Convention in protecting children's rights, and its role as a U.S. foreign policy instrument. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501808/
Oil Spills in U.S. Coastal Waters: Background, Governance, and Issues for Congress
This report focuses on oil spills in U.S. coastal waters. The first section highlights background issues, including oil spill statistics and potential environmental impacts. The second section discusses the legal framework that governs oil spill prevention and response. The third section examines the threat of future oil spills in coastal waters and whether response personnel are prepared to respond to a major spill. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501883/
Navy Force Structure and Shipbuilding Plans: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and presents potential issues for Congress concerning the Navy's ship force-structure goals and shipbuilding plans. The planned size of the Navy, the rate of Navy ship procurement, and the prospective affordability of the Navy's shipbuilding plans have been matters of concern for the congressional defense committees for the past several years. Decisions that Congress makes on Navy shipbuilding programs can substantially affect Navy capabilities and funding requirements, and the U.S. shipbuilding industrial base. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501830/
Haiti Earthquake: Crisis and Response
The largest earthquake ever recorded in Haiti devastated parts of the country, including the capital, on January 12, 2010. This report discusses the disaster and various responses, ranging from the Haitian government's initial response to foreign humanitarian and financial aid. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501878/
United States Military Casualty Statistics: Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom
This report presents statistics regarding U.S. military casualties in the active Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF, Afghanistan), as well as operations that have ended: Operation New Dawn (OND, Iraq) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF, Iraq). It includes statistics on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI), amputations, evacuations, and the demographics of casualties. Some of these statistics are publicly available at the Department of Defense's (DOD's) website; others have been obtained through contact with experts at the DOD. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501893/
The U.S. Secret Service: An Examination and Analysis of Its Evolving Missions
This report frames potential policy questions concerning the U.S. Secret Service's (USSS's) mission and organization through an examination of the USSS history and its statutory authorities, mission, and present activities within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501862/
Who Regulates Whom? An Overview of U.S. Financial Supervision
This report provides an overview of current U.S. financial regulation. It discusses which agencies are responsible for which institutions and markets, and what kinds of authority they have. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501826/
Loss Exposure and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) was established as an independent government corporation under the authority of the Banking Act of 1933, also known as the Glass- Steagall Act (P.L. 73-66, 48 Stat. 162, 12 U.S.C.), to insure bank deposits. The FDIC is funded through insurance assessments collected from its member depository institutions and held in what is now known as the Deposit Insurance Fund (DIF). This report begins with an overview of the FDIC, followed by an explanation of the loss exposure and total risk to the DIF. Next, the report discusses issues regarding the setting of deposit insurance premiums and presents changes to the assessment system proposed by the FDIC to address some of the issues. Finally, recent efforts proposed by Congress to support the DIF are discussed. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501892/
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. This report is based on unclassified open-source information, such as the annual Department of Defense (DOD) report to Congress on China's military power, an August 2009 report from the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI), and published reference sources such as Jane's Fighting Ships. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501814/
Regulation of Clinical Tests: In Vitro Diagnostic (IVD) Devices, Laboratory Developed Tests (LDTs), and Genetic Tests
In vitro diagnostic (IVD) devices are used in the analysis of human samples, such as blood or tissue, to provide information in making health care decisions. Examples of IVDs include pregnancy test kits or blood glucose tests for home use; laboratory tests for infectious disease, such as HIV or hepatitis, and routine blood tests, such as cholesterol and anemia; and tests for various genetic diseases or conditions. More recently, a specific type of diagnostic test--called a companion diagnostic--has been developed that may be used to select the best therapy, at the right dose, at the correct time for a particular patient; this is often referred to as personalized or precision medicine. This report provides an overview of federal regulation of IVDs by FDA, through the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act (FFDCA) and the Public Health Service Act (PHSA), and by CMS, through the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) of 1988. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501872/
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. Congress's decisions on the CVN-78 program could substantially affect Navy capabilities and funding requirements and the shipbuilding industrial base. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501828/
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501850/
Iran Sanctions
This report focuses on the United States' relationship with Iran and how the Obama Administration is handling prior administrations' economic sanctions against Iran. The Obama Administration's policy approach toward Iran has contrasted with the Bush Administration's by attempting to couple the imposition of sanctions to an active and direct U.S. effort to negotiate with Iran on the nuclear issue. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501854/
The Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act of 2010: Summary and Legislative History
This report provides a summary and legislative history of the P.L. 111-139, focusing on the features of the Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act of 2010. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501811/
The U.S. Secret Service: An Examination and Analysis of Its Evolving Missions
This report frames potential policy questions concerning the U.S. Secret Service's (USSS's) mission and organization through an examination of the USSS history and its statutory authorities, mission, and present activities within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501891/
European Union Enlargement: A Status Report on Turkey's Accession Negotiations
This report provides a brief overview of the European Union's (EU) accession process, Turkey's path to EU membership, the impact of the Cyprus problem, and a review of the United States' interest in Turkey's future in the European Union. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501898/
State Challenges to Federal Enforcement of Immigration Law: Historical Precedents and Pending Litigation
This report provides an overview of prior and pending challenges by states to federal officials' alleged failure to enforce the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) or other provisions of immigration law. It begins by discussing the lawsuits filed by six states in the mid-1990s; Arizona's counterclaims to the federal government's suit to enjoin enforcement of S.B. 1070; and Mississippi's challenge to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative. It then describes the challenge brought by over 20 states in 2014 to the recently announced expansion of DACA and the creation of a similar program for unlawfully present aliens whose children are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent resident aliens (LPRs). The report concludes by exploring how the pending litigation resembles, and differs from, the prior litigation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501824/
The Political Question Doctrine: Justiciability and the Separation of Powers
This report provides an introduction to the origins of the political questions doctrine and discusses the modern application of the doctrine. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501852/
U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF): Background and Issues for Congress
This report discusses Special Operations Forces (SOFs), which are elite military units with special training and equipment that can infiltrate hostile territory through land, sea, or air to conduct a variety of operations, many of them classified. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501833/
Small Business Administration Trade and Export Promotion Programs
This report begins with the history, role, and scope of the Small Business Administration's (SBA's) export promotion activities, and the creation of the Office of International Trade (OIT). Next, quantitative data from SBA and qualitative data from other sources are used to provide performance analysis of SBA's international programs. This report concludes with a presentation of three issues for consideration during an era where concerns of fiscal responsibility and economic recovery are high priorities for many policy makers. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501841/
Iran: U.S. Economic Sanctions and the Authority to Lift Restrictions
The United States has led the international community in imposing economic sanctions on Iran, in an effort to change the government of that country's support of acts of international terrorism, poor human rights record, weapons and missile development and acquisition, role in regional instability, and development of a nuclear program. This report identifies the legislative bases for sanctions imposed on Iran, and the nature of the authority to waive or lift those restrictions. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501839/
Overview and Issues for Implementation of the Federal Cloud Computing Initiative: Implications for Federal Information Technology Reform Management
This report explains what cloud computing is, including cloud deployment models and service models, discusses issues that should be considered when adopting cloud services, and presents the federal government's planning for IT reform. It also provides information on assessments that have been conducted on agency cloud adoption and discusses both the challenges and drivers of cloud adoption. Finally, the report provides possible mechanisms for Congress to monitor agencies as they implement cloud computing. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501865/
United Nations System Funding: Congressional Issues
This report tracks the process by which Congress provides the funding for U.S. assessed contributions to the regular budgets of the United Nations, its agencies, and U.N. peacekeeping operation accounts, as well as for U.S. voluntary contributions to U.N. system programs and funds. It includes information on the President's request and the congressional response, as well as congressional initiatives during this legislative process. Basic information is provided to help the reader understand this process. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501835/
Madagascar's Political Crisis
This report looks at political instability that has plagued the country since 2009. It address other concerns that Congress has about the country as well, specifically threats to Madagascar's unique ecosystem. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501864/
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501894/
Global Environment Facility (GEF): An Overview
Many governments acknowledge that environmental degradation and climate change pose international and trans-boundary risks to human populations, economies, and ecosystems. To address these challenges, countries have implemented global environmental policies through a range of domestic, bilateral, and multilateral mechanisms. Recent mechanisms have taken the form of (1) treaties and frameworks that seek to harmonize international commitments; (2) legislative and regulatory policies that support emission reductions, renewable energy portfolios, and energy efficiency strategies; (3) developmental programs that assist with sustainable growth strategies in lower-income countries; and (4) financial pledges that increase public funding for global environmental initiatives. This report investigates the last policy measure: public funding for global environmental initiatives. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501805/
Reconciliation Directives: Components and Enforcement
This report discusses the purpose of the reconciliation process, which is to enhance Congress's ability to bring existing spending, revenue, and debt-limit laws into compliance with current fiscal priorities established in the annual budget resolution. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501817/