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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Iraq: Politics, Elections, and Benchmarks
This report provides an overview of Iraq's political transition from the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein to a plural polity that encompasses varying sects and ideological and political factions. This report also addresses ongoing governmental instabilities and their causes, as well as U.S. concerns about possible Iranian influence in Iraq as U.S. forces depart the country.
Iran Sanctions
This report focuses on the United States' relationship with Iran and how the Obama Administration is handling prior administration's 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.
International Investment Agreements (IIAs): Frequently Asked Questions
This report answers frequently asked questions about international investment agreements (IIAs) made between the United States and other countries. Questions are categorized in three main areas: background and context; U.S. international investment agreements; and investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS).
Department of Homeland Security Assistance to States and Localities: A Summary and Issues for the 111th Congress
This report summarizes several emergency management and homeland security programs, and identifies and analyzes potential issues for the 111th Congress. These issues include the purpose and number of assistance programs; the evaluation of the use of grant funding; the determination of eligible grant recipients; the programs' funding amounts; and the programs; funding distribution methodologies.
The United Arab Emirates Nuclear Program and Proposed U.S. Nuclear Cooperation
This report provides background information on the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and U.S. and it discusses the UAE nuclear program and the proposed U.S.-UAE cooperation.
Questions of the Privileges of the House: An Analysis
The first section of this report provides information on raising and considering questions of House privileges to provide assistance in anticipating potential House action. The second part focuses on the content of questions in an effort to provide guidance as to what the Speaker may determine constitutes a valid question. The final section provides extensive data on questions raised in the past two decades.
Cars and Climate: What Can EPA Do to Control Greenhouse Gases from Mobile Sources?
This report discusses the debate surrounding proposed controls on greenhouse gas emissions. Not all parties are in agreement that controls on GHGs are desirable.
Social Security's Effect on Child Poverty
This report discusses Social Security (SS), which plays an important role in reducing poverty among the elderly and children.
U.S. Arms Sales: Agreements with and Deliveries to Major Clients
This report provides background data on United States arms sales agreements with and deliveries to its major purchasers during calendar years 2001-2008, made through the U.S. Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program.
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.
Kuwait: Security, Reform, and U.S. Policy
This report discusses governmental changes and political reform in Kuwait, which has been pivotal to nearly two decades of U.S. involvement in Iraq. This report also discusses relations between Kuwait and the U.S.
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. Decisions that Congress makes on Navy shipbuilding programs can substantially affect Navy capabilities and funding requirements, and the U.S. shipbuilding industrial base.
Kuwait: Security, Reform, and U.S. Policy
This report discusses governmental changes and political reform in Kuwait, which has been pivotal to nearly two decades of U.S. involvement in Iraq. This report also discusses relations between Kuwait and the U.S.
Tesla's Home Battery--An Electricity Storage Breakthrough?
Cost-effective electricity storage has long been a kind of "Holy Grail" for the electric power sector. This report briefly discusses potential innovations in electricity storage.
Federal Research and Development Funding: FY2010
This report summarizes the FY2010 budget request for research & development (R&D) funding, including comparisons to R&D funding requests in the FY2009 budget. It breaks down in detail the various aspects of the President's FY2010 R&D funding request.
Navy Nuclear-Powered Surface Ships: Background, Issues, and Options for Congress
This report discusses the possibility of increasing the number of Navy surface ships powered by nuclear energy, including the Navy's planned CG(X) cruiser. The overall report has a specific emphasis on the planned CG(X) cruiser, and how the implementation of this cruiser may be delayed by current budget proposals.
Private Security Contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan: Legal Issues
This report discusses the legal framework that applies to private security contractors (PSCs) in Iraq and Afghanistan. The report follows up with a discussion of jurisdiction over PSC personnel in U.S. courts, identifying possible means of prosecuting contractor personnel who are accused of violating the law overseas in the context of U.S. military operations. Finally, the report briefly discusses the possible implication of the roles of private security contractors with respect to inherently governmental functions.
Climate Change: EU and Proposed U.S. Approaches to Carbon Leakage and WTO Implications
This report discusses climate change and issues related to carbon leakage by examining the European Union's (EU's) cap-and-trade program with a review and analysis of various EU efforts to address the concerns of energy-intensive, trade-exposed industries. Additionally, it considers similar provisions enacted or proposed by the U.S. and analyzes potential World Trade Organization (WTO) implications in relation to U.S. trade agreements.
Carbon Sequestration in Forests
This report examines basic questions concerning carbon sequestration in forests. The first section provides a brief background on congressional interest in forest carbon sequestration. The second describes the basic carbon cycle in forests, with an overview of how carbon cycling and storage vary among different types of forests. The third section then addresses how forest carbon is considered in the global climate change debate.
Presidential Advisers' Testimony Before Congressional Committees: An Overview
This report discusses the executive office of the President, presidential adviser growth, and presidential advisers' testimony.
Advertising Industry in the Digital Age
This report discusses regulatory challenges faced by policymakers as the advertising industry enters a period of far-reaching change brought about by the economic downturn and structural shifts as consumers move to the Internet and other digital platforms for news, entertainment, and socializing.
Text and Multimedia Messaging: Emerging Issues for Congress
This report covers issues for Congress regarding text and multimedia messaging. The increasing use of text and multimedia messaging has raised several policy issue, such as distracted driving, SMS spam, the inability of consumers to disable text messaging, text messaging price fixing, carrier blocking of common short code messages, deceptive and misleading common short code programs, protecting children from inappropriate content on wireless devices.
Status of the Copenhagen Climate Change Negotiations
This report discusses the negotiations among United States and 200 other countries under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) regarding the climate change. Parties agreed to complete the negotiations by the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP-15) from December 7-18, 2009, in Copenhagen. However, some nations' leaders have indicated that the Copenhagen outcome is likely to be a political agreement providing a mandate for a later legally binding, comprehensive agreement.
Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies: FY2010 Appropriations
This report discusses the President's Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 budget request for the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies appropriations bill, which provides funding for the planning, design, construction, alteration, and improvement of facilities used by active and reserve military components worldwide.
Financial Market Supervision: European Perspectives
This report addresses the European perspectives on a number of proposals that are being advanced for financial oversight and regulation in Europe. The European experience may be instructive because financial markets in Europe are well developed, European firms often are competitors of U.S. firms, and European governments have faced severe problems of integration and consistency across the various financial structures that exist in Europe.
Federal Research and Development Funding: FY2010
This report summarizes the FY2010 budget request for research & development (R&D) funding, including comparisons to R&D funding requests in the FY2009 budget. This report breaks down in detail the various aspects of the President's FY2010 R&D funding request.
Technology Transfer: Use of Federally Funded Research and Development
This report discusses the federal use of technology transfer, a process by which technology developed in one organization, in one area, or for one purpose is applied in another organization, in another area, or for another purpose.
Navy LPD-17 Amphibious Ship Procurement: Background, Issues, and Options for Congress
This report discusses the Navy's FY2010 shipbuilding plan that calls for procuring an 11th San Antonio (LPD-17) class amphibious ship in FY2011. This report discusses the procurement cost estimates of this ship, as well as related issues for Congress.
Air Force Next-Generation Bomber: Background and Issues for Congress
This report discusses key issues regarding funding for a next-generation bomber (NGB) program. Congress's decisions on these issues could affect Air Force capabilities and funding requirements, and the U.S. aircraft manufacturing industrial base.
Social Media in the House of Representatives: Frequently Asked Questions
This report answers several questions about the regulation of social media accounts in the House of Representatives.
Human-Induced Earthquakes from Deep-Well Injection: A Brief Overview
This report reviews the current scientific understanding of induced seismicity, primarily in the context of Class II oil and gas wastewater disposal wells. The report also outlines the regulatory framework for these injection wells, and identifies several federal and state initiatives responding to recent events of induced seismicity associated with Class II disposal.
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.
China's Assistance and Government- Sponsored Investment Activities in Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia
This report examines China's foreign assistance and government-supported, often-preferential investment ventures in three regions: Africa, Latin America (Western Hemisphere), and Southeast Asia. These activities often are collectively referred to as "economic assistance" by some analysts and in this report.
Desalination: Status and Federal Issues
This report discusses desalination in the context of federal policy. Interest in desalination of seawater, brackish water, and contaminated freshwater has increased in the United States as the technology's costs have fallen and pressure to develop new water supplies has grown. Adoption of desalination, however, remains constrained by financial, environmental, and regulatory and social factors.
Health Care-Related Expiring Provisions, First Session of the 114th Congress
This report provides a list of selected health-related programs and activities under specified titles of the Social Security Act (SSA).
A Federal Chief Technology Officer in the Obama Administration: Options and Issues for Consideration
This report presents President Obama's vision for the chief technology officer (CTO) position. It also discusses the potential scope of the position's duties, articulates organizational precedents and challenges for the CTO, reviews some of the activities undertaken by Aneesh Chopra during his tenure as CTO, and identifies issues Congress may choose to consider if it opts to exert oversight or to develop legislation to create the position and/or office of the CTO.
Authoritative Resources on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA)
This report presents a list of authoritative resources designed to assist in responding to a broad range of questions and concerns about the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), P.L. 111-5. Links to the full text of the act, Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates, White House fact sheets, and federal, state, and municipal government websites are included, along with other useful information.
Foreign Investment, CFIUS, and Homeland Security: An Overview
This report gives a brief overview of P.L. 110-49, the Foreign Investment and National Security Act of 2007. This law broadens Congress's oversight role in formulating the scope and direction of U.S. foreign investment policy. It also explicitly includes the areas of homeland security and critical infrastructure as separately-identifiable components of national security that the President must consider when evaluating the implications of a foreign investment transaction.
Central Asia: Regional Developments and Implications for U.S. Interests
This report discusses the current status of Central Asian states and U.S. policy, which has been aimed at facilitating their cooperation with U.S. and NATO stabilization efforts in Afghanistan and their efforts to combat terrorism, proliferation, and trafficking in arms, drugs, and persons. Congress will be considering an increase in support for the programs in Central Asia.
Deployable Federal Assets Supporting Domestic Disaster Response Operations: Summary and Considerations for Congress
This report reviews several key concepts about federal disaster assets, and highlights possible issues Congress may consider when evaluating their authorization and appropriation.
What's the Difference?--Comparing U.S. and Chinese Trade Data
The size of the U.S. bilateral trade deficit with China has been and continues to be an important issue in bilateral trade relations. Some Members of Congress view the deficit as a sign of unfair economic policies in China, and have introduced legislation seeking to redress the perceived competitive disadvantage China's policies have created for U.S. exporters. This paper examines the differences in the trade data from the two nations.
The 2009 Influenza Pandemic: An Overview
This report provides a synopsis of key events in the H1N1 pandemic response, followed by information about selected federal emergency management authorities and actions taken by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Health and Human Services (HHS), and state and local authorities.
The Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement
This report discusses the evolving economic and strategic architectures of Asia. One part of this evolving architecture is the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement (TPP), a free trade agreement that includes nations on both sides of the Pacific.
Critical Infrastructures: Background, Policy, and Implementation
This report discusses the evolution of a national critical infrastructure policy and the institutional structures established to implement it. Critical infrastructure includes physical assets used to produce and distribute services such as electricity (including the power plants and electric grid), communications, and computers. The report highlights five issues of Congressional concern: identifying critical assets; assessing vulnerabilities and risks; allocating resources; information sharing; and regulation.
V-22 Osprey Tilt-Rotor Aircraft: Background and Issues for Congress
This report discusses background information on the V-22 Osprey Tilt-Rotor Aircraft, as well as procurement and related oversight issues for Congress.
China's Economic Conditions
This report provides background on China's economic rise and current economic structure and the challenges China faces to keep its economy growing strong, and describes Chinese economic policies that are of concern to U.S. policymakers.
Government Collection of Private Information: Background and Issues Related to the USA PATRIOT Act Reauthorization in Brief
This report discusses the legal background associated with the sunset of various provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act and of subsequent related legislation.
U.S. Foreign Aid to the Palestinians
This report describes issues related to U.S. aid provided to Palestine to support prevention/combating against terrorism, creating coexistence with Israel and self-governance, and meeting humanitarian needs. In includes introductory and historical background as well as in-depth analysis of the types of U.S. bilateral aid to Palestine, U.S. contributions to the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the near East (UNRWA), and the issues involved in determining future aid.
Cars and Climate: What Can EPA Do to Control Greenhouse Gases from Mobile Sources?
This report discusses the legislation to reduce the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that contribute to climate change, and the attention that has focused on "cap-and-trade" legislation.
Colombia: Issues for Congress
This report provides an overview of recent political developments in Colombia, including the administration of President Uribe (2002-2010), continuing into the election of President Juan Manuel Santos. It discusses the political issues including Colombia's longstanding conflict with internal armed groups and ongoing challenges such as human rights, demobilization and displacement, drug trends, and Colombia's regional relations.