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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Fishery, Aquaculture, and Marine Mammal Legislation in the 110th Congress
This report discusses fish and marine mammals which are important resources in open ocean and near shore coastal areas. It also discusses many federal laws and regulations that guide their management.
Conservation and the 2007 Farm Bill
Conservation is playing a prominent role in the development of a farm bill by the 110th Congress. This report introduces some of the issues that are influencing the development of a conservation title. It then reviews the contents of the House-passed bill, H.R. 2419.
Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP): History and Overview
This report provides an overview of the history of science and technology (S&T) advice to the President and discusses selected recurrent issues for Congress regarding OSTP's Director, OSTP management and operations, the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), and the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC).
Mexico: Background and U.S. Relations
This report provides an overview of political and economic conditions in Mexico, followed by assessments of some key issues of congressional interest in Mexico: security and foreign aid, extraditions, human rights, trade, migration, energy, education, and water issues.
FY2017 Budget Documents: Internet and GPO Availability
This report provides brief descriptions of the budget volumes and related documents, together with Internet addresses, Government Publishing Office (GPO) stock numbers, and prices for obtaining print copies of these publications. It also explains how to find the locations of government depository libraries, which can provide both printed copies for reference use and Internet access to the online versions.
The Direct Recording Electronic Voting Machine (DRE) Controversy: FAQs and Misperceptions
This report addresses various questions regarding Direct Recording Electronic Voting Machines (DREs). Questions that arise frequently with respect to the controversy surrounding DREs and possible misperceptions in the debate can be classified into three categories: those relating to DREs themselves, those that relate to paper audit trails, and those that relate to recounts and audits.
European Security and Islamist Terrorism
This report discusses the current security climate in Europe following recent incidences of terrorism. The report also addresses potential policy responses and challenges.
Iraq: U.S. Military Operations
This report discusses US military operations in Iraq. Iraq's chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons programs, together with Iraqi long-range missile development and support for al-Queda terrorism, were the primary justifications put forward for military action.
The House May Vote to File an Amicus Brief: Is this Unprecedented?
This report discusses the historical precedence of the House authorizing the filing of an amicus brief. The case involves state challenges to the Obama Administration's expansion of its deferred action program for certain aliens brought to the U.S. as children and unauthorized aliens who are the parents of U.S. citizens or legal permanent resident aliens.
Victims of Crime Compensation and Assistance: Background and Funding
This report discusses the Crime Victims Fund (CVF or "Fund"), which was established in the U.S. Treasury in 1984 by the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) to provide a dedicated source of funds for state victim compensation and assistance programs.
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.
Commemorative Days, Weeks, and Months: Background and Current Practice
This report summarizes the different types of commemorative time periods--federal holidays; patriotic and national observances; and commemorative days, weeks, and months. Second, it discusses the current rules in the House and Senate that govern this type of legislation. Finally, the report discusses options for Congress, including introducing legislation in the House and Senate, and asking the president to issue a proclamation.
Veterans' Benefits: Burial Benefits and National Cemeteries
This report provides a descriptive analysis of both nonmonetary and monetary burial benefits and national cemeteries. It addresses congressional and constituent issues.
Cuba: U.S. Restrictions on Travel and Remittances
This report examines developments in U.S. policy restricting travel and remittances to Cuba, including significant changes that have occurred, current permissible travel and remittances, enforcement of the travel restrictions, and debate on lifting the travel restrictions.
Unemployment Insurance: Legislative Issues in the 114th Congress
The 114th Congress continues to consider many issues related to unemployment insurance (UI) programs: Unemployment Compensation (UC), the temporary, now-expired Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC08), and Extended Benefits (EB). This report gives a brief overview of the UI programs that may provide benefits to eligible unemployed workers, and briefly summarizes the President's budget proposal for FY2017.
Gun Legislation in the 109th Congress
This report discusses the ongoing debate over the efficacy and constitutionality of federal regulation of firearms and ammunition. The report provides background information and analysis over the pros and cons of the debate and gun related statistics.
The National Environmental Policy Act: Streamlining NEPA
This report discusses elements of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA; 42 U.S.C. §§ 4321, et seq.) relevant to streamlining, issues associated with determining project delays attributed to NEPA, common streamlining methods, and recently proposed and enacted legislative and administrative streamlining activities.
Ukraine: Current Issues and U.S. Policy
This report provides an overview of the situation in Ukraine. Following the February 2014 collapse of the Kremlin-supported government of President Viktor Yanukovych, there was an emergence of a pro-Western, pro-reform government and an energized public generally anxious to lessen Moscow's influence, committed to addressing the need for serious reform and determined to draw closer to Europe and the United States.
The Federal Budget: Overview and Issues for FY2017 and Beyond
This report summarizes issues surrounding the federal budget and discusses policy changes relevant to the budget framework for FY2017. It also discusses the major policy proposals included in the President's FY2017 budget and, when available, the House and Senate budget resolutions. Finally, this report addresses major short- and long-term fiscal challenges facing the federal government.
What's the Difference?--Comparing U.S. and Chinese Trade Data
This report discusses the size of the U.S. bilateral trade deficit with China, which continues to be an important issue in bilateral trade relations.
Brownfields Tax Incentive Extension
This report discusses the brownfields tax incentive, which expires on December 31, 2007. Enacted in 1997, the provision allowed a taxpayer to fully deduct the costs of environmental cleanup in the year the costs were incurred, rather than spreading the costs over a period of years.
Coast Guard Polar Icebreaker Modernization: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and issues for Congress on the sustainment and modernization of the Coast Guard's polar icebreaker fleet. Congress's decisions on this issue could affect Coast Guard funding requirements, the Coast Guard's ability to perform its polar missions, and the U.S. shipbuilding industrial base.
The Advanced Technology Program
This report presents perspectives on African economic trends and provides an overview of U.S. trade and investment flows with sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). It discusses the provisions of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and the changes that have occurred since its enactment. It concludes with a brief discussion of issues of congressional interest.
Navy Ship Propulsion Technologies: Options for Reducing Oil Use -- Background for Congress
This report provides background information on options for technologies that could reduce the Navy's dependence on oil for its ships, as well as four general strategies for reducing the Navy's dependence on oil for its ships: reducing energy use on Navy ships; alternative hydrocarbon fuels; nuclear propulsion; and sail and solar power.
Coast Guard Cutter Procurement: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and potential oversight issues for Congress on the Coast Guard's programs for procuring 8 National Security Cutters (NSCs), 25 Offshore Patrol Cutters (OPCs), and 58 Fast Response Cutters (FRCs). Congress's decisions on these three programs could substantially affect Coast Guard capabilities and funding requirements, and the U.S. shipbuilding industrial base.
The Endangered Species Act (ESA) in the 110th Congress: Conflicting Values and Difficult Choices
This report will identify and discuss oversight issues and legislation introduced in the 110th Congress to address specific concerns related to how ESA is implemented and how endangered species are managed, and will be updated periodically to reflect legislative action.
U.S. National Science Foundation: An Overview
This report discuses the National Science Foundation (NSF), which provides support for investigator-initiated, merit-reviewed, competitively selected awards, state-of-the-art tools, and instrumentation and facilities. The majority of the research supported by the NSF is conducted at U.S. colleges and universities.
National Flood Insurance Program: Treasury Borrowing in the Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina
This report discusses the the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which has been financially overwhelmed by claims and expenses related to the massive flooding caused by Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma.
The Pacific Alliance: A Trade Integration Initiative in Latin America
This report provides an overview of the structure of the Pacific Alliance, events leading up to its creation, and the economic significance of the Member countries.
Soil and Water Conservation: An Overview
This report discusses soil and water conservation topics, which are prominent in discussions of policy options for the next farm bill. Two omnibus conservation proposals have been introduced (H.R. 1551 and H.R. 1600), and many interest groups continue to offer policy recommendations ranging from general concepts to specific legislative language.
Nominations to the Supreme Court During Presidential Election Years (1900-Present)
This report provides data and analysis related to nominations made to the Supreme Court during presidential election years from 1900 to the present.
Ozone Air Quality Standards: EPA's 2007 Proposed Changes
This report provides background on the National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS), the process used to establish them, the existing ozone standard, and EPA's proposal, as well as information regarding the potential effects of any revision to the standard.
High Frequency Trading: Overview of Recent Developments
This report provides background on various High-frequency trading (HFT) strategies and some associated policy issues, recent regulatory developments and selected enforcement actions by the SEC and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), on HFT, and congressional action such as proposed legislation and hearings related to HFT.
The Affordable Care Act's (ACA) Employer Shared Responsibility Determination and the Potential Employer Penalty
This report describes potential employer penalties as well as regulations to implement the ACA employer provisions. The regulations address insurance coverage requirements, methodologies for determining whether a worker is considered full time, provisions relating to seasonal workers and corporate franchises, and other reporting requirements.
Reducing Teen Pregnancy: Adolescent Family Life and Abstinence Education Programs
This report discusses two programs that exclusively attempt to reduce teenage pregnancy. The Adolescent Family Life (AFL) demonstration program was enacted in 1981 as Title XX of the Public Health Service Act, and the Abstinence Education program was enacted in 1996 as part of the welfare reform legislation.
Iran Nuclear Agreement
This report provides background on the agreement negotiated by Iran and six other countries (the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, China, and Germany--collectively known as the P5+1) regarding Iran's nuclear program, and discusses the implications for U.S.-Iran relations.
The Article V Convention to Propose Constitutional Amendments: Contemporary Issues for Congress
Article V of the U.S. Constitution provides two ways to amend the nation's fundamental charter. Congress, by a two-thirds vote of both houses, may propose amendments to the states for ratification, a procedure that has been used for all 27 current amendments. This report identifies a range of policy questions Congress might face if an Article V Convention seemed imminent.
Civilian Nuclear Waste Disposal
This report discusses the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 (NWPA), which calls for disposal of spent nuclear fuel in a deep geologic repository.
Wave, Tidal, and In-Stream Energy Projects: Which Federal Agency Has the Lead?
This report describes wave, tidal, and in-stream energy generation technologies -- also referred to as hydrokinetic or marine energy. It discusses the recent changes in law aimed to clarify the federal role in ocean wave and renewable energy.
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 such a 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.
Congressional Efforts to Amend Title I of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA)
This report examines selected differences between the House and the Senate legislation that would amend Title I of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA; 15 U.S.C. 2601-2629). Title I of TSCA is the principal federal statute that applies to the regulation of the lifecycle of commercial chemicals from their manufacture (defined to include importation) to disposal if elements of the lifecycle are found to present unreasonable risks.
The Islamic State's Acolytes and the Challenges They Pose to U.S. Law Enforcement
This report discusses an analysis of publicly available information on homegrown violent jihadist activity in the United States since September 11, 2001, which suggests that the Islamic State (IS) and its acolytes may pose broad challenges to domestic law enforcement and homeland security efforts.
Brief Summaries of Federal Animal Protection Statutes
This report contains brief summaries of federal animal protection statutes, listed alphabetically. It includes statutes enacted to implement treaties, those that protect certain groups of animals (e.g., protection of "game" animals rather than predators), statutes to conserve fish, statutes that allow the disabled to use service animals, and statutes aimed at acts of animal rights advocates (the Animal Enterprise Protection Act of 1992, and the Recreational Hunting Safety and Preservation Act of 1994).
Bahrain: Reform, Security, and U.S. Policy
This report discusses the current state of reform and foreign policy in Bahrain. Outward signs of the uprising against Bahrain's Al Khalifa ruling family that began on February 14, 2011, have diminished, but continued smaller demonstrations, opposition boycotts of elections, and incarceration of dissident leaders counter government assertions that Bahrain has "returned to normal."
Expedited Removal Authority for VA Senior Executives (38 U.S.C. § 713): Selected Legal Issues
This report discusses selected legal issues relating to the authority for summary removal of individuals in senior executive positions at the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Recess Appointments: Frequently Asked Questions
This report supplies brief answers to some frequently asked questions regarding recess appointments. When the Senate is in recess, the President may make a temporary appointment, called a recess appointment, to any such position without Senate approval (Article II, Section 2, Clause 3).
USA PATRIOT Act Sunset: Provisions That Were to Expire on December 31, 2005
This report examines various provisions of the Patriot Act that were set to expire on December 31, 2005. Their expiration date has been postponed until March 10, 2006. The expiring sections deal with the power of federal authorities to conduct searches and seizures, generally searches and seizures relating to communications.
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 a large number of LCSs and modified LCSs. Congress's decisions on the LCS/Frigate program will affect Navy capabilities and funding requirements, and the shipbuilding industrial base.
U.S. Immigration Policy: Chart Book of Key Trends
This report is a chart book of selected immigration trends. Key immigration issues that Congress has considered in recent years include increased border security and immigration enforcement, expanded employment eligibility verification, reforms to the system for legal temporary and permanent immigration, and options to address the millions of unauthorized aliens residing in the country.
U.S. National Science Foundation: An Overview
This report discusses the National Science Foundation (NSF), which was created by the National Science Foundation Act of 1950, as amended (P.L. 81-507). The NSF has the broad mission of supporting science and engineering in general and funding basic research across many disciplines. The agency provides support for investigator-initiated, merit-reviewed, competitively selected awards, state-of-the-art tools, and instrumentation and facilities.