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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Selected Privileges and Courtesies Extended to Former Members of Congress
This report discusses the courtesies and privileges afforded to Members of the House and Senate, after they leave office.
Renewable Energy R&D Funding History: A Comparison with Funding for Nuclear Energy, Fossil Energy, and Energy Efficiency R&D
This report provides a cumulative history of Department of Energy (DOE) funding for renewable energy compared with funding for the other energy technologies--nuclear energy, fossil energy, and energy efficiency. Specifically, it provides a comparison that covers cumulative funding over the past 10 years (FY2005-FY2014), a second comparison that covers the 37-year period since DOE was established at the beginning of fiscal year 1978 (FY1978-FY2014), and a third comparison that covers a 67-year funding history (FY1948-FY2014) for DOE and predecessor agencies.
Asian Carp and the Great Lakes Region
This report discusses four species of non-indigenous Asian carp that are expanding their range in U.S. waterways, resulting in a variety of concerns and problems. Three species--bighead, silver, and black carp--are of particular note, based on the perceived degree of environmental concern. Current controversy relates to what measures might be necessary and sufficient to prevent movement of Asian carp from the Mississippi River drainage into the Great Lakes through the Chicago Area Waterway System. Bills have been introduced in the 111th Congress to direct actions to avoid the possibility of carp becoming established in the Great Lakes.
U.S. Immigration Policy on Permanent Admissions
This report discusses the four major principles underlie current U.S. policy on permanent immigration: the reunification of families, the admission of immigrants with needed skills, the protection of refugees, and the diversity of admissions by country of origin. Against competing priorities for increased immigration are those who offer options to scale back immigration levels, with options ranging from limiting family-based legal permanent residents to the immediate relatives of U.S. citizens to confining employment-based legal permanent residents exceptional, extraordinary, or outstanding individuals.
The Defense Base Act (DBA): The Federally Mandated Workers' Compensation System for Overseas Government Contractors
This report provides an overview of the Defense Base Act (DBA) and the systems used to provide DBA insurance at the Department of State (DOS), the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Department of Defense (DOD), and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). Also included are criticisms of the current DOD DBA policy raised by GAO and Army auditors as well as responses to those criticisms by DOD and USACE. The report concludes with a discussion of several DBA reform options suggested by the House of Representatives in recent legislation and analyzed by DOD.
Conventional Arms Transfers to Developing Nations, 2002-2009
This report provides Congress with official, unclassified, quantitative data on conventional arms transfers to developing nations by the United States and foreign countries for the preceding eight calendar years for use in its policy oversight functions.
Vulnerable Youth: Employment and Job Training Programs
This report provides an overview of federal employment programs for vulnerable young people. It begins with a discussion of the current challenges in preparing all youth today for the workforce. The report then provides a chronology of job training and employment programs for at-risk youth that began in the 1930s and were expanded or modified from the 1960s through the 1990s. It goes on to discuss the five youth programs authorized under the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), and draws comparisons between these programs. Following this section is a detailed discussion of each of the programs.
Federal Advisory Committees: An Overview
This report provides a legislative and executive-branch history of the Federal Advisory Committee Act. It then discusses a variety of studies about the design and utility of such advisory bodies. The report then offers possible design elements for an advisory body, and then analyzes possible modifications to the Federal Advisory Committee Act.
House of Representatives and Senate Staff Levels in Member, Committee, Leadership, and Other Offices, 1977-2010
This report provides staffing levels in House and Senate Member, committee, leadership, and other offices since 1977. Data presented here are based on staff listed by chamber entity (offices of Members, committees, leaders, officers, officials, and other entities) in telephone directories published by the House and Senate.
Spectrum Policy in the Age of Broadband: Issues for Congress
This report considers the possibility of modifying spectrum policy: (1) to support national goals for broadband deployment by placing more emphasis on attracting new providers of wireless broadband services; and (2) to accommodate the wireless broadband needs of industries that are considered by many to be the economic drivers of the future, not only communications, but also areas such as energy, health care, transportation, and education.
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. It comprises two tables that present legislation and executive orders that are specific to Iran and its objectionable activities in the areas of terrorism, human rights, and weapons proliferation. It will be updated if and when new legislation is enacted, or, in the case of executive orders, if and when the President takes additional steps to change U.S. policy toward Iran.
Economics and National Security: Issues and Implications for U.S. Policy
This report examines how disparate parts of the U.S. economy affect the security of the nation. Security is achieved not only by military means but by the whole of the American economy.
Cyprus: Reunification Proving Elusive
This report provides a brief overview of the early history of the negotiations to reunify Cyprus, a more detailed review of the negotiations since 2008, and a description of some of the issues involved in the talks. A side issue involving trade between the European Union and Turkish Cyprus is also addressed.
Interagency Contracting: An Overview of Federal Procurement and Appropriations Law
This report provides an overview of the federal procurement and appropriations laws governing interagency contracting. "Interagency contracting" is the term used to describe several procurement relationships between government agencies.
The Technology Innovation Program
This report discusses the Technology Innovation Program (TIP) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) that was established in 2007 to replace the Advanced Technology Program (ATP). This effort is designed "to support, promote, and accelerate innovation in the United States through high-risk, high-reward research in areas of critical national need," according to the authorizing legislation. Grants are provided to small and medium-sized firms for individual projects or joint ventures with other research organizations.
Gun Control Legislation
This report provides basic firearms-related statistics, an overview of federal firearms law, and a summary of legislative action in the 111th Congress. The report concludes with salient issues that have generated significant congressional interest, including the 1994-2004 LCAFD ban.
The "Islamic State" Crisis and U.S. Policy
This report discusses the problems facing Iraq as the Islamic State (IS, aka the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL/ISIS) gains power in the region. IS is a transnational Sunni Islamist insurgent and terrorist group that has expanded its control over areas of northwestern Iraq and northeastern Syria since 2013, threatening the security of both countries and drawing increased attention from the international community. The Islamic State has thrived in the disaffected Sunni Muslim-inhabited areas of Iraq and in the remote provinces of Syria torn by the civil war. The Islamic State's tactics have drawn the ire of the international community, increasing U.S. attention on Iraq's political problems and on the civil war in Syria.
Speaking on the House Floor: Gaining Time and Parliamentary Phraseology
This report discusses the House rules and precedents that structure Members' opportunities to speak on the floor about pending legislation. Under some circumstances, Members arrange to speak on legislation by communicating with the leaders of the committee that reported the bill. Sometimes the arrangements can be made on the floor during the debate, and at other times they are made prior to floor consideration. The committee leaders from both sides of the aisle manage the consideration of a bill on the floor, under what is known as controlled time, by allocating the debate time among several Members.
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act: History, Impact, and Issues
This report examines debates over what constitutes an unfunded federal mandate and Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (UMRA's) implementation. It focuses on UMRA's requirement that Congressional Budget Office (CBO) issue written cost estimate statements for federal mandates in legislation, its procedures for raising points of order in the House and Senate concerning unfunded federal mandates in legislation, and its requirement that federal agencies prepare written cost estimate statements for federal mandates in rules. It also assesses UMRA's impact on federal mandates and arguments concerning UMRA's future, focusing on UMRA's definitions, exclusions, and exceptions which currently exempt many federal actions with potentially significant financial impacts on nonfederal entities.
Zimbabwe: The Transitional Government and Implications for U.S. Policy
This report discusses the transitional government in Zimbabwe, economic and humanitarian conditions, and concerns about the country's political future.
Afghanistan Casualties: Military Forces and Civilians
This report collects statistics from a variety of sources on casualties sustained during Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). OEF actions took place primarily in Afghanistan; however, OEF casualties also include American casualties in Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Guantanamo Bay (Cuba), Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Jordan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, the Philippines, Seychelles, Sudan, Tajikistan, Turkey, and Yemen.
East Asia's Foreign Exchange Rate Policies
This report examines the de facto foreign exchange rate policies adopted by the monetary authorities of East Asia. In some cases, there is a perceived discrepancy between the official (de jure) exchange rate policy and the observed de facto exchange rate policy. This report will focus primarily on the de facto exchange rate policies
Foreign Direct Investment in the United States: An Economic Analysis
This report discusses the foreign direct investment in the United States, which declined sharply after 2000 when a record $300 billion was invested in U.S. businesses and real estate.
Resources for Grantseekers
This report describes key sources of information on government and private funding, and outlines eligibility for federal grants. Federal grants are intended for projects benefiting states and communities. Individuals may be eligible for other kinds of benefits or assistance, or small businesses and students may be eligible for loans.
Navy Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Program: Background, Issues, and Options for Congress
This report provides background information and potential issues for Congress on the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), a relatively inexpensive Navy surface combatant equipped with modular "plug-and-fight" mission packages. The Navy's proposed FY2012 budget requests funding for the procurement of four LCSs. Current issues for Congress concerning the LCS program include changes or potential changes to the composition of LCS mission modules announced by the Navy in January 2011, the combat survivability of the LCS, and hull cracking on LCS-1. Congress's decisions on the LCS program could affect Navy capabilities and funding requirements, and the shipbuilding industrial base.
Brazil's WTO Case Against the U.S. Cotton Program
This report provides a description and status report on Brazil's challenge to certain aspects of the U.S. cotton program under the rules of the World Trade Organization's (WTO's) dispute settlement process in case DS267.1 The "Brazil cotton case" had its WTO origins in 2002 and has since evolved into a sprawling legal enterprise that is still ongoing as of mid-2010. The report begins by summarizing the most recent developments in the case. It then provides a detailed history of the case in chronological phases. Readers interested in the current status of the dispute, and in particular details of the negotiations to reach a mutual settlement and avoid trade retaliation against U.S. goods and services, should proceed directly to the report section entitled "Phase V: Retaliation or Settlement?"
"Don't Ask, Don't Tell": A Legal Analysis
In 1993, after many months of study, debate, and political controversy, Congress passed and President Clinton signed legislation establishing a revised "[p]olicy concerning homosexuality in the armed forces." The new legislation reflected a compromise regarding the U.S. military's policy toward members of the armed forces who engage in homosexual conduct. This compromise, colloquially referred to as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT)," holds that "[t]he presence in the armed forces of persons who demonstrate a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts would create an unacceptable risk to the high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion which are the essence of military capability." Service members are not to be asked about, nor allowed to discuss, their sexual orientation. This compromise notwithstanding, the issue has remained both politically and legally contentious. This report provides a legal analysis of the various constitutional challenges that have been brought against DADT.
"Don't Ask, Don't Tell": A Legal Analysis
This report provides a legal analysis of the various constitutional challenges that have been brought against "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT).
China-U.S. Trade Issues
This report discusses the U.S.-China economic relationship and China's rapid expansion as a global economic market, both with respect to the current global economic crisis. It also examines major U.S.-China trade issues and related legislation.
EPA Regulation of Greenhouse Gases: Congressional Responses and Options
This report discusses elements of the greenhouse gas (GHG) controversy, providing background on stationary sources of GHG pollution and identifying options Congress has at its disposal to address GHG issues, including: (1) resolutions of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act; (2) freestanding legislation; (3) the use of appropriations bills as a vehicle to influence EPA activity; and (4) amendments to the Clean Air Act, including legislation to establish a new GHG control regime.
U.S. Direct Investment Abroad: Trends and Current Issues
The United States is the largest investor abroad and the largest recipient of direct investment in the world. This report discusses pertinent issues regarding foreign investments and their effects on the U.S.'s economy.
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 was established by Title XVII of the FY2001 National Defense Authorization Act. The program 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. Current debates on the issue revolve around a competition for funding between career/urban/suburban departments and volunteer/rural departments. Complicating the issue is the recent economic downturn, which has left many local communities increasingly hard pressed to allocate funding for their local fire departments.
FY2015 National Defense Authorization Act: Selected Military Personnel Issues
The Congressional Research Service (CRS) has selected a number of the military personnel issues considered in deliberations on the initial House-passed version of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015. This report provides a brief synopsis of sections that pertain to personnel policy. These include end strengths, pay raises, health care, and sexual assault, as well as less prominent issues that nonetheless generate significant public interest.
A Whole-Farm Crop Disaster Program: Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments (SURE)
This report discusses the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-246, 2008 farm bill), which created a set of disaster programs called "Supplemental Agricultural Disaster Assistance." The programs supplement crop insurance coverage and provide disaster assistance for livestock (including aquaculture and honey bees), forage, and tree and nursery crops.
National Security Letters: Proposed Amendments in the 111th Congress
This report includes a chart comparing the provisions of the bills and current law. It also reprints the text of the five NSL statutes as they now appear and as they appeared prior to amendment by the USA PATRIOT Act (to which form they would have returned under some of the bills).
Honduran-U.S. Relations
This report examines current political and economic conditions in Honduras as well as issues in Honduran-U.S. relations.
Casework in a Congressional Office: Background, Rules, Laws, and Resources
This report, which will be updated as warranted, discusses House and Senate rules and guidelines, laws, and regulations affecting congressional casework, as well as the role of caseworkers. It also provides sample outlines and document templates for implementing and managing congressional casework.
Unauthorized Alien Students, Higher Education, and In-State Tuition Rates: A Legal Analysis
This report provides a legal overview of cases involving immigrant access to higher education, as well as an analysis of the legality of state laws that make in-state tuition rates available to illegal aliens.
Internet Governance and the Domain Name System: Issues for Congress
This report provides a definition regarding Internet governance and how the Internet is currently governed. The report discusses the role of United States government and future model of Internet governance.
Financing the U.S. Trade Deficit
This report provides an overview of the U.S. balance of payments, an explanation of the broader role of capital flows in the U.S. economy, an explanation of how the country finances its trade deficit or a trade surplus, and the implications for Congress and the country of the large inflows of capital from abroad.
Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) Status for Russia and U.S.-Russian Economic Ties
This report discusses the issues surrounding whether or not the U.S. should grant Russia permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) following its accession into the World Trade Organization (WTO). The change in Russia's trade status will require legislation to lift the restrictions of Title IV of the Trade Act of 1974 as they apply to Russia, which includes the "freedom-of-emigration" requirements of the Jackson-Vanik amendment.
Frequently Asked Questions about IMF Involvement in the Eurozone Debt Crisis
On May 2, 2010, the Eurozone member states and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced an unprecedented €110 billion (about $145 billion) financial assistance package for Greece. The following week, on May 9, 2010, EU leaders announced that they would make an additional €500 billion (about $636 billion) in financial assistance available to vulnerable European countries, and suggested that the IMF could contribute up to an additional €220 billion to €250 billion (about $280 billion to $318 billion). This report answers frequently asked questions about IMF involvement in the Eurozone debt crisis.
U.S. Trade Policy and the Caribbean: From Trade Preferences to Free Trade Agreements
This report reviews unilateral preference programs for the Caribbean, discusses how they have been affected by Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in the region, and considers trade policy options for dealing with countries still relying on trade preferences and that may be considering whether to negotiate an FTA with the United States.
Guinea: In Brief
This report provides background information on politics and economy of Guinea. The report discusses human rights and governance in Guinea, as well as the role of military, drug trafficking and mining sector.
House Committee Jurisdiction and Referral: Rules and Practice
This report briefly discusses the factors that determine House committee jurisdiction and more specifically House Rule X.
Navy Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) Program: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and issues for Congress on the Aegis ballistic missile defense (BMD) program, which is carried out by the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and the Navy, and gives Navy Aegis cruisers and destroyers a capability for conducting BMD operations.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): A Primer on Eligibility and Benefits
This report focuses on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) eligibility and the form and function of benefits. SNAP, formerly called the Food Stamp Program, is designed primarily to increase the food purchasing power of eligible low-income households to help them buy a nutritionally adequate low-cost diet.
Spectrum Policy: Public Safety and Wireless Communications Interference
This report discusses the rebanding plan announced by the Federal Communications Commission in 2004 to consolidate public safety frequencies and those used by some other operators, such as utilities. The plan was announce in an attempt to eliminate interference caused by the close proximity and interleaving of commercial and public safety channels.
Federal Research and Development Funding: FY2011
This report summarizes the FY2011 budget request for research & development (R&D) funding, including comparisons to R&D funding requests in the FY2010 budget. Congress will play a central role in defining the nation's R&D priorities, especially with respect to two overarching issues: the extent to which the Federal R&D investment can grow in the context of increased pressure on discretionary spending and how available funding will be prioritized and allocated. This report breaks down in detail the various aspects of the President's FY2011 R&D funding request.
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. Department of Defense (DOD) development work on high-energy military lasers, which has been underway for decades, has reached the point where lasers capable of countering certain surface and air targets at ranges of about a mile could be made ready for installation on Navy surface ships over the next few years.