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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
An Analysis of STEM Education Funding at the NSF: Trends and Policy Discussion
This report analyzes National Science Foundation funding trends and selected closely-related STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education policy issues to provide fiscal and policy context. It concludes with an analysis of potential policy options.
Early Release for Federal Inmates: Fact Sheet
This report discusses ways to reduce the size of the federal prison population by reducing the amount of time inmates serve, though such measures as allowing inmates to earn credit toward their sentences for participating in rehabilitative programs.
The Education Sciences Reform Act
This report discusses the Education Sciences Reform Act (ESRA, Title I of P.L. 107-279) that established the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) as an independent research arm of the Department of Education (ED).
PILT (Payments in Lieu of Taxes): Somewhat Simplified
This report explains Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT), with an analysis of the five major factors affecting the calculation of a payment to a given county. It also describes the effects of certain legislative changes to PILT in 2009 and 2012.
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).
U.S. Manufacturing in International Perspective
This report contains a series of charts and tables that depict the position of manufacturing in the United States relative to other countries according to various metrics.
Unemployment Compensation (Insurance) and Military Service
This report discusses unemployment compensation for Ex-Service members (UCX), which provides income support while former active duty military personnel or reservists released from active duty search for work. The report addresses funding for this service, who is entitled to UCX benefits, and Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC08) and the Extended Benefits (EB) payments, which a servicemember receives when regular unemployment benefits are exhausted.
Ukraine: Current Issues and U.S. Policy
This report offers background information on Ukraine's current political and economic situation, foreign policy towards NATO, the European Union, and Russia. It also discusses U.S. policy, U.S. aid to Ukraine, the congressional response, and other legislation.
Legislative Actions to Repeal, Defund, or Delay the Affordable Care Act
This report summarizes legislative and other actions taken to repeal, defund, or delay the Affordable Care Act (ACA) since the law's enactment. It includes some background on the ACA and four appendixes organizing relevant information.
Canada-U.S. Relations
This report begins with an overview of Canada's political scene, economic conditions, security and foreign policy, and environmental initiatives, focusing particularly on issues that may be relevant to U.S. policymakers. This country survey is followed by several summaries of current bilateral issues in the political, international security, trade, and environmental arenas. The questions following each summary are designed as potential inquiries to Canadian officials to promote thought and discussion among policymakers.
Army Drawdown and Restructuring: Background and Issues for Congress
This report discusses the new defense strategy, which was unveiled by senior Department of Defense (DOD) leadership based on a review of potential future security challenges, current defense strategy, and budgetary constraints. This strategy will rebalance the Army's global posture and presence, emphasizing where potential problems are likely to arise, such as the Asia-Pacific region and the Middle East.
Government Assistance for GMAC/Ally Financial: Unwinding the Government Stake
This report discusses the auto financing industry, particularly Ally Financial, formerly known as General Motors Acceptance Corporation or GMAC.
The Defense Production Act of 1950: History, Authorities, and Reauthorization
This report examines some of the history of the Defense Production Act of 1950 (DPA), focusing primarily on its creation and most recent legislative reauthorization. It also discusses the foremost active authorities of the DPA.
Representatives and Senators: Trends in Member Characteristics Since 1945
This report provides profiles of Senators and Representatives in selected Congresses since 1945. It includes data based on Representatives and Senators serving on the first day of the 79th-113th Congresses for several demographic characteristics such as age (including the oldest and youngest Members of the House and Senate), sex, previous occupation, race and ethnicity, education, religion, and military service.
The First Day of a New Congress: A Guide to Proceedings on the Senate Floor
This report describes the well-established routine that occurs on the opening day of a new Congress.
Latin America and the Caribbean: Key Issues for the 113th Congress
This report provides an overview of U.S. policy toward Latin America and the Caribbean, including the Obama Administration's priorities; examines changes in the region's economic and political environment that affect U.S. relations with the region; and analyzes U.S. policy toward the region and various recommendations made by policy analysts and think tanks. The report then examines the role of Congress and congressional interests in Latin America, looking at selected regional and country issues, including key issues that the 113th Congress is facing. Appendices provide U.S.-Latin America trade statistics and a listing of hearings focused on Latin America.
Bahrain: Reform, Security, and U.S. Policy
This report discusses the current state of Bahrain, which has undergone substantial political reforms since the late 1990s, but which still suffers from tension between the Shiite majority and the Sunni-led government. It focuses particularly on Bahrain's relationship with Iran and with the United States.
Essential Air Service (EAS): Frequently Asked Questions
This report provides an overview of the Essential Air Service (EAS) program and discusses the changes introduced by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization bill and the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014.
The Help America Vote Act and Election Administration: Overview and Issues
This report discusses the Help America Vote Act (HAVA; P.L. 107-252) enacted in 2002. It provides background information about HAVA and its provisions, the Election Assistance Commission (EAC), funding for the agency and for state programs to improve elections, and a number of enduring election administration issues.
Community Development Block Grants: Recent Funding History
This report is a review of the Community Development Fund (CDF) account's funding history from FY2000 to FY2013, as well as current funding in FY2014. It includes a discussion of the three primary components of the CDF account: (1) CDBG formula grants; (2) CDBG-related set-asides and earmarks; and (3) CDBGlinked supplemental and special appropriations. It is intended to provide recent historical background as the 113th Congress considers CDF funding levels and composition.
Offender Reentry: Correctional Statistics, Reintegration into the Community, and Recidivism
This report provides background information regarding the prison population in the United States that has been growing steadily for more than 30 years. The report presents correctional system statistics and discusses the federal government's involvement in offender reentry programs and the Second Chance Act (P.L. 110-199) that was enacted on April 9, 2008.
Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA): A Summary of the Act and Its Major Requirements
This report summarizes the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) and its major programs and regulatory requirements. This report includes the drinking water security provisions added to the SDWA by the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002 (P.L. 107-188), and lead reduction provisions as amended by P.L. 111-380. It also outlines amendments made in December 2013 by P.L. 113-64 (H.R. 3588) to explicitly exempt fire hydrants from coverage under the act's lead plumbing restrictions.
Visa Waiver Program
This report discusses the visa waiver program (VWP), which allows for a bypass of the first step by which foreign visitors are screened for admissibility to enter the United States. Some policymakers are concerned that this waiver allows terrorists to more easily enter the country. The report provides waiver-related statistics and related legislation.
Health Benefits for Members of Congress and Certain Congressional Staff
This report summarizes the provisions of the final rule and describes how it affects current and retired Members and congressional staff. OPM has indicated that Members and congressional staff are still eligible for other health benefits related to federal employment, and these additional health benefits are outlined in this report. This report also discusses Members' and staff's eligibility for Medicare, which does not appear to be affected by the final rule.
Gangs in Central America
This report describes the gang problem in Central America, discusses country approaches to deal with the gangs, and analyzes U.S. policy with respect to gangs in Central America.
Changes in the Arctic: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides an overview of Arctic-related issues for Congress and refers readers to more in-depth CRS reports on specific relevant topics.
The Berry Amendment: Requiring Defense Procurement to Come from Domestic Sources
This report examines the original intent and purpose of the Berry Amendment, legislative proposals to amend the application of domestic source restrictions, and potential options for Congress.
Multiyear Procurement (MYP) and Block Buy Contracting in Defense Acquisition: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and issues for Congress on multiyear procurement (MYP) and block buy contracting (BBC), which are special contracting mechanisms that Congress permits the Department of Defense (DOD) to use for a limited number of defense acquisition programs. Compared to the standard or default approach of annual contracting, MYP and BBC have the potential for reducing weapon procurement costs by several percent.
The President's Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP): Issues for Congress
This report provides an overview of the history of science and technology (S&T) advice to the President and discusses selected issues and options for Congress regarding the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) Director, OSTP management and operations, the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), and the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC).
Navy Irregular Warfare and Counterterrorism Operations: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and potential issues for Congress on the Navy's irregular warfare (IW) and counterterrorism (CT) operations. The Navy's IW and CT activities pose a number of potential oversight issues for Congress, including the definition of Navy IW activities and how much emphasis to place on IW and CT activities in future Navy budgets.
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, which performs a variety of missions supporting U.S. interests in polar regions. The report is written in response to the Coast Guard's budget request for a new polar ice breaker (none are currently in operation).
The United Nations Human Rights Council: Issues for Congress
This report provides historical background of the United Nations Human Rights Council, including the role of the previous Commission. It discusses the Council's current mandate and structure, as well as U.S. policy and congressional actions. Finally, it highlights possible policy issues for the 112th Congress, including the overall effectiveness of the Council in addressing human rights, implications for U.S. membership, and U.S. financial contributions to the Council.
Carbon Capture and Sequestration: Research, Development, and Demonstration at the U.S. Department of Energy
This report aims to provide a snapshot of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) program, including its current funding levels and the budget request for FY2014, together with some discussion of the program's achievements and prospects for success in meeting its stated goals.
Laws Affecting the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP)
This report provides historical and background information that helps explain how Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) has evolved. It focuses solely on changes made to FEHBP through legislative action.
Navy Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Program: Background and Issues 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 for countering mines, small boats, and diesel-electric submarines, particularly in littoral (i.e., near-shore) waters.
Individual Mandate Under ACA
This report describes the individual mandate as established under the Affordable Care Act (ACA, P.L. 111-148, as amended). The report also discusses the ACA reporting requirements designed, in part, to assist individuals in providing evidence of having met the mandate.
Afghanistan: Politics, Elections, and Government Performance
This report discusses the current political state of Afghanistan, and the Afghan government. It also discusses Afghanistan's relationship with the United States, particularly U.S. efforts to urge President Hamid Karzai to address corruption within the Afghan government.
European Union Enlargement
This report provides a brief overview of the European Union's (EU's) accession process and Turkey's path to EU membership. The U.S. Congress has had a long-standing interest in Turkey as a NATO ally and partner in regional foreign policy and energy security issues.
The FutureGen Carbon Capture and Sequestration Project: A Brief History and Issues for Congress
This report briefly summarizes the history of FutureGen, discusses why it has gained interest and support from some members of Congress and the Administration while remaining in initial stages of development, and offers some policy considerations on barriers that challenge its further development as a model for a carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) program. A timeline history of FutureGen is included at the end of this report.
Free Trade Agreements: Impact on U.S. Trade and Implications for U.S. Trade Policy
This report looks at how free trade areas (FTAs) affect U.S. trade policy, specifically tariffs. It looks closely at the Bush Administration's Trade Promotion Policy, and pending FTAs leftover from this administration. Additionally, it looks at the Obama Administration's work in the prospective Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement (TPP).
Securing U.S. Diplomatic Facilities and Personnel Abroad: Legislative and Executive Branch Initiatives
This report briefly summarizes and tracks congressional and State Department actions in response to the attack on U. S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya, and will be updated as necessary to reflect further developments and actions on ongoing policy proposals.
Food Fraud and "Economically Motivated Adulteration" of Food and Food Ingredients
This report discusses food fraud, or the act of defrauding buyers of food and food ingredients for economic gain. It includes background information, an overview of available data and information repositories related to food fraud, federal activities involving food fraud, and Congressional actions involving food fraud.
Army Corps of Engineers: Water Resource Authorizations, Appropriations, and Activities
This report summarizes congressional authorization and appropriations processes for the Army Corps of Engineers. It also discusses agency activities under general authorities. Congress directs the Corps through authorizations, appropriations, and oversight of its studies, construction projects, and other activities.
Social Security Reform: Current Issues and Legislation
This report discusses The Social Security reform, which is an issue of interest to policy makers that arises in various contexts, from improving retirement security to reducing federal budget deficits. The report looks at the Social Security debate, Social Security future projections, and public opinion on Social Security reform. It also looks at past reform measures, from the 109th-112th Congress, none of which received congressional action.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB): A Legal Analysis
This report provides an overview of the regulatory structure of consumer finance under existing federal law before the Dodd-Frank Act went into effect, and examines arguments for modifying the regime in order to more effectively regulate consumer financial markets. It then analyzes how the CFP Act changes the legal structure, with a focus on the Bureau's organization; the entities and activities that fall (and do not fall) under the Bureau's supervisory, enforcement, and rulemaking authorities; the Bureau's general and specific rulemaking powers and procedures; and the Bureau's funding.
Iraq: Politics, Governance, and Human Rights
This report discusses the state of Iraqi politics, governance, and human rights, including the worsening relations between local Sunni and Shiite populations.
The Higher Education Act (HEA): A Primer
This report discusses the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA; P.L. 89-329) that authorizes numerous federal aid programs that provide support to both individuals pursuing a postsecondary education and institutions of higher education (IHEs).
Navy DDG-51 and DDG-1000 Destroyer Programs: Background and Issues for Congress
This report presents background information and potential oversight issues for Congress on the Navy's Arleigh Burke (DDG-51) and Zumwalt (DDG-1000) class destroyer programs. Decisions that Congress makes concerning these programs could substantially affect Navy capabilities and funding requirements, and the U.S. shipbuilding industrial base.
Asian Carp and the Great Lakes Region
This report provides an overview of four species of non-indigenous Asian carp that are expanding their range in U.S. waterways, resulting in a variety of concerns and problems. This report details the environmental and economic threats from this invasion, as well as ways to combat the spread of Asian carp in U.S. water.
Financial Assets and Conflict of Interest Regulation in the Executive Branch
This report discusses the federal regulation of potential "conflicts of interest" which may arise as a result of the personal financial holdings, assets, securities, property, and financial transactions in assets and securities of an official in the executive branch of the federal government.