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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
North Korea: Terrorism List Removal
This report discusses the issue of North Korea's inclusion on the U.S. list of terrorism-supporting countries that has been a major issue in U.S.-North Korean diplomacy since 2000, particularly in connection with negotiations over North Korea's nuclear program.
German Foreign and Security Policy: Trends and Transatlantic Implications
This report provides an introduction to German foreign and security policy. The report discusses the foundations of German foreign policy, Germany in the European Union (EU), evolving security and defense policy, and transatalantic implications.
Budget Reconciliation Measures Enacted Into Law: 1980-2008
This report identifies and briefly summarizes the 19 budget reconciliation measures enacted into law during the period covering 1980, when reconciliation procedures first were used by both chambers, through 2008, the last year of the 110th Congress.
Veterans' Benefits: Pension Benefit Programs
This report describes several pension benefit programs for veterans and their families, including the eligibility criteria and current benefit levels, and provides data on the number of pension beneficiaries and average annual benefit amounts for FY1999 through FY2013.
Omnibus Appropriations Acts: Overview of Recent Practices
Omnibus appropriations acts have become a significant feature of the legislative process in recent years as Congress and the President have resorted more frequently to their use to bring action on the regular appropriations cycle to a close. Following a discussion of pertinent background information, this report reviews the recent use of such measures and briefly addresses several issues that their use raises.
Navy-Marine Corps Strike-Fighter Shortfall: Background and Options for Congress
This report discusses congressional concerns about a projected inventory shortfall in Navy and Marine Corps strike-fighters. Some industry sources believe the shortfall is likely to be much larger than the Navy currently projects. Options for addressing the shortfall include extending strike-fighter service lives and increasing planned procurement of strike-fighters.
Banking and Financial Infrastructure Continuity: Pandemic Flu, Terrorism, and Other Challenges
This report outlines the financial sector's recovery plans for two kinds of disasters: the inability to conduct transactions and large losses of asset value. The basic function of the payment system is carried out by banks, and monetary policy affects banks immediately. Because brokers, exchanges, secondary market facilities, and insurance companies carry out crucial financial functions, their regulators and trade associations are involved in continuity of operations planning for contingencies.
The Transition to Digital Television: Is America Ready?
This report discusses the background and potential effects of the DTV Delay Act, which directs that all over-the-air full-power television broadcasts will become digital only.
Iraq: Post-Saddam Governance and Security
This report discusses the current political and social climate of Iraq, specifically in regards to the influence of the U.S. military presence over recent years. This report addresses planned and possible future efforts under the Obama Administration, including the scheduled gradual troops withdrawal.
Egypt: Background and U.S. Relations
This report provides an overview of Egyptian politics and current issues in U.S.-Egyptian relations. It briefly provides a political history of modern Egypt, an overview of its political institutions, and a discussion of the prospects for democratization in Egypt.
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.
Iran's Activities and Influence in Iraq
This report discusses the relationship between Iraq and Iran in the post-Saddam Hussein era, with particular focus on what Iran's intentions and/or long-term goals may be for increasing its influence in Iraq. The report explores the various strategies that Iran has used to spread its influence throughout Iraq's military and political spheres. The report also addresses the United States' concern over the Iran-Iraq relationship, especially as it concerns armed Shiite factions and U.S. efforts to stabilize Iraq.
Broadband Internet Access and the Digital Divide: Federal Assistance Programs
This report provides an overview of the "digital divide", which is a term used to describe a perceived gap between those Americans who use or have access to telecommunications and information technologies and those who do not.
Intelligence Issues for Congress
This report explores the various issues currently facing Congress in regards to intelligence and counterterrorism activities, including the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act (P.L. 108-458), signed in December 2004; the position of Director of National Intelligence (DNI), which that act created; the importance of collaborative efforts between various intelligence agencies to successfully carry out counterterrorism measures; and other pieces of legislation relevant to such matters.
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.
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.
Israel: Background and Relations with the United States
This report provides a historical overview of Israel and it discusses most recent development, politics, economy and relations with United States.
Funding for Education in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (P.L. 111-5)
This report provides a brief overview of the key provisions related to education programs that are or will be administered by the U.S. Department of Education (ED) that were included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) under Division A, Title VIII, Department of Education, and under Title XIV, State Fiscal Stabilization Fund. It also includes a discussion of relevant provisions that were included in the House and Senate bills.
State Health Reform Strategies
This report identifies general approaches proposed at the state level to reform health insurance, and describes selected reform strategies.
State and Local "Sanctuary" Policies Limiting Participation in Immigration Enforcement
This report discusses legal issues related to state and local measures that limit law enforcement cooperation with federal immigration authorities. The report begins by providing a brief overview of the constitutional principles informing the relationship between federal immigration authorities and state and local jurisdictions, including the federal government's power to preempt state and local activities under the Supremacy Clause, and the Tenth Amendment's proscription against Congress directly "commandeering" the states to administer a federally enacted regulatory scheme.
German Foreign and Security Policy: Trends and Transatlantic Implications
This report provides an introduction to German foreign and security policy. The report discusses the foundations of German foreign policy, Germany in the European Union (EU), evolving security and defense policy, and transatalantic implications.
F-22A Raptor
This report examines the Air Force's F-22A Raptor program, including costs and schedule; considers several key issues, and concludes with a synopsis of recent legislative activity on the program.
U.S. Capital Markets and International Accounting Standards: GAAP Versus IFRS
This report briefly explains the different accounting standards and U.S. capital markets. It examines several International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) policy options Congress might consider and the benefits and challenges of each of those options.
Stem Cell Research: Ethical Issues
This report discusses the ethical arguments that surround human embryonic stem cell research (ESR). Human stem cell research is controversial not because of its goals, but rather because of the means of obtaining some of the cells.
Competition in Federal Contracting: An Overview of the Legal Requirements
This report describes the legal requirements pertaining to competition that presently apply to federal procurement contracts. Among other things, it discusses what contracts are subject to competition requirements; what constitutes full and open competition for government contracts; and what is meant by "full and open competition after exclusion of sources."
Cybersecurity: Legislation, Hearings, and Executive Branch Documents
This report provides links to cybersecurity-related committee hearings in the 112th and 113th Congresses. It also provides a list of executive orders and presidential directives pertaining to information and computer security.
Yemen: Civil War and Regional Intervention
This report provides material on the latest crisis in Yemen and the U.S. policy response. Yemen's internationally backed transition government, which replaced the regime of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh in 2012, appears to have fully collapsed.
Public-Private Partnership for a Public Safety Network: Governance and Policy
This report summarizes salient points of Federal Communications Commission (FCC) actions regarding the creation of a public-private partnership to build and manage a national communications network for public safety use.
Financing Recovery from Large-Scale Natural Disasters
This report provides an analysis of the challenges facing property and casualty insurance and reinsurance companies in financing large-scale natural disasters, particularly during financial market turmoil.
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 19841 by the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA)2 to provide a dedicated source of funds for state victim compensation and assistance programs.
The Reliable Replacement Warhead Program: Background and Current Developments
This report discusses the most current U.S. nuclear warheads that were built in the 1970s and 1980s and are being retained longer than was planned.
The Tibetan Policy Act of 2002: Background and Implementation
This report discusses the Tibetan Policy Act of 2002 (TPA), which established a number of U.S. principles with respect to human rights, religious freedom, political prisoners, and economic development projects in Tibet. Since the TPA's enactment, opinions on the effectiveness of the Act have varied. These views include assessments on the nature of the objectives the TPA sets forth for U.S. policy; the attainability of those objectives; the achievements of the Special Coordinators; and the manner of the Act's implementation.
Long-Range Ballistic Missile Defense in Europe
This report discusses how successive U.S. governments have urged the creation of an anti-missile system to protect against long-range ballistic missile threats from adversary states. The proposed U.S. system has encountered resistance in some European countries and beyond.
The Army's Future Combat System (FCS): Background and Issues for Congress
This report describes the Future Combat System (FCS) program, which was to be the Army's major research, development, and acquisition program consisting of 14 manned and unmanned systems linked by an extensive communications and information network.
Zimbabwe: The Power Sharing Agreement and Implications for U.S. Policy
This report provides an overview of Zimbabwe's March 2008 elections. The report discusses the power-sharing agreement, the transitional government, cholera outbreak, international reactions, and U.S. policy on Zimbabwe.
Iran's Foreign Policy
This report provides an overview of Iran's foreign policy, which has been a subject of numerous congressional hearings and of sanctions and other legislation for many years. The report analyzes Iranian foreign policy as a whole and by region. The regional analysis discusses those countries where Iranian policy is of U.S. concern.
Setting and Valuing Health Insurance Benefits
This report briefly describes some of the key concepts and policy issues around specifying and valuing health insurance benefits.
The State Secrets Privilege and Other Limits on Litigation Involving Classified Information
This report provides an overview of the protections afforded to government organizations and officials by the state secrets privilege. The state secrets privilege, derived from common law, is an evidentiary privilege that allows the government to resist court-ordered disclosure of information during litigation if there is a reasonable danger that such disclosure would harm the national security of the United States.
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.
International Criminal Court Cases in Africa: Status and Policy Issues
This report provides background on ICC investigations in Africa and gives an overview of cases currently before the Court. The report also examines issues raised by the ICC's actions in Africa, including the ICC's possible role in deterring future abuses and the potential impact of international criminal prosecutions on peace processes, ongoing in many countries on the continent.
Proposals to Ensure the Availability of Federal Student Loans During an Economic Downturn: A Brief Overview of H.R. 5715 and S. 2815
This report examines amendments to the federal student loan programs made under P.L. 110-227.
America COMPETES Act and the FY2010 Budget
This report discusses in detail the America COMPETES Act, which is intended to increase the nation's investment in research and development (R&D), and in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. This report discusses the funding increases authorized by the act for various relevant institutions, e.g., the National Science Foundation (NSF); the act's education activities intended to enhance the skills of STEM educators; and if Congress will continue to similarly fund the America COMPETES Act in the FY2010 budget.
Meat and Poultry Inspection: Background and Selected Issues
This report provides background information on the safety food programs, statutory authorities, systems basics (i.e. coverage, plant sanitation, slaughter inscpection, processing inspection, pathogen testing etc). The report discusses microbiological contamination and Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP).
Taiwan-U.S. Relations: Developments and Policy Implications
This report focuses on current developments in Taiwan, analyzing how those developments are affecting choices the United States makes about its policy toward Taiwan specifically and toward the People's Republic of China (PRC) more broadly.
Debarment and Suspension of Government Contractors: An Overview of the Law Including Recently Enacted and Proposed Amendments
This report examines the statues that permit the disbarring and suspension of government contractors, exclusions to those statutes, and the rights of the contractors.
NATO in Afghanistan: A Test of the Transatlantic Alliance
This report discusses the mission of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in Afghanistan, the purpose of which is to stabilize and reconstruct Afghanistan by combating emerging threats such as terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. This report also discusses how the Obama Administration has made the Afghanistan conflict a policy priority, and what this stance could mean for potential future endeavors.
The National Intelligence Council: Issues and Options for Congress
This report to describe the statutory provisions that authorize the National Intelligence Council (NIC), provide a brief history of its work, and review its role within the federal government. The report will focus on congressional interaction with the NIC and describe various options for modifying congressional oversight.
Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia: Political Developments and Implications for U.S. Interests
This report discusses the relationships between the United States and Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia, as well as these three nations' political and economic conditions. The report also discusses key related issues in the second session of the 111th Congress, including the question of the United States' role in the South Caucasus, the significance of regional energy resources to U.S. interests, and other pertinent issues.
Military Installation Real Property and Services: Proposed Legislation in the 111th Congress
This report analyzes the key provisions of legislation that would modify or expand statutory authorities granted to senior executives of the Department of Defense (DOD), identifies probable effects of the proposed amendments to existing law, and suggests issues raised for congressional consideration.
Homosexuals and the U.S. Military: Current Issues
This report examines "don't ask, don't tell," policy in the U.S. military. "Don't ask, don't tell," holds that the 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 homosexuality.