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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Pope Francis and Selected Global Issues: Background for Papal Address to Congress
This report provides Members of Congress with background information on Pope Francis and a summary of a few selected global issues of congressional interest that have figured prominently on his agenda. The background section on Pope Francis includes a biographical sketch of his life as Jorge Mario Bergoglio, followed by a brief overview of his papacy thus far. The report then identifies some--but not all--of the global issues of concern to Pope Francis. Those include environmental stewardship, poverty and inequality, peace and diplomacy, and human trafficking.
History of the Navy UCLASS Program Requirements: In Brief
This report details the history of Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) aircraft requirements development through the program's evolution to its current stage. Over time, those requirements have evolved to encompass a less demanding set of capabilities than first envisioned.
Navy Lasers, Railgun, and Hypervelocity Projectile: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and issues for Congress on three potential new weapons that could improve the ability of Navy surface ships to defend themselves against enemy missiles: solid state lasers (SSLs), the electromagnetic railgun (EMRG), and the hypervelocity projectile (HVP). Any one of these new weapon technologies, if successfully developed and deployed, might be regarded as a "game changer" for defending Navy surface ships against enemy missiles.
The Global Nuclear Detection Architecture: Issues for Congress
This report provides background the detection of and protection against illicit acquisition and use of special nuclear material (SNM) including the global nuclear detection architecture to secure nuclear assets against diversion, theft, and attack. It also discusses related issues for Congress.
Afghanistan: Post-War Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy
This report discusses Afghanistan's political transition, which was completed with the convening of a parliament in December 2005. Since then, insurgent threats to Afghanistan's government have escalated to the point that some experts are questioning the future of U.S. stabilization efforts.
Congressional Intervention in the Administrative Process: Legal and Ethical Considerations
This report briefly examines the currently applicable legal and ethical considerations and standards that mark the limits of interventions by Members of Congress. It reviews the judicial development and application of standards for determining whether congressional pressure or influence will be deemed to have tainted an agency proceeding. It concludes that the courts, in balancing Congress's performance of its constitutional and statutory obligations to oversee the actions of agency officials against the rights of parties before agencies, have shown a decided predilection for protecting the congressional prerogatives.
Navy DDG-1000 and DDG-51 Destroyer Programs: Background, Oversight Issues, and Options for Congress
This report provides background information on the DDG-1000 (Zumwalt) program. It discusses the Navy's proposed FY2010 budget requests of $1,084.2 million to complete the cost of a third Zumwalt-class destroyer that was authorized but only partially funded in FY2009.
Stability in Russia's Chechnya and Other Regions of the North Caucasus: Recent Developments
This report provides background information on terrorist attacks in Russia's North Caucasus that includes the formerly breakaway Chechnya and other ethnic-based regions, which appeared to increase substantially in 2007-2009. The report discusses impacts of the August 2008 Russia-Georgia conflict and the recent development in the Northern Caucasus.
India-U.S. Relations
This report focuses on relations between the United States and India, a relationship deepened in the Clinton and G. W. Bush Administrations. Continuing U.S. interest in South Asia focuses on ongoing tensions between India and Pakistan, the proliferation of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, human rights issues, caste-based discrimination, and India's economic expansion.
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. It 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.
Federal Reserve: Emergency Lending
This report provides a review of the history of Section 13(3) of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the Dodd-Frank Act; P.L. 111-203), including its use in 2008. It discusses the Federal Reserve's (Fed's) authority under Section 13(3) before and after the Dodd-Frank Act. It then discusses policy issues and legislation to amend Section 13(3).
Navy LPD-17 Amphibious Ship Procurement: Background, Issues, and Options for Congress
This report discusses the Navy's FY2009 shipbuilding plan that calls for procuring an 10th San Antonio (LPD-17) class amphibious ship in FY2011. It discusses the procurement cost estimates of this ship, as well as related issues for Congress.
Cooperative R&D: Federal Efforts to Promote Industrial Competitiveness
This report provides background and rationale on collaborative R&D, and discusses federal initiatives in cooperative R&D.
Current Economic Conditions and Selected Forecasts
This report contains information about the economy including an overview of the current economic conditions, fiscal and monetary policies, forecasts for 2008-2009, and other topics related to economic growth.
Davis-Bacon Act Coverage and the State Revolving Fund Program Under the Clean Water Act
This report discusses the Davis-Bacon Act (DBA), which established a prevailing wage requirement for persons working under government contracts, and the Clean Water Act (CWA), which includes a related requirement for the construction of wastewater treatment plants. In particular, it considers the impact on state revolving loan funds (SRF), in which states contribute part of the needed funds for projects and would need to account for the prevailing wage requirement.
FEMA's Pre-Disaster Mitigation Program: Overview and Issues
This report discusses Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM), and "Project Impact," a FEMA pilot program. It provides an overview of PDM, legislative history, funding and mitigation studies related to Hurricane Katrina, issues for Congress, and overall observations.
The Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC): An Overview
This report discusses the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC), which is an agreement among member states to provide assistance after disasters overwhelm a state's capacity to manage consequences.
Defense: FY2009 Authorization and Appropriations
This report is a guide to one of the regular appropriations bills that Congress considers each year. It is designed to supplement the information provided by the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees on Defense. For both defense authorization and appropriations, this report summarizes the status of the bills, their scope, major issues, funding levels, and related congressional activity.
Rejection of Collective Bargaining Agreements in Chapter 11 Bankruptcies: Legal Analysis of Changes to 11 U.S.C. Section 1113 Proposed in H.R. 3652 -- The Protecting Employees and Retirees in Business Bankruptcies Act of 2007
This report discusses the bill that prescribes the parameters of offers that may be made by the debtor in negotiations as well as the requirements that must be met before a court can approve rejection. The bill also provides an absolute right of all employees to strike if their collective bargaining agreements (CBA), is modified or rejected.
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. It addresses planned and possible future efforts under the Obama Administration, including the scheduled gradual troops withdrawal. This report also discusses the continued tensions between various Iraqi sociocultural groups.
Department of Justice (DOJ) Appropriations for FY2008 and FY2009
This report provides coverage of the FY2009 appropriations cycle for the Department of Justice (DOJ), including FY2008 supplemental appropriations.
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 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. The planned size of the Navy, the rate of Navy ship procurement, and the prospective affordability of the Navy's shipbuilding plans have been matters of concern for the congressional defense committees for the past several years.
U.S.-South Korea Beef Dispute: Negotiations and Status
This report discusses the agreement regarding the beef imports from the United States to South Korea.
Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization: An Overview of Selected Provisions in Proposed Legislation Considered by the 110th Congress
The report is intended to provide a brief summary and analysis of major legislative provisions in bills related to reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration and related aviation programs that were considered during the 110th Congress.
Former NFL Players: Disabilities, Benefits, and Related Issues
This report discusses professional football players' injuries and health conditions that might have long-term consequences for their health.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): Allocation of Scarce Medical Resources During a Pandemic
This report examines selected proposed priorities in light of the nondiscrimination provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
Federal Stafford Act Disaster Assistance: Presidential Declarations, Eligible Activities, and Funding
This report discusses the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (the Stafford Act) that authorizes the President to issue major disaster, emergency, and fire management declarations, which in turn enable federal agencies to provide assistance to state and local governments overwhelmed by catastrophes.
Distribution of Homeland Security Grants in FY2007 and P.L. 110-53, Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act
This report summarizes and compares the FY2007 and P.L. 110-53 Homeland Security Grant Program distribution method; it also presents an estimate of State Homeland Security Grant Program guaranteed minimum allocations for FY2008 through FY2012.
Libya: Transition and U.S. Policy
This report provides a background on Libya's descent into conflict and discusses current policy issues for the U.S. Since Muammar al Qadhafi's fall in 2011, Libyan interest groups have pursued diverse objectives based on local and regional identities, tribal affiliations, political and religious ideologies, and shared personal backgrounds. Fighting and political maneuvering during 2014 and 2015 among rival factions and armed groups has reflected a number of unresolved debates.
NATO Enlargement: Albania, Croatia, and Possible Future Candidates
This report discusses the current status of NATO membership following the April 2-4, 2008 NATO summit in Bucharest, Romania. A principal issue was consideration of the candidacies for membership of Albania, Croatia, and Macedonia. The allies agreed to extend invitations to Albania and Croatia. Although the alliance determined that Macedonia met the qualifications for NATO membership, Greece blocked the invitation due to an enduring dispute over Macedonia's name.
Navy CG(X) Cruiser Program: Background, Oversight Issues, and Options for Congress
This report explores the reasoning behind the development of the technologies and design options for a planned new cruiser called the CG(X). It also discusses the budgetary actions taking place to enable their development, selected technical specifics of their design, and various other information relating to defense procurement costs.
Taiwan: Recent Developments and U.S. Policy Choices
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 Chine (PRC) more broadly.
Low-Income Country Debt Cancellation: H.R. 2634 and S. 2166
This report discusses previous efforts to cancel debt owed by low-income countries. It summarizes the Jubilee debt reduction proposal and provides an overview of House and Senate action. It assesses the likely cost of a possible Jubilee debt reduction program. Finally, the report examines some possible implementation and policy issues.
The Excise Tax on High-Cost Employer-Sponsored Health Coverage: Background and Economic Analysis
This report gives a brief description of the excise tax on high-cost employer-sponsored coverage, commonly referred to as the Cadillac tax, including the legislative origins of the tax and an analysis of the revenue effects of the tax. It also analyzes the Cadillac tax using standard economic criteria of efficiency, equity, and administrative simplicity as well as an analysis of health insurance premium data to provide insights into what share of health insurance plans could exceed the Cadillac tax threshold and how the threshold could affect more health plans over time.
Defense Contracting in Iraq: Issues and Options for Congress
This report examines logistical support contracts for troop support services in Iraq primarily administered through the U.S. Army's Logistics Civil Augmentation Program (LOGCAP).
Tax Expenditures and the Federal Budget
This report discusses tax expenditures, the federal budget and the reform of the federal tax system and provides tax expenditure analysis. The perception that the federal tax system is too complex and unfair could lead to public support for tax reform. Past efforts to reform the federal tax system have included policies to rein in the use and expense of tax expenditures--the special deductions, exclusions, exemptions, and credits resulting in revenue losses.
Nonproliferation and Threat Reduction Assistance: U.S. Programs in the Former Soviet Union
This report focuses on funding for threat reduction and nonproliferation programs in the states of the former Soviet Union. Although the United States has expanded its efforts to programs that seek to assist other nations in securing nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons materials, the overwhelming majority of U.S. funds still support programs in the former Soviet states. Nevertheless, because U.S. funding and focus has shifted in recent years, this report provides only a partial view of U.S. nonproliferation and threat reduction programs.
Saudi Arabia: Background and U.S. Relations
This report discusses the current state of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, its relationship with the United States, and future initiatives to further develop U.S.-Saudi relations. The kingdom of Saudi Arabia, ruled by the Al Saud family since its founding in 1932, wields significant global political and economic influence. Close U.S.-Saudi official relations have survived a series of challenges since the 1940s, and, in recent years, shared concerns over Sunni Islamist extremist terrorism and Iranian regional ambitions have provided a renewed logic for continued strategic cooperation.
U.S. Airline Industry: Issues and Role of Congress
This report provides an overview of selected airline-related issues currently subject to congressional oversight and/or possible legislation. Many of the issues discussed in the report are also addressed in some fashion as part of the ongoing congressional debate about re-authorization of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA)
This report provides background on genetic information, legal implications regarding the use of this information, and relevant laws. It also discusses the statutory provisions of GINA and the regulations regarding both health insurance and employment.
The North Korean Economy: Leverage and Policy Analysis
This report provides an overview of the North Korean economy, its external economic relations, reforms, and U.S. policy options.
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; it gives Navy Aegis cruisers and destroyers a capability for conducting BMD operations. Congress's decisions on the Aegis BMD program could significantly affect U.S. BMD capabilities and funding requirements, and the BMD-related industrial base.
Extending NASA's Exemption from the Iran, North Korea, and Syria Nonproliferation Act
This report discusses NASA's exemptions from the Iran Nonproliferation Act of 2000 (INA) as it relates to the International Space Station (ISS). It provides background information on the ISS and nonproliferation as well as INA origins and relation to the ISS. It also discusses amendments to the INA, current plans for the ISS, and related issues.
Federal Research and Development Funding: FY2009
This report gives an overview of the U.S. research and development (R&D) enterprise and support for federal R&D activities, broken down by departments.
Puerto Rico's Current Fiscal Challenges: In Brief
This report discusses the current state of Puerto Rico's public finances. Puerto Rico faces several fiscal hurdles in 2015. Concerns regarding the sustainability of Puerto Rico's public finances have intensified over the past year, despite several measures taken by the island's government to reduce spending, increase revenues, and restructure its obligations.
The Federal Activities Inventory Reform Act and Circular A-76
This report begins with a brief history of Circular A-76, a review of the its key components, and an assessment of the implementation of the circular. The section on FAIR (Federal Activities Inventory Reform Act) describes how it emerged from a series of compromises, explains the statute's key provisions, and reviews the implementation process, including guidance issued by OMB. The final section addresses recent initiatives, notably the President's competitive sourcing initiative and the Commercial Activities Panel.
The Future of Internet Governance: Should the U.S. Relinquish Its Authority Over ICANN?
This report discusses legislation over the future of Internet government that has been introduced in the 113th and 114th Congresses which would prevent, delay, or impose conditions or additional scrutiny on the transition.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's Essential Health Benefits (EHB)
This report provides an overview of the first component of the essential health benefits (EHB) package--a core package of health care services required by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA; P.L. 111-148, as amended) for non-group and small-group private health insurance markets. The report examines how the EHB are defined, regulations related to the EHB, state variation in the EHB, applicability of the EHB to health plans, and how the EHB interact with other ACA provisions.
Wildfire Spending: Background, Issues, and Legislation in the 114th Congress
This report provides background information and analysis of funding for federal wildfire suppression operations. It concludes by summarizing relevant legislative proposals introduced in the 114th Congress and discussing their possible implications.