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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Stem Cell Research
This report provides background on the research and potential applications of research that uses embryonic and adult stem cells. It also provides information about the current federal and state regulatory landscape, related Congressional and international actions, and relevant ethical concerns.
Senate Action on U.S. Circuit and District Court Nominations During the Eighth Year of a Presidency
This report discusses the process by which lower federal court judges are nominated by the President and approved by the Senate during the final year of a presidency. The eighth year of a presidency is significant, in part, because it is the final opportunity for a President to appoint individuals as U.S. circuit and district court judges.
Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA)
This report contains information on how to ascertain if an individual is eligible for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) benefits, which are available only to those individuals who have become unemployed as a direct result of a declared major disaster. DUA is funded through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and is administered by the Department of Labor (DOL) through each state's UC agency.
The Department of the Interior's Final Rule on Offshore Well Control
This report discusses regulations regarding blowout preventer systems and well control for oil and gas operations on the U.S. outer continental shelf (81 Fed. Reg. 25887). The regulations aim to reduce the risk of an offshore oil or gas blowout that could jeopardize human safety and harm the environment.
U.S. Crude Oil and Natural Gas Production in Federal and Nonfederal Areas
This report examines U.S. oil and natural gas production data for federal and non-federal areas with an emphasis on the past five fiscal years of production.
The First Responder Network (FirstNet) and Next-Generation Communications for Public Safety: Issues for Congress
This report discusses the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet), which is a federal agency that includes private sector and other non-federal representation on its board of directors. It examines the challenges for public safety leaders and policymakers in establishing the framework for a nationwide network that meets state, local, tribal and territorial needs for robust, interoperable emergency communications.
Active Opioid Legislation in the House: In Brief
This report briefly summarizes opioid-related bills that were considered during "Opioid Week" (the week of May 9, 2016) The summaries in this report may be useful illustrations of the range of approaches Members of Congress have proposed to address the problem of opioid addiction.
How to Find Information in a Library and on the Internet
This guide to finding information in libraries and on the Internet has been prepared for constituents who want to learn more about topics that interest them. It includes background directories, current information, reference books, and websites for government, politics, legislation, and other sources. It lists a number of Internet search engines, which can be used at many public libraries. It also suggests guides on how to search, including one for kids.
Fact Sheet: Selected Highlights of the FY2017 National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 4909, S. 2943)
This report provides selected highlights of the version of the FY2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) passed by the House on May 18, 2016 (H.R. 4909) and the version reported by the Senate Armed Services Committee on the same date (S. 2943). Table 1 provides a summary of amounts recommended for authorization. Table 2 provides a summary of selected congressional budget reductions and restrictions, and Table 3 provides a summary of selected Administration policy and cost-cutting proposals. Table 4 provides a summary of selected congressional budget increases and policy initiatives.
OSHA State Plans: In Brief, with Examples from California and Arizona
This report examines various state plans under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act), which authorizes states to establish their own occupational safety and health plans and preempt standards established and enforced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA must approve state plans if they are "at least as effective" as OSHA's standards and enforcement. The report provides specific examples from California and Arizona
Mass Shootings and Terrorism: CRS Products
This document provides a list of CRS reports on issues relevant to the mass shooting incident in Florida, including mass murder with firearms, firearms regulation, domestic terrorism, and hate crime.
FY2017 Appropriations for the Department of Justice
This report discusses appropriations for the Department of Justice (DOJ) for fiscal year 2017. It includes an overview of the DOJ's accounts, broken down by department and program; an comparison of appropriations for fiscal years 2016 and 2017; and select legislative proposals.
Traditional and Roth Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs): A Primer
This report describes the primary features of two common retirement savings accounts that are available to individuals: traditional and Roth Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs). In response to concerns over the adequacy of retirement savings, Congress has created incentives to encourage individuals to save more for retirement through a variety of retirement plans. Some retirement plans are employer-sponsored, such as 401(k) plans, and others are established by individual employees, such as IRAs.
Cuba: Issues for the 114th Congress
This report is divided into three major sections analyzing Cuba's political and economic environment, U.S. policy, and selected issues in U.S.-Cuban relations.
Soil and Water Conservation Issues
This report discusses soil and water conservation, which were prominent farm policy topics in the 108th Congress as the Administration implemented provisions in the 2002 farm bill (P.L. 107-171). This farm bill increased spending and expanded the scope of the conservation effort by reauthorizing and amending most existing conservation programs and enacting new ones through FY2007.
Public Health Service Agencies: Overview and Funding (FY2015-FY2017)
This report gives a brief overview of the eight agencies within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) which are designated components of the U.S. Public Health Services (PHS), and summarizes its funding for FY2015 through FY2017.
Afghanistan: Post-Taliban Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy
This report examines the current political state of Afghanistan at length, discussing the political background, security policy, and regional relations.
Transportation Security: Issues for the 114th Congress
This report examines aviation, transit and passenger rail security, as well as port and maritime security. The difficulty and cost of protecting the transportation sector from attack raises a core question for policymakers, i.e., how much effort and resources to put toward protecting potential targets versus pursuing and fighting terrorists.
Energy Policy: The Continuing Debate and Omnibus Energy Legislation
This report discusses a variety of issues pertaining to energy policy. It includes information about most recent developments, background and analysis broken down into major categories, and relevant legislation.
Federal Inspectors General: History, Characteristics, and Recent Congressional Actions
This report provides background on the statutory creation of federal offices of inspector general (OIGs) and provides historical context for contemporary debates about the strengths and limitations of the offices. Federal inspectors general (IGs) are authorized to combat waste, fraud, and abuse within their affiliated federal entities; to execute their missions, OIGs conduct and publish audits and investigations--among other duties.
Title IX, Sex Discrimination, and Intercollegiate Athletics: A Legal Overview
This report provides an overview of Title IX in general and of the intercollegiate athletics regulations in particular. It includes a summary of the report issued by the Commission on Opportunity in Athletics and the Department of Education's (ED's) response with a discussion of recent legal challenges to the regulations and to the three-part test.
Display of the Confederate Flag at Federal Cemeteries in the United States
This report discusses policies regarding the display of the Confederate Flag at national cemeteries. If a state observes a Confederate Memorial Day, National Park Service (NPS) cemeteries in the state may permit a sponsoring group to decorate the graves of Confederate veterans with small Confederate flags. Additionally, such flags may also be displayed on the nationally observed Memorial Day, to accompany the U.S. flag on the graves of Confederate veterans.
Cuba: Issues for the 114th Congress
This report is divided into three major sections analyzing Cuba's political and economic environment, U.S. policy, and selected issues in U.S.-Cuban relations.
Safe Drinking Water Act: Implementation and Issues
This report discusses key drinking water issues in the 108th Congress involving water infrastructure funding and problems caused by specific contaminants, such as the gasoline additive methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), perchlorate, and lead in drinking water. Congress last reauthorized the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) in 1996, and although funding authority for most SDWA programs expired in FY2003, broad reauthorization efforts were not pursued as EPA, states, and water utilities continued implementing the 1996 amendments.
Congressional Salaries and Allowances
This report provides basic information on congressional salaries and allowances. First, the report briefly summarizes the current salary of Members of Congress, limits on their outside earned income and honoraria, and applicable health insurance and retirement benefits. Second, it provides information on allowances available to Representatives and Senators to support them in their official and representational duties as Members. Third, it provides the salaries and allowances available to the Speaker of the House and the Vice President, as President of the Senate, and lists the salaries of congressional officers and officials and committee staff.
Stafford Act Assistance and Acts of Terrorism
This report provides a brief overview of Stafford Act declarations under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act and the types of assistance they could authorize in response to terrorist incidents. This report also provides examples of Stafford Act declarations that have been issued for previous terrorist attacks.
A Resurgence of Unaccompanied Alien Children?
This report briefly examines the recently-high number of unaccompanied alien children (UAC). In the first seven months of FY2016, apprehensions at the U.S.-Mexico border have approached levels close to what they were in FY2014 when such migration flows reached what were characterized as "crisis" proportions.
India-U.S. Relations and the Visit of Prime Minister Modi
This report briefly discusses Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "working visit" to Washington D.C. that will include addressing Congress, the first such address by an Indian leader since 2005.
Green Infrastructure and Issues in Managing Urban Stormwater
This report discusses the issue of stormwater, or runoff, which is considered largely a problem of excess rainwater or snowmelt impacting communities. Prevailing engineering practices were to move stormwater away from cities as rapidly as possible to avoid potential damages from flooding. More recently, these practices have evolved and come to recognize stormwater as a resource that, managed properly within communities, has multiple benefits.
The Islamic State's Acolytes and the Challenges They Pose to U.S. Law Enforcement
This report provides 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.
The Buy American Act--Preferences for "Domestic" Supplies: In Brief
This report discusses the Buy American Act of 1933, which is the earliest and arguably the best known of various statutes regarding federal procurement of domestic products. The act attempts to protect U.S. businesses and labor by restricting the acquisition and use of end products or construction materials that are not "domestic."
Midnight Rules: Congressional Oversight and Options
This report discusses "midnight rulemaking," referring to the phenomenon during the final months of recent presidential administrations when federal agencies have typically issued a larger number of rules relative to comparable time periods earlier in the administration. It likely occurs because the outgoing presidential administration wants to achieve certain policy goals before the end of its term.
Mileage-Based Road User Charges
This report examines mileage-based user charges as an possible source of highway funding. Federal highway and public transportation programs are funded mainly by taxes on motor fuel that flow into the Highway Trust Fund (HTF). The tax rates, set on a per-gallon basis, have not been raised since 1993, and motor fuel tax receipts have been insufficient to support the transportation programs authorized by Congress since FY2008.
U.S.-Nordic Relations
This report briefly discusses U.S. relations with the Nordic countries--Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden.
Direct Overt U.S. Aid Appropriations for and Military Reimbursements to Pakistan, FY2002-FY2017
This report provides data regarding the direct overt U.S. aid appropriations and military reimbursements to Pakistan.
Pay Equity: Legislative and Legal Developments
This report begins by presenting data on earnings for male and female workers and by discussing explanations that have been offered for the differences in earnings. It next discusses the major laws directed at eliminating sex-based wage discrimination as well as relevant federal court cases. The report closes with a description of pay equity legislation that has been considered or enacted by Congress in recent years.
The United Kingdom and the European Union: Stay or Go?
This report briefly examines the debate surrounding whether or not the United Kingdom should leave the European Union.
The Islamic State and U.S. Policy
This report provides background on the Islamic State organization, discusses its goals, operations, and affiliates, reviews U.S. legislative and policy debates, and describes select FY2017 legislative proposals.
Federal Reserve: Oversight and Disclosure Issues
This report provides an overview of existing Federal Reserve (Fed) oversight and disclosure practices, highlighting recent legislative changes and proposals. It also considers the potential impact of greater oversight and disclosure on the Fed's independence and its ability to achieve its macroeconomic and financial stability goals.
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.
Funding of Presidential Nominating Conventions: An Overview
This report provides a historical overview of how Presidential Election Campaign Fund (PECF) convention funding functioned. It also describes private funding sources that remain available after legislation (H.R. 2019) became law (P.L. 113-94) eliminating PECF funding for convention operations.
FY2016 State Grants Under Title I-A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)
This report provides estimated FY2016 state grant amounts under each of the four formulas used to determine Title I-A grants. The program, part of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), is designed to provide supplementary educational and related services to low-achieving and other students attending pre-kindergarten through grade 12 schools with relatively high concentrations of students from low-income families.
Constitutional Limits to Agency Independence
This legal sidebar examines issues regarding the "separation of powers" among the three branches of U.S. government, specifically in regards to federal agencies.
Legislative Options for Financing Water Infrastructure
This report discusses several options considered by Congress to address the financing needs of local communities for wastewater and drinking water infrastructure projects and to decrease or close the gap between available funds and projected needs. It provides an overview of six options that are reflected in recent legislative proposals, including their budgetary implications.
State Sponsors of Acts of International Terrorism--Legislative Parameters: In Brief
This brief report provides information on legislation that authorizes the designation of any foreign government as a state sponsor of acts of international terrorism. It addresses how each statute defines acts of international terrorism; establishes a list to limit or prohibit aid or trade; provides for systematic removal of a foreign government from a list, including timeline and reporting requirements; authorizes the President to waive restrictions on a listed foreign government; and provides (or does not provide) Congress with a means to block a delisting. The report closes with a summary of delisting in the past.
The Appointment Process for U.S. Circuit and District Court Nominations: An Overview
This report discusses the process of appointment of U.S. circuit and district court judges through presidential nomination and Senate confirmation. In recent decades, the process for appointing judges to the U.S. circuit courts of appeals and the U.S. district courts has been of continuing Senate interest. The responsibility for making these appointments is shared by the President and the Senate. Pursuant to the Constitution's Appointments Clause, the President nominates persons to fill federal judgeships, with the appointment of each nominee also requiring Senate confirmation. Although not mentioned in the Constitution, an important role is also played midway in the appointment process by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Tax-Advantaged Accounts for Health Care Expenses: Side-by-Side Comparison
This report provides brief summaries and background information about four accounts related to medical expenses: Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), Archer Medical Savings Accounts (MSAs), Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs), and Health Reimbursement Accounts (HRAs). It also compares them with respect to characteristics such as eligibility, contribution limits, and use of funds.
Clean Air Act: A Summary of the Act and Its Major Requirements
This report summarizes the Clean Air Act and its major regulatory requirements. It describes the Act's major provisions and provides tables listing all major amendments, with the year of enactment and Public Law number, and crossreferencing sections of the Act with the major U.S. Code sections of the codified statute.
Nanotechnology: A Policy Primer
This report provides a brief overview of three major topics related to nanotechnology: federal research and development (R&D) investments under the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI); U.S. international competitiveness in nanotechnology; and environmental, health, and safety (EHS) concerns. It also discusses nanomanufacturing and public attitudes toward, and understanding of, nanotechnology.
Possible Economic Impact of Brexit
This report briefly discusses the possible economic impact of a June 23, 2016 referendum in which a majority of British voters supported the United Kingdom (UK) leaving the European Union (EU), stunning global financial markets that expected the vote to fail.