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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Results 14101 - 14150 of 18,969
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Veterans Affairs Beneficiary Travel Program: Questions and Answers
This report offers an overview of the Travel Beneficiary Program for veterans and includes a question-and-answer section with basic information about eligibility, the types of travel covered and how benefits are calculated, and how to apply for the benefit.
Earthquakes: Risk, Detection, Warning, and Research
This report discusses the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP), a program under which the federal government supports efforts to assess and monitor earthquake hazards and risk in the United States. This report also discusses earthquake hazards and risk in the United States; federal programs that support earthquake monitoring; the U.S. capability to detect earthquakes and issue notifications and warnings; and federally-supported research to improve the fundamental scientific understanding of earthquakes with a goal of reducing U.S. vulnerability.
The European Union's Reform Process: The Lisbon Treaty
This report provides information on the Lisbon Treaty and possible U.S.-EU implications that may be of interest to the 112th Congress.
Federal Efforts to Address the Threat of Bioterrorism: Selected Issues and Options for Congress
This report focuses on four areas under congressional consideration deemed critical to the success of the biodefense enterprise: strategic planning; risk assessment; surveillance; and the development, procurement, and distribution of medical countermeasures. This report also discusses the effectiveness and sufficiency of programs implementing these aspects of the federal biodefense efforts, outside analysts' suggestions for improving the government's efforts, and current issues under congressional consideration.
Kuwait: Security, Reform, and U.S. Policy
This report looks at Kuwait's relationships with its neighbors in the Persian Gulf, and its own political system which has been in turmoil since 2006.
State, Foreign Operations Appropriations: A Guide to Component Accounts
This report briefly discusses State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs appropriations legislation generally and then provides a short description of the various funding accounts as they appear in Division F, “Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2010,” of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2010. For FY2011, State, Foreign Operations programs are currently being funded under a continuing resolution that funds these programs through March 4, 2011.
Thailand: Background and U.S. Relations
This report looks at the relationship between the U.S. and Thailand. This includes recent rivalries between populist political forces, nepotism in government, and Thai relationships with neighboring countries.
A U.S.-centric Chronology of the International Climate Change Negotiations
The United States is a Party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), but not to its subsidiary Kyoto Protocol. Negotiations under way since 2007 have run on two tracks: one under the Kyoto Protocol, to extend commitments of developed parties beyond 2012, and the second track under the UNFCCC, regarding commitments for all Parties. Both tracks convened in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 2009 under a deadline to agree on steps to address climate change beyond 2012. As background for congressional deliberations, this document provides a U.S.-centric chronology of international climate change policy from 1979 to 2010. This chronology identifies selected external events and major multilateral meetings that influence both the current legal and institutional arrangements, and the contentious choices about future international cooperation.
U.S.-Latin America Trade: Recent Trends and Policy Issues
Trade is one of the more enduring issues in contemporary U.S.-Latin America relations. Latin America is far from the largest U.S. regional trade partner, but historically is the fastest growing one. The United States has implemented comprehensive reciprocal trade agreements with most of its important trade partners in Latin America. Agreements with Panama and Colombia have been signed but not implemented, pending congressional action. Countries south of the Caribbean Basin have been reluctant to enter into such a deal because it does not meet their primary negotiation objectives. This report looks at the status, implications, and alternatives to current free trade agreements in the region.
Brazil-U.S. Relations
This report analyzes Brazil's political, economic, and social conditions, and discusses how those conditions affect its role in the region and its relationship with the United States.
Expedited or "Fast-Track" Legislative Procedures
This report discusses expedited or "fast-track" legislative procedures, which are special procedures that Congress adopts to promote timely committee and floor action on a specifically defined type of bill or resolution.
Export-Import Bank: Background and Legislative Issues
The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank), an independent federal government agency, is the official export credit agency of the United States. It helps finance American exports of manufactured goods and services, with the objective of contributing to the employment of U.S. workers, primarily in circumstances when alternative financing is not available. Ex-Im Bank also may assist U.S. exporters to meet foreign, officially sponsored, export credit competition. Ex-Im Bank's main programs are direct loans, loan guarantees, working capital guarantees, and export credit insurance. Ex-Im Bank transactions are backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government. The Bank operates under a renewable charter, the Export-Import Bank Act of 1945, which requires that all of the Bank's financing have a reasonable assurance of repayment and directs the Bank to supplement, and to not compete with, private capital.
Salaries of Members of Congress: Congressional Votes, 1990-2010
The U.S. Constitution, in Article I, Section 6, authorizes compensation for Members of Congress "ascertained by law, and paid out of the Treasury of the United States." Throughout American history, Congress has relied on three different methods in adjusting salaries for Members. Standalone legislation was last used to provide increases in 1990 and 1991. It was the only method used by Congress for many years. The second method, under which annual adjustments took effect automatically unless disapproved by Congress, was established in 1975. A third method for adjusting Member pay is congressional action pursuant to recommendations from the President, based on the recommendations of the Citizens' Commission on Public Service and Compensation established in the 1989 Ethics Reform Act.
Salaries of Members of Congress: Recent Actions and Historical Tables
Congress is required by Article I, Section 6, of the Constitution to determine its own pay. Prior to 1969, Congress did so by enacting stand-alone legislation. Stand-alone legislation may still be used to raise Member pay but two other methods-including an automatic annual adjustment procedure and a commission process-are now also available. This report contains information on the pay procedure and recent adjustments. It also contains historical information on the rate of pay for Members of Congress since 1789; the adjustments projected by the Ethics Reform Act as compared to actual adjustments in Member pay; details on past legislation enacted with language prohibiting the annual pay adjustment; and Member pay in constant and current dollars since 1992.
Afghanistan: Politics, Elections, and Government Performance
This report discusses the current political state of Afghanistan, as well as the Afghan government. This report 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. It also includes discussion of election fraud and corruption in Afghanistan.
Algeria: Current Issues
This report examines the current state of Algeria, including Algeria's associations with terrorism, the weakening of the Algerian military, and the nation's growing oil revenues.
Amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Set to Expire February 28, 2011
This report discusses the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) which provides a statutory framework by which government agencies may, when gathering foreign intelligence investigation, obtain authorization to conduct electronic surveillance or physical searches, utilize pen registers and trap and trace devices, or access specified business records and other tangible things. Authorization for such activities is typically obtained via a court order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), a specialized court created to act as a neutral judicial decision maker in the context of FISA.
Food Safety Issues for the 112th Congress
This report looks at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Food Safety Modernization Act and the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. It particularly looks at ways in which the 112th Congress may want to provide oversight for the Act.
Foreign Aid: An Introduction to U.S. Programs and Policy
This report provides an overview of the U.S. foreign assistance program by answering frequently asked questions on the subject. It is intended to provide a broad view of foreign assistance over time.
Industrial Demand and the Changing Natural Gas Market
This report analyzes the behavior of the industrial component of natural gas demand, examining the conditions in the industries that consume natural gas that might lead to reduced demand. The nitrogen-based fertilizer industry is examined as an example of a major natural gas consuming industry that has been affected by high and/or fluctuating prices.
Public Health and Emergency Preparedness: CRS Experts
This table provides access to names and contact information for CRS experts on policy concerns relating to public health and emergency preparedness.
Taiwan: Major U.S. Arms Sales Since 1990
This report discusses U.S. security assistance for Taiwan, particularly policy issues for Congress. It also lists sales of major defense articles and services to Taiwan, as approved by the President and notified to Congress since 1990. This report uses a variety of unclassified consultations and citations in the United States and Taiwan.
Tajikistan: Recent Developments and U.S. Interests
Tajikistan is a significant country in Central Asia by virtue of its geographic location bordering China and Afghanistan and its ample water and other resources, but it faces ethnic and clan schisms, deep poverty, poor governance, and other severe challenges. The country continues to face problems of political integration, perhaps evidenced in part by recent violence in eastern Tajikistan. The country also faces substantial threats from terrorism and narcotics trafficking from Afghanistan. After the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States, Tajikistan, a supporter of the Afghan Northern Alliance's combat against the Taliban, soon offered use of Tajik airspace to U.S. forces, and some coalition forces began to transit through Tajik airspace and airfields. While most land transport along this Northern Distribution Network traverses Uzbekistan to final destinations in Afghanistan, Tajikistan serves as an alternative route for a small percentage of supplies. The Administration requested $47.1 million in foreign assistance for Tajikistan in FY2011.
Africa: U.S. Foreign Assistance Issues
This report discusses the issue of U.S. economic assistance to sub-Saharan Africa, highlighting the importance of continued assistance in light of U.S. national security and also various U.S.-led efforts to promote reform amongst African citizens themselves. U.S. assistance finds its way to Africa through a variety of channels, including the USAID-administered DA program, food aid programs, and indirect aid provided through international financial institutions and the United Nations.
Closing the Guantanamo Detention Center: Legal Issues
This report provides an overview of major legal issues likely to arise as a result of executive and legislative action to close the Guantanamo detention facility. It discusses legal issues related to the transfer of Guantanamo detainees, the continued detention of such persons in the United States, and the possible removal of persons brought into the country. It also discusses selected constitutional issues that may arise in the criminal prosecution of detainees, emphasizing the procedural and substantive protections that are utilized in different adjudicatory forums.
Committee Types and Roles
This report briefly describes the structure of the congressional committee system and the types of congressional committees, as well as congressional subcommittees.
Egypt: The January 25 Revolution and Implications for U.S. Foreign Policy
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.
Implications of Egypt's Turmoil on Global Oil and Natural Gas Supply
This report examines the change in Egypt's government and how this will likely not have a significant direct impact on the global oil and natural gas markets.
Intelligence Issues for Congress
This report gives an overview of current intelligence issues of interest to the 112th Congress. It includes background and analysis including most recent development, ongoing Congressional concerns, specific issues for the 112th Congress, and a summary of related legislation from the 109th through the 112th Congresses.
International Food Aid: U.S. and Other Donor Contributions
This report provides three indicators of the U.S. contribution to global food aid: (1) shipments of major donors compiled by the International Grains Council (IGC), (2) U.S. contributions to the United Nations World Food Program (WFP), and (3) the U.S. commitment under the 1999 Food Aid Convention (FAC).
Legislative Branch: FY2011 Appropriations
This report discusses budgetary issues of the legislative branch of the U.S. government during Fiscal Year 2011.
The Market for Biomass-Based Diesel Fuel in the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS)
This report discusses the current market for biomass-based diesel (BBD) fuels and their corresponding RINs (Renewable Identification Numbers) under the RFS. It examines the role that the RIN market may play as an economic incentive for the production of biodiesel and other BBD fuels in the future.
Party Leaders in the United States Congress, 1789-2011
This report briefly describes current responsibilities and selection mechanisms for 15 House and Senate party leadership posts and provides tables with historical data, including service dates, party affiliation, and other information for each.
Reaching the Debt Limit: Background and Potential Effects on Government Operations
This report examines the possibility of the federal government reaching its statutory debt limit and not raising it, with a particular focus on government operations. First, the report explains the nature of the federal government's debt, the processes associated with federal borrowing, and historical events that may influence prospective actions. It also includes an analysis of what could happen if the federal government may no longer issue debt, has exhausted alternative sources of cash, and, therefore, depends on incoming receipts or other sources of funds to provide any cash needed to liquidate federal obligations. Finally this report lays out considerations for increasing the debt limit under current policy and what impact fiscal policy could have on the debt limit going forward.
Security Assistance Reform: “Section 1206” Background and Issues for Congress
Section 1206 is the first major DOD authority to be used expressly for the purpose of training and equipping the national military forces of foreign countries. This report provides background on the pre-Section 1206 status of security assistance authorities, the factors contributing to the enactment of Section 1206, its purpose, scope, and funding.
The Speaker of the House: House Officer, Party Leader, and Representative
This report discusses the three roles of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, who is widely viewed as symbolizing the power and authority of the House. The Speaker's most prominent role is that of presiding officer of the House. The Speaker also serves as leader of the majority party conference. The Speaker's third distinct role is that of an elected Member of the House.
United Nations Peacekeeping: Issues for Congress
This report serves as a tracking report for action by Congress on United Nations peacekeeping. Funding and provisioning issues are examined.
Veterans Affairs: The U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims— Judicial Review of VA Decision Making
This report discusses legislation enacted by the 111th Congress to address funding, operations, and benefit appeal procedures within the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veteran Claims (CAVC).
Agriculture in Pending U.S. Free Trade Agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea
This report discusses pending U.S. free trade agreements (FTAs) with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama. The bills to implement these agreements will now be debated under trade promotion authority, or fast-track rules, designed to expedite congressional consideration. The report includes an overview of agricultural issues regarding FTAs and pending FTA partners, as well as a closer breakdown of the specific issues for each of the countries.
Codes of Conduct for Multinational Corporations: An Overview
The U.S. economy has grown increasingly interconnected with other economies around the world, a phenomenon often referred to as globalization. Over the past 20 years, multinational corporations and nations have adopted voluntary, legally enforceable, and industry-specific codes of conduct to address concerns over the economic, social, and political impact of this phenomenon. Congress will continue to play a pivotal role in addressing the large number of issues regarding internationally applied corporate codes of conduct that remain to be negotiated.
The Family and Medical Leave Act: Current Legislative Activity
This report offers a brief overview of the major features of the Family and Medical Leave Act(FMLA) and its regulations. The various proposals made to amend the Act since its inception are then categorized and discussed. It closes with a review of legislative activity.
Iran: U.S. Concerns and Policy Responses
This report discusses how the Obama Administration differs from the Bush Administration regarding strategy in Iran relations; it also discusses the current political state of Iran, including incidents of violence and unrest. Much of the debate over U.S. policy toward Iran has centered on the nature of the current regime; some believe that Iran, a country of about 70 million people, is a threat to U.S. interests because hardliners in Iran's regime dominate and set a policy direction intended to challenge U.S. influence and allies in the region.
Israel: Background and U.S. Relations
This report explores the history of U.S.-Israeli relationships and current Israeli issues such as border security, defense, Israel-Palestinian conflicts, economy, and democracy.
Limitations in Appropriations Measures: An Overview of Procedural Issues
This report deals with the procedure and scope of appropriations limitations within the House and the Senate.
Trade Adjustment Assistance for Firms: Economic, Program, and Policy Issues
As global economic competition heightens, many firms and workers face difficult adjustment problems. Congress has responded to these adjustment costs by authorizing four trade adjustment assistance (TAA) programs to assist trade-impacted workers, firms, farmers, and communities. This report discusses the TAA program for firms (TAAF). The TAAF program provides technical assistance to trade-affected firms to help them develop strategies and make other adjustments to remain competitive in the changing international economy.
U.S. Nuclear Cooperation with India: Issues for Congress
This report discusses the United States' relationship with India as it regards nuclear nonproliferation and cooperation. It particularly looks at agreements made between the Bush administration and India, and the Obama administration's continuation of these policies.
Compensated Work Sharing Arrangements (Short-Time Compensation) as an Alternative to Layoffs
This report describes short-term compensation (STC) as a beneficial alternative to layoffs. It also describes the status of STC (or work sharing) in the U.S., particularly as it varies from state to state.
Foreign Aid Reform, National Strategy, and the Quadrennial Review
This report addresses foreign aid reform through early 2011. Several development proponents, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and policymakers have pressed Congress to reform U.S. foreign aid capabilities to better address 21st century development needs and national security challenges. Foreign aid reform may continue to be a concern in the 112th Congress.
FY2011 National Defense Authorization Act: Selected Military Personnel Policy Issues
This report focuses on the annual defense authorization process. It includes discussions of pay raises, insurance, social programs, and other personnel policy issues.
Mexico-U.S. Relations: Issues for Congress
This report covers the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and U.S. - Mexico drug trafficking. It also looks at migration, environmental issues, legislation in the 111th and 112th Congress, and the relationship between the Obama Administration and Mexico.