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 Resource Type: Report
 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Election in Greece
This report discusses issues leading up to Greece's snap legislative election on September 20, only eight months after the country's last election. Greece continues to struggle with the negative repercussions of a sovereign debt and financial crisis that began in 2009.
Powering Africa: Challenges of and U.S. Aid for Electrification in Africa
This report discusses the Power Africa initiative; policy problems and challenges related to power sector development in Africa; long-term perspectives on energy poverty, need, and future development; and raises some possible oversight questions and issues for Congress.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE): Issues for U.S. Policy
This report discusses the current political and economic landscape of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and its relationship with the U.S. The UAE has been a significant U.S. partner in Gulf security for more than two decades, and the alliance has deepened further in recent years in order to address multiple regional threats.
China's Economic Rise: History, Trends, Challenges, and Implications for the United States
This report provides background on China's economic rise; describes its current economic structure; identifies the challenges China faces to maintain economic growth; and discusses the challenges, opportunities, and implications of China's economic rise.
Pension Sponsorship and Participation: Summary of Recent Trends
This report discusses trends that will affect the economic well-being of future retirees.
Procedures for Congressional Action in Relation to a Nuclear Agreement with Iran: In Brief
This report provides, in brief, analysis of the congressional procedural provisions laid out in the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 (P.L. 114-17). The act establishes a period for Congress to review any comprehensive agreement, during which certain presidential actions to provide relief from sanctions on Iran are barred.
Congressional Liaison Offices of Selected Federal Agencies
This report is a list of about 200 congressional liaison offices, intended to help congressional offices in placing telephone calls and addressing correspondence to government agencies. In each case, the information was supplied by the agency itself and is current as of the date of publication. Entries are arranged alphabetically in four sections: legislative branch; judicial branch; executive branch; and agencies, boards, and commissions.
Cyprus: Reunification Proving Elusive
This report provides a brief overview of the history of the negotiations between Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders, a review of the negotiations since 2008, and a description of some of the issues involved in the talks.
Jordan: Background and U.S. Relations
This report provides an overview of Jordanian politics and current issues in U.S.-Jordanian relations. It provides a brief discussion of Jordan's government and economy and of its cooperation with U.S. policy objectives in the Middle East, including the promotion of Arab-Israeli peace.
Syrian Refugee Admissions to the United States
This report briefly discusses issues regarding refugees fleeing from Syria. With some European countries pledging to accept increased numbers of Syrian and other asylum seekers in the face of a refugee crisis, attention is focused on the United States and its plans to admit Syrian and other refugees in FY2016 and beyond.
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. They have finalized a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, (JCPOA) that attempts to ensure that Iran's nuclear program can be used for purely peaceful purposes, in exchange for a broad suspension of U.S. sanctions and a lifting of those sanctions imposed by the European Union (EU) and the United Nations. This report discusses the agreement and implications for U.S.-Iran relations.
Statutory Qualifications for Executive Branch Positions
This report provides background on the framework for constitutional appointments, discusses Congress's constitutional authority to set qualifications for appointees, discusses congressional practices in this area, and provides related analysis and options. It also includes two tables with examples of existing positions with qualification requirements.
Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS): Commercial Outlook for a New Industry
This report discusses unmanned aircraft systems (UAS)--commonly referred to as drones-- which have become a staple of U.S. military reconnaissance and weapons delivery in overseas war zones such as Afghanistan. Now some new technologies and pending federal regulations are enabling the manufacture and use of UAS in domestic commerce, giving rise to a growing commercial UAS industry.
Veterans' Benefits: Pension Benefit Programs
This report discusses selected veteran pension programs administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). This report also discusses the eligibility criteria and current benefit levels of these programs and provides data on the number of pension beneficiaries and average annual benefit amounts for FY1999 through FY2013.
An Analysis of Efforts to Double Federal Funding for Physical Sciences and Engineering Research
This report provides information and analysis on the origins of the doubling effort; selected acts of Congress, other events, and reports; authorizations and appropriations; the effects of the doubling effort on the funding level and character of federal research funding for the physical sciences and engineering disciplines; and related policy issues.
Cybersecurity: Data, Statistics, and Glossaries
This report describes data and statistics from government, industry, and information technology (IT) security firms regarding the current state of cybersecurity threats in the United States and internationally. These include incident estimates, costs, and annual reports on data security breaches, identity thefts, cybercrimes, malwares, and network securities.
Cybersecurity: Legislation, Hearings, and Executive Branch Documents
This report provides a list of executive orders and presidential directives pertaining to information and computer security. Cybersecurity vulnerabilities challenge governments, businesses, and individuals worldwide. Attacks have various targets, depending upon whether the attacker was seeking military intelligence, conducting diplomatic or industrial espionage, engaging in cybercrime, or intimidating political activists; additionally attributing an attack to a specific location can be difficult, which may make responding problematic.
DHS Appropriations FY2016: Protection, Preparedness, Response, and Recovery
This report is part of a suite of reports that discuss appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for FY2016. It specifically discusses appropriations for the components of DHS included in the third title of the homeland security appropriations bill--the National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD), the Office of Health Affairs (OHA), and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Collectively, Congress has labeled these components in the appropriations act in recent years as "Protection, Preparedness, Response, and Recovery."
The EMV Chip Card Transition: Background, Status, and Issues for Congress
This report describes the financial harm caused by data breaches and the impact of EMV (Europay, MasterCard, and Visa) chip cards on fraud. It provides information about the effect of the transition in selected foreign countries and discusses resolved and remaining impediments to completing the EMV transition in the United States. It also identifies areas of potential congressional interest.
Encryption and Evolving Technology: Implications for U.S. Law Enforcement Investigations
This report provides an overview of the perennial issue involving technology outpacing law enforcement and discusses how policy makers and law enforcement officials have dealt with this issue in the past. It discusses the current debate surrounding smartphone data encryption and how this may impact U.S. law enforcement operations. The report also discusses existing law enforcement capabilities, the debate over whether law enforcement is "going dark" because of rapid technological advances, and resulting issues that policy makers may consider.
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).
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.
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.
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 Arctic-related issues. Issues such as Arctic sovereignty claims; commercial shipping through the Arctic; Arctic oil, gas, and mineral exploration; endangered Arctic species; and increased military operations in the Arctic could cause the region in coming years to become an arena of international cooperation or competition.
The European Union: Questions and Answers
This report serves as a primer on the European Union and provides a brief description of U.S.-EU relations that may be of interest in the 114th Congress.
Europe's Migration and Refugee Crisis
This report discusses the migration and refugee crisis in Europe, as people flee conflict and poverty in neighboring regions. Many are from the Middle East and Africa; others come from Ukraine, as well as Kosovo and elsewhere in the Western Balkans. Experts have characterized the influxes as mixed migration, defined as flows of different groups of people--such as economic migrants, refugees, asylum-seekers, stateless persons, trafficked persons, and unaccompanied children--who travel the same routes and use the same modes of transportation.
Tax Provisions that Expired in 2014 ("Tax Extenders")
This report provides a broad overview of tax extenders -- a collective of temporary tax provisions for which measures have regularly extended the provisions when expired or expiring. Fifty-two temporary tax provisions expired at the end of 2014.
Essential Air Service (EAS)
This report discusses Congress' establishment of the Essential Air Service (EAS), a program to ensure that small communities that were served by certificated air carriers before the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978 would continue to receive scheduled passenger service, with subsidies if necessary. Deregulation gave airlines almost total freedom to determine which domestic markets to serve and what airfares to charge, which raised the concern that communities with relatively low passenger levels would lose service as carriers shifted their operations to serve larger and often more profitable markets.
Across-the-Board Rescissions in Appropriations Acts: Overview and Recent Practices
This report provides information on the main components of across-the-board rescissions and recent practices since FY2008. The annual appropriations process reqires an agreement on the level of funding for individual items or accounts but also with regard to the total amount of discretionary budget authority that will be provided for that fiscal year. If that agreed-upon amount requires a reduction in budget authority and sufficient reductions are not associated with individual programs, an alternative method to reduce that amount is an "across-the-board rescission."
Arms Control Ratification: Opportunities for Modifying Agreements
This report briefly examines arms control ratification and opportunities for modifying agreements. On July 14, 2015, Iran, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, China, and Germany (the P5+1) finalized a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)--an agreement that restricts Iran's nuclear program in an effort to ensure that it can only be used for peaceful purposes.
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. Coast Guard polar icebreakers perform a variety of missions supporting U.S. interests in polar regions. The operational U.S. polar icebreaking fleet currently consists of one heavy polar icebreaker, Polar Star, and one medium polar icebreaker, Healy.
History and Authority of the Joint Economic Committee
This report briefly discusses joint committees, which are composed of members from both the House and the Senate. The work of these committees generally involves conducting studies and overseeing aspects of congressional operations. This report focuses specifically on the Joint Economic Committee.
Is Global Growth Slowing?
This report discusses concerns about a slowdown in the global economy, particularly in China and other emerging markets. Some projections indicate that global economic growth in 2016 could be slightly weaker for emerging markets, primarily Latin America, and developed economies, except the United States and the United Kingdom.
Long Range Strike Bomber Begins to Emerge
This report discusses the U.S. Air Force's top three procurement priorities, including the LRS-B program, which is intended to yield 80 to 100 strategic bombers to replace aging B-52s and B-1s, beginning in the mid-2020s.
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.
Renegotiating Arms Control Agreements: A Brief Review
This report discusses previous arms control agreements that affected U.S. weapons programs or military activities. On July 14, 2015, Iran, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, China, and Germany finalized a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)--an agreement that restricts Iran's nuclear program in an effort to ensure that it can only be used for peaceful purposes.
Temporary Protected Status: Current Immigration Policy and Issues
This report is a brief overview of current policies regarding temporary protected status (TPS), which is relief from removal under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). It includes information about humanitarian migrants, temporary protected status, other blanket forms of relief, nationalities receiving protections, and issues with TPS, as well as recent legislation.
The Affordable Care Act's (ACA) Employer Shared Responsibility Determination and the Potential ACA Employer Penalty
This report describes the potential employer penalties related to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA; P.L. 111-148, as amended) as well as regulations to implement the ACA employer provisions. The regulations address insurance coverage requirements, methodologies for determining whether a worker is considered full time, provisions relating to seasonal workers and corporate franchises, and other reporting requirements.
Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA): Resources for Frequently Asked Questions
This report contains links to contacts for specific Affordable Care Act (ACA) questions and provides basic consumer sources, including a glossary of health coverage terms. It also provides sources on the ACA's provisions on mental health, public health, workforce, quality, and taxes, as well as sources on ACA costs and appropriations, legal issues, the treatment of noncitizens under the ACA, and sources for obtaining the law's full text.
Women in Combat: Issues for Congress
This report looks at the history of women in US military roles and combat since the 1990s. It also discusses critic's views of exclusionary policy as a civil rights issue. Over the past two decades of conflict, women have served with valor and continue to serve on combat aircraft, naval vessels, and in support of ground combat operations. The expansion of roles for women in the armed forces has evolved since the early days of the military when women were restricted by law and policy from serving in certain occupations and units.
Drug Testing and Crime-Related Restrictions in TANF, SNAP, and Housing Assistance
This report describes and compares the drug- and crime-related policy restrictions contained in selected federal programs that provide assistance to low-income individuals and families: the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly Food Stamps), and the three primary federal housing assistance programs (the public housing program, the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program, and the project-based Section 8 rental assistance program).
Maritime Territorial and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) Disputes Involving China: Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and issues for Congress on maritime territorial and exclusive economic zone (EEZ) disputes in the East China (ECS) and South China Sea (SCS) involving China, with a focus on how these disputes may affect U.S. strategic and policy interests.
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 how much emphasis to place on IW and CT activities in future Navy budgets. Congress's decisions regarding Navy IW and CT operations can affect Navy operations and funding requirements, and the implementation of the nation's overall IW and CT strategies.
Financial Regulatory Improvement Act Included in Senate Appropriations Bill
This report highlights some of the major policy proposals included in S. 1484, as reported by the Senate Banking Committee on June 2, 2015. The text of the bill was among the financial regulatory changes included in the FY2016 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act (S. 1910). S. 1484 encompasses a broad package of reforms to the financial regulatory system, including some changes to the Dodd-Frank Act (P.L. 111-203).
Gold King Mine Spill May Renew Interest in "Good Samaritan" Legislation
This report discusses legislation related to an accidental spill from the Gold King Mine, a long-abandoned gold mine site in Colorado, which released acid mine drainage (AMD) wastewater into a tributary of the Animas River and downstream to the San Juan River. The proposed legislation would authorize Good Samaritan remediation, in which third parties who have no history of polluting at a particular site or legal responsibility for its pollution step forward to clean up AMD or other historic mine residue of pollution.
How Many UAVs for DOD?
This report briefly discusses the Department of Defense's (DOD) projected procurement levels for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs or "drones") over the next several years.
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.
Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 (H.R. 3230; P.L. 113-146)
This report begins with a brief overview of the legislative history that lead up to the enactment of the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 (P.L. 113-146), and discusses subsequent amendments to the act. The Act was largely in response to issues pertaining to delays in patient care and patient wait time manipulation at various Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care system facilities.
Health Insurance: Small is the New Large
This report discusses aspects of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that expand the definition of small employer to include employers with 100 or fewer employees. States must implement the expanded definition for plan years beginning in 2016, but have the option of implementing the expanded definition prior to the deadline.
Navy Ship Names: Background for Congress
This report discusses the process of naming Navy ships, which have traditionally been chosen and announced by the Secretary of the Navy. Rules for giving certain types of names to certain types of Navy ships have evolved over time.