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 Country: United States
 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Iran's Nuclear Program: Tehran's Compliance with International Obligations
This report provides a brief overview of Iran's nuclear program and describes the legal basis for the actions taken by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) board and the Security Council.
Cybersecurity: Overview Reports and Links to Government, News, and Related Resources
This report directs the reader to authoritative sources that address many of the most prominent issues related to cybersecurity. Included in the reports are resources and studies from government agencies (federal, state, local, and international), think tanks, academic institutions, news organizations, and other sources.
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act: History, Impact, and Issues
This report examines debates over what constitutes an unfunded federal mandate and the Unfunded Mandate Reform Act's (UMRA's) implementation. It also discusses particular mandates and procedures associated with UMRA, and assesses UMRA's impact on federal mandates and arguments concerning UMRA's future, focusing on UMRA's definitions, exclusions, and exceptions that currently exempt many federal actions with potentially significant financial impacts on nonfederal entities.
Federal Securities Law: Insider Trading
This report discusses various regulations regarding insider trading violations. Insider trading in securities may occur when a person in possession of material nonpublic information about a company trades in the company's securities and makes a profit or avoids a loss.
Latin America and the Caribbean: Fact Sheet on Leaders and Elections
This report provides the results of recent elections in Latin America and the Caribbean. It includes three tables organized by region, containing the date of each country's independence, the name of the newly elected president or prime minister, and the projected date of the next election. Information in this report was gathered from numerous sources, including the U.S. State Department, Central Intelligence Agency's (CIA's) World Fact Book, International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) Election Guide, Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), and other news sources.
International Trade and Finance: Key Policy Issues for the 114th Congress, 2nd Session
This report provides a brief overview of some of the trade and finance issues that may come before the second session of the 114th Congress.
The 2015 National Security Strategy: Authorities, Changes, Issues for Congress
This report discusses the National Security Strategy (NSS), a document released by the Obama Administration which states that its purpose is to "set out the principles and priorities to guide the use of American power and influence in the world." This update emphasizes a shift away from the U.S. role in the world being largely a catalyst for action by international institutions to one that reflects more involved leadership both inside those institutions and between nations.
Intelligence Spending: In Brief
This report examines intelligence funding over the past several decades, with an emphasis on the period from 2007-2017--the period in which total national and military intelligence program spending dollars have been publicly disclosed on an annual basis.
Iraqi and Afghan Special Immigrant Visa Programs
This report analyzes the special immigrant visas (SIVs) classifications for Iraqis and Afghans within the context of both the larger INA special immigrant category and selected other permanent admissions categories. It discusses the legislative changes to the individual Iraqi and Afghan special immigrant programs since their initial authorization, provides statistics on visa issuances, and considers challenges that have faced the programs.
Marine Corps Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV) and Marine Personnel Carrier (MPC): Background and Issues for Congress
This report discusses issues surrounding the funding for development of Marine Corps Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV) and Marine Personnel Carrier (MPC). The Marines are required by law to have the necessary equipment to conduct amphibious operations and land operations.
The Death of Justice Scalia: Procedural Issues Arising on an Eight-Member Supreme Court
This report provides an overview of the Supreme Court's procedural rules and requirements when the Court is staffed with fewer than nine members. It includes an overview of the Court's quorum requirements, rehearing procedures, and vote count practices, with a focus on how the Court has traditionally responded to a change of composition during a term. The report concludes by highlighting over a dozen cases from the current term that could result in an evenly divided Supreme Court.
Senators' Official Personnel and Office Expense Account (SOPOEA): History and Usage
This report provides a history of the Senators' Official Personnel and Office Expense Account (SOPOEA) and an overview of recent developments, including funding levels. It also analyzes actual SOPOEA spending patterns in selected years. The allowance is provided on a fiscal year basis (i.e., October 1-September 30) in the annual legislative branch appropriations bills.
U.S. Trade Deficit and the Impact of Changing Oil Prices
This report provides an estimate of the initial impact of the changing oil prices on the nation's merchandise trade balance.
The Use of Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI) in Federal Health Programs
This report explores how modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) is defined differently across health programs such as Medicare, the health insurance exchanges under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and Medicaid. It also discusses why MAGI is used, and how it is applied, specific to each program. The report covers that MAGI is used to determine (1) penalty amounts owed if a person does not comply with the individual mandate or whether an individual is exempt from the individual mandate; (2) eligibility for and the amount of a premium credit to purchase coverage through a health insurance exchange; and (3) Medicaid income eligibility for certain populations.
The Army's Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV): Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information on the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV), which is the Army's proposed replacement to the Vietnam-era M-113 personnel carriers.
Conventional Prompt Global Strike and Long-Range Ballistic Missiles: Background and Issues
This report provides an overview of the rationale for the prompt global strike (PGS) mission and the possible deployment of conventional warheads on long-range ballistic missiles or boost-glide systems in support of this mission. It then reviews the Air Force and Navy efforts to develop these systems. It summarizes congressional reaction to these proposals, then provides a more detailed account of the issues raised by these concepts and programs.
An Examination of Federal Disaster Relief Under the Budget Control Act
The first section of this report addresses the pre-BCA (Budget Control Act) funding mechanism for major disaster declarations, including the role of the President's Disaster Relief Fund (DRF). Next, this report provides a basic overview of how that funding mechanism has evolved under the BCA, and how Hurricane Sandy was addressed under that mechanism. Finally, the report explores a number of other issues pertinent to disaster relief funding in the BCA-regulated environment.
The Budget Reconciliation Process: Timing of Legislative Action
This report discusses the budget reconciliation process that has been one of the chief tools used by Congress during the period covering from 1980 to the present to implement major changes in budget policy. Following a brief overview of the budget reconciliation process, this report provides information on the timing of House and Senate action on reconciliation measures.
Court-Ordered Access to Smart Phones: In Brief
This report specifically examines certain encryption issues that have been raised in the investigation of the December 2, 2015, terrorist attack in San Bernardino, CA. This report highlights certain issues that policymakers may examine as they follow the ongoing dispute between law enforcement and technology companies, and it focuses on questions related to the government's request.
Health Care for Veterans: Suicide Prevention
This report focuses on suicide prevention activities of the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The VHA's approach to suicide prevention is based on a public health framework, which has three major components: (1) surveillance, (2) risk and protective factors, and (3) interventions.
Salaries of Members of Congress: Recent Actions and Historical Tables
This report provides historical tables on the rate of pay for Members of Congress since 1789; details on enacted legislation with language prohibiting the automatic annual pay adjustment since the most recent adjustment; the adjustments projected by the Ethics Reform Act as compared with actual adjustments in Member pay; and Member pay in constant and current dollars since 1992.
The Federal Communications Commission: Current Structure and Its Role in the Changing Telecommunications Landscape
This report discusses current issues regarding the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which is an independent federal agency charged with regulating interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable. The mission of the FCC is to ensure that the American people have available--at reasonable cost and without discrimination--rapid, efficient, nation- and world-wide communication services, whether by radio, television, wire, satellite, or cable.
Overview of Labor Enforcement Issues in Free Trade Agreements
This report discusses free trade agreements (FTAs) that have enforceable labor provisions, grouped into four model types. It outlines the provisions for each and identifies two types of labor enforcement issues: (1) those that relate to the FTA provisions themselves, including their definitions and their enforceability, and (2) those that relate to executive branch responsibilities, such as resource availability and determining dispute settlement case priorities. This report does not address other labor issues in the various free trade agreements, including cooperative consultation and capacity-building provisions.
Ukraine: Current Issues and U.S. Policy
This report provides an overview of the situation in Ukraine, two years after the February 2014 collapse of the Kremlin-supported government of President Viktor Yanukovych. Following the collapse, there was an emergence of a pro-Western, pro-reform government and an energized public generally anxious to lessen Moscow's influence, committed to addressing the need for serious reform and determined to draw closer to Europe and the United States.
The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS)
This report discusses the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) comprising nine members, two ex officio members, and other members as appointed by the President representing major departments and agencies within the federal executive branch. While the group generally has operated in relative obscurity, the proposed acquisition of commercial operations at six U.S. ports by Dubai Ports World in 2006 placed the group's operations under intense scrutiny by Members of Congress and the public.
FY2017 State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Budget Request: In Brief
This report provides an overview and highlights of budget requests for the State Department, Foreign Operations, and Related Appropriations (SFOPS). It includes information from the previous fiscal years with an account-by-account comparison of the FY2017 request to the FY2016 estimates and FY2015 actuals in Appendix A.
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 also outlines the current debate surrounding smartphone data encryption and how this may impact U.S. law enforcement operations, as well as 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.
General and Flag Officers in the U.S. Armed Forces: Background and Considerations for Congress
This report provides an overview of active duty general and flag officers (GFOs) in the United States Armed Forces-- including authorizations, duties, and compensation--historical trends in the proportion of GFOs relative to the total force, criticisms and justifications of GFO to total force proportions, and statutory controls. National Guard and Reserve GFOs are not addressed in this report, unless they are serving on active duty in a manner that counts against the active duty caps on GFOs.
The Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC): In Brief
This report describes the eligibility criteria for the Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC) and the types of health insurance to which the tax credit may be applied. The tax credit's purpose is to make the purchase of health insurance more affordable for eligible individuals. The HCTC has a sunset date of January 1, 2020. The report also briefly describes the administration of the HCTC program and receipt of the credit by eligible taxpayers; it concludes with a summary of the HCTC's statutory history.
Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV): Background and Issues for Congress
This report discusses the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV), which is an Army-led, multi-service initiative to develop a family of light tactical vehicles as a successor to the High Mobility, Multi-Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWVs). It includes background information; a description of the JLTV program, program history, and program activities; information about the JLTV contract, Lockheed Martin's protest to the program, budgetary issues, and potential issues for Congress.
Legislative Options for Financing Water Infrastructure
This report addresses 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. Possible options include expanding or modifying current programs, establishing long-term revenue to support programs, or encouraging private participation in financing projects.
Recovery Act Funding for DOE Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) Projects
This report discusses current legislation regarding the potential of carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) as a mitigation strategy for lowering global emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2). Congress has appropriated more than $7 billion since FY2008 to CCS activities at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
The Role of Local and Regional Food Systems in U.S. Farm Policy
This report provides background information on many of the type of operations engaged in the U.S. local and regional food system. A wide range of farm businesses are involved in local foods, such as direct-to-consumer marketing, farmers' markets, farm-to-school programs, community-supported agriculture,6 community gardens, school gardens, food hubs and market aggregators, kitchen incubators, and mobile slaughter units. This report also highlights some of the available resources within existing federal programs administered by USDA and other agencies.
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.
Additional U.S. Ground Troops to Counter the Islamic State? Five Questions
This report briefly discusses various arguments regarding the introduction of additional ground forces to secure territory once it has been taken back from the Islamic State.
Deficits and Debt: Economic Effects and Other Issues
This report explores distinctions in the concept and composition of deficits and debt, explains how these two measures interact, and discusses their possible effects on the economy. The combination of persistent budget deficits and a large and increasing federal debt has generated discussions over the long-term sustainability of current budget projections. Federal debt totaled $18.922 trillion at the end of calendar year 2015, and as a percentage of GDP is at its highest value since the end of World War II; $13.673 trillion of that debt was held by the public.
U.S. Family-Based Immigration Policy
This report provides an examination of family-based immigration policy. It outlines a brief history of U.S. policies, discusses current law governing admissions, and summarizes recommendations made by previous congressionally-mandated committees charged with evaluating immigration policy. It then presents descriptive figures on legal immigrants entering the United States during the past decade and discusses the sizable queue of approved immigrant petitioners waiting for an immigrant visa. It closes by discussing selected policy issues.
Border Security Metrics Between Ports of Entry
This report provides background and information about performance and operational metrics related to U.S. border security as well as issues for Congressional consideration.
The Federal Networking and Information Technology Research and Development Program: Background, Funding, and Activities
This report discusses the federal government's role in the country's information technology (IT) research and development (R&D) activities. Support of IT R&D began because the government had an important interest in creating computers and software that would be capable of addressing the problems and issues the government needed to solve and study.
FY2016 Changes to DOD's 1033 Program
This report briefly discusses the current status of the Department of Defense's (DOD's) 1033 Program, under which excess DOD property -- such as personal computers, vehicles, and firearms -- are made available to qualified federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies.
Lead in Flint, Michigan's Drinking Water: Federal Regulatory Role
This report discusses the federal regulatory role in regards to drinking water, more specifically in the context of the Flint water crisis. Lead exposure is a major public health concern, particularly because low-level exposures can impair the neurodevelopment of children. The main source of lead in drinking water is the corrosion of plumbing materials in the distribution system.
U.S. Farm Income Outlook for 2016
This report discusses this the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA's) farm income outlook and its implications. According to USDA's Economic Research Service (ERS), national net farm income--a key indicator of U.S. farm well-being--is forecast at $54.8 billion in 2016, down 3% from last year. The 2016 forecast represents the third consecutive year of decline and would be the lowest since 2002 in both nominal and inflation-adjusted dollars.
What Does Justice Scalia's Death Mean for Congress and the Nation?
This legal sidebar briefly provides an overview of the major implications of Justice Scalia's death for Congress. Justice Scalia's absence may alter the outcome of several cases of interest to Congress pending before the Court and could mark a seismic shift in many legal doctrines, depending on who is confirmed to fill the newly vacant seat on the Court. The job of confirming the President's nomination to fill the vacancy resides with the Senate, making Justice Scalia's death likely to have a profound impact in both the short and long term on Congress.
The European Union: Current Challenges and Future Prospects
This report provides a brief history of the European Union (EU) and the major challenges currently confronting the EU as an institution. It also discusses the potential implications both for the EU itself and for U.S.-EU relations.
Appointment of African American U.S. Circuit and District Court Judges: Historical Overview and Current Data
This report briefly provides historical and statistical information related to the appointment of African Americans as U.S. circuit and district court judges. Such information addresses ongoing congressional interest in the demographic characteristics of lower federal court judges.
Disposal of Unneeded Federal Buildings: Legislative Proposals in the 114th Congress
This report begins with an explanation of the real property disposal process and then discusses some of the factors that have made disposition relatively inefficient and costly. It then examines key provisions of three real property reform bills introduced in the 114th Congress: the Civilian Property Realignment Act (CPRA, S. 1750); the Federal Asset Sale and Transfer Act (FAST Act, S. 2375); and the Federal Assets Sale and Transfer Act (H.R. 4465).
FY2017 Defense Budget Request: In Brief
This report discusses the Obama Administration's FY2017 budget request, which includes $619.5 billion for national defense of which $590.6 billion is for the Department of Defense (DOD). It includes an overview of the defense budget structure including defense and budget caps, the base budget request, funding over overseas contingency operations, and other selected budget issues.
Navy Virginia (SSN-774) Class Attack Submarine Procurement: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and issues for Congress on the Virginia-class nuclear-powered attack submarine (SSN) program. The Navy's proposed FY2017 budget requests $4,955.2 million in procurement and advance procurement (AP) funding for the program.
Brazil: Background and U.S. Relations
This report discusses the current political and economic situation in Brazil and examines the U.S.'s commercial relationship with the country. The United States traditionally has enjoyed robust economic and political relations with Brazil on issues ranging from international development to climate change.
Federal Grant Financial Reporting Requirements and Databases: Frequently Asked Questions
This report provides an introduction to reporting requirements placed on federal grant recipients, including requirements that must be met to seek federal grant funds. It also describes the databases containing information about grant awards, the types of information collected on grant recipients, and the availability of that information to the public.