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 Decade: 2000-2009
 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Security Classification Policy and Procedure: E.O. 12958, as Amended
This report describes security classification policy and procedure, largely prescribed in a series of successive presidential executive orders issued over the past 50 years. This policy provides the rationale and arrangements for designating information officially secret for reasons of national security, and for its declassification as well. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29519/
Bahrain: Reform, Security, and U.S. Policy
This report discusses the current state of Bahrain, which has undergone substantial political reforms since the late 1990s, but which still suffers from tension between the Shiite majority and the Sunni-led government. This report focuses particularly on Bahrain's relationship with Iran and Bahrain's relationship with the United States. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29485/
Privacy: An Overview of Federal Statues Governing Wiretapping and Electronic Eavesdropping
This report provides an overview of federal law governing wiretapping and electronic eavesdropping. It also appends citations to state law in the area and contains a bibliography of legal commentary as well as the text of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). This report also includes a brief summary of the recently expired Protect America Act, P.L. 110-55 and of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 Amendments Act of 2008, P.L. 110-261 (H.R. 6304). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29536/
Latin America and the Caribbean: Fact Sheet on Leaders and Elections
This fact sheet tracks the current heads of government in Central and South America, Mexico, and the Caribbean. It provides the dates of the last and next elections for the head of government and the national independence date for each country. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29547/
Lobbying the Executive Branch: Current Practices and Options for Change
This report outlines the development of registration requirements for lobbyists engaging executive branch officials since 1995. It also summarizes steps taken by the Obama Administration to limit and monitor lobbying of the executive branch; discusses the development and implementation of restrictions placed on lobbying for Recovery Act and Emergency Economic Stabilization Act funds; examines the Obama Administration's decision to stop appointing lobbyists to federal advisory bodies and committees; considers third-party criticism of current executive branch lobbying policies; and provides options for possible modifications in current lobbying laws and practices. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc83931/
The Overseas Private Investment Corporation: Background and Legislative Issues
The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) was established in 1969 and began operations in 1971 as a development agency to promote and assist U.S. business investment in developing nations. Today, OPIC is a U.S. government agency that provides project financing, investment insurance, and other services for U.S. businesses in over 150 developing nations and emerging economies. To date, OPIC has funded, guaranteed, or insured over $180 billion in investments. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29543/
Lebanon: Background and U.S. Relations
This report provides an overview of Lebanese politics, recent events in Lebanon, and current issues in U.S.-Lebanon relations. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc83906/
Immigration: The Effects on Low-Skilled and High-Skilled Native-Born Workers
The report opens with a discussion of how to analyze the impact of immigrants on the pay and job opportunities of native-born workers. It then uses this framework to examine and interpret the empirical literature on the subject. The report concludes with a discussion of policy implications. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29491/
Lebanon: Background and U.S. Relations
This report provides an overview of Lebanese politics, recent events in Lebanon, and current issues in U.S.-Lebanon relations and will be updated to reflect major developments. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc83905/
Internet Domain Names: Background and Policy Issues
This report discusses the Domain Name System (DNS), which is the distributed set of databases residing in computers around the world that contain address numbers mapped to corresponding domain names, making it possible to send and receive messages and to access information from computers anywhere on the Internet. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29523/
Freedom of Speech and Press: Exceptions to the First Amendment
This report provides an overview of the major exceptions to the First Amendment - of the ways that the Supreme Court has interpreted the guarantee of freedom of speech and press to provide no protection or only limited protection for some types of speech. For example, the Court has decided that the First Amendment provides no protection to obscenity, child pornography, or speech that constitutes "advocacy of the use of force or of law violation ... where such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action." digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29495/
Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Legislation in the 110th Congress
This report reviews the status of energy efficiency and renewable energy legislation introduced during the 110th Congress. Most action in the second session is focused on the FY2009 budget request and legislation that would extend or modify selected renewable energy and energy efficiency tax incentives. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc94092/
Wildfire Fuels and Fuel Reduction
This report examines wildfire biomass fuels. It begins with a discussion of fuel characteristics and their relation to wildfire intensity and spread. This is followed with a description of actions proposed to reduce biomass fuel levels, their effectiveness for protecting property and resources from wildfires, and their impacts on other resource values. It concludes with an examination of the federal authorities for fuel reduction activities on federal and non-federal lands, together with data on the funding provided under each of these authorities. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc87146/
The Proposed U.S.-Panama Free Trade Agreement
This report discusses the free trade agreement (FTA) that the United States and Panama signed on June 28, 2007. While Panama's government ratified the FTA in July 2007, Congress has not yet implemented ratification legislation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc96752/
Climate Change: Costs and Benefits of the Cap-and-Trade Provisions of H.R. 2454
This report examines seven studies that project the costs of H.R. 2454 to 2030 or beyond. H.R. 2454's climate-related environmental benefit should be considered in a global context and the desire to engage the developing world in the reduction effort. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc87145/
Turkmenistan: Recent Developments and U.S. Interests
This report examines the political, economic, and foreign policies undertaken by Turkmenistan's President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, who came to power in late 2006. The report discusses U.S. policy and assistance and provides basic facts and biographical information. It may be updated. Related products include CRS Report RL33458, Central Asia: Regional Developments and Implications for U.S. Interests. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29503/
Azerbaijan: Recent Developments and U.S. Interests
This report discusses political, economic, and security challenges facing Azerbaijan, including the unsettled conflict in the breakaway Nagorno Karabakh region. A table provides basic facts and biographical information. Related products include CRS Report RL33453, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia, Political Developments and Implications for U.S. Interests, by Jim Nichol. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29508/
Great Lakes Water Withdrawals: Legal and Policy Issues
This report describes the characteristics of the Great Lakes, the interests they support, and possible threats to lake levels. It analyzes the federal laws and policies that regulate the diversion, withdrawal, and consumptive use of water from the Great Lakes. Also included is a discussion of the final Compact and Agreement and some of the issues raised by various interest groups. This report concludes with a general discussion on the relationship between compacts, federal law, and the Congress. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc94008/
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 it is the fastest growing one, with the current exception of Africa. Over the last 15 years, the United States has implemented multiple free trade agreements with the region, which are more comprehensive than those that include only Latin American countries. This report looks at the status, implications, and alternatives to current free trade agreements in the region. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc83864/
Access to Government Information in the United States
The U.S. Constitution makes no specific allowance for any one of the three branches of the federal government to have access to information held by the others. No provision in the U.S. Constitution expressly establishes a procedure for public access to government information. Congress has legislated various public access laws. Among these laws are two records access statutes, The Freedom of Information Act, the Privacy Act, and two meetings access statutes, the Federal Advisory Committee Act, and the Government in the Sunshine Act. This report offers an overview of the four information access laws noted above, and provides citations to additional resources related to these tools. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29513/
Social Security: What Would Happen If the Trust Funds Ran Out?
This report looks at ways to overhaul the Social Security system due to a projected lack of system funds, which are estimated to become exhausted in 2041. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc94044/
Congressional Liaison Offices of Selected Federal Agencies
This list of about 150 congressional liaison offices is 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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29539/
Cuba: U.S. Restrictions on Travel and Remittances
The first half of this report looks at the background of U.S. travel restrictions to Cuba over the last 40 years. The second half of this report looks at several initiatives from the 111th Congress that would ease U.S. travel restrictions to Cuba. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc96739/
Kyrgyzstan: Recent Developments and U.S. Interests
This report examines Kyrgyzstan's uneven political and economic reform efforts. It discusses U.S. policy and assistance for democratization and other programs. Basic facts and biographical information are provided. Related products include CRS Report RL33458, Central Asia: Regional Developments and Implications for U.S. Interests, by Jim Nichol. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29510/
Tajikistan: Recent Developments and U.S. Interests
This report outlines the severe challenges faced by Tajikistan since its five-year civil war ended in 1997, including such problems as deep poverty and poor governance. The report discusses U.S. policy and assistance. Basic facts and biographical information are provided. This report may be updated. Related products include CRS Report RL33458, Central Asia: Regional Developments and Implications for U.S. Interests, updated regularly. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29545/
Greenhouse Gas Legislation: Summary and Analysis of H.R. 2454 as Passed by the House of Representatives
This report offers an introduction and overview of legislation regarding greenhouse gases. It also discusses combined efficiency and renewable electricity standard, geologic sequestration of carbon dioxide, vehicles and fuels, smart grid, energy efficiency, and major cap-and-trade provisions. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc87142/
Lebanon: Background and U.S. Relations
This report provides an overview of Lebanese politics, recent events in Lebanon, and current issues in U.S.-Lebanon relations and will be updated to reflect major developments. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc83903/
Post Office and Retail Postal Facility Closures: Overview and Issues for Congress
The United States Postal Service (USPS) announced in May 2009 that it was considering the closure of 3,105 of its 4,851 post office branches and stations. Since the original announcement, the USPS has indicated that the number of possible closures may be more than 3,200. This report provides (1) information on this recent announcement; (2) historical data on the number of post offices and other retail postal facilities; (3) an explanation of the legal authorities relevant to retail postal facility closures; (4) a review of the retail postal facility closure processes, including data on public appeals of closures, and H.R. 658's proposed alterations to the processes; and (5) a concluding discussion that suggests observations and possible issues for Congress. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26195/
The European Parliament
The European Parliament (EP) is one of the three key institutions of the European Union (EU), and the only EU institution whose members are directly elected. This report discusses the construction and history of the EP, its role in functions of the EU as well as internationally, various international supports and criticisms of the EP, and the EP's ties with the U.S. Congress. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26328/
Issues Regarding a National Land Parcel Database
This report provides a summary of some of the issues regarding the creation of a national land parcel database, or cadastre. The report identifies some of the perceived needs for a national cadastre, legislative and administrative options that could lead to a national land parcel database, and some of the challenges and concerns. The report also summarizes and briefly discusses recommendations in a 2007 National Research Council (NRC) report that concluded "...a national approach is necessary to provide a rational and accountable system of property records." digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26194/
Financial Regulatory Reform: Analysis of the Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) as Proposed by the Obama Administration and H.R. 3126
This report provides a brief summary of the President's Consumer Financial Protection Agency Act of 2009 (the CPFA Act or the Act) and delineates some of the substantive differences between it and H.R. 3126, as introduced. It then analyzes some of the policy implications of the proposal, focusing on the separation of safety and soundness regulation from consumer protection, financial innovation, and the scope of regulation. The report then raises some questions regarding state law preemption, sources of funding, and rule-making procedures that the Act does not fully answer. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26183/
FY2010 National Defense Authorization Act: Selected Military Personnel Policy Issues
Military personnel issues typically generate significant interest from many Members of Congress and their staffs. The Congressional Research Service (CRS) selected a number of the military personnel issues considered in deliberations on the House-passed version of the National Defense Authorization Act for FY2010. This report provides a brief synopsis of sections that pertain to personnel policy. This report focuses exclusively on the annual defense authorization process. It does not include appropriations, veterans' affairs, tax implications of policy choices or any discussion of separately introduced legislation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26193/
Air Force F-22 Fighter Program: Background and Issues for Congress
The Air Force F-22 fighter, also known as the Raptor, is the world's most capable air-to-air combat aircraft. The administration wants to end F-22 procurement at 187 aircraft, and the administration's proposed FY2010 budget does not request funding for the procurement of additional F-22s in FY2010. The administration argues, among other things, that 187 F-22s will be sufficient in conjunction with other U.S. tactical aircraft. The issue of F-22 procurement has emerged as one of the highest-profile items of debate on the FY2010 defense budget. This report discusses both sides of the debate in detail. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26205/
The Democratic Republic of Congo: Background and Current Developments
This report discusses in brief the current political state of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as the crisis situation in eastern Congo that has displaced more than 250,000 civilians. It also describes U.S., U.N., and other international efforts to aid in resolving the crisis. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26129/
Guinea's 2008 Military Coup and Relations with the United States
This report analyzes developments in the Francophone West African country of Guinea since the military's seizure of power in December 2008, Guinea's relations with the United States, and U.S. policy in the wake of the coup. It also provides background on Guinean history and politics. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26188/
Sudan: The Crisis in Darfur and Status of the North-South Peace Agreement
Sudan, geographically the largest country in Africa, has been ravaged by civil war intermittently for four decades. More than 2 million people have died in Southern Sudan over the past two decades due to war-related causes and famine, and millions have been displaced from their homes. The crisis in Darfur began in February 2003, when two rebel groups emerged to challenge the National Congress Party (NCP) government in Darfur. The crisis in Darfur in western Sudan has led to a major humanitarian disaster, with an estimated 2.45 million people displaced, more than 240,000 people forced into neighboring Chad, and an estimated 450,000 people killed. This report discusses this situation in detail and also discusses U.S. and international efforts to aid in resolving the crisis. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26245/
Defense: FY2010 Authorization and Appropriations
On February 26, 2009, the Administration released the broad outlines of its federal budget request for FY2010, listing for each Cabinet department and for several independent agencies the total discretionary budget authority President Obama would request, but providing no additional details. Full details of the request were made public May 7, 2009. This report summarizes the budget request in an abbreviated yet detailed format. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26154/
Disaster Relief Funding and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations
This report describes the various components of the Disaster Relief Fund (DRF) within the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), including (1) what authorities have shaped it over the years; (2) how FEMA determines the amount of the appropriation requested to Congress (pertaining to the DRF); and (3) how emergency supplemental appropriations are requested. In addition to the DRF, information is provided on funds appropriated in supplemental appropriations legislation to agencies other than the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Aspects of debate concerning how disaster relief is budgeted are also highlighted and examined, and alternative budgetary options are summarized. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26190/
Federal Research and Development Funding: FY2010
This report summarizes the FY2010 budget request for research & development (R&D) funding, including comparisons to R&D funding requests in the FY2009 budget. Congress will play a central role in defining the nation's R&D priorities, especially with respect to two overarching issues: the extent to which the Federal R&D investment can grow in the context of increased pressure on discretionary spending and how available funding will be prioritized and allocated. This report breaks down in detail the various aspects of the President's FY2010 R&D funding request. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26192/
Navy Force Structure and Shipbuilding Plans: Background and Issues for Congress
Concerns about the Navy's prospective ability to afford its long-range shipbuilding plan, combined with year-to-year changes in Navy shipbuilding plans and significant cost growth and other problems in building certain new Navy ships, have led to strong concerns among some Members about the status of Navy shipbuilding and the potential future size and capabilities of the fleet. The issue for Congress that is discussed in this report is how to respond to the Navy's proposed force structure and shipbuilding plans. Decisions that Congress makes on this issue could significantly affect future U.S. military capabilities, Navy funding requirements, and the Navy shipbuilding industrial base. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26222/
401(k) Plans and Retirement Savings: Issues for Congress
Over the past 25 years, defined contribution (DC) plans - including 401(k) plans - have become the most prevalent form of employer-sponsored retirement plan in the United States. This report describes seven major policy issues with respect to defined contribution plans: 1) access to employer-sponsored retirement plans; 2) participation in employer-sponsored plans; 3) contribution rates; 4) investment choices; 5) fee disclosure; 6) leakage from retirement savings; and 7) converting retirement savings into income. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26189/
Afghanistan: U.S. Foreign Assistance
The U.S. program of assistance to Afghanistan is intended to stabilize and strengthen the Afghan economic, social, political, and security environment so as to blunt popular support for extremist forces in the region. Since 2001, nearly $38 billion has been appropriated toward this effort. This report provides a "big picture" overview of the U.S. aid program and congressional action. It describes what various aid agencies report they are doing in Afghanistan. It does not address the effectiveness of their programs. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26186/
Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS): Current Legislative Issues
The Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program was created by Title I of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (P.L. 103-322). The mission of the COPS program is to advance community policing in all jurisdictions across the United States. Legislation introduced in the 111th Congress would reauthorize the COPS program through FY2014 and reestablish COPS as a multi-grant program. This report provides an overview and analysis of issues Congress might choose to consider when taking up legislation to reauthorize the COPS program. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26191/
"Gang of Four" Congressional Intelligence Notifications
"Gang of Four" intelligence notifications generally are oral briefings of certain particularly sensitive non-covert action intelligence activities, including principally, but not exclusively, intelligence collection programs, that the Intelligence Community typically limits to the chairmen and ranking members of the two congressional intelligence committees, and at times, but not always, to their respective staff directors. This report reviews the history of Gang of Four notification process and compares this procedure with that of the "Gang of Eight" notification procedure. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26184/
Latin America: Terrorism Issues
Since the September 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, U.S. attention to terrorism in Latin America has intensified, with an increase in bilateral and regional cooperation. This report discusses the issue in relation to the U.S. State Department's April 2009 Country Report on Terrorism; Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez's sympathies with terrorist groups and lack of cooperation on antiterrorism efforts; growing U.S. concern over activities of terrorist groups Hezbollah and Hamas in the tri-border area of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay; and various legislative initiatives related to Latin American terrorism issues being considered by the 111th Congress. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26311/
U.S. Strategic Nuclear Forces: Background, Developments, and Issues
This report reviews the ongoing programs that will affect the expected size and shape of the U.S. strategic nuclear force structure. It begins with an overview of this force structure during the Cold War, and summarizes the reductions and changes that have occurred since 1991. It then offers details about each category of delivery vehicle, focusing on their current deployments and ongoing and planned modernization programs. The report concludes with a discussion of issues related to decisions about the future size and shape of the U.S. strategic nuclear force. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26248/
Chemical Facility Security: Reauthorization, Policy Issues, and Options for Congress
The statutory authority to regulate chemical facilities for security purposes, granted to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) by the 109th Congress, expires in October 2009. The 111th Congress is taking action to reauthorize this program, but the manner of its reauthorization remains an issue of congressional deliberation and debate. Key policy issues debated in previous Congresses are likely to be considered during the reauthorization debate. These issues include what facilities should be considered as chemical facilities; the appropriateness and scope of federal preemption of state chemical facility security activities; the availability of information for public comment, potential litigation, and congressional oversight; and the role of inherently safer technologies. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26182/
F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Program: Background and Issues for Congress
The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), also called the Lighting II, is a new strike fighter being procured in different versions by the Air Force, Marine Corps, and Navy. The F-35 program is the Department of Defense's (DOD's) largest weapon procurement program in terms of total estimated acquisition cost. This report details the Obama Administration's proposed FY2010 defense budget requests for F-35 program funding and outlines the issues that Congress must consider when deciding whether to approve, reject, or modify the administration's funding requests. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26197/
Hedge Funds: Should They Be Regulated?
Hedge funds are essentially unregulated mutual funds. They are pools of invested money that buy and sell stocks and bonds and many other assets, including foreign currencies, precious metals, commodities, and derivatives. Hedge funds are structured to avoid Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulation. In view of the growing impact of hedge funds on a variety of financial markets, the SEC in October 2004 adopted a regulation that required hedge funds to register as investment advisers, disclose basic information about their operations, and open their books for inspection. This report discusses various legislation before the 111th Congress that would impose various types and amounts of SEC regulation upon hedge funds. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26048/
Human Rights in China: Trends and Policy Implications
Human rights has long been a principal area of U.S. concern in its relations with the People's Republic of China (PRC). Policy makers are at odds regarding whether or not the U.S. policy of engagement with China has produced meaningful political reform. This report analyzes China's mixed record on human rights - major human rights problems, new human rights legislation, and the development of civil society, legal awareness, and social and political activism. This report discusses major areas of interest but does not provide an exhaustive account of all human rights abuses or related incidents. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26282/
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