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 Country: United States
 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
The U.S. Postal Service's Use of Contractors to Deliver Mail: Background and Recent Developments

The U.S. Postal Service's Use of Contractors to Deliver Mail: Background and Recent Developments

Date: May 29, 2012
Creator: Kosar, Kevin R.
Description: Currently, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is collectively bargaining with the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) and National Rural Letter Carriers Association (NRLCA). One issue that may or may not be settled is the Postal Service's use of non-USPS employees (i.e., contractors) to deliver mail. If the parties cannot come to a satisfactory arrangement, Congress may be approached to consider the matter.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Federal Employees' Retirement System: Benefits and Financing

Federal Employees' Retirement System: Benefits and Financing

Date: May 10, 2012
Creator: Isaacs, Katelin P.
Description: Report discussing the retirement systems in place for federal employees. Most civilian federal employees who were hired before 1984 are covered by the Civil Service Retirement System, and contribute 7.0% of their pay to a retirement fund. Federal employees hired in 1984 or later are covered by the Federal Employees' Retirement System and contribute 0.8% of their pay to a retirement fund. Both require participants to contribute toward the cost of their pensions through a payroll tax. The taxable wage base is $110,100 in 2012. This report discusses both retirement funds.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Clean Energy Standard: Summary and Analysis of S. 2146

Clean Energy Standard: Summary and Analysis of S. 2146

Date: May 9, 2012
Creator: Brown, Phillip
Description: U.S. policymakers have considered and deliberated on several policy designs that could potentially reduce energy-related carbon emissions. In his 2011 State of the Union address, President Obama proposed the concept of a Clean Energy Standard (CES) that would result in 80% of U.S. electricity generation from clean energy sources by 2035. In March of 2012, the Clean Energy Standard Act of 2012 (S. 2146) was introduced in the Senate.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Comparison of Rights in Military Commission Trials and Trials in Federal Criminal Court

Comparison of Rights in Military Commission Trials and Trials in Federal Criminal Court

Date: May 9, 2012
Creator: Elsea, Jennifer K.
Description: The initiation of military commission proceedings against Khalid Sheik Mohammad and four others for their alleged involvement in the 9/11 terrorist attacks has focused renewed attention on the differences between trials in federal court and those conducted by military commission. This report provides a brief summary of legal issues raised by the choice of forum for trying accused terrorists and a chart comparing selected military commissions rules under the Military Commissions Act, as amended, to the corresponding rules that apply in federal court.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Same-Sex Marriages: Legal Issues

Same-Sex Marriages: Legal Issues

Date: May 9, 2012
Creator: Smith, Alison M.
Description: The recognition of same-sex marriages generates debate on both the federal and state levels. Variations in state law on the issue raise questions about the validity of such unions outside the contracted jurisdiction and have bearing on the distribution of federal benefits. This report discusses the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and it's legal challenges. It reviews legal principles applied to determine the validity of a marriage contracted in another state and surveys the various approaches employed by states to enable or to prevent same-sex marriage. The report also examines House and Senate resolutions introduced in previous Congresses proposing a constitutional amendment and limiting federal courts' jurisdiction to hear or determine any question pertaining to the interpretation of DOMA.
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Congress's Contempt Power and the Enforcement of Congressional Subpoenas: Law, History, Practice, and Procedure

Congress's Contempt Power and the Enforcement of Congressional Subpoenas: Law, History, Practice, and Procedure

Date: May 8, 2012
Creator: Garvey, Todd & Dolan, Alissa M.
Description: This report examines the source of the contempt power, reviews the historical development of the early case law, outlines the statutory and common law basis for Congress's contempt power, and analyzes the procedures associated with inherent contempt, criminal contempt, and the civil enforcement of subpoenas. In addition, the report discusses both non-constitutional and constitutionally based limitations on the power. Finally, the report includes a discussion of the significance of the House Judiciary Committee dispute with the White House over the dismissal of several U.S. Attorneys that resulted in votes for criminal contempt of Congress and the United States District Court opinion in Committee on the Judiciary v. Miers.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Iran Sanctions

Iran Sanctions

Date: April 26, 2012
Creator: Katzman, Kenneth
Description: The objective of sanctions may be on its way to achievement but has not been accomplished to date. U.S. officials believe that these sanctions caused Iran to return to the nuclear bargaining table in April 2012 with greater seriousness and intent toward peaceful resolution. Despite the imposition of what many now consider to be "crippling" sanctions, some in Congress believe that economic and diplomatic pressure on Iran needs to increase further and faster. In the 112th Congress, legislation would enhance both the economic sanctions and human rights-related provisions of a previous Iran sanctions laws However, movement on new sanctions might be on hold pending the outcome of a second round of nuclear talks slated for May 23 in Baghdad.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
EPA Regulations: Too Much, Too Little, or On Track?

EPA Regulations: Too Much, Too Little, or On Track?

Date: April 25, 2012
Creator: McCarthy, James E. & Copeland, Claudia
Description: This report examines 40 major or controversial regulatory actions taken by or under development at EPA since January 2009, providing details on the regulatory action itself, presenting an estimated timeline for completion of the rule and provides the EPA's estimates of costs and benefits where available. It provides background information on recent EPA regulatory activity to help address issues raised by this activity, as well as factors that will affect the timeframe in which these regulations will take place.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Hydraulic Fracturing and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA): Selected Issues

Hydraulic Fracturing and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA): Selected Issues

Date: April 25, 2012
Creator: Murrill, Brandon J.
Description: This report provides an overview of two situations in which agencies are arguing that they do not need to conduct a comprehensive environmental review of hydraulic fracturing under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Tribal Criminal Jurisdiction over Non-Indians in the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Reauthorization and the SAVE Native Women Act

Tribal Criminal Jurisdiction over Non-Indians in the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Reauthorization and the SAVE Native Women Act

Date: April 18, 2012
Creator: Smith, Jane M. & Thompson II, Richard M.
Description: A report looking at incidences of violence against women of American Indian ethnicity in relation to legal jurisdiction. American Indians experience violent crimes at a rate much higher than the general population. This trend carries over to domestic violence: American Indian women experience domestic and dating violence at more than twice the rate of non-Indian women. Most of this violence involves an offender of a different race. This fact creates a jurisdictional problem because tribal courts do not have criminal jurisdiction over crimes committed within the tribe's jurisdiction by non-Indians.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department