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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
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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. The Coast Guard's proposed FY2017 budget requests $150 million in acquisition funding for a new polar icebreaker that the Coast Guard wants to begin building in FY2020. The issue for Congress is whether to approve, reject, or modify the Administration's FY2017 acquisition funding request for a new polar icebreaker, and, more generally, whether to approve, reject, or modify the Coast Guard's overall plan for sustaining and modernizing the polar icebreaking fleet. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc855901/
Intellectual Property Rights Violations: Federal Civil Remedies and Criminal Penalties Related to Copyrights, Trademarks, Patents, and Trade Secrets
This report provides background information and issues for Congress on multiyear procurement (MYP) and block buy contracting (BBC), which are special contracting mechanisms that Congress permits the Department of Defense (DOD) to use for a limited number of defense acquisition programs. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc855899/
Multiyear Procurement (MYP) and Block Buy Contracting in Defense Acquisition: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and issues for Congress on multiyear procurement (MYP) and block buy contracting (BBC), which are special contracting mechanisms that Congress permits the Department of Defense (DOD) to use for a limited number of defense acquisition programs. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc855877/
Navy DDG-51 and DDG-1000 Destroyer Programs: Background and Issues for Congress
This report presents background information and potential oversight issues for Congress on the Navy's Arleigh Burke (DDG-51) and Zumwalt (DDG-1000) class destroyer programs. The Navy's proposed FY2017 budget requests funding for the procurement of two DDG-51s. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc855724/
Navy Force Structure and Shipbuilding Plans: Background and Issues for Congress
This report presents background information and issues for Congress concerning the Navy's ship force-structure goals and shipbuilding plans. The planned size of the Navy, the rate of Navy ship procurement, and the prospective affordability of the Navy's shipbuilding plans have been matters of concern for the congressional defense committees for the past several years. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc855815/
Navy Ford (CVN-78) Class Aircraft Carrier Program: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and potential oversight issues for Congress on the Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) class aircraft carrier program. The Navy's proposed FY2017 budget requests a total of $2,662.6 million in procurement and advance procurement (AP) funding for CVN-79 and CVN-80, the second and third ships in the program. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc855930/
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc855904/
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc855897/
Navy Littoral Combat Ship (LCS)/Frigate Program: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and issues for Congress on the Navy's Littoral Combat Ship (LCS)/Frigate program, a program to procure a large number of LCSs and modified LCSs. The modified LCSs are to be referred to as frigates. The Navy's execution of the program has been a matter of congressional oversight attention for several years. The program presents several oversight issues for Congress. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc855775/
Navy LX(R) Amphibious Ship Program: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and issues for Congress on the LX(R) amphibious ship program, a Navy program to build a new class of 11 amphibious ships. The Navy wants to procure the first LX(R) in FY2020. Decisions Congress makes on the LX(R) program will affect Navy capabilities and funding requirements, and the U.S. shipbuilding industrial base. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc855908/
Navy Ohio Replacement (SSBN[X]) Ballistic Missile Submarine Program: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and potential oversight issues for Congress on the Ohio replacement program (ORP), a program to design and build a new class of 12 ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) to replace the Navy's current force of 14 Ohio-class SSBNs. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc855766/
Navy Virginia (SSN-774) Class Attack Submarine Procurement: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and issues for Congress on the Navy's Littoral Combat Ship (LCS)/Frigate program, a program to procure a large number of LCSs and modified LCSs. The modified LCSs are to be referred to as frigates. The Navy's execution of the program has been a matter of congressional oversight attention for several years. The program presents several oversight issues for Congress. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc855814/
A Resurgence of Unaccompanied Alien Children?
This report briefly examines the recently-high number of unaccompanied alien children (UAC). In the first seven months of FY2016, apprehensions at the U.S.-Mexico border have approached levels close to what they were in FY2014 when such migration flows reached what were characterized as "crisis" proportions. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc855740/
Funding for Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) at DOE: In Brief
This report discusses issues regarding funding for carbon capture and sequestration (or storage) programs. CCS is a physical process that involves capturing man-made carbon dioxide (CO2) at its source and storing it before its release to the atmosphere. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc855902/
Navy Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) Program: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and issues for Congress on the Aegis ballistic missile defense (BMD) program, which is carried out by the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and the Navy, and gives Navy Aegis cruisers and destroyers a capability for conducting BMD operations. Congress's decisions on the Aegis BMD program could significantly affect U.S. BMD capabilities and funding requirements, and the BMD-related industrial base. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc855780/
Cuba: Issues for the 114th Congress
This report is divided into three major sections analyzing Cuba's political and economic environment, U.S. policy, and selected issues in U.S.-Cuban relations. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc855736/
Fact Sheet: FY2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) DOD Reform Proposals
This report discusses information on extant Department of Defense (DOD) reform proposals being considered during the FY2017 National Defense Authorization Act debates. As such, it includes key provisions incorporated in H.R. 4909, the FY2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) reported by the House Armed Services Committee on May 4, 2016 (H.Rept. 114-537), and S. 2943, the FY2017 National Defense Authorization Act reported by the Senate Armed Services Committee on May 18, 2016 (S.Rept. 114-255). Wherever possible, it also includes the Administration's views. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc855876/
Federal Flood Risk Management Standard (FFRMS)
This report briefly discusses the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard (FFRMS), which is the principal mechanism for accomplishing the flood risk management policies established by President Obama in Executive Order (E.O.) 13690. The FFRMS is a flood resilience standard that is required for "federally funded projects." digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc855823/
Military Funeral Honors for Veterans
This report discusses legislative issues regarding certain military honors received by eligible veterans at their funerals. In general, these honors are provided by the Department of Defense (DOD) to eligible veterans who are interred or inurned at Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) national cemeteries, state veterans cemeteries, and private cemeteries. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc855830/
Social Security: The Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP)
This report discusses the windfall elimination provision (WEP), which reduces the Social Security benefits of workers who also have pension benefits from employment not covered by Social Security. Its purpose is to remove an advantage or "windfall" these workers would otherwise receive as a result of the interaction between the Social Security benefit formula and the workers' relatively small portion of their careers in Social Security-covered employment. The report provides information about how the provision works, who is affected, history and rationale, impacts, and relevant legislation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc855769/
Status of the Ebola Outbreak in West Africa: Overview and Issues for Congress
This report discusses ongoing efforts to control Ebola in West Africa, analyzes persistent challenges in fighting the spread of the disease, and tracks Ebola emergency funds. The 2014-2015 outbreak and spread of Ebola Virus Disease in West Africa became an international public health emergency that, in no small part due to international intervention, abated significantly by the end of 2015 and early 2016. The issue remains of interest toward the end of the 114th Congress for a number of reasons, including ongoing concerns about the status of disease and risks of future outbreaks, and interest in the disposition of funds appropriated by Congress in response to Ebola, especially in view of the more recent health challenge posed by the Zika virus. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc855785/
Who Is a "Veteran"?--Basic Eligibility for Veterans' Benefits
This report examines the basic eligibility criteria for VA administered veterans' benefits, including the issue of eligibility of members of the National Guard and reserve components. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers a broad range of benefits to U.S. Armed Forces veterans and certain members of their families. Among these benefits are various types of financial assistance, including monthly cash payments to disabled veterans, health care, education, and housing. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc855849/
Federal Reserve: Oversight and Disclosure Issues
This report provides an overview of existing Federal Reserve (Fed) oversight and disclosure practices, highlighting recent legislative changes and proposals. It also considers the potential impact of greater oversight and disclosure on the Fed's independence and its ability to achieve its macroeconomic and financial stability goals. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc855752/
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management's Five-Year Program for Offshore Oil and Gas Leasing: History and Proposed Program for 2017-2022
The first two sections of this report discuss the history and legal framework for Bureau of Ocean Energy Management's (BOEM) five-year offshore oil and gas leasing programs. Subsequent sections outline BOEM's development process, briefly summarize previous years' programs, and analyze the proposal for 2017-2022. The final section of the report discusses the role of Congress, with a focus on congressional oversight and legislation related to the 2017-2022 program. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc855864/
The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016 (S. 524): Comparison of Senate- and House-Passed Versions
This report discusses selected differences and similarities between the Senate- and House-passed versions of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016 (CARA; S. 524), which aims to address the problem of opioid addiction in the United States. The two versions of the bill differ substantially. The scope of the differences may be illustrated by their structures: The Senate bill has 28 sections organized in 8 titles, whereas the House bill has 69 sections organized in 18 titles. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc855931/
FHFA's Administrative Reform of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Housing Finance System
This report discusses housing finance reform and structural changes enacted by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), particularly in relation to government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs). It includes sections on GSEs and conservatorship; FHFA reforms broken down into information about risk-sharing transactions, a common securitization platform, and single security; and Congressional action on GSE reform. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc855808/
Honduras: Background and U.S. Relations
This report discusses various domestic issues in Honduras, including current political, economic and security conditions. It also examines the implications for U.S. policy. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc855818/
United States Lifts Remaining Restrictions on Arms Sales to Vietnam
This report discusses the recent removal of remaining U.S. restrictions on sales of lethal weapons and related services to Vietnam. During the Vietnam War (1955-1975), the United States imposed a complete embargo on arms sales to North Vietnam, and then expanded it to cover the entire country after Communist forces defeated U.S-backed South Vietnamese government in 1975. In 2007, the Bush Administration eased the ban by allowing non-lethal defense items and defense services to be exported on a case-by-case basis. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc855875/
Display of the Confederate Flag at Federal Cemeteries in the United States
This report discusses policies regarding the display of the Confederate Flag at national cemeteries. If a state observes a Confederate Memorial Day, National Park Service (NPS) cemeteries in the state may permit a sponsoring group to decorate the graves of Confederate veterans with small Confederate flags. Additionally, such flags may also be displayed on the nationally observed Memorial Day, to accompany the U.S. flag on the graves of Confederate veterans. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc855912/
DOT's Federal Pipeline Safety Program: Background and Key Issues for Congress
This report reviews the history of federal programs for pipeline safety, significant safety issues, and recent developments focusing on key issues for Congress. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc855890/
The Federal Prison Population Buildup: Options for Congress
This report discusses a number of policy avenues lawmakers could consider, should Congress choose to address the growth in the federal prison population. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc855847/
Pay Equity: Legislative and Legal Developments
This report begins by presenting data on earnings for male and female workers and by discussing explanations that have been offered for the differences in earnings. It next discusses the major laws directed at eliminating sex-based wage discrimination as well as relevant federal court cases. The report closes with a description of pay equity legislation that has been considered or enacted by Congress in recent years. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc855749/
Treasury Issues White Paper on Fintech and Marketplace Lending
This report briefly discusses the context and contents of a white paper issued on May 10, 2016 by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. The paper analyzes regulatory issues for the marketplace lending industry and offers several recommendations for industry and government responses. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc855848/
U.S.-Vietnam Economic and Trade Relations: Issues for the 114th Congress
This report examines the bilateral trade issues between United States and Vietnam, discussing their main elements and exploring their potential implications for the 114th Congress. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc855817/
Zika Response Funding: Request and Congressional Action
This report presents the Administration's request for supplemental appropriations for the Zika response. It includes sections outlining Congressional actions, the emergency supplemental appropriations request for Zika response efforts -- by both U.S. health and human services agencies and international assistance programs -- and information about unobligated Ebola response funds. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc855857/
Earthquake Risk and U.S. Highway Infrastructure: Frequently Asked Questions
This report addresses a number of frequently asked questions about earthquake risk and highway system components, especially bridges. Earthquakes and related events, such as soil liquefaction, landslides, tsunamis, flooding, and fires, pose risks to highway infrastructure. Concerns about the U.S. highway system's seismic vulnerability stem from interest in protecting public safety, facilitating response and recovery efforts, and minimizing economic loss and social disruption. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc855894/
EPA's Clean Power Plan for Existing Power Plants: Frequently Asked Questions
This report provides a series of frequently-asked questions with answers regarding the Clean Power Plan and related litigation. On August 3, 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) promulgated standards for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from existing fossil-fuel-fired power plants under Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act (CAA); the rule, known as the Clean Power Plan (CPP), appeared in the Federal Register on October 23, 2015. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc855898/
Federal Reserve: Legislation in the 114th Congress
This report analyzes provisions and the policy debate surrounding a number of bills that would affect the Federal Reserve's (Fed's) monetary policy, lender of last resort, and regulatory responsibilities. The Fed's responsibilities as the nation's central bank fall into four main categories: monetary policy, provision of emergency liquidity through the lender of last resort function, supervision of certain types of banks and other financial firms for safety and soundness, and provision of payment system services to financial firms and the government. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc855827/
Public Health Service Agencies: Overview and Funding (FY2015-FY2017)
This report gives a brief overview of the eight agencies within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) which are designated components of the U.S. Public Health Services (PHS), and summarizes its funding for FY2015 through FY2017. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc855729/
U.S.-EU Data Privacy: From Safe Harbor to Privacy Shield
This report provides background on U.S. and European Union (EU) data protection policies and the Safe Harbor Agreement, discusses the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruling, and reviews the key elements of the newly-proposed Privacy Shield. It also explores various issues for Congress, including implications for U.S. firms of Safe Harbor's invalidation and the role of the Judicial Redress Act in helping to ameliorate U.S.-EU tensions on data privacy and protection issues. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc855920/
Framing Spectrum Policy: Legislative Initiatives
This report examines legislative initiatives to address issues regarding radio frequency spectrum management and allocation. Access to radio frequency spectrum is essential to wireless communications. As demand for mobile services increases, from all sectors of society and the economy, so does the need to increase the capacity of wireless networks. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc855895/
Iran Sanctions
This report analyzes U.S. and international sanctions against Iran and provides some examples, based on open sources, of companies and countries that conduct business with Iran. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc855862/
RICO: A Brief Sketch
This report examines the various elements of federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) provisions and discusses constitutional questions pertaining to the law. In spite of its name and origin, RICO is not limited to "mobsters" or members of "organized crime" as those terms are popularly understood. Rather, it covers those activities which Congress felt characterized the conduct of organized crime, no matter who actually engages in them. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc855858/
Abortion and Family Planning-Related Provisions in U.S. Foreign Assistance Law and Policy
This report details legislation and policies that restrict or place requirements on U.S. funding of abortion or family planning activities abroad. The level and extent of federal funding for these activities is an ongoing and controversial issue in U.S. foreign assistance and will likely continue to be a point of contention during the 114th Congress. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc855791/
U.S.-EU Data Privacy: From Safe Harbor to Privacy Shield
This report describes the financial harm caused by data breaches, explains how those breaches are carried out, discusses resolved and remaining impediments to completing the EMV (Europay, MasterCard, and Visa) transition in the United States, and identifies areas of potential Congressional interest. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc855893/
"Sense of" Resolutions and Provisions
This report discusses specific kinds of resolutions by which Congress may formally express opinions about subjects of current national interest through freestanding simple or concurrent resolutions (called generically "sense of the House," "sense of the Senate," or "sense of the Congress" resolutions). These opinions expressing the views of one or both chambers may be included in other legislation upon introduction or subsequently added by amendment. This report identifies the various forms these expressions may take and the procedures governing such actions. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc855884/
The Sentencing Reform Act of 2015 (H.R. 3713): A Summary
This report examines H.R. 3713, the Sentencing Reform Act of 2015, which addresses the sentences that may be imposed in various drug and firearms cases. It proposes amendments to those areas of federal law that govern mandatory minimum sentencing requirements for drug and firearm offenses; the so-called safety valves which permits court to impose sentences below otherwise required mandatory minimums in the case of certain low-level drug offenders; and the retroactive application of the Fair Sentencing Act. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc855825/
Active Opioid Legislation in the House: In Brief
This report briefly summarizes opioid-related bills that were considered during "Opioid Week" (the week of May 9, 2016) The summaries in this report may be useful illustrations of the range of approaches Members of Congress have proposed to address the problem of opioid addiction. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc855953/
Libya: Transition and U.S. Policy
This report provides a background on Libya's political climate and discusses current policy issues for the U.S. More than four years after a U.S.-led NATO military intervention helped Libyan rebels topple the authoritarian government of Muammar al Qadhafi, Libya remains politically fragmented and its security is threatened by terrorist organizations and infighting among interim leaders and locally organized armed groups. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc855821/
National Security Space Launch at a Crossroads
This report examines the history and current status of the EELV (Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle) program. The United States is in the midst of making significant changes in how best to pursue an acquisition strategy that would ensure continued access to space for national security missions. The current strategy for the EELV program dates from the 1990s and has since been revised a few times. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc855872/