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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
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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.
Political Transition in Tunisia
This report discusses Tunisia's pro-democracy movement; concerns over potential instability in a previously secure, pro-Western area; and U.S.-Tunisian relations.
Securing U.S. Diplomatic Facilities and Personnel Abroad: Legislative and Executive Branch Initiatives
This report briefly summarizes and tracks congressional and State Department actions in response to the attack, and will be updated as necessary to reflect further developments and actions on ongoing policy proposals.
Clean Air Issues in the 113th Congress: An Overview
This report discusses the air pollution regulations and the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) regulatory actions on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and also addresses some climate change issues.
The Farm Safety Net: In Brief
This report discusses the several programs operated by The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that supplement the income of farmers and ranchers in times of low farm prices and natural disasters. The programs are collectively called the farm safety net.
House Committee Jurisdiction and Referral: Rules and Practice
This report briefly discusses the factors that determine House committee jurisdiction and more specifically House Rule X.
A New Authorization for Use of Military Force Against the Islamic State: Comparison of Current Proposals in Brief
This report discusses the President's constitutional authority to use military force against the armed offensive of the Islamic State (IS, also known as ISIL or ISIS) in northern and western Iraq and northeastern Syria. It also covers current proposals for action under congressional authorizations for use of military force (AUMFs).
Recently Expired Community Assistance Related Tax Provisions ("Tax Extenders"): In Brief
This report briefly summarizes four community assistance-related tax provisions included in the Expiring Provisions Improvement Reform and Efficiency (EXPIRE) Act, which are the New Markets Tax Credit, Empowerment Zone Tax Incentives, allocation of bond limitations for Qualified Zone Academy Bonds, and the American Samoa Economic Development Credit. The EXPIRE Act would extend each of these provisions for two years (through 2015). A discussion of their economic impact and related extension bills in the 113th Congress is also included.
Turkey-U.S. Cooperation Against the "Islamic State": A Unique Dynamic?
This report discusses the U.S.'s relationship with Turkey in fighting the Islamic State (IS, also known as ISIS or ISIL): "[The] U.S. strategic objectives regarding cooperation with Turkey, a NATO member and Sunni Muslim-majority country, in countering the Islamic State (IS, also known as ISIS or ISIL) in Syria and Iraq appear to include: avoiding attacks on or the destabilization of Turkey; minimizing the use of Turkish territory by extremists; and using Turkish territory and airspace and/or partnering with Turkish forces for military purposes and to further strengthen and diversify Sunni support within the anti-IS coalition." (p. 1).
History of the Clery Act: Fact Sheet
This report discusses the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (Clery Act, 20 U.S.C. 1092). The Clery Act was enacted to increase the accountability and transparency of Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs) in meeting certain responsibilities with regard to the safety and security of students on their campuses.
Palestinian Authority: U.S. Payments to Creditors as Alternative to Direct Budgetary Assistance?
A September 24, 2014, congressional notification (CN) from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) may reflect a new executive branch approach in assisting the Palestinian Authority (PA) to pay off some of the debts it incurs in providing various benefits and services to West Bank and Gaza residents. The CN indicates that USAID plans to obligate a total of $100 million in FY2014 bilateral economic assistance for the Palestinians toward direct U.S. payments to PA creditors. This report briefly discusses the details and implications of this new alternative method.
Poverty in the United States: 2013
This report discusses poverty in United States that varies widely across the population according to age, education, labor force attachment, family living arrangements, and area of residence, among other factors. The report elaborates on the poverty among selected groups, the geography of poverty, and the research supplemental poverty measure.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): A Primer on Eligibility and Benefits
This report focuses on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) eligibility and the form and function of benefits. SNAP, formerly called the Food Stamp Program, is designed primarily to increase the food purchasing power of eligible low-income households to help them buy a nutritionally adequate low-cost diet.
House Committees: Categories and Rules for Committee Assignments
This report discusses rules for committee assignments in the House of Representatives. House rules address the election and membership of committees, especially limitations on membership. The Democratic Caucus and Republican Conference rules designate categories of committees and specify service limitations in addition to those in the House rules.
Procedural Distinctions Between the House and the Committee of the Whole
This report very briefly explains some of the chief distinctions between consideration in the House operating as the House and consideration in Committee of the Whole.
Recently Expired Charitable Tax Provisions ("Tax Extenders"): In Brief
This report discusses the four charitable tax provisions are discussed in this report: the enhanced charitable deduction for contributions of food inventory; tax-free distributions from individual retirement accounts for charitable purposes; basis adjustment to stock of S corporations making charitable contributions of property; and special rules for contributions of capital gain real property for conservation purposes.
Selected Recently Expired Individual Tax Provisions ("Extenders"): In Brief
This report briefly summarizes and discusses items categorized as individual tax provisions. These and other temporary tax provisions that are regularly extended for one or two years are often referred to as "tax extenders."
Smartphone Data Encryption: A Renewed Boundary for Law Enforcement?
This report briefly examines new issues for law enforcement regarding data encryption and smartphones including cyber-criminals and Apple's new privacy policy that removes the back-doors that law enforcement used to be able to use to access user data.
U.S. Citizens Kidnapped by the Islamic State
This report briefly discusses the Islamic State's (IS, or alternatively, Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, ISIL, or Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, ISIS) kidnapping of American citizens and the implications for congressional response.
Child Welfare and Child Support: The Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act (P.L. 113-183)
This report begins with an overview and topical summary of the provisions of the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act (H.R. 4980), which seeks to ensure that child welfare agencies are responsive to particular issues for children and youth in foster care or those who otherwise have contact with the child welfare system. The report follows this with a review of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) cost estimate for H.R. 4980 and the legislative origins of the enacted bill.
Guinea: In Brief
This report provides background information on politics and economy of Guinea. The report discusses human rights and governance in Guinea, as well as the role of military, drug trafficking and mining sector.
Nuclear Cooperation with Other Countries: A Primer
This report discusses section 123 of the Atomic Energy Act (AEA), the specific requirements of which must be met in order for the United States to engage in civilian nuclear cooperation with other states. The AEA also provides for exemptions to these requirements, export control licensing procedures, and criteria for terminating cooperation.
State Small Business Credit Initiative: Implementation and Funding Issues
This report examines the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) and its implementation, including Treasury's response to initial program audits conducted by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) and Treasury's Office of Inspector General (OIG). The SSBCI provides funding, allocated by formula and distributed in one-third increments, to states, territories, and eligible municipalities (hereinafter referred to as states) to expand existing or create new state small business investment programs, including state capital access programs, collateral support programs, loan participation programs, loan guarantee programs, and venture capital programs.
Conflict Minerals and Resource Extraction: Dodd-Frank, SEC Regulations, and Legal Challenges
This report discusses the two sections of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Protection Act (Dodd-Frank) that require the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC or Commission) to issue regulations to make public the involvement of U.S. companies in conflict minerals and in resource extraction payments.
Cybercrime: A Sketch of 18 U.S.C. 1030 and Related Federal Criminal Laws
This report discusses the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), 18 U.S.C. 1030, which is a cyber security law that outlaws conduct that victimizes computer systems. It protects federal computers, bank computers, and computers connected to the Internet by shielding them from trespassing, threats, damage, espionage, and from being corruptly used as instruments of fraud.
Cybercrime: An Overview of the Federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Statute and Related Federal Criminal Laws
This report discusses The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), 18 U.S.C. 1030, which is a cyber security law that outlaws conduct that victimizes computer systems. It protects federal computers, bank computers, and computers connected to the Internet from trespassing, threats, damage, espionage, and from being corruptly used as instruments of fraud.
EPA's Upcoming Ozone Standard: How Much Will Compliance Cost?
This report briefly discusses upcoming changes in climate policy and cost associated with them. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is under a court order to complete a review of its ambient air quality standard for ozone (the "ozone NAAQS") by October 1, 2015. The agency must propose any change to the standard by December 1 of [2014].
Guam: U.S. Defense Deployments
This report discusses the strategic significance of Guam for defense buildup and the force relocation and deployments from the U.S. mainland. It also discusses the concerns and issues for Congress, such as allies and partners, relations with China, and legislation.
Nuclear Energy Policy
This report discusses nuclear energy issues currently facing Congress, such as federal incentives for new commercial reactors, radioactive waste management policy, research and development priorities, power plant safety and regulation, nuclear weapons proliferation, and security against terrorist attacks.
Cybersecurity: Authoritative Reports and Resources, by Topic
This report provides references to analytical reports on cybersecurity from CRS, other government agencies, trade associations, and interest groups. The reports and related websites are grouped under the following cybersecurity topics: policy overview; National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC); cloud computing and FedRAMP; critical infrastructure; cybercrime, data breaches and data security; national security, cyber espionage, and cyberwar (including Stuxnet); international efforts; education/training/workforce; and research and development (R&D).
Federal Lands and Natural Resources: Overview and Selected Issues for the 113th Congress
This report provides references to analytical reports on cybersecurity from CRS, other government agencies, trade associations, and interest groups. The reports and related websites are grouped under the following cybersecurity topics: policy overview; National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC); cloud computing and FedRAMP; critical infrastructure; cybercrime, data breaches and data security; national security, cyber espionage, and cyberwar (including Stuxnet); international efforts; education/training/workforce; and research and development (R&D).
Appropriations and Fund Transfers in the Affordable Care Act (ACA)
Implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Affordable Care Act, or ACA) is having a significant impact on federal mandatory — also known as direct — spending. Most of the projected spending under the law is for expanding health insurance coverage. This report summarizes all the mandatory appropriations and Medicare trust fund transfers in the ACA and provides details on the status of obligation of these funds.
China/Taiwan: Evolution of the "One China" Policy — Key Statements from Washington, Beijing, and Taipei
This report provides background information regarding U.S. policy on "One China". The second part of this report discusses the highlights of key statements by Washington, Beijing, and Taipei.
Increased Department of Defense Role in U.S. Ebola Response
On September 16, 2014, President Obama announced a major increase in the United States response to the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa. The Department of Defense (DOD) submitted requests to Congress to make excess Overseas Contingency Operations funds appropriated for FY2014 available to support this effort. This report briefly outlines these requests.
Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA): Resources for Frequently Asked Questions
This report summarizes legislative actions taken to repeal, defund, delay, or otherwise amend the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) since the law's enactment.
Al Qaeda-Affiliated Groups: Middle East and Africa
This report focuses on Al Qaeda affiliates, or groups that have publicly sworn allegiance to Al Qaeda leadership and been formally accepted as affiliates. This includes Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the Nusrah Front, and Al Shabaab. This report also profiles a selection of other groups that are not Al Qaeda affiliates but may have organizational links or ideological similarities with Al Qaeda or its affiliates and pose a credible threat to the United States or to U.S. interests.
Renewable Energy R&D Funding History: A Comparison with Funding for Nuclear Energy, Fossil Energy, and Energy Efficiency R&D
This report provides a cumulative history of Department of Energy (DOE) funding for renewable energy compared with funding for the other energy technologies--nuclear energy, fossil energy, and energy efficiency. Specifically, it provides a comparison that covers cumulative funding over the past 10 years (FY2005-FY2014), a second comparison that covers the 37-year period since DOE was established at the beginning of fiscal year 1978 (FY1978-FY2014), and a third comparison that covers a 67-year funding history (FY1948-FY2014) for DOE and predecessor agencies.
Same-Sex Marriage: A Legal Background After United States v. Windsor
This report discusses the recognition of same-sex marriage that generates debate on both the federal and state levels.
Afghanistan: Post-Taliban Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy
This report discusses the current political state of Afghanistan, focusing particularly on the influence of the Taliban and other militant groups, and on the leadership of Afghan President Hamid Karzai. This report also discusses the U.S.-Afghanistan relationship, in both the short and long term, and U.S. efforts under the Obama Administration to provide military, reconstructive, and stabilization aid.
China's Economic Rise: History, Trends, Challenges, and Implications for the United States
This report surveys the rise of China's economy, describes major economic challenges facing China, and discusses the implications of China's economic rise for the United States.
Federal and State Quarantine and Isolation Authority
This report provides an overview of federal and state public health laws as they relate to the quarantine and isolation of individuals and a discussion of constitutional issues that may be raised should individual liberties be restricted in a quarantine or isolation situation.
Monuments and Memorials Authorized and Completed Under the Commemorative Works Act in the District of Columbia
This report contains a catalog of the 18 authorized works that have been completed and dedicated since 1986. For each memorial, the report provides a rationale for each authorized work, as expressed by a Member of Congress, as well as the statutory authority for its creation; and identifies the group or groups which sponsored the commemoration, the memorial's location, and the dedication date. A picture of each work is also included.
The Pacific Alliance: A Trade Integration Initiative in Latin America
The Pacific Alliance is a regional integration initiative formed by Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru on April 28, 2011. Its main purpose is for members to form a regional trading bloc and forge stronger economic ties with the Asia-Pacific region. This report provides an overview of the structure of the Pacific Alliance, events leading up to its creation, and the economic significance of the Member countries.
Western Sahara
This report discusses how Morocco and the independence-seeking Popular Front for the Liberation of Saqiat al Hamra and Rio de Oro (Polisario) have been vying for control of the Western Sahara, a former Spanish territory, since the 1970s. The report discusses recent settlement attempts, as well as how the Western Sahara issue has affected Algerian-Moroccan bilaterial relations, Moroccan relations with the African Union, and regional cooperation on economic and security issues. The report also discusses the United States' involvement in and stance on the issue.
Federal Pollution Control Laws: How Are They Enforced?
This report focuses on enforcement of federal environmental pollution control requirements under the Clean Air Act (CAA); the Clean Water Act (CWA); the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA or Superfund); and other statutes for which EPA is the primary federal implementing agency.1 The report provides a brief synopsis of the statutory framework that serves as the basis for pollution control enforcement, including an overview of the key players responsible for correcting violations and maintaining compliance. Implementation and enforcement of pollution control laws are interdependent and carried out by a wide range of actors including federal, state, tribal, and local governments; the regulated entities themselves; the courts; interest groups; and the general public.
House Standing Committee Chairs and Ranking Minority Members: Rules Governing Selection Procedures
This report discusses house rules, Republican Conference rules, and Democratic Caucus rules each detail aspects of the procedures followed in selecting standing committee chairs and ranking minority members. This report summarizes those procedures and lists membership on each party's steering committee.
Multiemployer Defined Benefit (DB) Pension Plans: A Primer and Analysis of Policy Options
This report discusses the nature of multiemployer defined benefit (DB) pension plans, and issues regarding their financial solvency.
U.S. Postal Service Workforce Size and Employment Categories, FY1994-FY2013
This report provides data from the past 20 years on the size of the U.S. Postal Service's (USPS's) workforce. Further, this report examines trends in its workforce composition, particularly focusing on shifts in the ratio between career and non-career employment.
Agriculture in the WTO Bali Ministerial Agreement
At the World Trade Organization's (WTO's) Ninth Ministerial Conference in Bali, Indonesia, December 3-7, 2013, ministers adopted the so-called Bali Package — a series of decisions aimed at streamlining trade (referred to as trade facilitation), allowing developing countries more options for providing food security, boosting least-developed-country trade, and helping development more generally. This report focuses on aspects of the Bali Package that deal with and are specific to agriculture.
Beverage Industry Pledges to Reduce Americans' Drink Calories
This report briefly covers recent initiatives by leading beverage companies to curb the obesity epidemic.