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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
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Fact Sheet: Selected Highlights of the FY2017 National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 4909)
This report provides selected highlights of 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). Table 1 provides a summary of amounts recommended for authorization. Table 2 provides a summary of selected congressional budget reductions and restrictions, and Table 3 provides a summary of selected Administration policy and cost-cutting proposals. Table 4 provides a summary of selected congressional budget increases and policy initiatives.
The Nunn-McCurdy Act: Background, Analysis, and Issues for Congress
This report examines the the Nunn-McCurdy Act, which requires the Department of Defense (DOD) to report to Congress whenever a major defense acquisition program experiences cost overruns that exceed certain thresholds. As a result of the Nunn-McCurdy Act, Congress has increased visibility into the cost performance of the acquisition stage of MDAPs. However, some analysts suggest that Nunn-McCurdy is not a sufficiently comprehensive reporting mechanism.
Goldwater-Nichols at 30: Defense Reform and Issues for Congress
This report is designed to assist Congress as it evaluates the many different defense reform proposals suggested by the variety of stakeholders and institutions within the U.S. national security community. It includes an outline of the strategic context for defense reform, both in the Goldwater-Nichols era and today. It then builds a framework to understand the DOD management challenge, and situates some of the most-discussed reform proposals within that framework. It concludes with some questions Congress may ponder as it exercises oversight over the Pentagon.
Presidential References to the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force in Publicly Available Executive Actions and Reports to Congress
This memorandum sets out information and analysis concerning presidential references in official notifications and records to the Authorization for Use of Military Force (2001 AUMF; Public Law 107-40; 50 U.S.C. ยง 1541 note), enacted in response to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States. It contains very brief discussions of the relevant provisions of the 2001 AUMF, and the uses of U.S. armed forces connected with 2001 AUMF authority, as well as excerpted language and other information from the notifications.
Unaccompanied Alien Children: An Overview
This report opens with an analysis of recent unaccompanied alien children (UAC) apprehension data. It then discusses current policy on the treatment, care, and custody of the population, with a description of the responsibilities of each federal agency involved with the population. The report then discusses both administrative and congressional actions to deal with the UAC surge in FY2014 and ongoing action to address possible future surges.
Information Warfare: DOD's Response to the Islamic State Hacking Activities
This report briefly examines the Islamic State's (IS) strategy of accessing U.S. government computer systems for a variety of purposes, and the Department of Defense's (DOD) response.
Military Officer Personnel Management: Key Concepts and Statutory Provisions
This report provides an overview of selected concepts and statutory provisions that shape and define military officer appointments, assignments, grade structure, promotions, and separations. It also provides a set of questions that policymakers may wish to consider when discussing proposed changes to current law.
U.S.-Nordic Relations
This report briefly discusses U.S. relations with the Nordic countries--Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden.
Agricultural Exports and 2014 Farm Bill Programs: Background and Current Issues
This report provides background on the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA's) agricultural export programs and relevant issues for Congress. U.S. agricultural exports have long been a bright spot in the U.S. balance of trade, with exports exceeding imports in every year since 1960.
Remittances: Background and Issues for Congress
This report focuses on remittances, transfers of money and capital, sent by migrants and foreign immigrant communities from the United States to their home country. At over $432 billion in 2015, remittances sent home by international migrants to developing countries is larger than official development assistance (ODA) and more stable than private capital flows to these countries.
Transportation Security: Issues for the 114th Congress
This report examines aviation, transit and passenger rail security, as well as port and maritime security. The difficulty and cost of protecting the transportation sector from attack raises a core question for policymakers, i.e., how much effort and resources to put toward protecting potential targets versus pursuing and fighting terrorists.
Delivery Drones: Coming to the Sky Near You?
This legal sidebar briefly examines the prospect of highly-automated fleets of drones being used routinely to deliver packages, which raises a number of legal questions.
Internships in Congressional Offices: Frequently Asked Questions
This report addresses frequently asked questions (FAQs) about congressional interns and internships. It is intended to provide information to congressional offices about the role of interns and to provide a summary of some of the policies and guidance provided by the House and the Senate related to internships. It addresses the House and Senate rules that apply to congressional internships, factors that may affect an office's selection process and an individual's eligibility to serve in an internship, and some of the congressional resources and training opportunities available for interns.
Legislative Procedures for Adjusting the Public Debt Limit: A Brief Overview
This report discusses the procedure for adjusting the public debt limit. Nearly all of the outstanding debt of the federal government is subject to a statutory limit, which is set forth as a dollar limitation in 31 U.S.C. 3101(b). From time to time, Congress considers and passes legislation to adjust or suspend this limit.
What, If Anything, Has Judge Garland Said About the Second Amendment and Guns?
This legal sidebar briefly examines D.C. Circuit Judge Merrick Garland's views on the second amendment.
Unique Identification Codes for Federal Contractors: DUNS Numbers and CAGE Codes
This report focuses on identification numbers for government acquisition and acquisition-related purposes that government contractors, generally, are required to have. The federal government uses a proprietary system, Dun & Bradstreet's (D&B's) Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS), to uniquely identify the entities with which it does business. It does not address taxpayer identification numbers (TINs) or other types of recipients of federal money (e.g., grant award recipients) who are required to obtain DUNS numbers.
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.
Funding of Presidential Nominating Conventions: An Overview
This report provides a historical overview of how Presidential Election Campaign Fund (PECF) convention funding functioned. It also describes private funding sources that remain available after legislation (H.R. 2019) became law (P.L. 113-94) eliminating PECF funding for convention operations.
Kuwait: Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy
This report examines Kuwait's relationships with its neighbors in the Persian Gulf, and its own political system which has been in turmoil since 2006. Kuwait remains pivotal to U.S. efforts to secure the Persian Gulf region because of its willingness to cooperate with U.S. strategy and military operations in the region and its proximity to both Iran and Iraq.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP): Key Provisions and Issues for Congress
This report discusses the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which is a proposed free trade agreement (FTA) among the United States and 11 Asia-Pacific countries. It examines the key provisions of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), related policy and economic contexts, and issues of potential interest to Congress.
The United Kingdom and the European Union: Stay or Go?
This report briefly examines the debate surrounding whether or not the United Kingdom should leave the European Union.
FY2016 State Grants Under Title I-A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)
This report provides estimated FY2016 state grant amounts under each of the four formulas used to determine Title I-A grants. The program, part of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), is designed to provide supplementary educational and related services to low-achieving and other students attending pre-kindergarten through grade 12 schools with relatively high concentrations of students from low-income families.
Overview of Commercial (Depository) Banking and Industry Conditions
This report begins with a general overview of the banking industry. It describes how banks facilitate the financial intermediation process as well as the associated financial risks. It also explains the market structure of the banking industry, referring primarily to the asset distribution. Next, this report summarizes profitability and lending activity levels in the banking industry. Particular attention is paid to metrics related to capitalization levels, asset performance, and earnings of depository banks.
Synthetic Drugs: Overview and Issues for Congress
This report discusses the federal scheduling of controlled substances, including the temporary scheduling of substances. It also provides an overview of current trends in selected synthetic cannabinoids and stimulants. It concludes with a review of relevant legislation as well as possible issues policymakers might consider.
China's Natural Gas: Uncertainty for Markets
This report discusses China's natural gas plans. Despite China's pollution problems and international environmental commitments, the role of natural gas in China's energy mix remains relatively low, particularly compared to the United States; however, China has announced big plans for its natural gas development and use. These changes will require significant investment in exploration, production, infrastructure, and consumption.
DHS Budget v. DHS Appropriations: Fact Sheet
This report provides a breakdown of the Obama Administration's 2017 budget request for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and compares it to appropriations in previous years.
EPA Policies Concerning Integrated Planning and Affordability of Water Infrastructure
This report examines two recent initiatives by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in which the agency works with states to develop and implement new approaches for water quality goals that will be more cost-effective and address the most pressing water infrastructure problems first. The examples include an integrated planning policy and a framework policy for assessing a community's financial capability to meet objectives and requirements of the Clean Water Act (CWA).
Federal Lifeline Program: Frequently Asked Questions
This report discusses the Federal Lifeline Program established by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in 1985. The program was originally designed to assist eligible low-income households to subsidize the monthly service charges incurred for voice telephone usage and was limited to one fixed line per household.
Green Infrastructure and Issues in Managing Urban Stormwater
This report discusses the issue of stormwater, or runoff, which is considered largely a problem of excess rainwater or snowmelt impacting communities. Prevailing engineering practices were to move stormwater away from cities as rapidly as possible to avoid potential damages from flooding. More recently, these practices have evolved and come to recognize stormwater as a resource that, managed properly within communities, has multiple benefits.
Majority, Concurring, and Dissenting Opinions Authored by Judge Merrick Garland
This report identifies and briefly summarizes each of the more than 350 cases in which Judge Garland has authored a majority, concurring, or dissenting opinion. Arguably, these written opinions provide the greatest insight into Judge Garland's judicial approach, as a judge's vote in a case or decision to join an opinion authored by a colleague may be based upon a number of considerations and may not necessarily represent full agreement with a joined opinion.
The First Responder Network (FirstNet) and Next-Generation Communications for Public Safety: Issues for Congress
This report discusses the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet), which is a federal agency that includes private sector and other non-federal representation on its board of directors. It examines the challenges for public safety leaders and policymakers in establishing the framework for a nationwide network that meets state, local, tribal and territorial needs for robust, interoperable emergency communications.
Zika Response Funding: In Brief
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.
Clean Power Plan: Legal Background and Pending Litigation in West Virginia v. EPA
This report provides legal background on the Clean Power Plan rule (CPP) to regulate emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs), its Clean Air Act (CAA) framework under Section 111, and climate-related lawsuits that have preceded the present litigation over the CPP. It then gives an overview of the participants in the current litigation, including two groups of Members of Congress, who have offered briefs in support of the petitioners and the respondents, respectively. This report explains the major events in the litigation as of the date of publication, including the Supreme Court stay, and the likely timetable of events in the near term.
Corporate Expatriation, Inversions, and Mergers: Tax Issues
This report begins with a brief discussion of relevant portions of the U.S. corporate income tax system before examining how inversions were commonly structured. It then looks at how Congress and the Department of the Treasury have reduced the benefits of inversions, and concludes with an examination of methods that remain to invert and policy options available to prevent or limit these inversions.
Dominican Republic: Update on Citizenship and Humanitarian Issues
This report briefly examines social issues in the Dominican Republic regarding the treatment of Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian descent.
Judge Merrick Garland: His Jurisprudence and Potential Impact on the Supreme Court
This report provides an overview of Judge Garland's jurisprudence and discusses what the impact on the Court might be if he, or a judge of a similar judicial approach, were to be confirmed to succeed Justice Scalia. The report begins with his views on two overarching issues -- the role of the judiciary and statutory interpretation -- it then addresses 14 separate areas of law, which are arranged in alphabetical order from "administrative law" to "takings."
Legislative Options for Financing Water Infrastructure
This report discusses 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. It provides an overview of six options that are reflected in recent legislative proposals, including their budgetary implications.
Maritime Territorial and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) Disputes Involving China: Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and issues for Congress on maritime territorial and exclusive economic zone (EEZ) disputes in the East China (ECS) and South China Sea (SCS) involving China, with a focus on how these disputes may affect U.S. strategic and policy interests.
The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative: Lessons Learned and Issues for Congress
The first section of this report provides an overview of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI, pronounced "Reggie") cap-and-trade program and the participating RGGI states. The subsequent sections discuss selected issues raised by RGGI that may be of interest to Congress. The final section provides some final observations that may be instructive to policymakers.
Traditional and Roth Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs): A Primer
This report describes the primary features of two common retirement savings accounts that are available to individuals: traditional and Roth Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs). In response to concerns over the adequacy of retirement savings, Congress has created incentives to encourage individuals to save more for retirement through a variety of retirement plans. Some retirement plans are employer-sponsored, such as 401(k) plans, and others are established by individual employees, such as IRAs.
Ukraine: Current Issues and U.S. Policy
This report provides an overview of the situation in Ukraine. Following the February 2014 collapse of the Kremlin-supported government of President Viktor Yanukovych, 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.
Ukraine: Current Issues and U.S. Policy
This report provides an overview of the situation in Ukraine. In February 2014, the Kremlin-supported government of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych collapsed. What followed the turmoil of early 2014 was the 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 Buy American Act--Preferences for "Domestic" Supplies: In Brief
This report discusses the Buy American Act of 1933, which is the earliest and arguably the best known of various statutes regarding federal procurement of domestic products. The act attempts to protect U.S. businesses and labor by restricting the acquisition and use of end products or construction materials that are not "domestic."
Oman: Reform, Security, and U.S. Policy
This report examines the political background of Oman, as well as various foreign policy and security issues relevant today. The report also discusses the United States' relationship with the country.
U.S. Manufacturing in International Perspective
This report is designed to inform the debate over the health of U.S. manufacturing through a series of charts and tables that depict the position of the United States relative to other countries according to various metrics. Understanding which trends in manufacturing reflect factors that may be unique to the United States and which are related to broader changes in technology or consumer preferences may be helpful in formulating policies intended to aid firms or workers engaged in manufacturing activity.
Climate Change Paris Agreement Opens for Signature
This report briefly provides background on the new international Paris Agreement to address greenhouse-gas-induced climate change. No international agreement has attracted as many signatures on a single day.
Climate Change Paris Agreement Opens for Signature
This report discusses the new international Paris Agreement, signed by 175 out of 196 Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change on April 22, 2016 to address greenhouse-gas-induced climate change.
Private Flood Insurance in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)
This report briefly discusses federal law regarding flood insurance. By law or regulation, federal agencies, federally-regulated lending institutions, and government-sponsored enterprises must require certain property owners to purchase flood insurance as a condition of any mortgage that these entities make, guarantee, or purchase.
Congress and the Budget: 2016 Actions and Events
This report seeks to assist in (1) anticipating what budget-related actions might occur within the upcoming year, and (2) staying abreast of budget actions that occur this year. It provides a general description of the recurrent types of budgetary actions, and reflects on current events that unfold in each category during 2016.
Department of Education Funding: Key Concepts and FAQ
Analyzing the U.S. Department of Education's (ED) budget requires an understanding of a broad range of federal budget and appropriations concepts. This report provides an introduction to these concepts as they are used specifically in the context of the congressional appropriations process for ED.