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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
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U.S. Rail Transportation of Crude Oil: Background and Issues for Congress
This report discusses the challenges in the transportation of oil, as refineries that once received crude oil principally from oceangoing tankers are now seeing increasing deliveries by domestic transport. It also outlines possible issues for Congress including rail transport of oil versus pipelines, and the possible increase of oil spills from rail transport.
The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC): An Overview
The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a refundable tax credit available to eligible workers earning relatively low wages. This report provides an overview of the EITC, first discussing eligibility requirements for the credit, followed by how the credit is computed and paid. The report then provides data on the growth of the EITC since it was first enacted in 1975. Finally the report concludes with data on the EITC claimed on 2012 tax returns, examining EITC claims by number of qualifying children, income level, tax filing status, and location of residence.
Fact Sheet: Selected Highlights of H.R. 3979, the Carl Levin and Howard "Buck" McKeon National Defense Authorization Act for FY2015
This report contains selected highlights of S. 1847, the version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for FY2015, agreed to on December 2, 2014, by negotiators for the House and Senate Armed Services Committees.
International Climate Change Financing: The Green Climate Fund (GCF)
This report discusses United States commitments for climate change through financial and technical assistance and multilateral programs.
Proposed Train and Equip Authorities for Syria: In Brief
This report reviews the authority granted in H.J.Res. 124 and explores similarities and differences among the H.J.Res. 124 authority, the President's requests, and other proposals that may be considered by Congress, including during anticipated consideration of FY2015 full-year appropriations or defense authorization (H.R. 4435/S. 2410) legislation.
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.
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.
Congressional Liaison Offices of Selected Federal Agencies
This report provides a list of roughly 200 congressional liaison offices with phone numbers, addresses, and other contact information.
Jordan: Background and U.S. Relations
This report provides an overview of Jordanian politics and current issues in U.S.-Jordanian relations. It provides a brief discussion of Jordan's government and economy and of its cooperation with U.S. policy objectives in the Middle East, including the promotion of Arab- Israeli peace.
The Peace Corps: Current Issues
The report discusses the President's annual funding request for the Peace Corps, efforts to reauthorize the Peace Corps, and related issues. Current issues include the extent to which there is available funding for Peace Corps expansion, whether the Peace Corps has the institutional capacity to expand, and whether volunteers are able to function in a safe and secure environment.
U.S. Assistance Programs in China
This report examines U.S. foreign assistance activities in the People's Republic of China (PRC), undertaken by the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The report also discusses related foreign operations appropriations, policy history, and legislative background. International programs supported by U.S. departments and agencies other than the Department of State and USAID, as well as Department of State public diplomacy programs, are not covered in this report.
U.S. International Corporate Taxation: Basic Concepts and Policy Issues
This report provides a general introduction to the basic concepts and issues relevant to the U.S. international corporate tax system. The explanations provided in this report emphasize the underlying concepts of the international tax system and are intended to be as simplified as possible.
The Corporate Income Tax System: Overview and Options for Reform
This report presents information and research on the corporate tax to help policy makers understand and evaluate arguments presented in the tax reform debate. This report first reviews the structure of the corporate income tax. Data on which companies pay the corporate tax, corporate tax revenue, and how the U.S. system compares to the rest of the world are then presented and analyzed. Next, the economic effects of the corporate tax are reviewed--including a discussion of the purpose of the corporate tax, who bears the burden of the tax, and how to evaluate alternative corporate tax systems. The report then reviews broad reform options and concludes with a comparison of specific proposals that have been offered.
EPA Delays Decision on 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard to 2015
This report discusses the 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) that sets the annual minimum use requirements for biofuels in the nation's transportation fuel supply.
Major Disaster Declarations for Snow Assistance and Severe Winter Storms: An Overview
This report describes snow assistance and assistance for severe winter storms, the declaration process, the criteria used to make eligibility determinations, and the types of assistance that are provided after the President has issued a major disaster declaration for the incident. This report also provides historical data on winter incidents since 2009 including obligations for the incidents from FEMA's Disaster Relief Fund (DRF). The DRF is the main account used to fund a wide variety of programs, grants, and other forms of emergency and disaster assistance to states, local governments, certain nonprofit entities, and families and individuals affected by disasters.
Taxation of Internet Sales and Access: Legal Issues
This report first looks at the Constitution's requirement of nexus, including an examination of whether recent state laws comply with the nexus standard and federal legislation that would affect the standard. It then looks at the scope of the Internet Tax Freedom Act (ITFA) moratorium on multiple or discriminatory taxes on electronic commerce and taxes on Internet access.
U.S.-EU Cooperation Against Terrorism
This report examines the evolution of counterterrorism cooperation between the United States and the European Union (EU), particularly since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. It includes a discussion of U.S.-EU cooperation progress and ongoing challenges, as well as perspectives and issues for Congress.
What Is the Current State of the Economic Recovery?
This report discusses the U.S. economy's recovery from the 2007-2009 recession.
"Amazon Laws" and Taxation of Internet Sales: Constitutional Analysis
As more purchases are made over the Internet, states are looking for new ways to collect taxes on online sales. There is a common misperception that the U.S. Constitution prohibits states from taxing Internet sales. This report discusses "Amazon laws", which try to capture uncollected taxes on Internet sales and yet still comply with the Constitution's requirements.
The Committee Markup Process in the House of Representatives
This report focuses on the markup stage of the legislative process in committee. It discusses the selection of the text to be marked up, the procedures for proposing and debating amendments to that text, the voting and quorum procedures that govern markups, and the final stages of ordering the marked-up text reported to the House for its consideration.
Employment Growth and Progress Toward Full Employment
This report provides figures on job growth since October 2010 to the second half of 2012.
Speaking on the House Floor: Gaining Time and Parliamentary Phraseology
This report discusses the House rules and precedents that structure Members' opportunities to speak on the floor about pending legislation. Under some circumstances, Members arrange to speak on legislation by communicating with the leaders of the committee that reported the bill. Sometimes the arrangements can be made on the floor during the debate, and at other times they are made prior to floor consideration. The committee leaders from both sides of the aisle manage the consideration of a bill on the floor, under what is known as controlled time, by allocating the debate time among several Members.
Counting Regulations: An Overview of Rulemaking, Types of Federal Regulations, and Pages in the Federal Register
This report serves to inform the congressional debate over rulemaking by analyzing different ways to measure federal rulemaking activity. The report provides data on and analysis of the total number of rules issued each year, as well as information on other types of rules, such as "major" rules, "significant" rules, and "economically significant" rules.
Export-Import Bank Reauthorization: Frequently Asked Questions
This report addresses frequently asked questions about Ex-Im Bank, grouped in the following categories: congressional interest and the Ex-Im Bank reauthorization debate; market context; international context; organizational structure and management; programs; statutory requirements and policies; risk management; budget and appropriations; implications of a sunset in authority; and historical and current approaches to reauthorization.
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.
Internet Domain Names: Background and Policy Issues
This report discusses the Domain Name System (DNS), which is the distributed set of databases that contain address numbers mapped to corresponding domain names, making it possible to send and receive messages and to access information on the Internet. The report includes background on the DNS and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) that manages the services, as well as related issues for the 113th Congress.
Internet Governance and the Domain Name System: Issues for Congress
This report provides a definition regarding Internet governance and how the Internet is currently governed. The report discusses the role of United States government and future model of Internet governance.
Iran: Interim Nuclear Agreement and Talks on a Comprehensive Accord
This report discusses the nuclear agreement talks between Iran and the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, China, and Germany--collectively known as the "P5+1, which finalized an interim agreement ("Joint Plan of Action," JPA) requiring Iran to freeze many aspects of its nuclear program in exchange for relief from some international sanctions.
U.S.-Taiwan Relationship: Overview of Policy Issues
This report is a succinct overview of the U.S.-Taiwan relationship including an analysis of issues. For decades, Taiwan has been of significant security, economic, and political interest to the United States. While the United States does not diplomatically recognize Taiwan, it is a significant autonomous actor in the world.
China and Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction and Missiles: Policy Issues
This report, updated through the 113th Congress, discusses the security problem of China's role in weapons proliferation and issues related to the U.S. policy response since the mid-1990s.
Congress Faces Calls to Address Expiring ACA Appropriations
This report discusses the Affordable Care Act (ACA), enacted in March 2010, which appropriated billions of dollars of mandatory funds to support grant programs and other activities authorized by the law.
U.S. Secret Service Protection Mission Funding and Staffing: Fact Sheet
The U.S. Secret Service (USSS) has two broad missions, criminal investigations and protection. The protection mission, which is the focus of this fact sheet, covers the President, Vice President, their families, and candidates for those offices, along with the White House and Vice President's residence, through the Service's Uniformed Division. Protective duties also extend to foreign missions in the District of Columbia and to designated individuals, such as the DHS Secretary and visiting foreign dignitaries. This fact sheet provides information on USSS funding and staffing because congressional attention has turned to the USSS and its operations due to several recent incidents.
Casework in a Congressional Office: Background, Rules, Laws, and Resources
This report discusses House and Senate rules and guidelines, laws, and regulations affecting congressional casework, as well as the role of caseworkers. It also provides sample outlines and document templates for implementing and managing congressional casework.
Cybersecurity: FISMA Reform
This report briefly discusses current requirements under the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) and two bills currently being considered by Congress that would revise the conditions and authority granted by FISMA.
A Federal Pause in Potentially Risky Influenza Research
This report briefly discusses a recently implemented federal research moratorium that has highlighted concerns about the general appropriateness of research on biological pathogens and the sufficiency of certain biosecurity efforts.
Membership of the 113th Congress: A Profile
This report presents a profile of the membership of the 113th Congress (2013-2014). Statistical information is included on selected characteristics of Members, including data on party affiliation, average age, occupation, education, length of congressional service, religious affiliation, gender, ethnicity, foreign births, and military service.
The Obama Administration's November 2014 Immigration Initiatives: Questions and Answers
On November 20, 2014, President Obama delivered a televised address wherein he broadly described the steps that his administration is taking to "fix" what he has repeatedly described as a "broken immigration system."1 Following the President's address, executive agencies made available intra-agency memoranda and fact sheets detailing specific actions that have already been taken, or will be taken in the future.2 These actions generally involve either border security, the current unlawfully present population, or future legal immigration. This report provides the answers to key legal questions related to the various immigration-related actions announced by the Obama Administration.
Securing U.S. Diplomatic Facilities and Personnel Abroad: Legislative and Executive Branch Initiatives
The September 11, 2012, attack on U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya, prompted sustained congressional attention on the specific circumstances of the events in question, as well as broader questions regarding how U.S. diplomatic personnel and facilities abroad are secured. This report briefly summarizes and tracks congressional and State Department actions in response to the attack.
U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Recent Trends and Factors
A question for policy makers is whether U.S. GHG emissions will remain at current levels, decrease to meet the President's 2020 and 2025 goals, or increase to former (or even higher) levels. Multiple factors, including socioeconomics, technology, and climate policies, may impact GHG emission levels. The first section of this report provides current levels and recent trends in U.S. GHG emissions. The second section takes a closer look at some of the key factors that influence emission levels. The third section discusses the challenges in making GHG emission projections by comparing observed emissions with pre-observed emission estimates.
EPA and the Army Corps' Proposed Rule to Define "Waters of the United States"
This report describes the March 25, 2014 proposed rule to define "waters of the United States," particularly focused on clarifying the regulatory status of waters located in isolated places in a landscape, the types of waters with ambiguous jurisdictional status following the Supreme Court's ruling. It includes a table comparing the proposal to existing regulatory language.
Iran: U.S. Economic Sanctions and the Authority to Lift Restrictions
This report identifies the legislative bases for sanctions imposed on Iran, and the nature of the authority to waive or lift those restrictions. It comprises two tables that present legislation and executive orders that are specific to Iran and its objectionable activities in the areas of terrorism, human rights, and weapons proliferation.
Overview of the Federal Tax System
The major sources of federal tax revenue are individual income taxes, Social Security and other payroll taxes, corporate income taxes, excise taxes, and estate and gift taxes. This report describes the federal tax structure, provides some statistics on the tax system as a whole, and presents analysis of selected tax concepts.
An Overview of Unconventional Oil and Natural Gas: Resources and Federal Actions
This report focuses on the growth in U.S. oil and natural gas production driven primarily by tight oil formations and shale gas formations. It also reviews selected federal environmental regulatory and research initiatives related to unconventional oil and gas extraction, including the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) proposed hydraulic fracturing rule and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) actions.
Welfare, Work, and Poverty Status of Female- Headed Families with Children: 1987-2013
The report focuses on welfare dependency and work engagement among single mothers, a major dynamic that welfare reform and accompanying policy changes have attempted to affect. It also examines the role of programs other than Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) in providing support to single female-headed families with children.
Department of Homeland Security: FY2015 Appropriations
This report analyzes the FY2015 appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). While this report makes note of many budgetary resources provided to DHS, its primary focus is on funding approved by Congress through the appropriations process.
Department of Homeland Security: FY2015 Appropriations
This report analyzes the FY2015 appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). While this report makes note of many budgetary resources provided to DHS, its primary focus is on funding approved by Congress through the appropriations process.
Food Recalls and Other FDA Administrative Enforcement Actions
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ensures the safety of all food except for meat, poultry, and certain egg products over which the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has regulatory oversight. Under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA), the FDA has the authority to regulate the manufacturing, processing, and labeling of food, with the primary goal of promoting food safety. This report focuses on the FDA's statutory authority to initiate the following administrative enforcement actions: inspections, warning letters, recalls, suspension of registration, administrative detention, and related legal issues.
A Guide to U.S. Military Casualty Statistics: Operation Inherent Resolve, Operation New Dawn, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation Enduring Freedom
This report presents statistics regarding U.S. military casualties in the active missions Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR, Iraq and Syria) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF, Afghanistan), as well as operations that have ended, Operation New Dawn (OND, Iraq) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF, Iraq). This report includes statistics on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI), amputations, evacuations, and the demographics of casualties.
Intelligence Authorization Legislation for FY2014 and FY2015: Provisions, Status, Intelligence Community Framework
This report provides background information and discusses Intelligence Authorization Act (IAA) for Fiscal Years (FY) 2014 and 2015 (H.R. 4681)
Jerusalem: Recent Israeli-Palestinian Tensions and Violence
This report discusses Israeli-Palestinian tension in the wake of the November 20th attack by two Palestinian men that left four Israelis dead in a West Jerusalem Synagogue.