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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Results 201 - 250 of 38,529
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Encryption and Evolving Technology: Implications for U.S. Law Enforcement Investigations
This report provides an overview of the perennial issue involving technology outpacing law enforcement and discusses how policy makers and law enforcement officials have dealt with this issue in the past. It also outlines the current debate surrounding smartphone data encryption and how this may impact U.S. law enforcement operations, as well as existing law enforcement capabilities, the debate over whether law enforcement is "going dark" because of rapid technological advances, and resulting issues that policy makers may consider.
General and Flag Officers in the U.S. Armed Forces: Background and Considerations for Congress
This report provides an overview of active duty general and flag officers (GFOs) in the United States Armed Forces-- including authorizations, duties, and compensation--historical trends in the proportion of GFOs relative to the total force, criticisms and justifications of GFO to total force proportions, and statutory controls. National Guard and Reserve GFOs are not addressed in this report, unless they are serving on active duty in a manner that counts against the active duty caps on GFOs.
The Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC): In Brief
This report describes the eligibility criteria for the Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC) and the types of health insurance to which the tax credit may be applied. The tax credit's purpose is to make the purchase of health insurance more affordable for eligible individuals. The HCTC has a sunset date of January 1, 2020. The report also briefly describes the administration of the HCTC program and receipt of the credit by eligible taxpayers; it concludes with a summary of the HCTC's statutory history.
Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV): Background and Issues for Congress
This report discusses the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV), which is an Army-led, multi-service initiative to develop a family of light tactical vehicles as a successor to the High Mobility, Multi-Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWVs). It includes background information; a description of the JLTV program, program history, and program activities; information about the JLTV contract, Lockheed Martin's protest to the program, budgetary issues, and potential issues for Congress.
Legislative Options for Financing Water Infrastructure
This report addresses 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. Possible options include expanding or modifying current programs, establishing long-term revenue to support programs, or encouraging private participation in financing projects.
Recovery Act Funding for DOE Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) Projects
This report discusses current legislation regarding the potential of carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) as a mitigation strategy for lowering global emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2). Congress has appropriated more than $7 billion since FY2008 to CCS activities at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
The Role of Local and Regional Food Systems in U.S. Farm Policy
This report provides background information on many of the type of operations engaged in the U.S. local and regional food system. A wide range of farm businesses are involved in local foods, such as direct-to-consumer marketing, farmers' markets, farm-to-school programs, community-supported agriculture,6 community gardens, school gardens, food hubs and market aggregators, kitchen incubators, and mobile slaughter units. This report also highlights some of the available resources within existing federal programs administered by USDA and other agencies.
Temporary Protected Status: Current Immigration Policy and Issues
This report is a brief overview of current policies regarding temporary protected status (TPS), which is relief from removal under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). It includes information about humanitarian migrants, temporary protected status, other blanket forms of relief, nationalities receiving protections, and issues with TPS, as well as recent legislation.
Additional U.S. Ground Troops to Counter the Islamic State? Five Questions
This report briefly discusses various arguments regarding the introduction of additional ground forces to secure territory once it has been taken back from the Islamic State.
Afghanistan: Post-Taliban Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy
This report examines the current political state of Afghanistan at length, discussing the political background, security policy, and regional relations.
Deficits and Debt: Economic Effects and Other Issues
This report explores distinctions in the concept and composition of deficits and debt, explains how these two measures interact, and discusses their possible effects on the economy. The combination of persistent budget deficits and a large and increasing federal debt has generated discussions over the long-term sustainability of current budget projections. Federal debt totaled $18.922 trillion at the end of calendar year 2015, and as a percentage of GDP is at its highest value since the end of World War II; $13.673 trillion of that debt was held by the public.
IAEA Budget and U.S. Contributions: In Brief
This report discusses the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA's) budget and funding. In addition to its other missions, the IAEA is monitoring and verifying Iranian compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and is to report on these activities regularly. The accord is intended to lift nuclear related U.S., European Union, and United Nations sanctions on Iran in exchange for restrictions on the country's nuclear program.
U.S. Family-Based Immigration Policy
This report provides an examination of family-based immigration policy. It outlines a brief history of U.S. policies, discusses current law governing admissions, and summarizes recommendations made by previous congressionally-mandated committees charged with evaluating immigration policy. It then presents descriptive figures on legal immigrants entering the United States during the past decade and discusses the sizable queue of approved immigrant petitioners waiting for an immigrant visa. It closes by discussing selected policy issues.
Border Security Metrics Between Ports of Entry
This report provides background and information about performance and operational metrics related to U.S. border security as well as issues for Congressional consideration.
The Federal Networking and Information Technology Research and Development Program: Background, Funding, and Activities
This report discusses the federal government's role in the country's information technology (IT) research and development (R&D) activities. Support of IT R&D began because the government had an important interest in creating computers and software that would be capable of addressing the problems and issues the government needed to solve and study.
FY2016 Changes to DOD's 1033 Program
This report briefly discusses the current status of the Department of Defense's (DOD's) 1033 Program, under which excess DOD property -- such as personal computers, vehicles, and firearms -- are made available to qualified federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies.
Intelligence Spending: In Brief
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Lead in Flint, Michigan's Drinking Water: Federal Regulatory Role
This report discusses the federal regulatory role in regards to drinking water, more specifically in the context of the Flint water crisis. Lead exposure is a major public health concern, particularly because low-level exposures can impair the neurodevelopment of children. The main source of lead in drinking water is the corrosion of plumbing materials in the distribution system.
U.S. Farm Income Outlook for 2016
This report discusses this the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA's) farm income outlook and its implications. According to USDA's Economic Research Service (ERS), national net farm income--a key indicator of U.S. farm well-being--is forecast at $54.8 billion in 2016, down 3% from last year. The 2016 forecast represents the third consecutive year of decline and would be the lowest since 2002 in both nominal and inflation-adjusted dollars.
What Does Justice Scalia's Death Mean for Congress and the Nation?
This legal sidebar briefly provides an overview of the major implications of Justice Scalia's death for Congress. Justice Scalia's absence may alter the outcome of several cases of interest to Congress pending before the Court and could mark a seismic shift in many legal doctrines, depending on who is confirmed to fill the newly vacant seat on the Court. The job of confirming the President's nomination to fill the vacancy resides with the Senate, making Justice Scalia's death likely to have a profound impact in both the short and long term on Congress.
The European Union: Current Challenges and Future Prospects
This report provides a brief history of the European Union (EU) and the major challenges currently confronting the EU as an institution. It also discusses the potential implications both for the EU itself and for U.S.-EU relations.
Appointment of African American U.S. Circuit and District Court Judges: Historical Overview and Current Data
This report briefly provides historical and statistical information related to the appointment of African Americans as U.S. circuit and district court judges. Such information addresses ongoing congressional interest in the demographic characteristics of lower federal court judges.
Disposal of Unneeded Federal Buildings: Legislative Proposals in the 114th Congress
This report begins with an explanation of the real property disposal process and then discusses some of the factors that have made disposition relatively inefficient and costly. It then examines key provisions of three real property reform bills introduced in the 114th Congress: the Civilian Property Realignment Act (CPRA, S. 1750); the Federal Asset Sale and Transfer Act (FAST Act, S. 2375); and the Federal Assets Sale and Transfer Act (H.R. 4465).
FY2017 Defense Budget Request: In Brief
This report discusses the Obama Administration's FY2017 budget request, which includes $619.5 billion for national defense of which $590.6 billion is for the Department of Defense (DOD). It includes an overview of the defense budget structure including defense and budget caps, the base budget request, funding over overseas contingency operations, and other selected budget issues.
Navy Virginia (SSN-774) Class Attack Submarine Procurement: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and issues for Congress on the Virginia-class nuclear-powered attack submarine (SSN) program. The Navy's proposed FY2017 budget requests $4,955.2 million in procurement and advance procurement (AP) funding for the program.
Pakistan's Nuclear Weapons
This report discusses Pakistan's nuclear arsenal, which probably consists of approximately 110-130 nuclear warheads, although it could have more. Pakistan's nuclear arsenal is widely regarded as designed to dissuade India from taking military action against Pakistan, but Islamabad's expansion of its nuclear arsenal, development of new types of nuclear weapons, and adoption of a doctrine called "full spectrum deterrence" have led to concern about an increased risk of nuclear conflict between Pakistan and India.
Brazil: Background and U.S. Relations
This report discusses the current political and economic situation in Brazil and examines the U.S.'s commercial relationship with the country. The United States traditionally has enjoyed robust economic and political relations with Brazil on issues ranging from international development to climate change.
China's Recent Stock Market Volatility: What Are the Implications?
This report briefly discusses the consequences of rapid price increases from about mid-2014 to mid-2015 in China's two main stock markets, the Shanghai Stock Exchange (SSE) and the Shenzhen Stock Exchange (SZSE).
Federal Grant Financial Reporting Requirements and Databases: Frequently Asked Questions
This report provides an introduction to reporting requirements placed on federal grant recipients, including requirements that must be met to seek federal grant funds. It also describes the databases containing information about grant awards, the types of information collected on grant recipients, and the availability of that information to the public.
Federal Research and Development Funding: FY2016
This report begins with a discussion of the overall level of the President's FY2016 R&D request, followed by analyses of the R&D funding request from a variety of perspectives and for selected multiagency R&D initiatives. The report concludes with discussion and analysis of the R&D budget requests of selected federal departments and agencies that, collectively, account for more than 98% of total federal R&D funding.
The Shutdown of the Joint North/South Korean Kaesong Industrial Complex
This report briefly discusses the South Korean government's decision to shut down the Kaesong Industrial Complex (KIC), which is an 11-year-old industrial park located in North Korea just across the demilitarized zone where more than 120 South Korean manufacturers employed over 50,000 North Korean workers.
Private Health Insurance Market Reforms in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA)
This report provides background information about the private health insurance market, including market segments and regulation. It then describes each ACA market reform, grouped under the following categories: obtaining coverage, keeping coverage, cost of purchasing coverage, covered services, cost-sharing limits, consumer assistance and other health care protections, and plan requirements related to health care providers.
The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS): Waiver Authority and Modification of Volumes
This report discusses the process and criteria for the Environmental Protection Agency to waive various portions of the renewable fuel standard (RFS), and the modification of applicable volumes.
Volkswagen, Defeat Devices, and the Clean Air Act: Frequently Asked Questions
This report provides answers to a series of frequently asked questions focusing on a description of modern diesel technologies, their market and emissions profiles, and some potential reasons that could underlie the use of defeat devices. It summarizes the specific allegations filed against VW under the Clean Air Act, the current status of federal and state investigations, and the potential civil and criminal penalties. Further, the report introduces several outstanding issues currently under debate regarding the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) resources and activities, and issues surrounding VW's defeat device.
Army Corps of Engineers: Water Resource Authorizations, Appropriations, and Activities
This report provides an overview of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers civil works program, including congressional authorization and appropriations. Its civil works responsibilities are principally to support navigation, reduce flood and storm damage, and protect and restore aquatic ecosystems. The report also covers the standard project development process for Corps projects and other Corps activities and authorities.
Aung San Suu Kyi's Party Takes Control of Parliament in Burma
This report discusses politics and government in Burma following elections in November 2015. Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) has now assumed control of Burma's Union Parliament. The lower chamber (People's Assembly) and the upper chamber (National Assembly) took office on February 1 and 3, 2016, respectively.
DOE's Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (OE): A Primer, with Appropriations for FY2016
This report discusses the Department of Energy's (DOE's) Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (OE), which is tasked with the lead role to address electric infrastructure needs and issues, such as: increased use of distributed (mostly renewable energy) resources, Internet-enabled demand response technologies, growing loads from electric vehicle use, continued expansion of natural gas use, and integration of energy storage devices.
EPA Regulations: Too Much, Too Little, or On Track?
This report provides background information on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulatory activity during the Obama Administration. It examines major or controversial regulatory actions since January 2009, providing details on the regulatory action itself, presenting an estimated timeline for completion of rules not yet promulgated (including related court or statutory deadlines), and, in general, providing EPA's estimates of costs and benefits, where available. The report includes tables for rules under development, and an appendix that describes major or controversial rules that are now final.
The Islamic State and U.S. Policy
This report provides background on the Islamic State organization, discussing its goals, operations, and affiliates, as well as analyzing related U.S. legislative and policy debates.
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 volunteers are able to function in a safe and secure environment, volunteer access to abortion, and other issues.
Renewed Crypto Wars?
This report briefly examines renewed tensions between tech companies and the government regarding encryption "back doors" and how quickly-advancing technologies could impact law enforcement investigations.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP): In Brief
This report briefly summarizes some of the key controversial issues of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), including select market access issues (such as on dairy and other agricultural products, autos, and textiles and apparel) as well as the level of intellectual property protection, the scope and enforcement of environment and worker rights provisions, investor-state dispute settlement, access to government procurement, and the potential inclusion of provisions on currency valuation and exchange rates. The TPP is a proposed free trade agreement (FTA) among 12 Asia-Pacific countries, which the Obama Administration casts as comprehensive, with economic and strategic significance for the United States.
The U.S.-Japan Alliance
This report focuses on the political and military partnership between the United States and Japan. The U.S.-Japan alliance, forged in the U.S. occupation of Japan after its defeat in World War II, provides a platform for U.S. military readiness in Asia. Under the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security, about 53,000 U.S. troops are stationed in Japan, providing the major U.S. forward logistics base in the Asia-Pacific.
Water Infrastructure Financing: The Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) Program
This report examines "Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act" (WIFIA), which details a program that would provide a way to help finance water infrastructure projects. This program was included in the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014 (WRRDA, P.L. 113-121). A five-year WIFIA pilot program was outlined in Title V, Subtitle C, of the legislation.
Zika Virus: Global Health Considerations
This report gives a brief overview of the Zika Vvrus, which typically causes mild symptoms, including fever, rash, and conjunctivitis. Health experts are uncertain whether Zika causes microcephaly, a potentially-severe birth defect involving brain damage.
Iran's Nuclear Program: Tehran's Compliance with International Obligations
This report provides a brief overview of Iran's nuclear program and describes the legal basis for the actions taken by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) board and the Security Council.
Senate Committee Rules in the 114th Congress: Key Provisions
This report first provides a brief overview of Senate rules as they pertain to committee actions. It then provides tables that summarize selected, key features of each committee's rules in regard to meeting day, hearing and meeting notice requirements, scheduling of witnesses, hearing quorum, business quorum, amendment filing requirements, proxy voting, polling, nominations, investigations, and subpoenas. In addition, the report looks at selected unique provisions some committees have included in their rules in the miscellaneous category.
Is Broadband Deployment Reasonable and Timely?
This report briefly discusses the state of broadband Internet in America as determined by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in its latest Broadband Progress Report.
Zika Virus: Global Health Considerations
This report gives a brief overview of the Zika virus, which typically causes mild symptoms, including fever, rash, and conjunctivitis. Health experts are uncertain whether Zika causes microcephaly, a potentially-severe birth defect involving brain damage.
Federal Freight Policy: In Brief
This report discusses the federal role in freight system planning. The U.S. freight system is a complex network including four principal modes of transportation: The National Truck Network, railroads, barge and ship lines, and air carriers.