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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
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Trade Promotion Authority (TPA): Frequently Asked Questions
This report provides background information Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), and discusses U.S. trade negotiating objectives, procedures for congressional-executive notification and consultation, and expedited legislative procedures.
U.S.-Mexican Security Cooperation: The Mérida Initiative and Beyond
This report begins with a brief discussion of security challenges in Mexico and Mexico's security strategy. It then provides updated information on congressional funding and oversight of the Mérida Initiative before delving into its four pillars. The report concludes by raising policy issues that Congress may wish to consider as it continues to fund and oversee the Mérida Initiative and broader U.S.-Mexican security cooperation.
Franking Privilege: Mass Mailings and Mass Communications in the House, 1997-2014
This report provides an analysis of House Member mass mailings (1997-2008, 2012-2014) and mass communications (2009-2014). Despite significant reductions in congressional mail postage costs over the past 25 years, critics continue to raise concerns about the franking privilege.
Title X (Public Health Service Act) Family Planning Program
This report discusses various issues regarding the Family Planning Program, Title X of the Public Health Service Act. Enacted in 1970, it is the only domestic federal program devoted solely to family planning and related preventive health services.
U.S.-China Nuclear Cooperation Agreement
This report discusses renewal of the peaceful nuclear cooperation agreement between the United States and the People's Republic of China (PRC). The discussion in this report focuses on congressional roles in crafting and carrying out the agreement. Such agreements are subject to Section 123 of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 as amended (AEA, P.L. 95-242, 42 U.S.C. 2011 et seq.) and commonly are called "123 agreements.
Congressional Franking Privilege: Background and Recent Legislation
This report discusses the congressional franking privilege, which dates from 1775 and allows Members of Congress to transmit mail matter under their signature without postage.
Fact Sheet: Selected Highlights of H.R. 1735, the National Defense Authorization Act for FY2016
This report includes a fact sheet based on the draft bill and committee report (H.Rept. 114-102) and is designed as a time-urgent product offering Members the best available information about the bill pending publication of a CRS report on the FY2016 Defense Authorization and Appropriations legislation.
The Future of Internet Governance: Should the U.S. Relinquish Its Authority Over ICANN?
The report provides background information on Domain Name System and the role of the U.S. government. This report discusses the U.S. government limited authority over the Internet's domain name system, primarily through the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions contract between the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).
International Investment Agreements (IIAs): Frequently Asked Questions
This report answers frequently asked questions about international investment agreements (IIAs) made between the United States and other countries. Questions are categorized in three main areas: background and context; U.S. international investment agreements; and investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS).
Iran's Foreign Policy
This report provides an overview of Iran's foreign policy, which has been a subject of numerous congressional hearings and of sanctions and other legislation for many years. The report analyzes Iranian foreign policy as a whole and by region. The regional analysis discusses those countries where Iranian policy is of U.S. concern. The report also makes reference to Iran's efforts to utilize its ties to various countries to try to mitigate the effects of U.S. sanctions.
International Air Service Controversies: Frequently Asked Questions
This report addresses some of the most frequently asked questions related to on-going controversies related to international "open skies" agreements.
Major U.S. Arms Sales and Grants to Pakistan Since 2001
This report discusses the U.S. arms sales and grants to Pakistan since 2001 that have included numerous items useful for counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations.
Tesla's Home Battery--An Electricity Storage Breakthrough?
Cost-effective electricity storage has long been a kind of "Holy Grail" for the electric power sector. This report briefly discusses potential innovations in electricity storage.
Changes in the Arctic: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides an in-depth overview of Arctic-related issues for Congress and refers readers to more in-depth CRS reports on specific relevant topics.
Defense Acquisitions: How and Where DOD Spends Its Contracting Dollars
This report examines how much money DOD obligates on contracts, what DOD is buying, and where that money is being spent. This report also examines the extent to which these data are sufficiently reliable to use as a factor when developing policy or analyzing government operations.
Health Care for Veterans: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
This report provides responses to frequently asked questions about health care provided to veterans through the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). It is intended to serve as a quick reference to provide easy access to information. Where applicable, it provides the legislative background pertaining to the question.
An Introduction to Health Insurance: What Should a Consumer Know?
This report provides an overview of private-sector (as opposed to government-provided) health insurance. It serves as an introduction to health insurance from the point of view of many consumers under the age of 65. No background in health insurance is assumed, and all terms are defined in the body of the report.
Military Retirement: Background and Recent Developments
This report discusses the noncontributory military retirement system which includes monthly compensation and benefits after an active or reserve military career, disability retirement for those physically unfit to continue to serve, and survivor benefits for the eligible survivors of deceased retirees.
The State of Campaign Finance Policy: Recent Developments and Issues for Congress
This report includes updated material that emphasizes the issues most prominently before the 113th Congress. It also discusses foundational information about major elements of campaign finance policy.
Cybersecurity and Information Sharing: Comparison of H.R. 1560 and H.R. 1731 as Passed by the House
This report compares provisions in two bills in the House of Representatives that address information sharing and related activities in cybersecurity.
Cyprus: Reunification Proving Elusive
This report provides a brief overview of the history of the negotiations between Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders, a review of the negotiations since 2008, and a description of some of the issues involved in the talks.
Mandatory Minimum Sentencing Legislation in the 114th Congress
This report discusses legislation proposals in the 114th Congress that reflect various positions and stances on mandatory minimum sentences for Federal crimes. Federal crimes are usually punishable by a statutory maximum term of imprisonment--for example, "imprisoned for not more than 5 years."1 A surprising number also have statutory minimum terms of imprisonment--for example, "imprisonment which may not be less than 10 years or for life."
Missing and Exploited Children: Background, Policies, and Issues
This report covers only select aspects of the broader topic of missing and exploited children. It begins with an overview of the scope of the missing and exploited children issue, including definitions and approximate numbers of children known to be missing or exploited. The report also provides information about the Missing and Exploited Children's (MEC) program's funding, oversight, and major components. Finally, the report discusses issues that may be relevant to the MEC program.
Saudi Arabia: Background and U.S. Relations
This report discusses the current state of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, its relationship with the United States, and future initiatives to further develop U.S.-Saudi relations.
Sex Trafficking: Proposals in the 114th Congress to Amend Federal Criminal Law
This report discusses proposed legislation that would amend federal substantive law in three areas: commercial sex trafficking (18 U.S.C. 1591); the Mann Act, which outlaws transportation and travel for unlawful sexual purposes; and federal tax crimes.
The United Kingdom: Background and Relations with the United States
This report provides an overview of the U.S.-UK relationship, concerns about UK defense cuts and their potential effect on future security cooperation and assessment of some of the main dimensions of these topics.
The United Kingdom: Background and Relations with the United States
This report provides an overview of the U.S.-UK relationship, concerns about UK defense cuts and their potential effect on future security cooperation and assessment of some of the main dimensions of these topics.
The United Kingdom Election
This report is a brief primer on the United Kingdom's (UK) general election, which is set to take place May 7, 2015. The previous election, in 2010, resulted in a "hung Parliament," as no party won a majority of the 650 seats in the House of Commons.
Women in Congress: Historical Overview, Tables, and Discussion
This report discusses the impact of women in Congress and historical information, such as the number and percentage of women in Congress over time, means of entry to Congress, comparisons to international and state legislatures, records for tenure, firsts for women in Congress, women in leadership, and African-American and Asian-Pacific American women in Congress.
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 a variety of cybersecurity topics.
Questions of the Privileges of the House: An Analysis
The first section of this report provides information on raising and considering questions of House privileges to provide assistance in anticipating potential House action. The second part focuses on the content of questions in an effort to provide guidance as to what the Speaker may determine constitutes a valid question. The final section provides extensive data on questions raised in the past two decades.
Trade Adjustment Assistance for Workers: Reauthorization Proposals in the 114th Congress, In Brief
This report is designed to provide assistance in considering Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) for Workers reauthorization efforts in the 114th Congress. It begins with background information on TAA and a summary of recent legislation. It then presents a table that compares a recent reauthorization proposal with provisions in current and prior law.
U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF): Background and Issues for Congress
This report covers Special Operations Forces (SOF) budgets for FY2014 and expected uses of the budgeted money. SOF actions play a significant role in U.S. military operations, and the Administration has given U.S. SOF greater responsibility for planning and conducting worldwide counterterrorism operations.
What are the Department of Defense (DOD) Policies on Transgender Service?
This report discusses the Department of Defense's (DOD) policies regarding transgender service. Previously, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Department of Justice would take the position in litigation that the protection of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act extends to an individual's gender identity. Though Title VII does not apply to military personnel, for some, this change in the Administration's position has raised questions about U.S. law and DOD policies.
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.
European Fighters in Syria and Iraq: Assessments, Responses, and Issues for the United States
This report discusses U.S. and European assessments of and responses to the foreign fighter phenomenon. It focuses on government policies primarily in Western European countries and analyzes EU measures to counter the foreign fighter threat given the EU's largely open internal borders and that 23 EU member states belong to the U.S. Visa Waiver Program.
Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) and the Role of Congress in Trade Policy
This report presents background and analysis on the development of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), which expired on July 1, 2007. The report also includes a summary of the major provisions under the recently expired authority and a discussion of the issues that have arisen in the debate over TPA renewal, as well as policy options available to Congress.
Women in Congress, 1917-2015: Biographical and Committee Assignment Information, and Listings by State and Congress
This report includes biographical information, including the names, committee assignments, dates of service, listings by Congress and state, and (for Representatives) congressional districts of the 313 women who have been elected or appointed to Congress.
Changes in the Arctic: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides an overview of Arctic-related issues for Congress, and refers readers to more in-depth CRS reports on specific Arctic-related issues.
Civilian Nuclear Waste Disposal
This report looks at the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 (NWPA), Yucca Mountain, and the Obama Administration's de-funding of Yucca Mountain. Federal policy is based on the premise that nuclear waste can be disposed of safely, but proposed storage and disposal facilities have frequently been challenged on safety, health, and environmental grounds. Most of the current debate surrounding civilian radioactive waste focuses on highly radioactive spent fuel from nuclear power plants.
FY2016 Military Construction Appropriations: President's Request and House Markup Compared
This report briefly discusses the financing of military construction. Military construction is normally funded through Title I of the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies appropriations bill and provides funding for the planning, design, construction, alteration, and improvement of facilities used by active and reserve military components worldwide.
Cyprus: Reunification Proving Elusive
This report provides information and analysis relevant for Congress on the following: Assessments of U.S.-Turkey relations, Turkish foreign policy, and Turkey's strategic orientation.
Japan-U.S. Relations: Issues for Congress
This report discusses issues regarding U.S.-Japan economic relations, since the economic condition of each nation can affect the world economy and a U.S.-Japan bilateral economic relationship could influence economic conditions in other countries. U.S. and Japanese leaders have several options on how to manage their relationship.
Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA): Resources for Frequently Asked Questions
This report begins with links to contacts for specific ACA questions. The report provides basic consumer sources, including a glossary of health coverage terms. It also provides sources on the ACA's provisions on mental health, public health, workforce, quality, and taxes. Finally, the report lists sources on ACA costs and appropriations, legal issues, the treatment of noncitizens under the ACA, and sources for obtaining the law's full text.
2014 Farm Bill Provisions and WTO Compliance
This report briefly describes the relevant World Trade Organization (WTO) rules governing domestic support programs under the Agreement on Agriculture (AoA) and the Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures (SCM). The report then reviews the current U.S. farm safety net programs in light of their potential for compliance with the AoA and SCM and their potential to affect the success of the current Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations.
African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA): Background and Reauthorization
This report discusses the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which is a nonreciprocal trade preference program that provides duty-free treatment to U.S. imports of certain products from eligible sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries.
An Analysis of the Regulatory Burden on Small Banks
This report explains the concept of regulatory burden and the different ways it can be manifested. It analyzes whether small banks are relatively more burdened by regulation than big banks. To help answer that question, the report looks at the relative treatment of small and large banks in recent major regulatory proposals.
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, which performs a variety of missions supporting U.S. interests in polar regions.
Commemorations in Congress: Options for Honoring Individuals, Groups, and Events
This report summarizes the evolution of commemorative legislation as well as the laws, rules, and procedures that have been adopted to control the types of commemoratives considered and enacted.
Franking Privilege: Historical Development and Options for Change
This report provides a history of the Congressional franking privilege and discusses the franking privilege that has carried an element of controversy throughout American history.