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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
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Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) Filers and the Child Tax Credit: Overview and Legislation
This report discusses the child tax credit, which was created by the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 (P.L. 105-34) to help ease the financial burden on families when they have children. The ACTC is available to taxpayers with little or no federal income tax liability.
Public Trust and Law Enforcement--A Brief Discussion for Policymakers
This report provides a brief overview of police-community relations and how the federal government might be able to promote more accountability and better relationships between citizens and law enforcement.
Unemployment Insurance: Legislative Issues in the 114th Congress
The 114th Congress continues to consider many issues related to unemployment insurance (UI) programs: Unemployment Compensation (UC), the temporary, now-expired Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC08), and Extended Benefits (EB). This report gives a brief overview of the UI programs that may provide benefits to eligible unemployed workers, and briefly summarizes the President's budget proposal for FY2017.
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. Congress's decisions on this issue could affect Coast Guard funding requirements, the Coast Guard's ability to perform its polar missions, and the U.S. shipbuilding industrial base.
Navy Ford (CVN-78) Class Aircraft Carrier Program: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and potential oversight issues for Congress on the Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) class aircraft carrier program. Congress's decisions on the CVN-78 program could substantially affect Navy capabilities and funding requirements and the shipbuilding industrial base.
Access to Government Information in the United States: A Primer
This report offers an introduction to the four access laws and provides citations to additional resources related to these statutes. It includes statistics on the use of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) and on litigation related to FOIA. In addition, this report provides some examples of the methods Congress, the President, and the courts have employed to provide or require the provision of information to one another, as well as a list of resources related to transparency, secrecy, access, and nondisclosure.
Bahrain: Reform, Security, and U.S. Policy
This report discusses the current state of reform and foreign policy in Bahrain. Outward signs of the uprising against Bahrain's Al Khalifa ruling family that began on February 14, 2011, have diminished, but continued smaller demonstrations, opposition boycotts of elections, and incarceration of dissident leaders counter government assertions that Bahrain has "returned to normal."
Burma's Union Parliament Selects New President
This report discusses implications of the Union Parliament's selection of Htin Kyaw, childhood friend and close advisor to Aung San Suu Kyi, to serve as the nation's first President since 1962 who has not served in the military.
The Federal Employees' Compensation Act (FECA): Workers' Compensation for Federal Employees
This report focuses on several key policy issues facing the Federal Employees' Compensation Act (FECA) program, including the disproportionate share of claims and program costs attributed to postal workers, the payment of FECA benefits after retirement age, the overall level of FECA disability benefits as compared with those offered by the states, and the administration of the FECA program.
Justice Antonin Scalia: His Jurisprudence and His Impact on the Court
This report discusses Justice Scalia's jurisprudence on key areas of law, as well as how that jurisprudence could be seen to have influenced the Court's approach to these subject matters.
Navy Lasers, Railgun, and Hypervelocity Projectile: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and issues for Congress on three potential new weapons that could improve the ability of Navy surface ships to defend themselves against enemy missiles--solid state lasers (SSLs), the electromagnetic railgun (EMRG), and the hypervelocity projectile (HVP).
Tax Reform in the 114th Congress: An Overview of Proposals
This report provides background information regarding tax reform and discusses ways to make the U.S. tax system simpler, fairer, and more efficient.
The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Block Grant: Responses to Frequently Asked Questions
This report provides responses to frequently asked questions about the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant. It is intended to serve as a quick reference to provide easy access to information and data.
Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations In Brief
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, Turkish efforts to cooperate with the United States against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, and key issues regarding Turkey's domestic politics.
U.S. Foreign Aid to the Palestinians
This report discusses a number of issues relating to U.S. aid to the Palestinians that have relevance for Congress. Since the establishment of limited Palestinian self-rule in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the mid-1990s, the U.S. government has committed more than $5 billion in bilateral economic and non-lethal security assistance to the Palestinians.
Aliens' Right to Counsel in Removal Proceedings: In Brief
This report provides an overview of the various legal authorities governing aliens' right to counsel--as that term is broadly understood--in removal proceedings. It does not address aliens' right to counsel in criminal proceedings, the outcomes of which could potentially affect their ability to remain in the United States under immigration law.
Federally Supported Water Supply and Wastewater Treatment Programs
This report provides background information on the types of water supply and wastewater treatment projects traditionally funded by the federal government and the several existing programs to assist communities with water supply and wastewater recycling and treatment.
Navy Force Structure and Shipbuilding Plans: Background and Issues for Congress
This report presents background information and issues for Congress concerning the Navy's ship force-structure goals and shipbuilding plans. Decisions that Congress makes on Navy shipbuilding programs can substantially affect Navy capabilities and funding requirements, and the U.S. shipbuilding industrial base.
Transportation Spending Under an Earmark Ban
This report explains what earmarks are and discusses their use in surface transportation finance. It then discusses how federal transportation funding is distributed with a ban in place and how Members of Congress might influence the distribution.
Cars, Trucks, and Climate: EPA Regulation of Greenhouse Gases from Mobile Sources
This report focuses on EPA's completed and potential actions to limit greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from mobile sources, relying on the authorities in Title II of the Clean Air Act (CAA). We begin with a brief discussion of the petitions and court action that led to EPA's regulatory decisions.
Former Presidents: Pensions, Office Allowances, and Other Federal Benefits
This report provides a legislative and cultural history of the Former Presidents Act. It considers the potential effects of maintaining the FPA or amending the FPA in ways that might reduce or otherwise modify a former President's benefits.
The House May Vote to File an Amicus Brief: Is this Unprecedented?
This report discusses the historical precedence of the House authorizing the filing of an amicus brief. The case involves state challenges to the Obama Administration's expansion of its deferred action program for certain aliens brought to the U.S. as children and unauthorized aliens who are the parents of U.S. citizens or legal permanent resident aliens.
Nominations to the Supreme Court During Presidential Election Years (1900-Present)
This report provides data and analysis related to nominations made to the Supreme Court during presidential election years from 1900 to the present.
Nominations to the Supreme Court During Years of Divided and Unified Party Government
This report provides data and analysis related to nominations made to the Supreme Court during years of unified and divided party government.
Cuba: Issues for the 114th Congress
This report is divided into three major sections analyzing Cuba's political and economic environment, U.S. policy, and selected issues in U.S.-Cuban relations. While legislative initiatives are noted throughout the report, a final section of the report provides a listing of bills and resolutions introduced in the 114th Congress.
Five Years of the Budget Control Act's Disaster Relief Adjustment
The Budget Control Act (P.L. 112-25, hereinafter the BCA) established a set of limits on federal spending, as well as a set of mechanisms to adjust those limits to accommodate spending that has special priority. This report looks at how the adjustment has functioned over the first five years, and what the future of disaster relief (as defined under the BCA) may look like under current law for the next five years and beyond.
Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA): Congressional Interest and Executive Enforcement, In Brief
This report briefly discusses the Foreign Corrupt Practice Act of 1977 (FCPA), which was intended to prevent corporate bribery of foreign officials. Criticisms of the act's operation and scope began almost immediately after its passage and have continued. This report addresses these criticisms.
Justice Antonin Scalia's Last Opinion
This report discusses Justice Antonin Scalia's last opinion for the court (Kansas v. Carr). There, the Court reversed two decisions of the Kansas Supreme Court and held that "the Eighth Amendment [does not] require... capital-sentencing courts to instruct the jury that mitigating circumstances need not be proved beyond a reasonable doubt." It also held that the Eighth Amendment did not require separate trials for two of the defendants in one of the Kansas cases.
Navy John Lewis (TAO-205) Class Oiler Shipbuilding Program: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and issues for Congress on the John Lewis (TAO-205) class oiler shipbuilding program, a program to build a new class of 17 fleet oilers for the Navy.
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.
Congressional Liaison Offices of Selected Federal Agencies
This report is a list of about 200 congressional liaison offices, intended to help congressional offices in placing telephone calls and addressing correspondence to government agencies. In each case, the information was supplied by the agency itself and is current as of the date of publication. Entries are arranged alphabetically in four sections: legislative branch; judicial branch; executive branch; and agencies, boards, and commissions.
The March 2016 Nuclear Security Summit
This report discusses the Nuclear Security Summit (NSS), a biennial summit which aims to focus global attention at the highest level of government on the threat of nuclear terrorism.
Navy Littoral Combat Ship (LCS)/Frigate Program: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and issues for Congress on the Navy's Littoral Combat Ship (LCS)/Frigate program, a program to procure a large number of LCSs and modified LCSs. Congress's decisions on the LCS/Frigate program will affect Navy capabilities and funding requirements, and the shipbuilding industrial base.
U.S. Immigration Policy: Chart Book of Key Trends
This report is a chart book of selected immigration trends. Key immigration issues that Congress has considered in recent years include increased border security and immigration enforcement, expanded employment eligibility verification, reforms to the system for legal temporary and permanent immigration, and options to address the millions of unauthorized aliens residing in the country.
Wartime Detention Provisions in Recent Defense Authorization Legislation
This report offers a brief background of the salient issues raised by the detainee provisions of the FY2012 NDAA, provides a section-by-section analysis, and discusses executive interpretation and implementation of the act's mandatory military detention provision. It also addresses detainee provisions in subsequent defense authorization legislation.
Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan (CO-OP) Program: Frequently Asked Questions
This report addresses frequently asked questions regarding the Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan (CO-OP) program, which was established under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and aims to foster the creation of CO-OPs--nonprofit, member-run health insurance issuers that sell health plans in states in which they are licensed.
Nigeria: Current Issues and U.S. Policy
This report discusses Nigeria's relationship with the U.S. The Obama Administration has been supportive of reform initiatives in Nigeria, including anti-corruption efforts, economic and electoral reforms, energy sector privatization, and programs to promote peace and development in the Niger Delta. Congress oversees more than $600 million in U.S. foreign aid programs in Nigeria--one of the largest U.S. bilateral assistance packages in Africa.
Veterans' Benefits: Burial Benefits and National Cemeteries
This report provides a descriptive analysis of both nonmonetary and monetary burial benefits and national cemeteries. It addresses congressional and constituent issues.
FY2017 Budget Documents: Internet and GPO Availability
This report provides brief descriptions of the budget volumes and related documents, together with Internet addresses, Government Publishing Office (GPO) stock numbers, and prices for obtaining print copies of these publications. It also explains how to find the locations of government depository libraries, which can provide both printed copies for reference use and Internet access to the online versions.
Iran: Politics, Gulf Security, and U.S. Policy
This report provides background on Iran's political history and examines the current political climate. The report also considers U.S. policy responses, specifically in regards to Iran's nuclear capabilities.
Navy DDG-51 and DDG-1000 Destroyer Programs: Background and Issues for Congress
This report presents background information and potential oversight issues for Congress on the Navy's Arleigh Burke (DDG-51) and Zumwalt (DDG-1000) class destroyer programs. Decisions that Congress makes concerning destroyer procurement could substantially affect Navy capabilities and funding requirements, and the U.S. shipbuilding industrial base.
U.S. Strategic Nuclear Forces: Background, Developments, and Issues
This report reviews the ongoing programs that will affect the expected size and shape of the U.S. strategic nuclear force structure.
The Aliso Canyon Natural Gas Leak: State and Federal Response and Oversight
This report briefly discusses the large, uncontrollable natural gas leak in the Aliso Canyon Underground Storage Facility near the Porter Ranch community in Los Angeles County, California, which occurred between October 23, 2015, and February 11, 2016.
Daylight Saving Time
This report discusses Daylight Saving Time (DST), which is a period of the year between spring and fall when clocks in the United States are set one hour ahead of standard time. DST is currently observed in the United States from 2:00 a.m. on the second Sunday in March until 2:00 a.m. on the first Sunday in November.
EPA's Clean Power Plan for Existing Power Plants: Frequently Asked Questions
This report summarizes the Clean Power Plan rule as it was finalized on August 3, 2015, before discussing how the ongoing litigation may potentially impact the rule and its deadlines. EPA faced a number of issues and questions while developing the regulations. This report describes how EPA answered these and other questions.
Iraq: Politics and Governance
This report provides background and analysis on the politics of Iraq, including its communities, its governing personalities and factions, security forces and militias, and the government's human rights record.
Cybersecurity: Critical Infrastructure Authoritative Reports and Resources
This report serves as a starting point for congressional staff assigned to cover cybersecurity issues as they relate to critical infrastructure. Much is written about protecting U.S. critical infrastructure, and this report directs the reader to authoritative sources that address many of the most prominent issues.
Navy Ohio Replacement (SSBN[X]) Ballistic Missile Submarine Program: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and potential oversight issues for Congress on the Ohio replacement program (ORP), a program to design and build a new class of 12 ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) to replace the Navy's current force of 14 Ohio-class SSBNs.
Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau's State Visit, March 2016
This report briefly discusses Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's scheduled visit to the United States on March,10 2016. It will be the first state visit by a Canadian leader since 1997, when then-President Clinton hosted then-Prime Minister Jean Chr├ętien.
Iran Nuclear Agreement
This report provides background on the agreement negotiated by Iran and six other countries (the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, China, and Germany--collectively known as the P5+1) regarding Iran's nuclear program, and discusses the implications for U.S.-Iran relations.