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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
The Power to Regulate Commerce: Limits on Congressional Power
This report discusses the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution, which provides that the Congress shall have the power to regulate interstate and foreign commerce.
Venezuela: Background and U.S. Relations
This report discusses the current United States relation with Venezuela, including background on the political situation and recent developments, the economic conditions, relevant U.S. policies, and the legislative initiatives in the 111th and 112th Congresses. The United States traditionally has had close relations with Venezuela, a major supplier of foreign oil, but there has been friction in relations under the government of populist President Hugo Chávez. U.S. officials have expressed concerns about human rights, Venezuela's military arms purchases, its relations with Cuba and Iran, and its efforts to export its brand of populism to other Latin American countries.
Water Infrastructure Financing: Proposals to Create a Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) Program
This report discusses the "Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act," or WIFIA, program, which is one legislative option to finance water infrastructure projects.
The Republic of the Philippines and U.S. Interests--2014
This report looks at the U.S. foreign policy towards the Philippines and discusses the key U.S. policy concerns related to the Philippines.
U.S. Strategic Nuclear Forces: Background, Developments, and Issues
This report reviews the ongoing programs and issues that will affect the expected size and shape of the U.S. strategic nuclear force structure. It includes an overview of this force structure during the Cold War summarizes the reductions and changes that have occurred since 1991, and offers details about each category of delivery vehicle--land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), submarine launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) and heavy bombers--focusing on their current deployments and ongoing and planned modernization programs.
Crisis in the Central African Republic
This report provides background on the evolving political, security, and humanitarian crisis in the Central African Republic (CAR), which began when a fractious rebel coalition seized control of the central government in March 2013. The report also describes U.S. policy responses and analyzes possible issues for Congress, including oversight of U.S. humanitarian assistance and support for international stabilization efforts in CAR.
Maritime Territorial Disputes in East Asia: Issues for Congress
This report presents policy and oversight issues for Congress arising from maritime territorial disputes involving East Asia, East China Sea (ECS), and an additional dispute over whether China has a right under international law to regulate U.S. and other foreign military activities in its maritime Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
Nuclear Cooperation with Other Countries: A Primer
This report discusses section 123 of the Atomic Energy Act (AEA), the specific requirements of which must be met in order for the United States to engage in civilian nuclear cooperation with other states. The AEA also provides for exemptions to these requirements, export control licensing procedures, and criteria for terminating cooperation.
Body Armor for Law Enforcement Officers: In Brief
This report contains an overview of the Matching Grant Program for Law Enforcement Armor Vests (BPV program). It also provides a discussion of data on law enforcement agencies that require their officers to wear armor vests while on duty, research on why officers may choose to wear armor vests, research on the life cycle for armor vests, data on the use of body armor by law enforcement officers who were killed with a firearm, and research on the effectiveness of armor vests.
U.S.-Vietnam Nuclear Cooperation Agreement: Issues for Congress
This report discusses the U.S.-Vietnamese cooperation on nuclear energy and nonproliferation that has grown in recent years along with closer bilateral economic, military, and diplomatic ties.
Afghanistan: Politics, Elections, and Government Performance
This report discusses the current political state of Afghanistan, and the Afghan government. It also discusses Afghanistan's relationship with the United States, particularly U.S. efforts to urge President Hamid Karzai to address corruption within the Afghan government.
Afghanistan: Politics, Elections, and Government Performance
This report discusses the current political state of Afghanistan and the Afghan government. It also discusses Afghanistan's relationship with the United States, particularly U.S. efforts to urge President Hamid Karzai to address corruption within the Afghan government.
Airport Privatization: Issues and Options for Congress
This report discusses airport privatization, particularly the low participation in the Airport Privatization Pilot Program (APPP) and the policy changes that would be required to encourage more airports to privatize. It provides background on privatization in general, the APPP and reasons why it has not stimulated privatization, privatization in Europe and Canada, and related issues and options.
CRS Resources on the FY2014 Funding Gap, Shutdown, and Status of Appropriations
This report provides an annotated list of Congressional Research Service (CRS) resources and analyses relevant to funding gaps, including (1) the funding gap that commenced on October 1, 2013, and terminated on October 17, 2013, with the enactment of P.L. 113-46 -- a continuing appropriations measure providing appropriations through January 15, 2014; (2) historical funding gaps; and (3) continuing appropriations measures.
Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: Recent Activities and Ongoing Developments
This report provides a summary update of selected issues related to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
How Social Security Benefits Are Computed: In Brief
This report discusses how Social Security benefits are currently computed, including information about eligibility, earnings, cost-of-living adjustments, factors that can affect benefit levels, and benefits for dependents.
Securing U.S. Diplomatic Facilities and Personnel Abroad: Legislative and Executive Branch Initiatives
This report briefly summarizes and tracks congressional and State Department actions in response to the attack on U. S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya, and will be updated as necessary to reflect further developments and actions on ongoing policy proposals.
Afghanistan: Drug Trafficking and the 2014 Transition
This report describes key U.S. counternarcotics programs in Afghanistan in the context of the 2014 transition and analyzes policy issues related to these programs for Congress to consider as policy makers examine the drug problem in Afghanistan.
Chemical Facility Security: Issues and Options for the 113th Congress
This report provides a brief overview of the existing statutory authority and implementing regulation, as well as a description of several policy issues raised in previous debates regarding chemical facility security. It also identifies policy options for congressional consideration.
Federal Holidays: Evolution and Current Practices
This report discusses the creation of federal holidays, how holidays affect employee pay, and recent holiday legislation.
S. 2262, Shaheen-Portman Bill 2014: Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act
This report reviews the provisions of S. 2262, highlights the most controversial bill provision, and identifies potential amendments to the bill.
Congress's Contempt Power and the Enforcement of Congressional Subpoenas: Law, History, Practice, and Procedure
This report examines the source of the contempt power, reviews the historical development of the early case law, outlines the statutory and common law basis for Congress's contempt power, and analyzes the procedures associated with inherent contempt, criminal contempt, and the civil enforcement of subpoenas. It also includes a detailed discussion of two recent information access disputes that led to the approval of contempt citations in the House against then-White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten and former White House Counsel Harriet Miers, as well as Attorney General Eric Holder. Finally, the report discusses both non-constitutional and constitutionally-based limitations on the contempt power.
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 the nation's government and economy, as well as Jordan's cooperation in promoting Arab-Israeli peace and other U.S. policy objectives in the Middle East.
Libya: Transition and U.S. Policy
This report discusses the revolution and post-conflict transition in Libya, triggered in mid-February 2011 by a chain of events resulting in the death of the Prime Minister (Qadhafi); a new government was elected in July. The report also looks at the military and economic state of the country, including human rights, Islam and politics, and Libya's oil assets.
Provisions in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 as an Alternative to a Traditional Budget Resolution
This report provides an explanation of such provisions, highlights how those provisions compare with a traditional budget resolution, and places them within the context of the budget process for FY2014 and FY2015.
Status of a Member of the House Who Has Been Indicted for or Convicted of a Felony
This report summarizes the potential consequences, with respect to congressional status, that may result when a sitting Member of the House of Representatives is indicted for or is convicted of a felony.
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 bugeted 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.
Ukraine: Current Issues and U.S. Policy
This report offers background information on Ukraine's current political and economic situation, as well as foreign policy towards NATO, the European Union, and Russia. It also discusses U.S. policy, U.S. aid to Ukraine, the congressional response, and other legislation.
Unauthorized Aliens in the United States: Policy Discussion
This report discusses the unauthorized immigrant (illegal alien) population in the United States, which is a key and controversial immigration issue.
Unauthorized Aliens in the United States: Policy Discussion
This report discusses the unauthorized immigrant (illegal alien) population in the United States, which is a key and controversial immigration issue.
The Article V Convention to Propose Constitutional Amendments: Contemporary Issues for Congress
This report looks at how Article V of the Constitution allows Congress to propose amendments -- specifically the process of organizing an Article V Convention, a method that has never been used and which is only briefly outlined in the Constitution.
FEMA's Disaster Relief Fund: Overview and Selected Issues
This report describes the declaration process and the types of declarations that can be issued under the Stafford Act: (1) emergency and major disaster declarations, and (2) Fire Management Assistance Grants. The report also examines how the Disaster Relief Fund (DRF) is financed and analyzes the issues related to the DRF, including the debate over supplemental appropriations, how the DRF is budgeted, and the influence the Budget Control Act has had on the DRF.
Iran Sanctions
This report discusses the recent development regarding the negotiations with Iran about its nuclear program. It provides background information on Iranian nuclear program and debates the November 24 Joint Plan of Action Elements.
Legislative Actions to Repeal, Defund, or Delay the Affordable Care Act
This report summarizes legislative actions taken to repeal, defund, delay, or otherwise amend the Affordable Care Act (ACA) since the law's enactment.
Low-Income Assistance Programs: Trends in Federal Spending
This report examines the spending trends of 10 major need-tested benefit programs or groups of programs: (1) health care from Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP); (2) the refundable portion of the health insurance tax credit enacted in the 2010 health care reform law; (3) the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); (4) assisted housing; (5) financial assistance for post-secondary students (Pell Grants); (6) compensatory education grants to school districts; (7) the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC); (8) the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC); (9) Supplemental Security Income (SSI); and (10) Family Support Payments.
Reform of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC): Selection of Judges
This report surveys the process of "designation," an alternative method used by Congress that allows current federal judges to serve temporarily on another federal court without undergoing a separate constitutional appointment. It explores how a reviewing court might evaluate the constitutionality of these proposals that would shift the authority to select Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) judges away from the Chief Justice alone, and vest it in other officials within the judicial, executive, and legislative branches.
The Army's Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV): Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information on the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV) and it discusses the Army's proposed replacement to the Vietnam-era M-113 personnel carriers, which are still in service in a variety of support capacities in Armored Brigade Combat Teams (ABCTs).
Central America Regional Security Initiative: Background and Policy Issues for Congress
This report examines the extent of the security problems in Central America, the current efforts being undertaken by Central American governments to address them, and U.S. support for Central American efforts through the Central America Regional Security Initiative. It also raises potential policy issues for congressional consideration such as funding levels, human rights concerns, and how CARSI relates to other U.S. government policies.
Private Health Insurance Market Reforms in the Affordable Care Act (ACA)
This report provides background information about the private health insurance market, including market segments and regulation. It then describes each Affordable Care Act (ACA) market reform.
Armed Conflict in Syria: Overview and U.S. Response
This report discusses the recent conflict in Syria including an overview of the situation, information about anti- and pro-Asad forces, background on chemical weapons and disarmament, plans for U.S. policy and assistance, and a general sense of the future outlook.
Conventional Prompt Global Strike and Long-Range Ballistic Missiles: Background and Issues
This report provides an overview of the rationale for the Prompt Global Strike (PGS) mission and the possible deployment of conventional warheads on long-range ballistic missiles or boost-glide systems. It also reviews the Air Force and Navy efforts to develop these systems and summarizes congressional reaction to these proposals, then provides a more detailed account of the issues raised by these concepts and programs.
Individual Mandate Under ACA
This report describes the individual mandate as established under the Affordable Care Act (ACA, P.L. 111-148, as amended). The report also discusses the ACA reporting requirements designed, in part, to assist individuals in providing evidence of having met the mandate.
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.
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 United Kingdom and U.S.-UK Relations
This report discusses the relations between United Kingdom (UK) and the United States, including a sense of shared history, values, and culture, as well as extensive and long-established cooperation on a wide range of foreign policy and security issues.
Apprehensions of Unauthorized Migrants along the Southwest Border: Fact Sheet
This report discusses the number of illegal alien apprehensions between southern ports of entry (POE) in the United States, which has generally declined.
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 the following cybersecurity topics: policy overview; National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC); cloud computing and FedRAMP; critical infrastructure; cybercrime, data breaches and data security; national security, cyber espionage, and cyberwar (including Stuxnet); international efforts; education/training/workforce; and research and development (R&D).
Research Tax Credit: Current Law and Policy Issues for the 113th Congress
This report describes the current status of the Research Tax Credit, summarizes its legislative history, discusses policy issues it raises, and describes legislation to modify and extend it. The report will be updated as warranted by legislative activity or other developments affecting the credit.
U.S. International Broadcasting: Background and Issues for Reform
This report discusses the United States International Broadcasting Act of 1994 (USIB Act) and the U.S. international broadcasting services were consolidated under the BBG within the United States Information Agency (USIA).
Summary Cost Data for Health Plans Available in Maine's Exchange, 2014: Fact Sheet
This report discusses the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA, P.L. 111-148, as amended) that contains a number of provisions that may affect the individual health insurance market.