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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491254/
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491112/
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491343/
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491500/
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491664/
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491264/
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491497/
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc490863/
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491368/
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491342/
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491555/
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491038/
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491404/
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491532/
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491524/
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491316/
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491193/
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491653/
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491419/
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491451/
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) digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc490933/
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc490996/
Kuwait: Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy
This report looks at Kuwait's relationships with its neighbors in the Persian Gulf, and its own political system which has been in turmoil since 2006. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491309/
Natural Gas for Cars and Trucks: Options and Challenges
The increase in domestic supplies of natural gas has raised new interest in expanding its use in the transportation sector. This report considers issues related to wider use of natural gas as a fuel in passenger cars and commercial vehicles. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491271/
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Negotiations and Issues for Congress
This report examines the issues related to the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the state and substance of the negotiations (to the degree that the information is publically available), the specific areas under negotiation, the policy and economic contexts in which the TPP would fit, and the issues for Congress that the TPP presents. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc490982/
U.S. Family-Based Immigration Policy
This report provides an examination of family-based immigration policy. In doing so, it outlines a brief history of U.S. family-based immigration 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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491047/
Yemen: Background and U.S. Relations
This report provides an overview and analysis of U.S.-Yemeni relations and issues, including evolving political change in Yemeni leadership, ongoing U.S. counterterrorism operations against Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) operatives at large in Yemen's hinterlands, and international efforts to bolster the country's stability despite an array of daunting socio-economic problems. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491576/
Farm and Food Support Under USDA's Section 32 Program
"Section 32" is a permanent appropriation that since 1935 has set aside the equivalent of 30% of annual customs receipts to support the farm sector through the purchase of surplus commodities and a variety of other activities. This report first describes how the Section 32 account operates by tracing funds flowing into and out of the account. Second, a more detailed discussion is provided for each type of use, including historical policies. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc490981/
Internships, Fellowships, and Other Work Experience Opportunities in the Federal Government
This report describes Internet resources on major internship, fellowship, and work experience programs within the federal government. It is intended as a selective guide for students of all levels: high school, undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491593/
State Minimum Wages: An Overview
This report begins with a brief discussion of Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) minimum wage coverage. It then provides a summary of state minimum wage laws, followed by an examination of rates and mechanisms of adjustments in states with minimum wage levels above the FLSA rate. The report also discusses the interaction of federal and state minimum wages over time. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491514/
Veterans Affairs: Presumptive Service Connection and Disability Compensation
This report discusses presumptive service connection, its legislative history, and current challenges in making evidence-based determinations of presumptions. It also discusses the Agent Orange Act (P.L. 102-4) and suggests implications of the process established by the act for future presumptive service-connected determinations. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491075/
Veterans Exposed to Agent Orange: Legislative History, Litigation, and Current Issues
This report provides an overview of how Congress and the judiciary have addressed the concerns of Vietnam-era veterans and briefly describes some of the current issues raised by Vietnam-era veterans. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491655/
Past Government Shutdowns: Key Resources
This report provides an annotated list of historical documents and other resources related to several past government shutdowns. Sources for these documents and resources include the Congressional Research Service (CRS), Government Accountability Office (GAO), House and Senate Committees, Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Office of Personnel Management (OPM), and Executive Office of the President. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491265/
U.S. Trade Concepts, Performance, and Policy: Frequently Asked Questions
This report discusses trade issues relevant to Congress. The report is divided into four sections in a question-and-answer format: trade concepts; U.S. trade performance; formulation of U.S. trade policy; and trade and investment issues. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491104/
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act: History, Impact, and Issues
This report examines debates over what constitutes an unfunded federal mandate and the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995's (UMRA) implementation. It focuses on UMRA's requirement that Congressional Budget Office (CBO) issue written cost estimate statements for federal mandates in legislation, its procedures for raising points of order in the House and Senate concerning unfunded federal mandates in legislation, and its requirement that federal agencies prepare written cost estimate statements for federal mandates in rules. It also assesses UMRA's impact on federal mandates and arguments concerning UMRA's future, focusing on UMRA's definitions, exclusions, and exceptions that currently exempt many federal actions with potentially significant financial impacts on nonfederal entities. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491449/
The Congressional Appropriations Process: An Introduction
Congress annually considers several appropriations measures, which provide discretionary funding for numerous activities--such as national defense, education, and homeland security--as well as general government operations. Appropriations acts are characteristically annual and generally provide funding authority that expires at the end of the federal fiscal year, September 30. These measures are considered by Congress under certain rules and practices, referred to as the congressional appropriations process. This report discusses the various aspects of this process. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491371/
Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA): Resources for Frequently Asked Questions
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA; P.L. 111-148, as amended) has numerous provisions affecting private health insurance and public health coverage programs. This report provides resources to help congressional staff respond to constituents' frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the law. The report lists selected resources regarding consumers, employers, and other stakeholders, with a focus on federal sources. It also lists CRS reports that summarize ACA's provisions. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491049/
The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative: Lessons Learned and Issues for Policy Makers
The first section of this report provides an overview of the RGGI cap-and-trade program and the participating RGGI states. The subsequent sections discuss selected issues raised by RGGI that may be of interest to policy makers. The final section provides some final observations that may be instructive to policy makers. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491501/
Agriculture in the WTO Bali Ministerial Agreement
At the World Trade Organization's (WTO's) Ninth Ministerial Conference in Bali, Indonesia, December 3-7, 2013, ministers adopted the so-called Bali Package--a series of decisions aimed at streamlining trade (referred to as trade facilitation), allowing developing countries more options for providing food security, boosting least-developed-country trade, and helping development more generally. This report focuses on those aspects of the Bali Package that deal with and are specific to agriculture. It also includes a section (at the end of the report) that provides an update on the status of implementation of the various Bali Package provisions agreed to by the WTO. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491155/
Childhood Overweight and Obesity: Data Brief
This report provides an overview of the data being used to inform federal obesity policy. It presents an overview of obesity statistics among children and adolescents, and includes a discussion of obesity measurement, trends in obesity rates, and differences that exist across gender, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and geographic location. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491476/
Federal Proposals to Tax Marijuana: An Economic Analysis
This report focuses solely on issues surrounding a potential federal marijuana tax. First, it provides a brief overview of marijuana production. Second, it presents possible justifications for taxes and, in some cases, estimates the level of tax suggested by that rationale. Third, it analyzes possible marijuana tax designs. The report also discusses various tax administration and enforcement issues, such as labeling and tracking. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491300/
Keystone XL Pipeline: Overview and Recent Developments
This report describes the Keystone XL Pipeline Project and the process that the State Department must complete to decide whether it will approve or deny TransCanada's permit application. The report also discusses key energy security, economic, and environmental issues relevant to the State Department's national interest determination. Some of these issues include perspectives among various stakeholders both in favor of and opposed to the construction of the pipeline. Finally, the report discusses the constitutional basis for the State Department's authority to issue a Presidential Permit, and opponents' possible challenges to this authority. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491430/
Legislative Branch: FY2015 Appropriations
This report provides an overview of the current status of FY2015 legislative branch appropriations. The report then addresses the FY2015 budget requests, hearings, and funding issues for individual legislative branch agencies and entities. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491414/
President Obama's November 2014 Visit to China: The Bilateral Agreements
This report discusses President Obama's visit to China, in November-10-12. The purpose of the visit was focused on increasing cooperation on global and regional challenges such as climate change, global economic governance, non-proliferation, and pandemic diseases like Ebola; improving the military-to-military relationship; and expanding business and people-to-people ties. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc490900/
Veterans and Homelessness
The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan brought renewed attention to the needs of veterans, including the needs of homeless veterans. Researchers have found both male and female veterans to be overrepresented in the homeless population, and, as the number of veterans increased due to these conflicts, there was concern that the number of homeless veterans could rise commensurately. This report discusses the various aspects of this issue. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491421/
When Will DOD Modernize its Electronic Health Records Systems?
This report discusses the Departments of Defense (DOD) efforts to mover from joint single integrated electronic health record to an "off-the-shelf" acquisition and VA announced it would pursue an "open-source" strategy. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491412/
Constitutional Points of Order in the Senate
This report explains Senate rules, precedents, and practices in regard to constitutional points of order that are not ruled on by the presiding officer but is instead submitted to the Senate for its decision, including an analysis of recent cases in which such a point of order has been raised, and will be updated as events warrant. The report identifies 16 constitutional points of order that have been raised and received a Senate vote since 1989. Ten of these cases were disposed of negatively. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491604/
FEMA's Disaster Declaration Process: A Primer
This report discusses the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (referred to as the Stafford Act - 42 U.S.C. 5721 et seq.), which authorizes the President to issue "major disaster" or "emergency" declarations before or after catastrophes occur. Emergency declarations trigger aid that protects property, public health, and safety and lessens or averts the threat of an incident becoming a catastrophic event. A major disaster declaration, issued after catastrophes occur, constitutes broader authority for federal agencies to provide supplemental assistance to help state and local governments, families and individuals, and certain nonprofit organizations recover from the incident. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491541/
The "Islamic State" Crisis and U.S. Policy
This report examines the current crisis in Iraq regarding the Islamic State, a transnational Sunni Islamist insurgent and terrorist group that has expanded its control over areas of parts of Iraq and Syria since 2013. There is debate over the degree to which the Islamic State organization might represent a direct terrorist threat to the U.S. homeland or to U.S. facilities and personnel in the region. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491433/
Security Assistance Reform: "Section 1206" Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background on the pre-Section 1206 status of security assistance authorities and the factors contributing to the enactment of Section 1206. It then sets out the purposes of the legislation and scope of its activities, restrictions on its use, the Department of Defense (DOD0-State Department planning process, and funding. It concludes with a discussion of issues for Congress. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491387/