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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
In Re Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001: Claims Against Saudi Defendants Under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA)
This report summarizes the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) and jurisdiction in cases against foreign defendants and analyzes the court of appeals decision. It also discusses legislative efforts to address these issues(S. 1535 and H.R. 3143).
Membership of the 114th Congress: A Profile
This report presents a profile of the membership of the 114th Congress (2015-2016). 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.
Dynamic Scoring
This report explains dynamic scoring, including the types of effects incorporated and the types of models used, as well as what groups conduct or have conducted macroeconomic analysis of tax changes.
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA): An Overview of Programs and Funding
This report provides an overview of funding and programs of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) bureau.
North Korea: Back on the State Sponsors of Terrorism Lists?
This report discusses questions about North Korea's relationship with terrorists, state sponsors of terrorism, and terrorist attacks as well as the possible implications on re-designating North Korea in the list of sponsors of terrorism.
Reauthorizing the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act of 2000
This report discusses the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act of 2000 (SRS; P.L. 106-393) enacted by Congress as a temporary, optional program of payments based on historic rather than current revenues.
A Shift in the International Security Environment: Potential Implications for Defense--Issues for Congress
A shift in the international security environment could have significant implications for U.S. defense plans and programs. A previous shift in the international security environment--from the Cold War to the post-Cold War era--prompted a broad reassessment by the Department of Defense (DOD) and Congress of defense funding levels, strategy, and missions that led to numerous changes in DOD plans and programs. The issue for Congress is whether a shift in the international security environment has occurred, and if so, how to respond to that shift. This report briefly describes the shift in the international security environment that some observers believe has occurred, and identifies some defense-related issues for Congress that could arise from it. Congress' decisions on these issues could have significant implications for U.S. defense capabilities and funding requirements.
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: Issues in the U.S. Ratification Debate
This report discusses the United Nations Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities; its purpose is to promote, protect, and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by persons with disabilities.
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.
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.
Iraqi and Afghan Special Immigrant Visa Programs
This report analyzes the special immigrant visas (SIVs) classifications for Iraqis and Afghans within the context of both the larger INA special immigrant category and selected other permanent admissions categories. It discusses the legislative changes to the individual Iraqi and Afghan special immigrant programs since their initial authorization, provides statistics on visa issuances, and considers challenges that have faced the programs.
Military Pay and Benefits: Key Questions and Answers
The military compensation system is complex and includes an array of cash compensation elements, non-cash compensation (benefits), deferred compensation (retirement pay and benefits), and tax advantages. This report focuses primarily on the cash compensation provided to members of the active component armed forces.
Overview and Issues for Implementation of the Federal Cloud Computing Initiative: Implications for Federal Information Technology Reform Management
This report explains what cloud computing is, including cloud deployment models and service models, discusses issues that should be considered when adopting cloud services, and presents the federal government's planning for IT reform. It also provides information on assessments that have been conducted on agency cloud adoption and discusses both the challenges and drivers of cloud adoption. Finally, the report provides possible mechanisms for Congress to monitor agencies as they implement cloud computing.
Post-9/11 Evolution of the United States' Defining of the Terrorist Threat from Al Qaeda
This report discusses the evolution on how the United States defines the terrorist threat since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
Terrorism Risk Insurance Legislation in the 114th Congress: Issue Summary and Side-by-Side Analysis
This report briefly outlines the issues involved with terrorism insurance, summarizes extension legislation, and includes a side-by-side comparison of Terrorism Risk Insurance Act of 2002 (TRIA; P.L. 107-297) law and the bills introduced in the 114th and 113th Congresses.
Changes in the Purposes and Frequency of Authorizations of Appropriations
This report discusses general principles in how the language concerning the purposes and frequency of authorizations of appropriations has changed over the past century. These general principles are illustrated through case studies on the authorizations of appropriations that were enacted during this period for three agencies: the National Science Foundation, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the Peace Corps.
Interstate Natural Gas Pipelines: Process and Timing of FERC Permit Application Review
This report provides an overview of the federal certification process for interstate natural gas pipelines. It discusses the length of the review for recent interstate gas pipeline applications--a topic of specific interest to Congress and industry. In this context, the report discusses the key provisions in H.R. 161 and their implications for gas pipeline certificate approval.
Tax Havens: International Tax Avoidance and Evasion
This report discusses the State of the Union address, which is a communication between the President and Congress in which the chief executive reports on the current conditions of the United States and provides policy proposals for the upcoming legislative year.
Access to Broadband Networks: The Net Neutrality Debate
This report discusses the continued debate amongst congressional policymakers regarding telecommunications reform. A major point of the ongoing discussion is whether action is needed to ensure unfettered access to the Internet.
The Affordable Care Act and Small Business: Economic Issues
This report explains how employer-sponsored insurance can be used to address concerns about health insurance coverage and cost. Then, it summarizes the three Affordable Care Act (ACA) provisions most relevant to small businesses. Also, it analyzes these provisions for their potential effects on small businesses. Last, this report presents several approaches that could address some concerns associated with these provisions (particularly the employer penalty).
The Federal Minimum Wage: In Brief
This report discusses the minimum wage provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which is the federal legislation that establishes the minumem hourly wage that ust be paid to all covered workers.
Instances of Use of United States Armed Forces Abroad, 1798-2015
This report lists hundreds of instances in which the United States has used its Armed Forces abroad in situations of military conflict or potential conflict or for other than normal peacetime purposes. It was compiled in part from various older lists and is intended primarily to provide a rough survey of past U.S. military ventures abroad, without reference to the magnitude of the given instance noted.
Qualifications of Members of Congress
This report discusses the qualifications required to hold the office of U.S. Senator or Representative to Congress that are established and set out within the U.S. Constitution.
Tax Havens: International Tax Avoidance and Evasion
The first section of this report reviews what countries might be considered tax havens, including a discussion of the Organization for Economic Development and Cooperation (OECD) initiatives and lists. The next two sections discuss, in turn, the corporate profit-shifting mechanisms and evidence on the existence and magnitude of profit-shifting activity. The following two sections provide the same analysis for individual tax evasion. The report concludes with overviews of alternative policy options, a summary of legislation enacted in the 111th Congress, and a summary of specific legislative proposals.
U.S.-EU Poultry Dispute on the Use of Pathogen Reduction Treatments (PRTs)
This report highlights the dispute between the U.S. and EU over the use of Pathogen Reduction Treatments (PRTs) during the processing of poultry products. PRT's are antimicrobial rinses--including chlorine dioxide, acidified sodium chlorite, trisodium phosphate, and peroxyacids, among others--that have been approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for use in poultry processing to reduce the amount of microbes on meat.
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).
The U.S.-EU Beef Hormone Dispute
This report discusses the long-standing and acrimonious trade dispute between the United States and the European Union (EU) over the EU's decision to ban hormone-treated meat.
The European Union: Questions and Answers
This report provides a brief overview of the European Union (EU), an economic and political partnership between 27 sovereign member states. The report describes the formation of the EU, the three main institutions of the EU, and the EU's relationship with the United States.
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, including stronger reliance on the World Trade Organization; special bilateral negotiating frameworks and agreements; or a free trade agreement.
State, Foreign Operations Appropriations: A Guide to Component Accounts
The State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs appropriations legislation provides annual funding for almost all of the international affairs programs generally considered as part of the 150 International Affairs Budget Function (the major exception being food assistance). The legislation has also served as a vehicle for Congress to place conditions on the expenditure of those funds, and express its views regarding certain foreign policy issues. This report briefly discusses the legislation generally and then provides a short description of the various funding accounts as they appear in Division J, "Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2015," of the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015.
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.
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.
China's Mineral Industry and U.S. Access to Strategic and Critical Minerals: Issues for Congress
This report will examine China's position in the global mineral and metal markets; its growth in mineral reserves; the growth of supply, demand, and imports; and the role of China's state-owned enterprises (SOEs). The report takes a look at U.S. mineral import dependence, U.S. import dependence on China, and selected policy options. There are Appendices on mineral end-use applications, and selected critical minerals legislation in the 113th Congress.
Coast Guard Cutter Procurement: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and potential oversight issues for Congress on the Coast Guard's programs for procuring 8 National Security Cutters (NSCs), 25 Offshore Patrol Cutters (OPCs), and 58 Fast Response Cutters (FRCs). These 91 planned cutters are intended as replacements for 90 aging Coast Guard cutters and patrol craft. The Coast Guard began procuring NSCs and FRCs a few years ago, and the first few NSCs and FRCs are now in service.
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. The Coast Guard's proposed FY2015 budget requests $6 million to continue initial acquisition activities for a new polar icebreaker. The issue for Congress is whether to approve, reject, or modify Coast Guard plans for sustaining and modernizing its polar icebreaking fleet. Congressional 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.
The Federal Communications Commission: Current Structure and Its Role in the Changing Telecommunications Landscape
The report discusses the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)-Related Congressional Actions in the 112th Congress.
Navy Ship Names: Background for Congress
This report discusses the process of naming Navy ships, which have traditionally been chosen and announced by the Secretary of the Navy.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Reform: An Overview of Proposals to Manage the Growth in the SSDI Rolls
This report provides background information on Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Also, this report provides an overview of proposals to manage the long-term growth in the SSDI rolls. Most of the proposals focus on reducing the inflow (enrollment) of new beneficiaries into the program.
Tax-Exempt Bonds: A Description of State and Local Government Debt
This report provides information about state and local government debt. State and local governments often issue debt instruments in exchange for the use of individuals' and businesses' savings.
Gun Control Legislation in the 113th Congress
This report looks at past gun control legislation and also how recent events (such as the shootings in Newtown, Connecticut; Aurora, Colorado; and Tucson, Arizona) have influenced current congressional discourse and legislation. The report also specifically examines certain contentious, gun related topics including universal background checks, gun trafficking, and military style firearms.
The "Islamic State" Crisis and U.S. Policy
This report discusses the current crisis involving the Islamic State, which is a transnational Sunni Islamist insurgent and terrorist group that has expanded its control over areas of parts of Iraq and Syria since 2013. In December 2014, the 113th Congress provided new authorities and funds for efforts to combat the Islamic State organization in Syria and Iraq in the FY2015 national defense authorization (P.L. 113-291) and consolidated appropriations acts (P.L. 113-235).
Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA): Resources for Frequently Asked Questions
The report provides basic consumer sources, including broad overviews of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) law, and resources related to specific provisions. It also has links to contacts for specific questions (including websites, hotlines, and online chat assistance).
Presidential Appointments to Full-Time Positions in Executive Departments During the 112th Congress
The President is responsible for appointing individuals to positions throughout the federal government. In some instances, the President makes these appointments using authorities granted to the President alone. Other appointments, generally referred to with the abbreviation PAS, are made by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate via the nomination and confirmation process. This report identifies, for the 112th Congress, all nominations submitted to the Senate for executive-level full-time positions in the 15 executive departments for which the Senate provides advice and consent. It excludes appointments to regulatory boards and commissions as well as to independent and other agencies.
The President's Immigration Accountability Executive Action of November 20, 2014: Overview and Issues
This report discusses President Obama's Immigration Accountability Executive Action which revises some U.S. immigration policies and initiates several programs, including a revised border security policy for the Southwest border.
Water Quality Issues in the 113th Congress: An Overview
This report discusses the legislative and oversight issues regarding water quality, as well as wastewater treatment funding issues.
Air Quality: EPA's 2013 Changes to the Particulate Matter (PM) Standard
This report summarizes the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) January 15, 2013, final and June 2012 proposed changes to the National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) and includes comparisons with previous (1997 and 2006) promulgated and proposed standards. Key actions leading up to the agency's determination, and potential issues and concerns associated with changing the Particulate Matter annual standard, are also highlighted.
The Effectiveness of the Community Reinvestment Act
The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) addresses how banking institutions meet credit needs in low- and moderate-income (LMI) neighborhoods. This report informs the congressional debate concerning the CRA's effectiveness in incentivizing bank lending and investment activity to LMI borrowers. After a discussion of the CRA's origins, it presents the CRA's examination process and bank activities that are eligible for consideration of CRA credits. Next, it discusses the difficulty of determining the CRA's influence on bank behavior.
Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program: Fact Sheet
This report discusses the federal government funding for mental illness and surrounding issues, such as mental health courts and mental health collaboration programs.
Speakers of the House: Elections
This report provides data on elections of the Speaker in each Congress since 1913, when the House first reached its present size of 435 Members. During that period (63rd through 114th Congresses), a Speaker was elected five times with the votes of less than a majority of the full membership.
Terrorism Risk Insurance Legislation in the 114th Congress: Issue Summary and Side-by- Side Analysis
This report briefly outlines the issues involved with terrorism insurance, summarizes extension legislation, and includes a side-by-side comparison of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act of 2002 (TRIA) and the bills introduced in the 114th and 113th Congresses.