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 Country: United States
 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Navy Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Program: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and potential issues for Congress on the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), a relatively inexpensive Navy surface combatant equipped with modular "plug-and-fight" mission packages for countering mines, small boats, and diesel-electric submarines, particularly in littoral (i.e., near-shore) waters. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc276886/
The Specialty Metal Clause: Oversight Issues and Options for Congress
This report examines the specialty metal clause, potential oversight issues, and options for Congress. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc276877/
International Law and Agreements: Their Effect upon U.S. Law
This report provides an introduction to the roles that international law and agreements play in the United States. The report discusses forms of international agreements and the effects of international agreements on U.S. law. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc276858/
The Lacey Act: Protecting the Environment by Restricting Trade
This report looks at the history and applications of the Lacey Act, which allows the U.S. to enforce the laws of other countries. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc276869/
The Budget Control Act, Sequestration, and the Foreign Affairs Budget: Background and Possible Impacts
This report discusses sequestration and the foreign affairs (150) budget function, and presents FY2013 estimates by account. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc276873/
The President's State of the Union Address: Tradition, Function, and Policy Implications
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc276875/
Heritage Areas: Background, Proposals, and Current Issues
This report focuses on heritage areas designated by Congress and related issues and legislation. Over more than two decades, Congress has established 40 National Heritage Areas (NHAs) to commemorate, conserve, and promote areas that include important natural, scenic, historic, cultural, and recreational resources. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc272101/
Nigeria: Current Issues and U.S. Policy
This report covers the recent economical and political development in Nigeria; elections, development challenges, reform initiatives, social issues, security concerns, and international relations in Nigeria. The report ends with some concerns for Congress, including U.S.-Nigerian trade issues, Nigerian counter-terrorism efforts, and U.S. assistance to Nigeria. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc272108/
Public Safety Officers' Benefits (PSOB) Program
This report discusses the public safety officers' benefits (PSOB) program that provides three different types of benefits to public safety officers and their survivors: a death, a disability, and an education benefit. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc272114/
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA): A Legal Overview
This report discusses the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974 that guarantees parental access to student education records, while limiting the disclosure of those records to third parties. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc272128/
Nuclear Power Plant Security and Vulnerabilities
This report discusses the physical security at nuclear power plants and concerns of radiological sabotage, a deliberate act against a plant that could directly or indirectly endanger public health and safety through exposure to radiation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc272111/
Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty: Background and Current Developments
This report discusses the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), which bans all nuclear explosion and was in 1996 adopted by the U.N. General Assembly but rejected by the U.S. Senate in 1997. This report discusses the Obama Administration's stated goal of pursuing U.S. ratification of the CTBT, although the Administration has mainly focused on securing Senate consent to ratification of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START). This report also discusses other nuclear weapons-related issues as well as the long history of nuclear testing. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc272105/
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). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc272117/
National Security Letters in Foreign Intelligence Investigations: A Glimpse at the Legal Background
This report discusses the USA PATRIOT Act (107-56) and its expanded authority to issue national security letters (NSLs). A report by the Department of Justice's Inspector General (IG) found that in its pre-amendment use of expanded USA PATRIOT Act authority the FBI had "used NSLs in violation of applicable NSL statutes, Attorney General Guidelines, and internal FBI policies," but that no criminal laws had been broken. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc272129/
The Federal Networking and Information Technology Research and Development Program: Background, Funding, and Activities
This report discusses the federal government's role in the country's information technology (IT) research and development (R&D) activities. The government's support of IT R&D began because it had an important interest in creating computers and software that would be capable of addressing the problems and issues the government needed to solve and study. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc272106/
Recess Appointments: Frequently Asked Questions
This report supplies brief answers to some frequently-asked questions regarding recess appointments. These are appointments to high-level policy-making positions in federal departments which are generally confirmed by the Senate. When the Senate is in recess, the President may make a temporary appointment, called a recess appointment, to any such position without Senate approval. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc272122/
U.S. Direct Investment Abroad: Trends and Current Issues
This report discusses issues regarding foreign investments and how that can affect the U.S. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc272120/
The Paris Club and International Debt Relief
This report discusses the Paris Club, a voluntary, informal group of creditor nations who meet approximately 10 times per year and provide debt relief to developing countries. Members of the Paris Club agree to renegotiate and/or reduce official debt owed to them on a case-by-case basis. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc272123/
The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS)
This report gives a brief overview of P.L. 110-49, the Foreign Investment and National Security Act of 2007. Although both the President and Congress are directly involved in formulating the scope and direction of U.S. foreign investment policy, this law broadens Congress' oversight role; it also explicitly includes the areas of homeland security and critical infrastructure as separately-identifiable components of national security that the President must consider when evaluating the national security implications of a foreign investment transaction. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc272100/
Foreign Direct Investment in the United States: An Economic Analysis
This report discusses the foreign direct investment in the United States that declined sharply after 2000, when a record $300 billion was invested in U.S. businesses and real estate. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc272125/
Veterans and Homelessness
This report discusses several issues relating to homelessness among veterans, which has become more prominent since the beginning of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc272110/
Federal Pollution Control Laws: How Are They Enforced?
This report provides an overview of the statutory framework, key players, infrastructure, resources, tools, and operations associated with enforcement and compliance of the major pollution control laws and regulations administered by EPA. It also outlines the roles of federal (including regional offices) and state regulators, as well as the regulated community. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc272112/
The National Defense Authorization Act for FY2012 and Beyond: Detainee Matters
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 the 2013 NDAA and 2014 NDAA. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc276884/
Chemical Facility Security: Issues and Options for the 113th Congress
This report provides a brief overview of the existing statutory authority and implementing regulation. It describes several policy issues raised in previous debates regarding chemical facility security and identifies policy options for congressional consideration. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc276879/
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc276867/
"Leahy Law" Human Rights Provisions and Security Assistance: Issue Overview
This report provides background on the Leahy laws, including a brief history of their legislative development; an overview guide to the standards and processes used to "vet"--that is, review and clear--foreign military and other security forces for gross violations of human rights; and a brief review of salient issues regarding the provisions of the laws and their implementation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc276880/
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc276861/
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc276871/
Temporary Protected Status: Current Immigration Policy and Issues
This report is a brief overview of current policies regarding temporatry 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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc276899/
America COMPETES Acts: FY2008-FY2013 Funding Tables
This report has been updated to reflect FY2013 funding levels contained in P.L. 113-6 (Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013) and the explanatory statement published in the March 11, 2013. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc276885/
The Role of TARP Assistance in the Restructuring of General Motors
This report provides background information on General Motors' capital crisis in 2008-2009 and discusses the U.S. government assistance to the motor vehicle industry. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc276856/
Trends in Discretionary Spending
This report provides a graphical overview of historical trends in discretionary budget authority (BA) from FY1976 through FY2011, enacted levels for FY2012 spending, and the levels consistent with President Obama's proposals for FY2013 through FY2017. It also includes a background on functional categories and a section discussing historical spending trends. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc276895/
Emergency Relief for Disaster Damaged Roads and Transit Systems: In Brief
This report describes Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) assistance for the repair and reconstruction of highways and bridges damaged by disasters (such as Hurricane Sandy in 2012) or catastrophic failures (such as the collapse of the Skagit River Bridge in 2013). It begins with a brief discussion of the legislative origins of federal assistance and then addresses eligibility issues and program operation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc276855/
Navy Virginia (SSN-774) Class Attack Submarine Procurement: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and issues for Congress on the Virginia-class nuclear-powered attack submarine (SSN) program. The Navy's proposed FY2014 budget requests $5,285.3 million in procurement and advance procurement (AP) funding for the program. Decisions that Congress makes on procurement of Virginia-class boats could substantially affect U.S. Navy capabilities and funding requirements, and the U.S. shipbuilding industrial base. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc276857/
State Government Fiscal Stress and Federal Assistance
This report examines the current status of state fiscal conditions and the role of federal assistance in state budgets. It begins with an overview of state budgeting procedures and then provides budgetary data comparing state fiscal conditions in FY2008 to FY2013. This report concludes with an assessment of the consequences current levels of state fiscal stress may have for the 113th Congress. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc276854/
EPA's Vessel General Permit: Background and Issues
This report is an overview of the revised Vessel General Permit (VGP) from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and two key issues: inclusion of numeric performance standards to limit ballast water discharges from vessels, and controversies about the role of states in regulating vessel discharges. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc276891/
United States Fire Administration: An Overview
This report describes and analyzes the United States Fire Administration's (USFA's) FY2013 budget proposal, as well as related information and legislation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc276898/
Clean Water Act and Pollutant Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs)
This report discusses the total maximum daily load (TMDL) program which regulates pollutants to ensure that water quality standards can be attained; section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act requires states to identify waters that are impaired by pollution, even after application of pollution controls. The report focuses on new challenges facing the TMDL program, including more complex TMDLs, larger scale impairments, and nonpoint sources. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc276865/
Federal Reserve: Unconventional Monetary Policy Options
This report discusses the Federal Reserve (Fed) unconventional policies in an attempt to reduced the federal funds rate and revive the economy. The Fed has also changed its communication policies since rates reached the zero bound. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc276894/
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc276890/
Tax Reform in the 113th 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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc276863/
United Nations Reform: Background and Issues for Congress
This report examines reform priorities from the perspective of several key actors, including Members of Congress, the Obama Administration, selected member states, the U.N. Secretary-General, and a cross-section of groups tasked with addressing U.N. reform. It also discusses congressional actions related to U.N. reform and mechanisms for implementing reform, as well as possible challenges facing U.S. policy makers as they consider existing and future U.N. reform efforts. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc276889/
Commercial Filming and Photography on Federal Lands
This report discusses the requirements of commercial filming and photography in federal lands, such as national parks, forests, wildlife refuges, ranges, and other landscapes are popular locations for motion pictures and commercial photography digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc276896/
Constitutional Analysis of Suspicionless Drug Testing Requirements for the Receipt of Governmental Benefits
This report gives an overview of the issues related to federal or state laws that condition the initial or ongoing receipt of governmental benefits on passing drug tests. These regulations are vulnerable to constitutional challenge, most often due to issues of personal privacy and Fourth Amendment protections against "unreasonable searches." digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc276897/
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/metadc276882/
Nonimmigrant Overstays: Brief Synthesis of the Issue
This report discusses a fundamental problem of immigration control in which foreign nationals enter legally on a temporary basis and continue to stay after their visas expire. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc276859/
The Leahy-Smith America Invents Act: Innovation Issues
This report provides an overview of the the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA). It begins by offering a brief overview of the patent system, then identifies and reviews the specific components of this legislation in greater detail. The report closes with further considerations. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc276868/
Executive Order 13438: Blocking Property of Certain Persons Who Threaten Stabilization Efforts in Iraq
This report provides a brief history of the development of presidential powers in peacetime. It discusses some of the issues that might be raised in light of the contrast between the executive order's broad language and its narrow aim (supplementation of sanctions applicable to Al Qaeda and former Iraqi regime officials to cover terrorists operating in Iraq). It also examines the reach of the executive order and provides legal analyses of some of the constitutional questions raised in the courts by similar sanctions programs, noting that the broad language of the executive order is not unprecedented. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc276870/
Domestic Content Restrictions: The Buy American Act and Complementary Provisions of Federal Law
This report provides an overview of the Buy American Act, Trade Agreements Act, Berry Amendment (including its former specialty metals provision), and Buy America Act, specifically highlighting the commonalities and differences among them. The report also lists other federal domestic content restrictions codified in the U.S. Code. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc276876/
Cuba: U.S. Restrictions on Travel and Remittances
This report covers the contentious travel restrictions between the U.S. and Cuba from the 1960s to the present time. Congress, under the Obama Administration, is easing restrictions on family, marketing, agricultural, and medical sales travel. The report also covers legislative action that has taken place in the 112th Congress to harshen travel restrictions. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc276883/
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