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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Alternative Fuels and Advanced Technology Vehicles: Issues in Congress
This report provides an overview of current issues surrounding alternative fuels and advanced technology vehicles - issues discussed in further detail in other CRS reports referred to in each section. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31330/
Concurrent Receipt: Background and Issues for Congress
"Concurrent Receipt" refers to the simultaneous receipt of two types of monetary benefits: military retired pay and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) disability compensation. This report addresses the two primary components of the concurrent receipt program: Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC) and Concurrent Retirement and Disability Payments (CRDP). It reviews the possible legislative expansion of the program to additional populations and provide several potential options for Congress to consider. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31338/
Food Safety in the 111th Congress
This report discusses whether the current food safety system has the resources, authority, and structural organization to safeguard the health of American consumers, who spend more than $1 trillion on food each year. Also at issue is whether federal food safety laws, first enacted in the early 1900s, have kept pace with the significant changes that have occurred in the food production, processing, and marketing sectors since then. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31334/
Landsat and the Data Continuity Mission
This report discusses the U.S. Landsat Mission, which has collected remotely sensed imagery of the Earth's surface for more than 35 years. The two satellites currently in orbit are operating beyond their designed life and may fail at any time. Most Landsat data is used by federal agencies. Efforts to commercialize Landsat operations have not been successful. This report discusses issues facing Congress regarding funding for new Landsat satellites. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31339/
Legal Issues Relating to the Disposal of Dispensed Controlled Substances
This report describes an issue that is the fastest-growing drug problem in the country -- the intentional use of prescription drugs for non-medical purposes. It is the second-most common form of illicit drug abuse among teenagers in the United States behind marijuana use. Several bills have been introduced in the 111th Congress that would create a legal framework governing disposal of controlled substances that have been dispensed to patients. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31336/
Food Safety in the 111th Congress: H.R. 2749 and S. 510
This report discusses whether the current food safety system has the resources, authority, and structural organization to safeguard the health of American consumers, who spend more than $1 trillion on food each year. Also at issue is whether federal food safety laws, first enacted in the early 1900s, have kept pace with the significant changes that have occurred in the food production, processing, and marketing sectors since then. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31333/
Running Deficits: Positives and Pitfalls
The FY2009 federal deficit swelled to $1.414 trillion, or nearly 10% of gross domestic product (GDP), due to the economic recession. The size of recent deficits has added to longstanding concerns regarding the federal government's long-term fiscal condition. However, deficit finance can serve as an important policy tool. This report discusses how deficit finance can help governments manage their economies and how large and persistent deficits can lead to severe economic problems. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31415/
Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia: Political Developments and Implications for U.S. Interests
The United States recognized the independence of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia when the former Soviet Union broke up at the end of 1991. The United States has fostered these states' ties with the West in part to end their dependence on Russia for trade, security, and other relations. This report discusses the relationships between the United States and each of these three nations, as well as these three nations' political and economic conditions. The report also discusses key related issues in the second session of the 111th Congress, including Armenia's independence and economic development, Azerbaijan's energy development, and Georgia's recovery from Russian's August 2008 military incursion. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31410/
Navy Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Program: Background, Issues, and Options for Congress
The Navy is procuring a new type of surface combatant called the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS). The Navy wants to procure a total of 55 LCSs. This report details the 2007 restructuring of the LCS program, as well as various financial information relating to the program. The issue for Congress is whether to approve, reject, or modify the Navy's plans for the LCS program. The LCS program raises potential oversight issues for Congress relating to various aspects of the program, all of which are explored within this report. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31418/
U.S. International Trade: Trends and Forecasts
This report discusses the U.S. trade deficit in light of the 2008 global financial crisis, with emphasis on international trade and U.S. trade policy, most recent developments in trade of goods and service, trade forecasts for the future, and how issues such as the U.S. trade deficit and international trade, particularly with China, are commonly perceived. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31414/
Navy Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Program: Background, Issues, and Options for Congress
The Navy is procuring a new type of surface combatant called the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS). The Navy wants to procure a total of 55 LCSs. This report details the 2007 restructuring of the LCS program, as well as various financial information relating to the program. The issue for Congress is whether to approve, reject, or modify the Navy's plans for the LCS program. The LCS program raises potential oversight issues for Congress relating to various aspects of the program, all of which are explored within this report. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31419/
Intelligence Estimates: How Useful to Congress?
National Intelligence Estimates (NIEs) are often of considerable interest to many Members of Congress. NIEs address issues of major national security importance which may require congressional action. However, NIEs have occasionally proved unreliable because they were based on insufficient evidence or contained faulty analysis. This report explores this issue and discusses the NIE process and its relevance to congressional policymaking. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31416/
Sudan: The Crisis in Darfur and Status of the North-South Peace Agreement
Sudan, geographically the largest country in Africa, has been ravaged by civil war intermittently for four decades, resulting in catastrophic civilian casualties and displacements. This report discusses the history of Sudan's civil unrest and the subsequent crisis in Darfur, as well as United Nations and United States aid and peacekeeping efforts and current related policy under the Obama Administration. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31413/
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/metadc31412/
Central Asia: Regional Developments and Implications for U.S. Interests
After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the United States recognized the independence of all the former Central Asian republics, supported their admission into Western organizations, and elicited Turkish support to counter Iranian influence in the region. The Administration's diverse goals in Central Asia reflect the different characteristics of these states. U.S. interests in Kazakhstan include securing and eliminating Soviet-era nuclear and biological weapons materials and facilities. In Tajikistan, U.S. aid focuses on economic reconstruction. U.S. energy firms have invested in oil and natural gas development in Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. This report outlines the above, as well as several ongoing debates regarding general relations between the U.S. and Central Asia. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31411/
Navy Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Program: Background, Issues, and Options for Congress
The Navy is procuring a new type of surface combatant called the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS). The Navy wants to procure a total of 55 LCSs. This report details the 2007 restructuring of the LCS program, as well as various financial information relating to the program. The issue for Congress is whether to approve, reject, or modify the Navy's plans for the LCS program. The LCS program raises potential oversight issues for Congress relating to various aspects of the program, all of which are explored within this report. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31417/
U.S. Security Assistance to Lebanon
This report discusses key issues facing U.S. policy makers and Members of Congress when considering U.S. security assistance in the context of U.S. policy toward Lebanon. These key issues include assessing the effectiveness of U.S. assistance programs, assessing overall U.S. policy toward Lebanon, and managing relations with other external actors. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31335/
Food Safety in the 111th Congress: H.R. 2749 and S. 510
This report discusses whether the current food safety system has the resources, authority, and structural organization to safeguard the health of American consumers, who spend more than $1 trillion on food each year. Also at issue is whether federal food safety laws, first enacted in the early 1900s, have kept pace with the significant changes that have occurred in the food production, processing, and marketing sectors since then. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31332/
Navy Nuclear Aircraft Carrier (CVN) Homeporting at Mayport: Background and Issues for Congress
On January 14, 2009, the Navy announced that it wants to transfer one of its nuclear-powered aircraft carriers (CVNs) to the Navy home port at Mayport, FL, known formally as Naval Station (NAVSTA) Mayport. The Navy's proposed FY2010 budget requests $46.3 million in Military Construction (MilCon) funding for channel dredging at Mayport. The Navy states that a key reason it wants to transfer a CVN to Mayport is to hedge against the risk of a catastrophic event that could damage the Navy's CVN homeporting facilities at Norfolk, VA, and nearby Newport News, VA. This report discusses potential questions for Congress to consider related to budget appropriations for such a transfer, the potential negative economic effects that a CVN transfer would have on the local homeport, and the other general questions regarding the Navy. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31331/
Waste, Fraud, and Abuse in Agency Travel Card Programs
The Travel and Transportation Reform Act of 1998 required federal employees to use travel charge cards to pay for the expenses of official government travel. The dollar volume of travel card transaction has nearly doubled from FY1999 to FY2009. This report discusses card misuse committed by federal employees, and Congress's response, which has included hearings and legislation intended to enhance travel card management and oversight. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31337/
Overview of the Federal Procurement Process and Resources
he federal government's basic procurement or acquisition process involves an agency identifying the goods and services it needs (also known as the agency's "requirements"), determining the most appropriate method for purchasing these items, and carrying out the acquisition. Although this process is simple in theory, any given procurement can be complex, involving a multitude of decisions and actions. This report describes the most common elements of the federal procurement process and resources that may be used in that process. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31495/
The Jackson-Vanik Amendment and Candidate Countries for WTO Accession: Issues for Congress
Russia, Kazakhstan, and a number of other former communist states are still subject to the provisions of Title IV of the Trade Act of 1974, as amended, including section 402 (the Jackson-Vanik amendment). The Jackson-Vanik Amendment denies country eligibility for normal trade relations (NTR) status as long as the country denies its citizens the right of freedom of emigration. The 112th Congress could face the question of whether to enact legislation to repeal the application of Title IV to all of these countries, thereby authorizing permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) status to fulfill the unconditional most-favored-nation (MFN) obligation under the World Trade Organization (WTO), or to exercise other options. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31492/
Morocco: Current Issues
This report discusses the current political and foreign policy status of Morocco, especially with regard to its relationship with the United States and its struggles combating terrorism. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31491/
Guam: U.S. Defense Deployments
This report provides a basic overview of the island of Guam, including population and location, as well as the strategic significance of Guam for boosting U.S. deterrence and power projection in Asia. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31497/
Algeria: Current Issues
This report examines the current state of Algeria, including the country's associations with terrorism, despite steady decreases of domestic terrorism; the lessening in power of the Algerian military; and growing oil revenues. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31490/
Currency Manipulation: The IMF and WTO
This report describes how the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Trade Organization (WTO) deal with the issue of currency manipulation. It also discusses apparent discrepancies in their charters and ways those differences might be addressed. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31498/
European Union Enlargement: A Status Report on Turkey's Accession Negotiations
This report provides a brief overview of the European Union's (EU) accession process, Turkey's path to EU membership, and the impact of the Cyprus problem. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31494/
Veterans Benefits: Federal Employment Assistance
There are federal employment and training programs and policies specifically targeted to help veterans seeking employment in the civilian economy. These programs and policies also assist servicemembers as they prepare to leave the military. Some of these programs help veterans secure employment specifically with the federal government and federal contractors. This report provides a brief overview of these programs and policies. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31499/
Generalized System of Preferences: Agricultural Imports
The Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) provides duty-free tariff treatment for certain products from designated developing countries. Some in Congress have continued to call for changes to the program that could limit GSP benefits to certain countries, among other changes. Opinion within the U.S. agriculture industry is mixed, reflecting both support for and opposition to the current program. In the past few years, Congress has extended GSP through a series of short-term extensions. However, the 111th Congress did not extend the GSP in 2010, and it was set to expire December 31, 2010. The expiration of the GSP will likely become a legislative issues in the 112th Congress. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31496/
Unemployment Compensation (Insurance) and Military Service
This report discusses Unemployment Compensation for Ex-Servicemembers (UCX), which provides income support while former active duty military personnel or reservists released from active duty search for work. The report addresses funding for this service, who is entitled to UCX benefits, and Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC08) and the Extended Benefits (EB) payments, which a servicemember receives when regular unemployment benefits are exhausted. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31493/
Overview of the Authorization-Appropriations Process
A primary avenue for exercising Congress's power of the purse is the authorization and appropriation of federal spending to carry out government activities. This report discusses the formal authorization-appropriation process. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31435/
Senate Committee Party Ratios: 94th - 111th Congresses
This report provides an overview of Senate standing committee sizes and ratios for the 94th Congress through the 111th Congress. Also included are data on permanent select committees with legislative jurisdiction. A table for each Congress shows the party division in the Senate, total number of seats on each committee, number of seats assigned to the majority and minority parties, and, where present, number of seats assigned to independents. The tables also provide the number of majority-minority caucus seat margins in the chamber and for each committees. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31432/
Interim Continuing Resolutions (CRs): Potential Impacts on Agency Operations
Continuing appropriations acts, commonly known as continuing resolutions (CRs), have been an integral component of the annual appropriations process for decades. When Congress and the President do not reach final decisions about one or more regular appropriations acts, they often negotiate and enact a CR. One type of CR used is an "interim" CR, which provides agencies with stopgap funding for a period of time until final appropriations decisions are made, or until enactment of another interm CR. This report analyzes three major potential impacts that interim CRs might have on agency operations. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31431/
Military Uniform Procurement: Questions and Answers
Military uniforms are procured through the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), an agency of the Department of Defense (DOD). DLA is DOD's largest combat support agency, providing worldwide logistics support for the United States (U.S.) military services, civilian agencies, and foreign countries. With headquarters in Fort Belvoir, Virginia, DLA operates three supply centers, one of which is the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia (DSCP), in Philadelphia, PA. DSCP is responsible for procuring nearly all of the food, clothing, and medical supplies used by the military; about 90% of the construction material used by troops in the field, as well as repair parts for aircraft, combat vehicles, and other weapons system platforms. According to DLA Troop Support's website, sales of goods exceeded $14.5 billion during 2009. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31437/
Closing a Congressional Office: Overview and Guide to House and Senate Practices
Turnover of membership in the House and Senate necessitates closing congressional offices. The closure of a congressional office requires an outgoing Member of Congress to evaluate pertinent information regarding his or her staff; the disposal of personal and official records; and final disposition of office accounts, facilities, and equipment. In the past several years, the House and Senate have developed extensive resources to assist Members in closing their offices. This report, which will be updated as warranted, is one of several CRS products focusing on various aspects of congressional operations and administration. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31430/
The First Day of a New Congress: A Guide to Proceedings on the Senate Floor
This report briefly discusses procedures on the first day of a new Congress, specifically focusing on Senate proceedings. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31438/
Allocations and Subdivisions in the Congressional Budget Process
This report very briefly discusses the allocations and subdivisions portions of the congressional budget process. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31434/
Iran Sanctions
This report focuses on the United States' relationship with Iran and how the Obama Administration is handling prior administration's economic sanctions against Iran. The Obama Administration's policy approach toward Iran has contrasted with the Bush Administration's by attempting to couple the imposition of sanctions to an active and direct U.S. effort to negotiate with Iran on the nuclear issue. That approach was not initially altered because of the Iranian dispute over its June 12, 2009, elections. However, with subsequent negotiations yielding no firm Iranian agreement to compromise, since early 2010 the Administration has focused on achieving the imposition of additional U.N., U.S., and allied country sanctions whose cumulative effect would be to compel it to accept a nuclear bargain. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31439/
Advance Appropriations, Forward Funding, and Advance Funding
pppropriations acts generally make budget authority (or BA) available for use (or obligation) at the start of the fiscal year covered by the act. Sometimes appropriations bills provide a different date for specified budget authority within the act to become first available so that the funding cycle does not coincide with the fiscal year generally covered by the act. There are three types of this kind of budget authority: advance appropriations, forward funding, and advance funding. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31436/
Entitlements and Appropriated Entitlements in the Federal Budget Process
Entitlements are programs that require payments to persons, state or local governments, or other entities if specific eligibility criteria established in the authorizing law are met. Entitlement payments are legal obligations of the federal government, and eligible beneficiaries may have legal recourse if full payment under the law is not provided. This report briefly discusses entitlements and entitlement procedures in the federal budget process. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31433/
Safeguarding the Nation's Drinking Water: EPA and Congressional Actions
The events of September 11, 2001, focused heightened attention on the security status of the nation's drinking water supplies and the vulnerability of this critical infrastructure sector to attack. This report reviews governmental and water utility efforts to improve drinking water security. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31400/
China Naval Modernization: Implications for U.S. Navy Capabilities-Background and Issues for Congress
Concern has grown in Congress and elsewhere about China's military modernization. The topic is an increasing factor in discussions over future required U.S. Navy capabilities. The issue for Congress addressed in this report is: How should China's military modernization be factored into decisions about U.S. Navy programs? digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31408/
Assistance to Firefighters Program: Distribution of Fire Grant Funding
This report discusses the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program, also known as fire grants of the FIRE Act grant program, which was established by Title XVII of the FY2001 National Defense Authorization Act. The program provides federal grants directly to local fire departments and unaffiliated Emergency Medical Services (EMS) organizations to help address a variety of equipment, training, and other firefighter-related and EMS needs. This report also discusses the possible reauthorization of AFG and the related Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Firefighters (SAFER) program. Current debates on the issue revolve around a competition for funding between career/urban/suburban departments and volunteer/rural departments. Complicating the issue is the recent economic downturn, which has left many local communities increasingly hard pressed to allocate funding for their local fire departments. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31404/
U.S. Foreign Aid to Israel
This report provides an overview of U.S. foreign assistance to Israel. It includes a review of past aid programs, data on annual assistance, and an analysis of current issues. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31409/
Spyware: Background and Policy Issues for Congress
The Anti-Spyware Coalition (ASC) defines spyware as "technologies deployed without appropriate user consent and/or implemented in ways that impair user control over (1) material changes that affect their user experience, privacy, or system security; (2) use of their system resources, including what programs are installed on their computers; and/or (3) collection, use, and distribution of their personal or other sensitive information. The main issue for Congress over spyware is whether to enact new legislation specifically addressing spyware, or to rely on industry self-regulation and enforcement actions by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Department of Justice under existing law. This report discusses this issue, as well as the opinions of both the opponents and the supporters of industry self-regulation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31406/
The Bayh-Dole Act: Selected Issues in Patent Policy and the Commercialization of Technology
Congressional interest in facilitating U.S. technological innovation led to the passage of P.L. 96-517, Amendments to the Patent and Trademark Act, commonly referred to as the "Bayh-Dole Act" after its two main sponsors former Senators Robert Dole and Birch Bayh. Under this 1980 law, as amended, title to inventions made with government support is provided to the contractor if that contractor is a small business, a university, or other non-profit institution. This report discusses the rationale behind the passage of P.L. 96-517, its provisions, and implementation of the law. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31403/
Iran: U.S. Concerns and Policy Responses
Much of the debate over U.S. policy toward Iran has centered on the nature of the current regime; some believe that Iran, a country of about 70 million people, is a threat to U.S. interests because hardliners in Iran's regime dominate and set a policy direction intended to challenge U.S. influence and allies in the region. President George W. Bush, in his January 29, 2002, State of the Union message, labeled Iran part of an "axis of evil" along with Iraq and North Korea. This report discusses how the Obama Administration differs from the Bush Administration regarding strategy in Iran relations. This report also discusses the current political state of Iran, including incidents of violence and unrest. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31402/
The Debt Limit: History and Recent Increases
This report discusses how the total debt of the federal government can increase, an historical overview of debt limits, and how the current economic slowdown has led to higher deficits and thereby a series of debt limit increases, as well as legislation related to these increases. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31401/
Millennium Challenge Corporation
This report discusses the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), which provides economic assistance through a competitive selection process to developing nations that are pursuing political and economic reforms in three areas: ruling justly, investing in people, and fostering economic freedom. This report also discusses several concerns related to MCC implementation, including the level of funding to support MCC programs. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31405/
Poverty in the United States: 2009
This report discusses the state of poverty in the United States, including how poverty is measured, selected poverty-related demographics, and certain federal aid efforts to those who are impoverished. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31407/