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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
The U.S. Trade Situation for Fruit and Vegetable Products
This report presents recent trends in U.S. fruit and vegetable trade and highlights some of the factors contributing to these trends. This summary excludes trade data for tree nuts and processed tree nut products.
Crisis in the Central African Republic
This report provides background on the evolving political, security, and humanitarian crisis in the Central African Republic (CAR), which began when a fractious rebel coalition seized control of the central government in March 2013. The report also describes U.S. policy responses and analyzes possible issues for Congress, including oversight of U.S. humanitarian assistance and support for international stabilization efforts in CAR.
Discretionary Budget Authority by Subfunction: An Overview
This report provides a graphical overview of historical trends in discretionary budget authority (BA) from FY1976 through FY2012, preliminary estimates for FY2013 spending, and the levels consistent with the President's proposals for FY2014 through FY2018 using data from President Obama's FY2014 budget submission that was released on April 10, 2013.
Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response: The SAFER Grant Program
This report discusses the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Act, which was enacted by the 108th Congress as Section 1057 of the FY2004 National Defense Authorization Act (P.L. 108-136). It includes background of the SAFER Act, appropriations from FY2011-FY2013, reauthorization of the program in the House and Senate, and information about program implementation.
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.
Controversies over Redefining "Fill Material" Under the Clean Water Act
This report discusses the 2002 rule (the Clean Water Act), focusing on how it changes which material and types of activities are regulated under Section 404 and the significance of these issues, especially for the mining industry.
Waiver Authority Under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS)
This report provides a brief overview of the renewable fuel standard (RFS) program and discusses the process and criteria for EPA to approve a waiver petition. Transportation fuels are required by federal law to contain a minimum amount of renewable fuel each year. The RFS, established by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct, P.L. 109-58) and amended by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA, P.L. 110-140), requires that 15.2 billion gallons of renewable fuels be blended into gasoline and other transportation fuels in 2012.
The International Whaling Convention (IWC) and Legal Issues Related to Aboriginal Rights
This report discusses the recent legislation regarding whaling in general, and aboriginal whaling in particular. Legislative measures, primarily in the form of concurrent resolutions, have been proposed in four categories: protesting commercial, scientific, or community (nonaboriginal) whaling; ensuring aboriginal whaling rights; providing a tax break for aboriginal whaling captains; and addressing the United States' policy at the annual meetings of the IWC.
Vulnerable Youth: Background and Policies
This report first provides an overview of the youth population and the increasing complexity of the transition to adulthood for all adolescents with a discussion of the concept of "disconnectedness," as well as the protective factors youth can develop during childhood and adolescence that can mitigate poor outcomes. Further, the report describes the evolution of federal youth policy and provides a brief overview of current federal programs targeted at vulnerable youth, and discusses the challenges of coordinating federal programs for youth, as well as federal legislation and initiatives that promote coordination among federal agencies and support programs with a positive youth development focus.
The Federal Minimum Wage: In Brief
This report discusses the minimum wage provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)that have been amended numerous times since 1938, typically for the purpose of expanding coverage or raising the wage rate.
Social Security: Major Decisions in the House and Senate Since 1935
This report is a reference document on the major statutory decisions made by Congress on the Social Security program, including a summary table of all of the legislation discussed.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB): A Legal Analysis
This report provides an overview of the regulatory structure of consumer finance under existing federal law before the Dodd-Frank Act went into effect, and examines arguments for modifying the regime in order to more effectively regulate consumer financial markets. It then analyzes how the CFP Act changes the legal structure, with a focus on the Bureau's organization; the entities and activities that fall (and do not fall) under the Bureau's supervisory, enforcement, and rulemaking authorities; the Bureau's general and specific rulemaking powers and procedures; and the Bureau's funding.
Iraq: Politics, Governance, and Human Rights
This report discusses the state of Iraqi politics, governance, and human rights, including the worsening relations between local Sunni and Shiite populations.
The Higher Education Act (HEA): A Primer
This report discusses the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA; P.L. 89-329) that authorizes numerous federal aid programs that provide support to both individuals pursuing a postsecondary education and institutions of higher education (IHEs).
Navy DDG-51 and DDG-1000 Destroyer Programs: Background and Issues for Congress
This report presents background information and potential oversight issues for Congress on the Navy's Arleigh Burke (DDG-51) and Zumwalt (DDG-1000) class destroyer programs. Decisions that Congress makes concerning these programs could substantially affect Navy capabilities and funding requirements, and the U.S. shipbuilding industrial base.
Asian Carp and the Great Lakes Region
This report provides an overview of four species of non-indigenous Asian carp that are expanding their range in U.S. waterways, resulting in a variety of concerns and problems. This report details the environmental and economic threats from this invasion, as well as ways to combat the spread of Asian carp in U.S. water.
Financial Assets and Conflict of Interest Regulation in the Executive Branch
This report discusses the federal regulation of potential "conflicts of interest" which may arise as a result of the personal financial holdings, assets, securities, property, and financial transactions in assets and securities of an official in the executive branch of the federal government.
Cuba: U.S. Policy and Issues for the 113th Congress
This report discusses the current political conditions of Cuba as well as its relationship with the United States. In particular, the report focuses on U.S. policy regarding Cuba including various economic sanctions, human rights issues, and foreign aid appropriations.
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.
Federal Assistance for Wildfire Response and Recovery
This report briefly discusses the options for federal support and assistance for areas affected by wildfire disasters, including the period during wildfires, in the aftermath, and subsequently for preventing a recurrence.
Offender Reentry: Correctional Statistics, Reintegration into the Community, and Recidivism
This report provides background information regarding the prison population in the United States that has been growing steadily for more than 30 years. The report presents correctional system statistics and discusses the federal government's involvement in offender reentry programs and the Second Chance Act (P.L. 110-199) that was enacted on April 9, 2008.
China's Economic Rise: History, Trends, Challenges, and Implications for the United States
This report provides background on China's economic rise, describes its current economic structure, identifies the challenges China faces to maintain economic growth, and discusses the challenges, opportunities, and implications for the United States.
Follow-On Biologics: The Law and Intellectual Property Issues
This report reviews the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act of 2009 (BPCIA), within the context of intellectual property and innovation issues. It provides an introduction to the biologics industry, introduces the regulatory and intellectual property provisions of the BPCIA, considers the potential market for biosimilars and possible industry responses that may arise in the wake of this legislation, and closes with concluding observations.
The Palestinians: Background and U.S. Relations
This report provides an overview of current issues in U.S.-Palestinian relations. It also contains an overview of Palestinian society and politics and descriptions of key Palestinian individuals and groups--chiefly the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), the Palestinian Authority (PA), Fatah, Hamas, and the Palestinian refugee population.
Iran Sanctions
This report analyzes U.S. and international sanctions against Iran and provides examples, based on a wide range of open source reporting, of companies and countries that conduct business with Iran.
U.S. Circuit and District Court Nominations During President Obama's First Five Years: Comparative Analysis With Recent Presidents
This report concerns nominations made by President Obama and other recent Presidents to the U.S. circuit courts of appeals and the U.S. district courts. It discusses the selection and confirmation process for U.S. circuit and district court judges.
Northern Ireland: The Peace Process
This report provides background information regarding political violence and the peace process in Northern Ireland. It includes further information about the devolved government and recurrent crises (1999-2002, 2003-2007 and 2008-2010), implementation of police reforms, recent events and ongoing challenges, relevant U.S. policy, and recent legislation.
Iran Sanctions
This report discusses the recent development regarding the negotiations with Iran about its nuclear program. It provides background information on Iranian nuclear program and debates the November 24 Joint Plan of Action Elements.
Tax Deductions for Individuals: A Summary
This report first describes what tax deductions are, how they vary in their effects on reducing taxable income, and how they differ from other provisions (e.g., exclusions or credits). Next, it discusses the rationale for deductions as part of the tax code. The final section of this report includes tables that summarize each individual tax deduction, under current law. Many of these deductions are part of the permanent income tax code.
Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP): Implementation and Status
This report provides a brief outline of the programs created under the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), changes made by Congress, and a summary of the current status and estimated costs of the program. It also provides an Appendix that contains detailed discussions of the individual TARP programs.
Army Corps of Engineers: Water Resource Authorizations, Appropriations, and Activities
This report summarizes congressional authorization and appropriations processes for the Army Corps of Engineers. It also discusses agency activities under general authorities. Congress directs the Corps through authorizations, appropriations, and oversight of its studies, construction projects, and other activities.
Social Security Reform: Current Issues and Legislation
This report discusses The Social Security reform, which is an issue of interest to policy makers that arises in various contexts, from improving retirement security to reducing federal budget deficits. The report looks at the Social Security debate, Social Security future projections, and public opinion on Social Security reform. It also looks at past reform measures, from the 109th-112th Congress, none of which received congressional action.
Food Fraud and "Economically Motivated Adulteration" of Food and Food Ingredients
This report discusses food fraud, or the act of defrauding buyers of food and food ingredients for economic gain. It includes background information, an overview of available data and information repositories related to food fraud, federal activities involving food fraud, and Congressional actions involving food fraud.
Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act: Annual Fee on Health Insurers
This report discusses the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA, P.L. 111-148) and the Reconciliation Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-152) that impose a fee on certain for-profit health insurers, starting in 2014.
Selected Legislative Proposals to Reform the Housing Finance System
This report briefly explains the different approaches to housing finance reform offered by several legislative proposals, focusing on efforts to replace Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and to reform the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).
Sex Trafficking of Children in the United States: Overview and Issues for Congress
This report discusses human trafficking that involves the exploitation of individuals for forced labor or commercial sex.
Sugar Program: The Basics
This report discusses the sugar program that provides a price guarantee to the processors of sugarcane and sugar beets, and in turn, to the producers of both crops.
Unemployment Insurance: Legislative Issues in the 113th Congress
This report provides a brief overview of the three unemployment insurance programs--Unemployment Compensation (UC), the now-expired Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC08), and Extended Benefits (EB)--that may provide benefits to eligible unemployed workers. It contains a brief explanation of how some programs began to experience reductions in benefits as a result of the sequester order contained within the Budget Control Act of 2011 (P.L. 112-25) and descriptions of enacted and proposed unemployment insurance (UI) legislation in the 113th Congress.
Latin America and the Caribbean: Fact Sheet on Leaders and Elections
This report provides the results of recent elections in Latin America and the Caribbean. It contains three tables organized by region that list the date of each country's independence, the name of the newly elected president or prime minister, and the projected date of the next election. Information in this report was gathered from numerous sources, including the U.S. State Department, the CIA's Open Source, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), and other news sources.
Latin America and the Caribbean: Fact Sheet on Leaders and Elections
This report provides the results of recent elections in Latin America and the Caribbean. It contains three tables organized by region that list the date of each country's independence, the name of the newly elected president or prime minister, and the projected date of the next election. Information in this report was gathered from numerous sources, including the U.S. State Department, the CIA's Open Source, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), and other news sources.
Latin America and the Caribbean: Fact Sheet on Leaders and Elections
This report provides the results of recent elections in Latin America and the Caribbean. It contains three tables organized by region that list the date of each country's independence, the name of the newly elected president or prime minister, and the projected date of the next election. Information in this report was gathered from numerous sources, including the U.S. State Department, the CIA's Open Source, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), and other news sources.
Congressional Liaison Offices of Selected Federal Agencies
This report provides a list of roughly 200 congressional liaison offices with phone numbers, addresses, and other contact information.
Retirement and Survivor Annuities for Former Spouses of Federal Employees
This report discusses the retirement benefits for federal employees that are governed by chapters 83 (CSRS) and 84 (FERS) of Title 5 of the United States Code.
Section 179 and Bonus Depreciation Expensing Allowances: Current Law, Legislative Proposals in the 113th Congress, and Economic Effects
This report examines the current status, legislative history, and main economic effects (including their efficacy as an economic stimulus tool) of the Section 179 and bonus depreciation allowances. It also identifies legislative initiatives in the 113th Congress to modify either allowance.
Oman: Reform, Security, and U.S. Policy
This report describes the relationship between the United States and the Sultanate of Oman, especially with respect to Oman's support of U.S. efforts toward peace in the Middle East, the U.S. free trade agreement with Oman, and Oman's relatively close relations with Iran.
Terrorism Risk Insurance: Issue Analysis and Overview of Current Program
This report looks at the background and current Congressional status of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act of 2002.
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.
Federal Reserve: Oversight and Disclosure Issues
The report discusses recently-enacted legislation and legislation introduced in the 113th Congress related to the Federal Reserve (Fed). It also provides information about the potential impact of greater oversight and disclosure on the Fed's independence and its ability to achieve its macroeconomic and financial stability goals.
Submission of Mental Health Records to NICS and the HIPAA Privacy Rule
This report provides an overview of prohibiting mental health records under current federal law, and distinguishes those records from other types of mental health information that would not disqualify an individual from purchasing a firearm. This report also provides an overview of National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) and discusses potential issues arising from state and federal medical privacy laws that may impede states' efforts to submit prohibiting mental health records to NICS.
Maritime Territorial and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) Disputes Involving China: Issues for Congress
This report presents policy and oversight issues for Congress arising from maritime territorial disputes involving China in the South China Sea (SCS), East China Sea (ECS), and an additional dispute over whether China has a right under international law to regulate U.S. and other foreign military activities in its maritime Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).