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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
China-U.S. Trade Issues
This report discusses the U.S.-China economic relationship and China's rapid expansion as a global economic market, both with respect to the current global economic crisis. It also examines major U.S.-China trade issues and related legislation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc40211/
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/metadc40217/
War Powers Resolution: Presidential Compliance
Two separate but closely related issues confront Congress each time the President introduces armed forces into a situation abroad that conceivably could lead to their involvement in hostilities. One issue concerns the division of war powers between the President and Congress, whether the use of armed forces falls within the purview of the congressional power to declare war and the War Powers Resolution. The other issue is whether or not Congress concurs in the wisdom of the action. A longer-term issue is whether the War Powers Resolution is an appropriate and effective means of assuring congressional participation in actions that might get the United States involved in war. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc40210/
Building the Capacity of Partner States Through Security Force Assistance
This report provides the following elements: An overview of the SFA rationale focused primarily on Department of Defense support for and relations with foreign security forces. Description of the possible employment of U.S. conventional forces and platforms in support of the SFA mission. Exploration of current operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. Resident training capability in U.S. forces as a tool for geographic combatant commanders. Issues Congress may consider. The report summarizes congressional reaction to SFA proposals and provides a detailed account of the issues raised by SFA concepts and programs. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc40159/
U.S. Global Food Security Funding, FY2010-FY2012
The United States currently addresses issues related to global hunger and food security through two primary types of approaches: (1) agricultural development and (2) emergency and humanitarian food aid and assistance. Agricultural development activities, such as the Administration's Feed the Future initiative and some emergency food assistance programs, are administered primarily by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) using existing authorities provided in the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc40156/
Insourcing Functions Performed by Federal Contractors: An Overview of the Legal Issues
Recent Congresses and the Obama Administration have taken numerous actions to promote "insourcing," or the use of government personnel to perform functions that contractors previously performed on behalf of federal agencies. Among other things, the 109th through the 111th Congresses enacted several statutes requiring the development of policies and guidelines to ensure that agencies "consider" using government employees to perform functions previously performed by contractors, as well as any new function. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc40153/
Asylum and “Credible Fear” Issues in U.S. Immigration Policy
This report defines asylum seekers, and looks at the background of asylum seekers in the U.S. since the 1980s. It discusses current issues, including inconsistent approval rates for asylum seekers across different regions and jurisdictions. It ends with a discussion of the crux of the issue, and ways in directions that current law/new legislation could move to mitigate this issue. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc96690/
Multiyear Procurement (MYP) and Block Buy Contracting in Defense Acquisition: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and issues for Congress on multiyear procurement (MYP) and block buy contracting (BBC), which are special contracting mechanisms. Congress permits the Department of Defense (DOD) to use these options for a limited number of defense acquisition programs; compared to the standard or default approach of annual contracting, MYP and BBC have the potential for reducing weapon procurement costs by several percent. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc96698/
State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs: FY2012 Budget and Appropriations
This report focuses on the $59.65 billion requested for programs and activities funded through the State-Foreign Operations appropriations bill, which excludes some portions of the International Affairs request such as certain commissions and foreign food aid requested as part of other budget functions. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc96694/
Multiyear Procurement (MYP) and Block Buy Contracting in Defense Acquisition: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and issues for Congress on multiyear procurement (MYP) and block buy contracting (BBC), which are special contracting mechanisms. Congress permits the Department of Defense (DOD) to use these options for a limited number of defense acquisition programs; compared to the standard or default approach of annual contracting, MYP and BBC have the potential for reducing weapon procurement costs by several percent. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc96699/
A Balanced Budget Constitutional Amendment: Background and Congressional Options
One of the most persistent political issues facing Congress in recent decades is whether to require that the budget of the United States be in balance. Although a balanced federal budget has long been held as a political ideal, the accumulation of large deficits in recent years has heightened concern that some action to require a balance between revenues and expenditures may be necessary. This report provides an overview of the issues and options that have been raised during prior consideration of proposals for a balanced budget constitutional amendment. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc96696/
Military Construction: Analysis of the FY2012 Appropriation and Authorization
This report explains those government activities funded under the military construction appropriation, examines trends in military construction funding over the past few years, and outlines military construction issues extant in each of the major regions of U.S. military activity. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc96693/
F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Program: Background, Status, and Issues
This report discusses the background, status, and current issues of the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program. The Defense Department's F-35 Lightning II JSF is one of three aircraft modernization programs in tactical aviation, the others being the Air Force F-22A fighter and the Navy F/A-18E/F fighter/attack plane. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc96735/
Recall of Legislators and the Removal of Members of Congress from Office
This report discusses the manner in which a Member of Congress may be removed from office by “expulsion,” and then examines the issue of “recall” of legislators. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc96732/
Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs
This report looks at ways that prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs), which maintain statewide electronic databases of prescriptions dispensed for controlled substances, can help to deter prescription drug misuse. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc96731/
House Offset Amendments to Appropriations Bills: Procedural Considerations
This report is an introduction to selected House rules and practices governing the consideration of offset amendments to appropriations measures considered in the Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union (or Committee of the Whole). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc96737/
The Article V Convention for Proposing Constitutional Amendments: Historical Perspectives for Congress
This report identifies and examines historical issues related to the Article V Convention, which allows amendments to be added to the Constitution via Congressional vote or votes by the people. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc96730/
Cuba: U.S. Restrictions on Travel and Remittances
The first half of this report looks at the background of U.S. travel restrictions to Cuba over the last 40 years. The second half of this report looks at several initiatives from the 110th Congress that would ease U.S. travel restrictions to Cuba. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc96738/
Monetary Policy and the Federal Reserve: Current Policy and Conditions
This report discusses how the Federal Reserve (Fed) handles monetary policy, including background information about the execution of monetary policy, the recent and current stance of monetary policy, and current legislation and Congressional oversight that would affect the Fed's practices. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc96734/
Side-by-Side Comparison of Flood Insurance Reform Legislation in the 110th Congress
This report provides background information regarding the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), and discusses the key points for flood insurance reform and the changes that should be made in the broader context of program re-authorization. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc96803/
EPA's Proposed Vessel General Permits: Background and Issues
This report covers two proposed permit drafts by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding Vessel General Permits (VGPs): one for large vessels to replace the 2008 VGP (draft VGP), and one for smaller vessels that currently are covered by a congressionally-enacted temporary moratorium (draft sVGP). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc96715/
Higher Education Tax Benefits: Brief Overview and Budgetary Effects
This report provides a brief overview of the higher education tax benefits that are currently available to students and their families. The report contrasts higher education tax benefits with traditional student aid, presents a brief history of higher education tax policy over the past 60 years, summarizes key features of the available tax benefits, and provides JCT estimates of revenue losses resulting from individual tax provisions. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc96712/
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA): Background and Policy Options for the 112th Congress
The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA; 5 U.S.C. §552) enables any person to access—without explanation or justification—certain existing, identifiable, unpublished, executive branch agency records. Pursuant to FOIA, the public has presumptive access to requested agency records unless the material falls within any of FOIA's nine categories of exemption from disclosure. This report discusses FOIA's history, examines its implementation, and provides potential policy approaches for Congress. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc96711/
The Strategic Petroleum Reserve: Authorization, Operation, and Drawdown Policy
This report looks at the history, purpose, and current status of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc96717/
Mail and Wire Fraud: An Abridged Overview of Federal Criminal Law
This report discusses ways in which mail and wire fraud can be federal crimes and penalties for conducting such crimes. It is a federal crime to devise a scheme to defraud another of property, when either mail or wire communications are used in furtherance of the scheme. Misconduct that constitutes mail or wire fraud may also constitute a violation of one or more other federal crimes. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc96710/
Taiwan: Major U.S. Arms Sales Since 1990
This report discusses U.S. security assistance to Taiwan, or Republic of China (ROC), including policy issues for Congress and legislation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc96736/
Critical Infrastructures: Background, Policy, and Implementation
This report discusses the evolution of a national critical infrastructure policy and the institutional structures established to implement it. Critical infrastructure includes physical assets used to produce and distribute services such as electricity (including the power plants and electric grid), communications, and computers. The report highlights five issues of Congressional concern: identifying critical assets; assessing vulnerabilities and risks; allocating resources; information sharing; and regulation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc96733/
Cuba: U.S. Restrictions on Travel and Remittances
The first half of this report looks at the background of U.S. travel restrictions to Cuba over the last 40 years. The second half of this report looks at several initiatives from the 111th Congress that would ease U.S. travel restrictions to Cuba. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc96739/
The Strategic Petroleum Reserve: Authorization, Operation, and Drawdown Policy
This report looks at the history, purpose, and current status of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc96718/
United Nations System Efforts to Address Violence Against Women
This report provides an overview of recent U.N. efforts to address violence against women (VAW) and highlights key U.N. interagency efforts. It also discusses selected U.N. funds, programs, and agencies that address international violence against women. It does not assess the extent to which VAW is directly addressed or is part of a larger initiative or program. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc96806/
Federal Research and Development Funding: FY2011
This report summarizes the FY2011 budget request for research & development (R&D) funding, including comparisons to R&D funding requests in the FY2010 budget. Congress will play a central role in defining the nation's R&D priorities, especially with respect to two overarching issues: the extent to which the Federal R&D investment can grow in the context of increased pressure on discretionary spending and how available funding will be prioritized and allocated. This report breaks down in detail the various aspects of the President's FY2011 R&D funding request. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29582/
Inherently Governmental Functions and Other Work Reserved for Performance by Federal Government Employees: The Obama Administration's Proposed Policy Letter
On March 31, 2010, the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued a proposed policy letter on inherently governmental functions and other "work reserved for performance by federal government employees." While not final, the policy letter represents the Obama Administration's proposed guidance for agencies determining (1) whether particular functions are inherently governmental and (2) when functions closely associated with the performance of inherently governmental functions and critical functions should be performed by government personnel. The proposed policy letter raises several legal and policy issues of potential interest to Congress, given recently enacted and proposed legislation regarding inherently governmental functions and other limitations upon contracting out. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29588/
Homeland Security Department: FY2011 Appropriations
This report describes the FY2011 appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The Administration requested a net appropriation of $45.0 billion in budget authority for FY2011. This amounts to a $1.1 billion, or a 2.4% increase from the $43.9 billion enacted for FY2010. Total budget authority requested by the Administration for DHS for FY2011 amounts to $52.6 billion as compared to $51.7 billion enacted for FY2010. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29587/
Afghanistan Casualties: Military Forces and Civilians
This report collects statistics from a variety of sources on casualties sustained during Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), which began on October 7, 2001, and is ongoing. OEF actions take place primarily in Afghanistan, but OEF casualties also include American casualties in other countries, listed within this report. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29580/
Afghanistan: Politics, Elections, and Government Performance
This report discusses the current political state of Afghanistan, as well as the Afghan government. This report 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. The report also includes discussion of election fraud and corruption in Afghanistan. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29737/
Agricultural Disaster Assistance
This report has two sections. The first provides an overview of the current U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) disaster assistance programs: federal crop insurance, NAP payments, emergency disaster loans, the new Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments Program (SURE), and four other smaller disaster programs authorized in the 2008 farm bill. The second section reviews the recent history of emergency supplemental farm disaster assistance. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29731/
U.S. National Science Foundation: Major Research Equipment and Facility Construction
The Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction (MREFC) account of the National Science Foundation (NSF) supports the acquisition and construction of major research facilities and equipment that are to extend the boundaries of science, engineering, and technology. The FY2011 request for the NSF is $7,424.4 million, approximately $551.9 million above the FY2010 estimate. This report discusses the research endeavors overseen by the NSF, as well as what NSF projects will be funded by FY2011 appropriations. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29732/
China's Currency: An Analysis of the Economic Issues
This report provides an overview of the economic issues surrounding the current debate over China's currency policy. It identifies the economic costs and benefits of China's currency policy for both China and the United States, and possible implications if China were to allow its currency to significantly appreciate or to float freely. It also examines proposed legislation in the 111th Congress that seek to address China's currency policy. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29735/
Navy SSBN(X) Ballistic Missile Submarine Program: Background and Issues for Congress
This report discusses the Navy's plan to develop and design a class of 12 next-generation ballistic missile submarines, or SSBN(X)s, as replacements for the 14 Ohio class SSBNs currently in operation. The report explores certain related issues for Congress, including the affordability of the project and its potential impact on other Navy shipbuilding programs, alternatives to the program, and which shipyard or shipyards will build the proposed ships. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29584/
State Efforts to Deter Unauthorized Aliens: Legal Analysis of Arizona's S.B. 1070
On April 23, 2010, Arizona enacted S.B. 1070, which is designed to discourage and deter the entry or presence of aliens who lack lawful status under federal immigration law. This report discusses this piece of legislation and some of the notable preemption issues raised by its provisions. Where relevant, it examines the district court's ruling that the federal government is likely to succeed on the merits of its arguments that certain sections of S.B. 1070 are preempted by federal law. It also discusses other preemption issues potentially raised by S.B. 1070 or similar legislation, including some issues that were not expressly addressed by the district court in its preliminary ruling. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29589/
Contract Types: An Overview of the Legal Requirements and Issues
This report provides an overview of the various contract types (e.g., fixed-price, cost-reimbursement) used in federal procurement and the legal requirements and issues pertaining to each. Current congressional and public interest in contract types is, in part, an outgrowth of the reported increase in the use of cost-reimbursement contracts during the George W. Bush Administration1 and the Obama Administration's proposal to reduce by at least 10% the funds obligated in FY2010 by "high risk-contracting authorities," such as cost-reimbursement, time-and-materials, and labor-hour contracts. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29586/
Location-Based Preferences in Federal and Federally Funded Contracting: An Overview of the Law
This report discusses constitutional and other legal issues related to the creation and implementation of location-based preferences in federal contracting, as well as summarizes key authorities requiring or allowing federal agencies to "favor" contractors located in specific places. The report does not address federal preferences for domestic products or provisions of federal law that could, depending upon their implementation, effectively prefer local contractors, such as project labor agreements. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29583/
The European Parliament
The European Parliament (EP) is one of the three key institutions of the European Union (EU), and the only EU institution whose members are directly elected. This report discusses the construction and history of the EP, its role in functions of the EU as well as internationally, various international supports and criticisms of the EP, and the EP's ties with the U.S. Congress. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29739/
Islam: Sunnis and Shiites
The majority of the world's Muslim population follows the Sunni branch of Islam, and approximately 10%-15% of all Muslims follow the Shiite (Shi'ite, Shi'a, Shia) branch. Shiite populations constitute a majority in Iran, Iraq, Bahrain, and Azerbaijan. Sunnis and Shiites share most basic religious tenets. However, their differences sometimes have been the basis for religious intolerance, political infighting, and sectarian violence. This report includes a historical background of the Sunni-Shiite split and discusses the differences in religious beliefs and practices between and within each Islamic sect as well as their similarities. The report also relates Sunni and Shiite religious beliefs to discussions of terrorism and sectarian violence that may be of interest to Congress. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29736/
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29733/
Iraq: Politics, Elections, and Benchmarks
Iraq's political system, the result of a U.S.-supported election process, has been increasingly characterized by peaceful competition, as well as by attempts to form cross-sectarian alliances. However, ethnic and factional infighting continues, sometimes involving the questionable use of key levers of power and legal institutions. This report discusses the current political climate of Iraq and also explores speculations as to what will happen after U.S. troops completely withdraw from the region at the end of 2011. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29738/
China's Currency: An Analysis of the Economic Issues
This report provides an overview of the economic issues surrounding the current debate over China's currency policy. It identifies the economic costs and benefits of China's currency policy for both China and the United States, and possible implications if China were to allow its currency to significantly appreciate or to float freely. It also examines proposed legislation in the 111th Congress that seek to address China's currency policy. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29734/
Latin America: Terrorism Issues
Since the September 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, U.S. attention to terrorism in Latin America has intensified, with an increase in bilateral and regional cooperation. This report discusses the issue in relation to the U.S. State Department's April 2009 Country Report on Terrorism; Colombian President Hugo Chávez's sympathies with terrorist groups and lack of cooperation on antiterrorism efforts; growing U.S. concern over activities of terrorist groups Hezbollah and Hamas in the tri-border area of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay; and various legislative initiatives related to Latin American terrorism issues being considered by the 111th Congress. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29730/
Changes in the Arctic: Background and Issues for Congress
The diminishment of Arctic sea ice has led to increased human activities in the Arctic, and has heightened concerns about the region's future. Issues such as Arctic sovereignty claims; commercial shipping through the Arctic; Arctic oil, gas, and mineral exploration; endangered Arctic species; and increased military operations in the Arctic could cause the region in coming years to become an arena of international cooperation, competition, or conflict. This report provides an overview of Arctic-related issues for Congress, and refers readers to more in-depth CRS reports on specific Arctic-related issues. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29585/
Navy Nuclear-Powered Surface Ships: Background, Issues, and Options for Congress
This report discusses the possibility of increasing the number of Navy surface ships powered by nuclear energy, including the Navy's planned CG(X) cruiser. The report explores a 2006 Navy study that discusses budget considerations, the cost of a nuclear-powered ship compared to a ship powered by crude oil, and other suggestions relating to this proposed expansion. The overall report has a specific emphasis on the planned CG(X) cruiser, and how the implementation of this cruiser may be delayed by current budget proposals. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29694/