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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Hezbollah: Background and Issues for Congress
This report discusses Lebanon's Hezbollah, a Shiite Islamist militia, political party, social welfare organization, and U.S. State Department-designated terrorist organization. The report discusses recent Hezbollah-related conflicts, Hezbollah's relationship with other Lebanese political parties, and U.S. policy regarding Hezbollah. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31384/
Screening and Securing Air Cargo: Background and Issues for Congress
The October 2010 discovery of two explosive devices being prepared for loading on U.S.-bound all-cargo aircraft overseas has heightened concerns over the potential use of air cargo shipments to bomb passenger and all-cargo aircraft. This incident renewed congressional interest in air cargo security. This report discusses a number of policy issues that may arise regarding air cargo security. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31389/
The Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (LHWCA): Overview of Workers' Compensation for Certain Private- Sector Maritime Workers
This report discusses the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (LHWCA), a federal workers' compensation program that covers certain private-sector maritime workers. More than $980 million in LHWCA benefits are paid each year. The LHWCA is administered by the Department of Labor (DOL) and all benefit costs are paid by employers and their insurance carriers. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31386/
What Effects Would the Expiration of the 2001 and 2003 Tax Cuts Have on the Economy?
In 2001 and 2003, Congress enacted major tax cuts (popularly referred to as the "Bush tax cuts"), the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 and the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003. Congress is currently debating whether to extend some or all of these tax cuts that are scheduled to expire at the end of 2010. This report discusses the two main economic arguments against allowing the tax cuts to expire as scheduled, using historical evidence and by examining the current economic environment. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31383/
The Proposed U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement
This report examines three labor issues and arguments related to the pending U.S.-Colombia free trade agreement (CFTA; H.R. 5724 and S. 2830): violence against trade unionists; impunity (accountability for or punishment of the perpetrators); and worker rights protections for Colombians. The congressional debate surrounding the agreement has mostly centered on the violence issues in Colombia. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31485/
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/metadc31482/
Responsibility Determinations Under the Federal Acquisition Regulation: Legal Standards and Procedures
This report discusses the standards and procedures that federal agencies use in making responsibility determinations under the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR). It discusses (1) how responsibility determinations relate to other mechanisms that the government relies upon to ensure that contractors are responsible and otherwise eligible for federal contracts; (2) the performance-related and collateral standards used in making responsibility determinations; (3) the procedures for making responsibility determinations; and (4) recently enacted or proposed amendments to the standards or procedures for responsibility determinations. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31340/
Argentina's Defaulted Sovereign Debt: Dealing with the "Holdouts"
In December 2001, following an extended period of economic and political instability, Argentina suffered a severe financial crisis, leading to the largest default on sovereign debt in history. This report discusses efforts Argentina has made over the past decade, since that financial crisis, to restructure its debt. The report also includes discussion of the Argentine 2010 Bond Exchange and an outlook of Argentina's economic future. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31348/
Interagency Contracting: An Overview of Federal Procurement and Appropriations Law
"Interagency contracting" is the term used to describe several procurement relationships between government agencies. This report provides an overview of the federal procurement and appropriations laws governing interagency contracting. It defines key terms used in discussing interagency contracting; surveys the various interagency contracting vehicles; and describes recently enacted and proposed amendments to the laws governing interagency contracting. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31344/
Beginning and End of the Terms of United States Senators Chosen to Fill Senate Vacancies
This report discusses the procedures for when a Senator is chosen to fill a Senate vacancy during a session of Congress, i.e., when the appointed Senator can begin his or her term of office, and how long the Senator remains in office (until the new "Senator-elect" is sworn in and seated by the Senate). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31349/
Managing Electronic Waste: Issues with Exporting E-Waste
Electronic waste (e-waste) is a term that is used loosely to refer to obsolete, broken, or irreparable electronic devices like televisions, computer central processing units (CPUs), and computer monitors. There are various issues of concern with regard to e-waste disposal and recycling. This report looks at issues specifically related to its export for recycling. Particularly, it discusses documented impacts to human health and the environment that have been tied to unsafe recycling practices in developing countries, as well as issues that have motivated certain stakeholders to divert e-waste from landfill disposal and, hence, increase recycling. It also provides an overview of various factors necessary to understand why e-waste disposal has become a concern in the United States, and it also discusses waste management requirements in the United States. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31346/
"Don't Ask, Don't Tell": A Legal Analysis
In recent years, several Members of Congress have expressed interest in amending "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," (DADT) a legislation that requires those of homosexual orientation in the military to keep quiet about their orientation in order to maintain "morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion." At least two bills that would repeal the law and replace it with a policy of nondiscrimination on the basis of sexual orientation - H.R. 1283 and S. 3065 - have been introduced in the 111th Congress. This report provides a legal analysis of the various constitutional challenges that have been brought against DADT; for a policy analysis, see CRS Report R40782, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell": Military Policy and the Law on digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31343/
The United States Flag: Federal Law Relating to Display and Associated Questions
This report presents, verbatim, the United States "Flag Code" as found in Title 4 of the United States Code and the section of Title 36 which designates the Star-Spangled Banner as the national anthem and provides instructions on how to display the flag during its rendition. The report also addresses several of the frequently asked questions concerning the flag. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31481/
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 112th Congress. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31487/
Israel's Offshore Natural Gas Discoveries Enhance Its Economic and Energy Outlook
This report discusses Israel's historical dependence on energy imports, and the recent offshore natural gas discoveries that could possibly make Israel a prominent exporter of natural gas. This report also discusses how development of the recently discovered natural gas fields could affect Israel's economy and energy security, and how Israel may or may not consult with the U.S. or other natural gas producting countries while weighing its options. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31480/
Northern Ireland: The Peace Process
For years, the British and Irish governments sought to facilitate a peaceful settlement to the conflict in Northern Ireland. This report provides a brief overview of the continuing peace talks and efforts in Northern Ireland, including the deal reached in February 2010 between the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and Sinn Fein, the political wing of the Irish Republican Army (IRA). The report also discusses the United States' active support of the Northern Ireland peace process, including the future of the International Fund for Ireland (IFI). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31488/
Adopting A Long-Term Budget Focus: Challenges and Proposals
This report focuses on the current federal budget process, including criticisms of that process. This report will provide information on (1) the current horizons used in the budget process, including already existing long-term components; (2) the rationale for increased focus on longterm budgeting; (3) general challenges to long-term budgeting; and (4) an analysis of general proposals that have been made to increase the focus of long-term budgeting in the budget process. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31390/
Taiwan: Major U.S. Arms Sales Since 1990
This CRS Report discusses U.S. security assistance for Taiwan, formally called the Republic of China (ROC), particularly policy issues for Congress. It also lists sales of major defense articles and services to Taiwan, as approved by the President and notified to Congress since 1990. This report uses a variety of unclassified consultations and citations in the United States and Taiwan. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31398/
F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Program: Background and Issues for Congress
The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), also called the Lighting II, is a new strike fighter being procured in different versions by the Air Force, Marine Corps, and Navy. The F-35 program is the Department of Defense's (DOD's) largest weapon procurement program in terms of total estimated acquisition cost. This report details the Obama Administration's proposed FY2010 defense budget requests for F-35 program funding and outlines the issues that Congress must consider when deciding whether to approve, reject, or modify the administration's funding requests. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31394/
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/metadc31399/
Afghanistan: Post-Taliban Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy
This report discusses the current political state of Iran, 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.-Iran relationship and U.S. efforts under the Obama Administration to provide military, reconstructive, and stabilization aid. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31396/
The Stuxnet Computer Worm: Harbinger of an Emerging Warfare Capability
In September 2010, media reports emerged about a new form of cyber attack that appeared to target Iran, although the actual target, if any, is unknown. This report discusses this cyber attack, a malicious software program known as Stuxnet, which infected computer systems that were used to control the functioning of a nuclear power plant. Once inside the system, Stuxnet had the ability to degrade or destroy the software on which it operated. Although early reports focused on the impact on facilities in Iran, researchers discovered that the program had spread throughout multiple countries worldwide. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31393/
Survey of Federal Laws Containing Goals, Set-Asides, Priorities, or Other Preferences Based on Race, Gender, or Ethnicity
This report provides a broad, but by no means exhaustive, survey of federal statutes that specifically refer to race, gender, or ethnicity as factors to be considered in the administration of any federal program. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31350/
The New START Treaty: Central Limits and Key Provisions
The United States and Russia signed a new strategic arms reduction treaty - known as New START - on April 8, 2010. This treaty is designed to replace the 1991 Strategic Arms Reductions Treaty (START), which expired, after 15 years of implementation, on December 5, 2009. This report provides an overview of New START, including a comparison to the original START Treaty, the belief of the Obama Administration and outside analysts that New START will enhance U.S. national security, and the criticisms of those who say that New START (and, indeed, the entire issue of U.S.-Russian arms control) is a distraction from more important items on the nonproliferation agenda. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31358/
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/metadc31354/
Army Corps of Engineers Water Resource Projects: Authorization and Appropriations
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers attracts congressional attention because its projects can have significant local and regional economic benefits and environmental effects, in addition to their water resource development purposes. This report provides an overview of the Corps civil works program. It covers the congressional authorization and appropriation process, the standard project development process, and other Corps activities and authorities. It also includes an Appendix on the evolution of Corps civil works missions and authorities and a description of the limits on the Corps' role in levee accreditation and improvements for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31359/
Long-Term Unemployment and Recessions
This report discusses the recession that began in the United States in December 2007 and officially ended in June 2009 and how this recession affected employment rates. This report analyzes the trend in long-term unemployment over the postwar period and offers explanations for its unusually high incidence during the most recent postwar recession. It compares the individual, job, and household characteristics of the long-term unemployed during the latest recession (2007-2009) with the long-term unemployed at the end of the two previous recessions (1990-1991 and 2001). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31356/
F-35 Alternate Engine Program: Background and Issues for Congress
This report discusses the past four years of administration proposals to terminate the program to develop the General Electric/Rolls-Royce F136 engine as an alternative to the Pratt & Whitney F135 engine that currently powers the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF). These proposals have been continually rejected by Congress. The Obama Administration's FY2011 budget submission against proposes to terminate the program. This report explores both sides of the termination argument. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31353/
F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Program: Background and Issues for Congress
This report discusses the largest procurement program in the Department of Defense (DOD), the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), also called the Lightning II. This is a new aircraft being procured in different versions for the United States Air Force, Marine Corps, and Navy. Current DOD plans call for acquiring a total of 2,456 JSFs. This report also discusses issues related to the F-35 procurement program within the FY2011 defense budget. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31395/
Securing America's Borders: The Role of the Intelligence Community
Maintaining the security of U.S. borders is a fundamental responsibility of the federal government. This report discusses the contribution of intelligence agencies to the border security efforts of the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense, and other federal agencies that work in cooperation with state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies. Much of the intelligence community's border security-related efforts are classified, however. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31392/
History and Authority of the Joint Economic Committee
This report briefly discusses joint committees, which are composed of members from both the House and the Senate. The work of these committees generally involves conducting studies and overseeing aspects of congressional operations. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31391/
Afghanistan: Post-Taliban Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy
This report discusses the current political state of Iran, 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.-Iran relationship and U.S. efforts under the Obama Administration to provide military, reconstructive, and stabilization aid. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31397/
North Korea's 2009 Nuclear Test: Containment, Monitoring, Implications
This report discusses the implications of North Korea's May 25, 2009, underground nuclear test, related issues such as the the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), containment of radioactive materials, and other concerns for Congress, such as improving nuclear monitoring capability. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31355/
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/metadc31352/
TRICARE and VA Health Care: Impact of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA)
The 111th Congress passed, and the President signed into law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, as amended by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, and hereafter referred to as PPACA. This report addresses key questions concerning how PPACA affects the Department of Defense (DOD) TRICARE program and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31357/
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/metadc31351/
Guinea: Background and Relations with the United States
This report discusses the current political conditions in Guinea, as well as the considerable changes to Guinea's political landscape that have taken place over the past two years. The report also discusses U.S. interests and associated policy challenges in Guinea, centering around democratization, counternarcotics issues, regional stability, and socioeconomic development, among other issues. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31342/
Chemical Facility Security: Reauthorization, Policy Issues, and Options for Congress
This report discusses the efforts undertaken since even prior to September 11, 2001, to increase safety and security measures for facilities possessing certain amounts of hazardous chemicals. The 109th congress passed legislation in 2006 providing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) statutory authority to regulate chemical facilities for security purposes. This statutory authority expires in December 2010. This report provides a brief overview of the existing statutory authority and the regulation implementing this authority. It describes several policy issues raised in previous debates regarding chemical facility security and identifies policy options that might resolve components of these issues. Finally, legislation introduced in the 111th Congress is discussed. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31341/
Venezuela: Issues in the 111th Congress
This report discusses U.S.-Venezuela relations, including an historical overview. It also discusses the current political conditions in Venezuela, and certain Venezuela-related concerns the 111th Congress faces, such as Venezuela's human rights situation and its deepening relations with Iran. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31347/
Navy Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) Program: Background and Issues for Congress
This report discusses the Aegis ballistic missile defense (BMD) program. Under current Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and Navy plans, the number of BMD-capable Navy Aegis ships is schedule to grow from 20 at the end of FY2010 to 38 at the end of FY2015. This report discusses the concerns some have over BMD expansion, as well as BMD funding issues. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31422/
Navy Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Program: Background, Issues, and Options for Congress
The Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) is a relatively inexpensive Navy surface combatant equipped with modular "plug-and-fight" mission packages. The Navy's FY2011-FY2015 shipbuilding plan calls for procuring 17 more LCSs in annual quantities of 2, 3, 4, 4, and 4. This report details this shipbuilding plan, the Navy's budget proposals, and a new LCS acquisition strategy proposed by the Navy on September 16, 2009. FY2011 issues for Congress include whether to approve, reject, or modify the Navy's request for FY2011 procurement and advance procurement funding for the LCS program, and whether to provide any additional direction to the Navy regarding LCS acquisition strategy. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31421/
The National Security Council: An Organizational Assessment
The National Security Council (NSC) was established in 1947. This report describes the history of the NSC, how is structure and influence have varied over the years from one Administration to another, what its current structure and who its current members are, varying opinions as to what the role of the NSC should be, and future developments for the NSC. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31484/
Mandatory Vaccinations: Precedent and Current Laws
This report provides an overview of the legal precedent for mandatory vaccination laws, and of state laws that require certain individuals or populations, including school-aged children and health care workers, to be vaccinated against various communicable diseases. Also discussed are state laws providing for mandatory vaccinations during a public health emergency or outbreak of a communicable disease. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31489/
Federal Funding of Presidential Nominating Conventions: Overview and Policy Options
This report provides an overview and analysis of two recurring questions surrounding the federal government's role in financing presidential nominating conventions. First, how much public funding supports presidential nominating conventions? Second, what options exist for changing that amount if Congress chooses to do so? Both issues have generated controversy in the past and continue to be the subject of debate. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31486/
EU-U.S. Economic Ties: Framework, Scope, and Magnitude
This report provides background information and analysis of the U.S.-EU economic relationship for members of the 112th Congress as they contemplate the costs and benefits of closer U.S. economic ties with the EU. It examines the economic and political framework of the relationship and the scope and magnitude of the ties based on data from various sources. In addition, the report analyzes the implications these factors have for U.S. economic policy toward the EU. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31483/
An Overview of Recent U.S. Supreme Court Jurisprudence in Patent Law
This report provides a brief summary of the Supreme Court's patent law jurisprudence in the following nine cases that have been decided since 2005: Merck KGaA v. Integra Lifesciences I, Unitherm Food Systems v. Swift-Eckrich, Illinois Tool Works v. Independent Ink, eBay v. MercExchange, Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings v. Metabolite Labs., MedImmune v. Genentech, KSR International Co. v. Teleflex Inc., Microsoft v. AT&T, Quanta Computer, Inc. v. LG Electronics, Inc., and Bilski v. Kappos. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31425/
Why Certain Trade Agreements Are Approved as Congressional-Executive Agreements Rather Than as Treaties
U.S. trade agreements such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), World Trade Organization agreements, and bilateral free trade agreements (FTAs) have been approved by majority vote of each house rather than by two-thirds vote of the Senate - that is, they have been treated as congressional-executive agreements rather than as treaties. The congressional-executive agreement has been the vehicle for implementing Congress's long-standing policy of seeking trade benefits for the United States through reciprocal trade negotiations. This report discusses this topic in brief. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31461/
F-35 Alternate Engine Program: Background and Issues for Congress
The administration's proposal to terminate the alternate engine program for the F-35 Lightning II fighter is a significant issue for Congress in FY2012, with implications for the defense budget, military capability in the future, and the division of power between Congress and the executive branch. This report discusses these issues. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31467/
Temporary Extension of Unemployment Benefits: Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC08)
In July 2008, a new temporary unemployment benefit, the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC08) program, began. The most recent legislation, P.L. 111-205, extended the authorization of the EUC08 program, but did not change the structure of the program or augment benefits. This temporary unemployment insurance program provides up to 20 additional weeks of unemployment benefits to certain workers who have exhausted their rights to regular unemployment compensation (UC) benefits. This report discusses the various tiers of the EUC08 program, as well as related legislation. This report will be updated to reflect current congressional action or programmatic changes. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31503/
Tanzania: Background and Current Conditions
This report discusses the current political climate in Tanzania, an important U.S. ally in Africa. The report also provides some general background information. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31500/