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Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) Status for Russia and U.S.-Russian Economic Ties

Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) Status for Russia and U.S.-Russian Economic Ties

Date: January 30, 2012
Creator: Cooper, William H.
Description: The change in Russia's trade status will require legislation to lift the restrictions of Title IV of the Trade Act of 1974 as they apply to Russia, which includes the “freedom-of-emigration” requirements of the Jackson-Vanik amendment. The process for Russia's accession has been completed. As a result, Members of the 112th Congress confront the issue of whether to grant Russia permanent normal trade relations (PNTR).
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Russia's Accession to the WTO and Its Implications for the United States

Russia's Accession to the WTO and Its Implications for the United States

Date: January 30, 2012
Creator: Cooper, William H.
Description: Russia has been invited to join the World Trade Organization (WTO) by July 23, 2012. This report looks at policy issues for Congress, and concerns for the US regarding conditions ensuring that Russia fulfills its obligations and provides meaningful trade and investment opportunities for U.S. firms.
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Water Infrastructure Financing: History of EPA Appropriations

Water Infrastructure Financing: History of EPA Appropriations

Date: January 30, 2012
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Description: The principal federal program to aid municipal wastewater treatment plant construction is authorized in the Clean Water Act (CWA). In appropriations legislation, funding for EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) wastewater assistance is contained in the measure providing funds for the Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies. This report summarizes, in chronological order, congressional activity to fund items in the State and Tribal Assistance Grants (STAG) account since 1987.
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A Historical Perspective on "Hollow Forces"

A Historical Perspective on "Hollow Forces"

Date: January 31, 2012
Creator: Feickert, Andrew & Daggett, Stephen
Description: This report gives general overview of the history of the origins and uses of "hollow forces" (i.e., "military forces that appear mission-ready but, upon examination, suffer from shortages of personnel and equipment, and from deficiencies in training"). Senior Department of Defense (DOD) leaders have invoked the specter of a "hollow force" to describe what could happen to the U.S. Armed Forces if significant cuts to the defense budget are enacted. As Congress will play a major role in shaping the Armed Forces both in terms of size, capabilities, and how it is equipped and trained, a nuanced understanding of how the military once became "hollow" could provide a useful context for current and anticipated legislative action.
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Arms Sales: Congressional Review Process

Arms Sales: Congressional Review Process

Date: February 1, 2012
Creator: Grimmett, Richard F.
Description: This report reviews the process and procedures that currently apply to congressional consideration of foreign arms sales proposed by the President. This includes consideration of proposals to sell major defense equipment, defense articles and services, or the re-transfer to third party nations of such military items.
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Detention of U.S. Persons as Enemy Belligerents

Detention of U.S. Persons as Enemy Belligerents

Date: February 1, 2012
Creator: Elsea, Jennifer K.
Description: The detainee provisions passed as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for FY2012 affirm that the Authorization for Use of Military Force in response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, authorizes the detention of persons captured in connection with hostilities. This report provides a background to the legal issues presented, followed by a brief introduction to the law of war pertinent to the detention of different categories of individuals. An overview of U.S. practice during wartime to detain persons deemed dangerous to the national security is presented.
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Detention of U.S. Persons as Enemy Belligerents

Detention of U.S. Persons as Enemy Belligerents

Date: February 1, 2012
Creator: Elsea, Jennifer K.
Description: This report provides a background to the National Defense Authorization Act for FY2012, the Authorization to use Military Force act, and the President's power to detain "enemy combatants." It then gives a brief introduction to the law of war pertinent to the detention of different categories of individuals and an overview of U.S. practice during wartime to detain persons deemed dangerous to national security. It concludes by discussion Congress's role in prescribing rules for wartime detention as well as legislative proposals in the 112th Congress to address the detention of U.S. persons.
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Terrorist Watch List Screening and Brady Background Checks for Firearms

Terrorist Watch List Screening and Brady Background Checks for Firearms

Date: February 1, 2012
Creator: Krouse, William J.
Description: The November 2009 shooting at Fort Hood, TX, renewed interest in terrorist watchlist screening and Brady background checks for firearms through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). In the 110th Congress, Senator Frank Lautenberg and Representative Peter King introduced a bill based on a legislative proposal developed by DOJ that would have authorized the Attorney General to deny the transfer of firearms or the issuance of firearms (and explosives) licenses/permits to "dangerous terrorists." They reintroduced this proposal in the 111th Congress and supporters dubbed it the "Terror Gap" proposal. It was reintroduced once again in the 112th Congress. The Terror Gap proposal raises several potential issues for Congress, which are discussed in this report.
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Votes on Measures to Adjust the Statutory Debt Limit, 1978 to Present

Votes on Measures to Adjust the Statutory Debt Limit, 1978 to Present

Date: February 1, 2012
Creator: Murray, Justin
Description: This report provides roll call vote data identified by the Congressional Research Service for measures to adjust the statutory debt limit.
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War Powers Resolution: Presidential Compliance

War Powers Resolution: Presidential Compliance

Date: February 1, 2012
Creator: Grimmett, Richard F.
Description: This report discusses two separate but closely-related issues regarding the introduction of U.S. armed forces 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.
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