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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Venezuela: Background and U.S. Relations

Venezuela: Background and U.S. Relations

Date: June 20, 2016
Creator: Sullivan, Mark P.
Description: This report examines the political and economic situation in Venezuela and U.S.-Venezuelan relations. It is divided into three main sections -- political background, current political and economic environment, U.S. relations and policy -- and also includes introductory and outlook information.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
What's RICO?

What's RICO?

Date: June 20, 2016
Creator: unknown
Description: This legal sidebar briefly discusses the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) portion of Title 18 of the United States Code. In spite of its name and origin, RICO is not limited to "mobsters" or members of "organized crime" as those terms are popularly understood. Rather, it covers those activities which Congress felt characterized the conduct of organized crime, no matter who actually engages in them.
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The Appointment Process for U.S. Circuit and District Court Nominations: An Overview

The Appointment Process for U.S. Circuit and District Court Nominations: An Overview

Date: June 17, 2016
Creator: Rutkus, Denis S.
Description: This report discusses the process of appointment of U.S. circuit and district court judges through presidential nomination and Senate confirmation. In recent decades, the process for appointing judges to the U.S. circuit courts of appeals and the U.S. district courts has been of continuing Senate interest. The responsibility for making these appointments is shared by the President and the Senate. Pursuant to the Constitution's Appointments Clause, the President nominates persons to fill federal judgeships, with the appointment of each nominee also requiring Senate confirmation. Although not mentioned in the Constitution, an important role is also played midway in the appointment process by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
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China Naval Modernization: Implications for U.S. Navy Capabilities--Background and Issues for Congress

China Naval Modernization: Implications for U.S. Navy Capabilities--Background and Issues for Congress

Date: June 17, 2016
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald
Description: This report provides background information and issues for Congress on China's naval modernization effort and its implications for U.S. Navy capabilities. The issue for Congress is how the U.S. Navy should respond to China's military modernization effort, particularly its naval modernization effort.
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The First Responder Network (FirstNet) and Next-Generation Communications for Public Safety: Issues for Congress

The First Responder Network (FirstNet) and Next-Generation Communications for Public Safety: Issues for Congress

Date: June 17, 2016
Creator: Moore, Linda K.
Description: This report discusses the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet), which is a federal agency that includes private sector and other non-federal representation on its board of directors. FirstNet was created by Congress with provisions in Title VI (Spectrum Act) of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (P.L. 112-96) to ensure the deployment and operation of a nationwide, broadband network for public safety communications.
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Foreign Aid: An Introduction to U.S. Programs and Policy

Foreign Aid: An Introduction to U.S. Programs and Policy

Date: June 17, 2016
Creator: Tarnoff, Curt & Lawson, Marian L.
Description: This report provides an overview of the U.S. foreign assistance program by answering frequently asked questions on the subject. It is intended to provide a broad view of foreign assistance over time.
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FY2017 Defense Appropriations Fact Sheet: Selected Highlights of H.R. 5293 and S. 3000

FY2017 Defense Appropriations Fact Sheet: Selected Highlights of H.R. 5293 and S. 3000

Date: June 17, 2016
Creator: Towell, Pat & Williams, Lynn M.
Description: This report summarizes selected highlights of the FY2017 Defense Appropriations Act passed by the House on June 16, 2016 (H.R. 5293), and the version reported by the Senate Appropriations Committee on May 26, 2016 (S. 3000).
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Navy Lasers, Railgun, and Hypervelocity Projectile: Background and Issues for Congress

Navy Lasers, Railgun, and Hypervelocity Projectile: Background and Issues for Congress

Date: June 17, 2016
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald
Description: This report provides background information and issues for Congress on three potential new weapons that could improve the ability of Navy surface ships to defend themselves against enemy missiles--solid state lasers (SSLs), the electromagnetic railgun (EMRG), and the hypervelocity projectile (HVP).
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Spending and Tax Expenditures: Distinctions and Major Programs

Spending and Tax Expenditures: Distinctions and Major Programs

Date: June 17, 2016
Creator: Driessen, Grant A.
Description: This report identifies the largest spending and tax expenditures across eight major categories of federal activity: (1) defense and international affairs; (2) general science, space and technology, natural resources and the environment, and agriculture; (3) commerce and housing, community and regional development, and transportation; (4) education, training, employment, and social services; (5) health, including Medicare; (6) income security; (7) Social Security and veterans' benefits; and (8) administration of justice and general governance.
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State Sponsors of Acts of International Terrorism--Legislative Parameters: In Brief

State Sponsors of Acts of International Terrorism--Legislative Parameters: In Brief

Date: June 17, 2016
Creator: Rennack, Dianne E.
Description: This brief report provides information on legislation that authorizes the designation of any foreign government as a state sponsor of acts of international terrorism. It addresses how each statute defines acts of international terrorism; establishes a list to limit or prohibit aid or trade; provides for systematic removal of a foreign government from a list, including timeline and reporting requirements; authorizes the President to waive restrictions on a listed foreign government; and provides (or does not provide) Congress with a means to block a delisting. The report closes with a summary of delisting in the past.
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The Department of the Interior's Final Rule on Offshore Well Control

The Department of the Interior's Final Rule on Offshore Well Control

Date: June 16, 2016
Creator: Comay, Laura B.
Description: This report discusses regulations regarding blowout preventer systems and well control for oil and gas operations on the U.S. outer continental shelf (81 Fed. Reg. 25887). The regulations aim to reduce the risk of an offshore oil or gas blowout that could jeopardize human safety and harm the environment.
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Navy Ship Names: Background for Congress

Navy Ship Names: Background for Congress

Date: June 16, 2016
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald
Description: This report discusses the process of naming Navy ships, which have traditionally been chosen and announced by the Secretary of the Navy. Rules for giving certain types of names to certain types of Navy ships have evolved over time.
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North American Leaders' Summit

North American Leaders' Summit

Date: June 16, 2016
Creator: Villarreal, M. Angeles
Description: This report discusses the North American Leaders' Summits (NALS), a trilateral summit that meets in effort to increase cooperation on broader economic and security issues between the United States, Canada, and Mexico.
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Orlando Nightclub Mass Shooting: Gun Checks and Terrorist Watchlists

Orlando Nightclub Mass Shooting: Gun Checks and Terrorist Watchlists

Date: June 16, 2016
Creator: Krouse, William J.
Description: This report discusses the policy climate surrounding gun control in the wake of the attack in an Orlando, Florida nightclub. On June 12, 2016, an armed assailant killed 49 people and wounded over 50 others in the club.
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Declining Dynamism in the U.S. Labor Market

Declining Dynamism in the U.S. Labor Market

Date: June 15, 2016
Creator: Perkins, David W.
Description: This report discusses certain measures of the U.S. labor market "dynamism" or "fluidity"--including job reallocation, worker churn, and geographic labor mobility-- which some observers note have been declining for the past 20 years or more.
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EPA's Clean Power Plan for Existing Power Plants: Frequently Asked Questions

EPA's Clean Power Plan for Existing Power Plants: Frequently Asked Questions

Date: June 15, 2016
Creator: McCarthy, James E.; Ramseur, Jonathan L.; Leggett, Jane A.; Wyatt, Alexandra M. & Dolan, Alissa M.
Description: This report summarizes the issues the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) encountered when developing regulations for "carbon pollution" from existing power plants as part of the Clean Power Plan, and describes how the EPA resolved these issues.
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Bahrain: Reform, Security, and U.S. Policy

Bahrain: Reform, Security, and U.S. Policy

Date: June 14, 2016
Creator: Katzman, Kenneth
Description: This report discusses the current state of reform and foreign policy in Bahrain. Outward signs of the uprising against Bahrain's Al Khalifa ruling family that began on February 14, 2011 have diminished, but continued smaller demonstrations, opposition boycotts of elections, and incarceration of dissident leaders counter government assertions that Bahrain has "returned to normal."
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The Islamic State and U.S. Policy

The Islamic State and U.S. Policy

Date: June 14, 2016
Creator: Blanchard, Christopher M. & Humud, Carla E.
Description: This report provides background on the Islamic State organization, discusses its goals, operations, and affiliates, reviews U.S. legislative and policy debates, and describes select FY2017 legislative proposals.
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Navy Littoral Combat Ship (LCS)/Frigate Program: Background and Issues for Congress

Navy Littoral Combat Ship (LCS)/Frigate Program: Background and Issues for Congress

Date: June 14, 2016
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald
Description: This report provides background information and issues for Congress on the Navy's Littoral Combat Ship (LCS)/Frigate program, a program to procure a large number of LCSs and modified LCSs. The modified LCSs are to be referred to as frigates. The Navy's execution of the program has been a matter of congressional oversight attention for several years. The program presents several oversight issues for Congress.
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The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP): Key Provisions and Issues for Congress

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP): Key Provisions and Issues for Congress

Date: June 14, 2016
Creator: Fergusson, Ian F. & Williams, Brock R.
Description: This report discusses the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which is a proposed free trade agreement (FTA) among the United States and 11 Asia-Pacific countries. It examines the key provisions of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), related policy and economic contexts, and issues of potential interest to Congress.
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When Are Violent Crimes Federal Hate Crimes?

When Are Violent Crimes Federal Hate Crimes?

Date: June 14, 2016
Creator: unknown
Description: This legal sidebar briefly explains federal law in regards to hate crimes.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Iran's Nuclear Program: Status

Iran's Nuclear Program: Status

Date: June 13, 2016
Creator: Kerr, Paul K.
Description: This report looks at the background of Iran's nuclear policy. It covers the current status of Iran's nuclear facilities, and current controversy surrounding them, as well as the effects of international sanctions on Iran, recent sabotages on the Iran Enrichment Program, an estimated timeline of Iran's nuclear weapon capabilities, and whether or not Iran even has a nuclear weapons program.
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Iran's Nuclear Program: Status

Iran's Nuclear Program: Status

Date: June 13, 2016
Creator: Kerr, Paul K.
Description: This report looks at the background of Iran's nuclear policy. It covers the current status of Iran's nuclear facilities, and current controversy surrounding them, as well as the effects of international sanctions on Iran, recent sabotages on the Iran Enrichment Program, an estimated timeline of Iran's nuclear weapon capabilities, and whether or not Iran even has a nuclear weapons program.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The Islamic State's Acolytes and the Challenges They Pose to U.S. Law Enforcement

The Islamic State's Acolytes and the Challenges They Pose to U.S. Law Enforcement

Date: June 13, 2016
Creator: Bjelopera, Jerome P.
Description: This report provides an analysis of publicly available information on homegrown violent jihadist activity in the United States since September 11, 2001, which suggests that the Islamic State (IS) and its acolytes may pose broad challenges to domestic law enforcement and homeland security efforts.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department