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Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies: FY2011 Appropriations
This report discusses the President's Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 budget request for the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies appropriations bill, which provides funding for the planning, design, construction, alteration, and improvement of facilities used by active and reserve military components worldwide.
The Inapplicability of Limitations on Subcontracting to "Preference Contracts" for Small Businesses: Washington-Harris Group
This report discusses Washington-Harris Group, a protest filed with the Government Accountability Office (GAO) alleging, among other things, that an agency improperly awarded a "preference contract" to a service-disabled veteran-owned small business that proposed to subcontract a greater percentage of work on the contract than allowed under the Small Business Administration's limitations on subcontracting.
Mandatory Spending Since 1962
Mandatory spending includes federal government spending on entitlement programs as well as other budget outlays controlled by laws other than appropriation acts. Entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare make up the bulk of mandatory spending. This report looks at mandatory spending and how it has grown over time relative to total federal spending and the size of the U.S. economy. It also analyzes future mandatory spending levels and how they are projected to impact the federal budget.
Intelligence Issues for Congress
To address the challenges facing the U.S. intelligence community in the 21st century, congressional and executive branch initiatives have sought to improve coordination among the different agencies and to encourage better analysis. This report discusses these challenges and efforts the current and previous Administrations and Congresses have taken and are taking to address them. The report includes criticism of the intelligence community's efforts regarding Iraq, Iran, and other areas. Improved analysis remains a key goal in these discussions.
Defense Authorization and Appropriations Bills: FY1970-FY2010
The passage of the Department of Defense (DOD) authorization and appropriations bills through Congress often does not follow the course laid out in textbooks on legislative procedure. Tracking DOD authorization or appropriations bills can often be confusing and time-consuming. This report is a research aid, which lists the DOD authorization bills (Table 1) and appropriations bills (Table 2) for FY1970-FY2010. This report includes all the pertinent information on the passage of these bills through the legislative process: bill numbers, report numbers, dates reported and passed, recorded vote numbers and vote tallies, dates of passage of the conference reports with their numbers and votes, vetoes, substitutions, dates of final passage, and public law numbers. Key definitions are also included.
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.
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.
House Committee Party Ratios: 98th-111th Congresses
This report provides statistical information on and selected analyses of the House committee party ratios for 14 Congresses, covering the period from the 98th through the 111th Congresses (1983-2011). This report also discusses trends and compares party ratios in selected Congresses. Possible reforms to the apportionment of committee seats are also examined.
Presidential Appointments to Full-Time Positions in Executive Departments During the 110th Congress, 2007-2008
This report explains the process for filling positions to which the President makes appointments with the advice and consent of the Senate (PAS positions). It also identifies, for the 110th Congress, all nominations to executive-level full-time positions in the 15 departments. Profiles of the departments provide information regarding their full-time PAS positions and related appointment activity during the 110th Congress.
Presidential Appointments to Full-Time Positions on Regulatory and Other Collegial Boards and Commissions, 110th Congress
This report specifies, for the 110th Congress, all presidential nominations to full-time positions on 34 regulatory and other collegial boards and commissions. Profiles of each board and commission provide information on their organizational structures, membership as of the end of the 110th Congress, and appointment activity during that Congress. The report also includes tables summarizing the collective appointment activity for all 34 bodies, and identifying Senate recesses during the 110th Congress.
Cuba: Issues for the 111th 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.
Biomass: Comparison of Definitions in Legislation Through the 111th Congress
This report discusses the use of biomass as an energy feedstock, which is emerging as a potentially viable alternative to address U.S. energy security concerns, foreign oil dependence, rural economic development, and diminishing sources of conventional energy. Biomass (organic matter that can be converted into energy) may include food crops, crops for energy (e.g., switchgrass or prairie perennials), crop residues, wood waste and byproducts, and animal manure. This report discusses legislation regarding biomass, the evolving definition of biomass, and the positions of supporters and detractors of biomass as an alternative energy source.
Food Safety in the 111th Congress: H.R. 2749 and S. 510
This report discusses whether the current food safety system has the resources, authority, and structural organization to safeguard the health of American consumers, who spend more than $1 trillion on food each year. Also at issue is whether federal food safety laws, first enacted in the early 1900s, have kept pace with the significant changes that have occurred in the food production, processing, and marketing sectors since then.
Food Safety in the 111th Congress: H.R. 2749 and S. 510
This report discusses whether the current food safety system has the resources, authority, and structural organization to safeguard the health of American consumers, who spend more than $1 trillion on food each year. Also at issue is whether federal food safety laws, first enacted in the early 1900s, have kept pace with the significant changes that have occurred in the food production, processing, and marketing sectors since then.
Oil Spill Legislation in the 111th Congress
This report summarizes provisions of selected legislation - enacted and proposed - that address oil spill policy issues raised after the April 20, 2010, explosion and resulting oil spill at the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico. This report focuses primarily on oil spill policy matters that concern prevention, preparedness, response, and the liability and compensation framework.
Immigration Reform Issues in the 111th Congress
This report synthesizes the multi-tiered debate over immigration reform into key elements: legal immigration; legalization; immigration control; refugees, asylees, and humanitarian migrants; and alien rights, benefits, and responsibilities. It delineates the issues for the 111th Congress on permanent residence, temporary admissions, border security, worksite enforcement, employment eligibility verification, document fraud, criminal aliens, and the grounds for inadmissibility.
Telework for Executive Agency Employees: A Side-by-Side Comparison of Legislation Pending in the 111th Congress
This report discusses legislation (S. 707 and H.R. 1722) designed to foster the development of telework in executive agencies of the federal government.
Guantanamo Detention Center: Legislative Activity in the 111th Congress
This report analyzes relevant provisions in enacted legislation and selected pending bills relating to teh U.S. Naval Station in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, a facility in which alleged enemy belligerents are detained.
Membership of the 111th Congress: A Profile
This report presents a profile of the membership of the 111th Congress. Statistical information is included on selected characteristics of Members, including data on party affiliation, average age and length of service, occupation, religious affiliation, gender, ethnicity, foreign births, and military service.
Armed Career Criminal Act (18 U.S.C. 924(e)): An Overview
This report briefly explores the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA), 18 U.S.C. 924(e), which requires imposition of a minimum 15-year term of imprisonment for recidivists convicted of unlawful possession of a firearm under 18 U.S.C. 922(g). Section 924(e) applies only to those defendants who have three prior state or federal convictions for violent felonies or serious drug offenses. The report includes descriptions of constitutional challenges to the application of section 924(e), which have been generally unsuccessful.
Azerbaijan: Recent Developments and U.S. Interests
This report discusses political, economic, and security challenges facing Azerbaijan, including the unsettled conflict in the breakaway Nagorno Karabakh region. A table provides basic facts and biographical information. Related products include CRS Report RL33453, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia, Political Developments and Implications for U.S. Interests, by Jim Nichol.
Asian Pacific Americans in the United States Congress
Asian Pacific Americans have served in both houses of Congress representing California, Hawaii, Louisiana, Oregon, Virginia, American Samoa, and Guam. They have served in leadership positions, including committee and subcommittee chairmanships. This report presents information on Senators, Representatives, and Delegates, including party affiliations, length and dates of service, and committee assignments.
Average Years of Service for Members of the Senate and House of Representatives, 1st - 111th Congresses
The average tenure of Members of the Senate and House of Representatives at the beginning of each Congress has varied substantially since 1789. The purpose of this report is to provide a Congress-by-Congress summary of the average years of service for Senators and Representatives for the First through the 111th Congresses. The report contains a brief summary of some of the explanations by political scientists and others for the various changes in the average years of service.
Casework in a Congressional Office: Background, Rules, Laws, and Resources
This report, which will be updated as warranted, discusses House and Senate rules and guidelines, laws, and regulations affecting congressional casework, as well as the role of caseworkers. It also provides sample outlines and document templates for implementing and managing congressional casework.
China's Sovereign Wealth Fund: Developments and Policy Implications
China's ruling executive body, the State Council, established the China Investment Corporation (CIC), a sovereign wealth fund, in September 2007 to invest $200 billion of China's then $1.4 trillion in foreign exchange reserves. Congress and financial analysts raised concerns about the CIC after its creation, partly because it was a comparatively large sovereign wealth fund, partly because it was government-owned, and partly because it reported directly to the State Council. These concerns raise question about U.S. policies on inward foreign direct investment (FDI) and the global competitiveness of U.S. financial institutions. Certain commentators suggest that more should be done to protect the United States from China's rising role in international capital markets.
China Naval Modernization: Implications for U.S. Navy Capabilities -- Background and Issues for Congress
Concern has grown in Congress and elsewhere about China's military modernization. The topic is an increasing factor in discussions over future required U.S. Navy capabilities. The issue for Congress addressed in this report is: How should China's military modernization be factored into decisions about U.S. Navy programs?
The Federal Debt: An Analysis of Movements from World War II to the Present
This report will define the measures of debt, discuss the reasons why debt levels change, and use historical examples to illustrate the factors causing debt movements over the last seven decades. Recent policies that have affected the budgetary outlook and the debt will also be discussed. Finally, this report will examine the long-term U.S. debt outlook and implications of rising federal debt levels.
Federal Employees: Pay and Pension Increases Since 1969
Under the terms of the Federal Employees' Pay Comparability Act of 1990 (P.L. 101-509), pay for civilian federal employees is adjusted each year to keep the salaries of federal workers competitive with comparable occupations in the private sector. The annual increases in federal employee pay are based on changes in the cash compensation paid to workers in the private sector, as measured by the ECI. Under certain circumstances, the President may limit the annual increase in federal pay by executive order. Federal law also requires Social Security benefits and the pensions paid to retired federal employees to be adjusted each year. The COLAs for both Social Security and civil service pensions are based on the rate of inflation as measured by the CPI.
Extraterritorial Application of American Criminal Law
Crime is ordinarily proscribed, tried, and punished according to the laws of the place where it occurs. American criminal law applies beyond the geographical confines of the United States, however, under certain limited circumstances. A surprising number of federal criminal statutes have extraterritorial application, but prosecutions have been few. This may be because when extraterritorial criminal jurisdiction does exist, practical and legal complications, and sometimes diplomatic considerations, may counsel against its exercise.
False Patent Marking: Litigation and Legislation
This report will describe and analyze the Federal Circuit's 2009 decision that requires a per-article penalty for false marking, as well as two subsequent Federal Circuit decisions in 2010 that answer several questions that have arisen during the recent false patent marking litigation. It also identifies and discusses legislation in the 111th Congress that would amend ยง 292 in order to retroactively end qui tam false marking suits and with the intent of reducing the number of false marking suits filed in the future.
The Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA): A Summary
This report summarizes the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) and the major regulatory programs that mandate reporting by industrial facilities of releases of hazardous chemicals to the environment, as well as local planning to respond in the event of significant, accidental releases.
The Federal Food Safety System: A Primer
The combined efforts of the food industry and the regulatory agencies often are credited with making the U.S. food supply among the safest in the world. Nonetheless, many food-related health issues persist. At issue is whether the current U.S. regulatory system has the resources and structural organization to protect consumers from these dangers. Also at issue is whether the federal food safety laws themselves, first enacted in the early 1900s, have kept pace with the significant changes that have occurred in the food production, processing, and marketing sectors since then.
The Federal Government's Role in Electric Transmission Facility Siting
This report looks at the history of transmission siting and the reason behind the movement toward an increased federal role in siting decisions, explains the new federal role in transmission siting pursuant to the Energy Policy Act of 2005, and discusses legal issues related to this and any potential future expansions of the federal role.
The First Day of a New Congress: A Guide to Proceedings on the House Floor
This report focuses on the floor activities of the House during its first formal session in a new Congress, and serves as a guide for those participating in or watching these proceedings.
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.
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.
Iran Sanctions
There appears to be a growing international consensus to adopt progressively strict economic sanctions against Iran to try to compel it to compromise on its further nuclear development. The U.S. view - increasingly shared by major allies-is that sanctions should target Iran's energy sector, which provides about 80% of government revenues, and try to isolate Iran from the international financial system. U.S. efforts to curb international energy investment in Iran's energy sector began in 1996 with the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA). ISA has been expanded significantly in 2010. This report discusses said expansions, provides background on the ISA, and explores how this Act has affected
Iran Sanctions
This report focuses on the United States' relationship with Iran and how the Obama Administration is handling prior administration's economic sanctions against Iran. The Obama Administration's policy approach toward Iran has contrasted with the Bush Administration's by attempting to couple the imposition of sanctions to an active and direct U.S. effort to negotiate with Iran on the nuclear issue. That approach was not initially altered because of the Iranian dispute over its June 12, 2009, elections. However, with subsequent negotiations yielding no firm Iranian agreement to compromise, since early 2010 the Administration has focused on achieving the imposition of additional U.N., U.S., and allied country sanctions whose cumulative effect would be to compel it to accept a nuclear bargain.
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.
Iran: U.S. Concerns and Policy Responses
Much of the debate over U.S. policy toward Iran has centered on the nature of the current regime; some believe that Iran, a country of about 70 million people, is a threat to U.S. interests because hardliners in Iran's regime dominate and set a policy direction intended to challenge U.S. influence and allies in the region. President George W. Bush, in his January 29, 2002, State of the Union message, labeled Iran part of an "axis of evil" along with Iraq and North Korea. This report discusses how the Obama Administration differs from the Bush Administration regarding strategy in Iran relations. This report also discusses the current political state of Iran, including incidents of violence and unrest.
Iran: U.S. Concerns and Policy Responses
Much of the debate over U.S. policy toward Iran has centered on the nature of the current regime; some believe that Iran, a country of about 70 million people, is a threat to U.S. interests because hardliners in Iran's regime dominate and set a policy direction intended to challenge U.S. influence and allies in the region. President George W. Bush, in his January 29, 2002, State of the Union message, labeled Iran part of an "axis of evil" along with Iraq and North Korea.
International Climate Change: A Negotiations Side-by-Side
This report discusses various cooperative international efforts to address the issue of global climate change. The two major international agreements discussed in a side-by-side comparison are the 1997 Kyoto Protocol and the 2010 Copenhagen Accord. The report discusses how many observers are hoping that initiatives carried out under the Copenhagen Accord may help bridge divides between the various tracks and economic groupings established under the Kyoto Protocol.
India-U.S. Relations
This report focuses on relations between the United States and India, a relationship deepened in the Clinton and G. W. Bush Administrations. The Obama Administrations seeks to continue developing this relationship. Continuing U.S. interest in South Asia focuses on ongoing tensions between India and Pakistan, the proliferation of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, human rights issues, caste-based discrimination, and India's economic expansion.
Improper Payments Information Act of 2002: Background, Implementation, and Assessment
This report discusses the Improper Payments Information Act (IPIA), which was signed into law in 2002 with the intention of increasing financial accountability in the federal government, thereby reducing wasteful spending.
House Committees: Categories and Rules for Committee Assignments
This report House and party rules, both of which detail procedures for committee assignments. House rules address the election and membership of committees, especially limitations on membership. The Democratic Caucus and Republican Conference rules designate categories of committees (shown below) and specify service limitations in addition to those in the House rules.
Indonesia: Domestic Politics, Strategic Dynamics, and U.S. Interests
This report explores the current political conditions of Indonesia, as well as its relationship with surrounding nations and its relationship with the United States, including a focus on U.S. policy regarding Indonesia. The report also focuses on how the election of President Barack Obama increased Indonesian expectations of an improved relationship with the U.S., as President Obama spent part of his childhood in Indonesia.
Internet Domain Names: Background and Policy Issues
This report discusses the Domain Name System (DNS), which is the distributed set of databases residing in computers around the world that contain address numbers mapped to corresponding domain names, making it possible to send and receive messages and to access information from computers anywhere on the Internet.
Internships, Fellowships, and Other Work Experience Opportunities in the Federal Government
This report describes Internet resources on major internship, fellowship, and work experience programs within the federal government. It is intended as a selective guide for students of all levels: high school, undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate. This report will be updated annually.
Internet Domain Names: Background and Policy Issues
This report discusses the Domain Name System (DNS), which is the distributed set of databases residing in computers around the world that contain address numbers mapped to corresponding domain names, making it possible to send and receive messages and to access information from computers anywhere on the Internet.
Japan-U.S. Relations: Issues for Congress
This report discusses the relationship between the United States and Japan, including Japanese efforts to support the U.S. in the wake of the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks and the two countries' economic ties, especially with regards to the recent economic downturn. This report also discusses the general political atmosphere of Japan, including the recent and ongoing political turmoil in Tokyo.