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Reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the 115th Congress
This report considers prominent topics in the 115th Congress's Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization debate. Major issues discussed are financing, air traffic control privatization, unmanned aerial vehicles (drones), the Essential Airline Service (EAS), foreign airlines, and certification reform.
Shutdown of the Federal Government: Causes, Processes, and Effects
This report is intended to address questions that arise frequently related to the topic of government shutdowns. It discusses the causes of funding gaps and shutdowns of the federal government, processes that are associated with shutdowns, and how agency operations may be affected by shutdowns. The report concludes with a discussion of potential issues for Congress.
The Trump Administration and the Unified Agenda of Federal Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions
This report provides an overview of the Unified Agenda of Federal Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions, discusses the additional significance of the Unified Agenda in the Trump Administration, provides summary information about content of the 2017 Update, and discusses what additional information can be expected in the subsequent edition of the Agenda.
Federal Role in Voter Registration: The National Voter Registration Act of 1993 and Subsequent Developments
This report first provides a brief background on the federal role in voter registration and the passage of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA), followed by a discussion of the key components of NVRA. The implementation of NVRA, subsequent modifications to its provisions, and ongoing considerations related to federal voter registration are also discussed. The final sections of this report provide descriptions of types of common legislative proposals addressing voter registration, with a full list of related bills introduced in the 115th Congress to date provided in the Appendix.
Funding Gaps and Government Shutdowns: CRS Experts
This report provides the names of CRS staff who specialize in each departmental area that is funded by annual appropriations and thus most affected by government shutdowns.
The Federal Government's Plenary Immigration Power Collides with the Constitutional Right to an Abortion (Part 1)
This report is the first in a two-part series discussing "Garza v. Hargan", a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit involving a detained unaccompanied alien minor and the right to terminate a pregnancy. The facts of the case and a discussion of the court's decision and whether the Health and Human Services Department policy regarding abortions unduly burdens a woman's right to an abortion is discussed.
The Federal Government's Plenary Immigration Power Collides with the Constitutional Right to an Abortion (Part 2)
This report is the secondt in a two-part series discussing "Garza v. Hargan", a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit involving a detained unaccompanied alien minor and the right to terminate a pregnancy. Debate among judges regarding the right of an unaccompanied alien minor to have an abortion when the minor was detained at the border and technically never formally entered the United States are discussed.
Fibbing to Get a Lawyer: Circuits Split on Punishment
This report discusses differing views held by U.S. appellate courts regarding whether lying about one's assets to pre-trial service personnel in order to get a court-appointed lawyer can be used as a justification to increase the sentence of the offender.
Nuclear Energy: Overview of Congressional Issues
This report discusses nuclear energy and various issues and concerns related to it use. Congressional actions and related CRS reports are described for six topics which are: radioactive waste, economic viability, safety, technological advances, security and emergency plans, and nuclear weapon nonproliferation.
Cuba: U.S. Policy in the 115th Congress
This report examines U.S. policy toward Cuba in the 115th Congress. It is divided into three major sections analyzing Cuba's political and economic environment; U.S. policy toward Cuba; and selected issues in U.S.-Cuban relations, including restrictions on travel and trade, funding for democracy and human rights projects in Cuba and for U.S. government-sponsored radio and television broadcasting, migration, antidrug cooperation, U.S. property claims, and U.S. fugitives from justice in Cuba. Legislative initiatives in the 115th Congress are noted throughout the report, and Appendix A lists introduced bills. Appendix B provides links to U.S. government information and reports on Cuba.
Fiscal Year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act: Selected Military Personnel Issues
This report provides a brief synopsis of selected sections in the National Defense Authorization Act for FY2018 (H.R. 2810), as passed by the House on July 14, 2017, and the Senate on September 18, 2017. The FY2018 NDAA Conference report was passed by the House on November 14, 2017, and the Senate on November 16, 2017. Issues include military endstrengths, pay and benefits, and other personnel policy issues.
Navy Columbia (SSBN-826) Class Ballistic Missile Submarine Program: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and potential oversight issues for Congress on the Columbia-class program, a program to design and build a new class of 12 ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) to replace the Navy's current force of 14 Ohio-class SSBNs. The program was previously known as the Ohio replacement program (ORP) or SSBN(X) program. The Navy has identified the Columbia-class program as the Navy's top priority program. The Navy wants to procure the first Columbia-class boat in FY2021. The Navy's proposed FY2018 budget requests $842.9 million in advance procurement (AP) funding and $1,041.7 million in research and development funding for the program. The program poses a number of funding and oversight issues for Congress. Decisions that Congress makes on the Columbia-class program could substantially affect U.S. military capabilities and funding requirements, and the U.S. shipbuilding industrial base.
Navy Force Structure and Shipbuilding Plans: Background and Issues for Congress
This report presents background information and issues for Congress concerning the Navy's force structure and shipbuilding plans. The current and planned size and composition of the Navy, the rate of Navy ship procurement, and the prospective affordability of the Navy's shipbuilding plans have been oversight matters for the congressional defense committees for many years. The Navy's proposed FY2018 budget, as amended on May 24, 2017, requests the procurement of nine new ships, including one Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) class aircraft carrier, two Virginia-class attack submarines, two DDG-51 class destroyers, two Littoral Combat Ships (LCSs), one TAO-205 class oiler, and one towing, salvage, and rescue ship. On December 15, 2016, the Navy released a new force-structure goal that calls for achieving and maintaining a fleet of 355 ships of certain types and numbers. The issue for Congress is whether to approve, reject, or modify the Navy's force structure and shipbuilding plans. Decisions that Congress makes on this issue can substantially affect Navy capabilities and funding requirements, and the U.S. shipbuilding industrial base.
The Net Neutrality Debate: Access to Broadband Networks
This report discusses the net neutrality debate regarding whether internet providers should be required to offer equal service speeds to everyone. Congressional action in the 115th Congress regarding the issue and the current status of the revision of the rules by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) are discussed.
Saudi Arabia: Background and U.S. Relations
This report discuses Saudi Arabia's governmental structure, human rights issues, relations with countries in the region, defense policies, and U.S. relations with the country. Special focus is given to military affairs and trade with Saudi Arabia.
Zimbabwe's Political Transition: Issues for Congress
This report discusses the resignation of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe after a military intervention and the installation of one of his former vice-presidents, Emmanuel Mnangagwa as interim President. Various possible outcomes of the change and possible actions by Congress to advance U.S. interests in the region are discussed.
The Campus-Based Financial Aid Programs: Background and Issues
This report begins with a brief discussion of the history of each of the campus-based federal student aid programs (the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) program, the Federal Work-Study (FWS) program, and the Federal Perkins Loan program) and the formula used to allocate funds among IHEs participating in them. This is followed by a discussion of institutional and student participation in the programs relative to participation in other federal aid programs. The report concludes with a discussion of issues related to the campus-based programs that might garner attention as the 115th Congress considers reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA).
Deficits and Debt: Economic Effects and Other Issues
This report explores distinctions in the concept and composition of deficits and debt and explains how those two measures interact with each other and the general economy.
The Distribution of the Tax Policy Changes in H.R 1 and the Senate's Tax Cuts and Jobs Act
This report discusses the Joint Committee on Taxation's (JCT) November 14, 2017 distributional analysis report of the House and Senate's proposed tax reform legislation which outlines how the changes made by the bill would effect the economic well-being of American taxpayers.
FDA Human Medical Product User Fee Programs: In Brief
This report discusses FDA human medical product user fees for prescription drugs, medical devices, generic drugs, and biosimilars which are charged to companies producing the products and make up a large portion of the FDA's revenues. User fees are authorized in legislation on a five-year cycle, with authority for their actual collection and expenditure provided each year through the annual appropriations process. Appendix A outlines various features of the user fee programs.
Keystone XL Pipeline: Recent Developments
This report discusses the Keystone XL Pipeline and the recent route modification and its effects on permits and permissions needed. A brief overview of the controversy regarding the pipeline and areas of land that require various permits to cross are included.
Post-Heller Second Amendment Jurisprudence
This report examines the scope of the Second Amendment, as interpreted by the federal circuit courts of appeals, after the watershed Supreme Court decisions in "District of Columbia v. Heller" and "McDonald v. City of Chicago". After "Heller" and "McDonald", numerous challenges were brought on Second Amendment grounds to various federal, state, and local firearm laws and regulations. Because Heller neither purported to define the full scope of the Second Amendment, nor suggested a standard of review for evaluating Second Amendment claims, the lower federal courts have been tasked with doing so in the Second Amendment challenges brought before them. This report discusses in detail notable post-Heller Second Amendment cases decided by federal courts of appeals. Because "Heller" and "McDonald" provide the only recent Supreme Court guidance on the Second Amendment, the analyses in these cases may provide useful guideposts for Congress should it seek to enact further firearm regulations.
Volcano and Landslide Provisions in Title X of S. 1460, the Energy and Natural Resources Act of 2017
This report discusses a proposed volcano early warning system and a landslide hazards reduction program that would both be administered by the USGS. Provisions of the law that would create the system and volcanoes on the high priority watch-list are described.
TPP Countries Near Agreement without U.S. Participation
This report discuses the negotiations between the signatory countries of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) after the U.S. withdrawal in January 2017 and possible effects of the implementation of an agreement without the U.S. on the U.S. economy and their image in Asia.
Congressional Commissions: Overview, Structure, and Legislative Considerations
This report provides an overview and analysis of congressional advisory commissions, information on the general statutory structure of a congressional commission, and a catalog of congressional commissions created since the 101st Congress.
End-Year DOD Contract Spending
This report discusses the levels of year-end contract spending by defense agencies and reasons this occurs and possible wasteful spending practices.
Monuments and Memorials Authorized and Completed Under the Commemorative Works Act in the District of Columbia
This report describes memorials built under the authority of the Commemorative Works Act (CWA) of 1986 in the District of Columbia. It contains a catalog of the 19 authorized works that have been completed and dedicated since 1986. For each memorial, the report provides a rationale for each authorized work, as expressed by a Member of Congress, as well as the statutory authority for its creation; and identifies the group or groups which sponsored the commemoration, the memorial's location, and the dedication date. A picture of each work is also included. The Appendix includes a map showing each completed memorial's location.
Monuments and Memorials Authorized Under the Commemorative Works Acts in the District of Columbia: Current Development of In-Progress and Lapsed Works
This report describes monuments and memorials under construction or in planning in the District of Columbia that were authorized under the Commemorative Works Act of 1986. It provides a status update on 12 in-progress memorials and 4 memorials with lapsed authorizations. For each monument or memorial, the report provides a rationale for the work as expressed in the Congressional Record or a House or Senate committee report; its statutory authority; the group or groups sponsoring the commemoration; and the memorial's location (or proposed location), if known. A picture or rendering of each work is also included, when available.
Tax Incentives for Charitable Giving in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R. 1)
This report discusses provisions of the proposed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R.1) which would reduce the tax incentive for charitable giving by decreasing the deduction amounts that most taxpayers would receive from charitable gift deductions.
Contracting the Adversary
This report discusses the training of Navy and Air Force pilots through the use of "adversary" squadrons which fly planes that are either similar or actual versions of those used by enemy countries. The Air Force is considering contracting out this service due to the pilot shortage in the Air Force. Various options and precedent for such contracting services are discussed.
The Individual Mandate for Health Insurance Coverage: In Brief
This report provides an overview of the individual mandate, its associated penalty, and the exemptions from the mandate. It discusses the ACA reporting requirements designed, in part, to assist individuals in providing evidence of having met the mandate. The report includes some national- and state-level data on the application of the mandate's penalty in tax year (TY) 2014 and TY2015.
Memorandum: Summary of the Substantive Provisions of S. 2010, the FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act of 2017 and H.R. 3989, The USA Liberty Act of 2017
This report summarizes the substantive provisions of S. 2010, the FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act of 2017, as reported by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on October 25, 2017, and H.R. 3989, the USA Liberty Act of 2017, as ordered to be reported by the House Judiciary Committee on November 8, 2017. Both bills primarily amend and reauthorize Title VII of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA).
OPEC and Non-OPEC Crude Oil Production Agreement: Compliance Status
This report discusses OPEC's policy and agreement with 11 non-OPEC countries to reduce oil production to stabilize the price of oil which began January 1, 2017 and is in effect until March 31, 2018. Brief descriptions of the results of the agreement on global oil stocks are provided.
Repair or Rebuild: Options for Electric Power in Puerto Rico
This report explores several alternative electric power structures to PREPA for meeting the electricity services and needs of Puerto Rico. The ability of Puerto Rico and its citizens to assume the burden of paying for a rebuilt (and possibly restructured) electricity system is doubtful. Modernizing Puerto Rico’s grid, and taking the next steps to incorporate resiliency, could be expensive. None of the options discussed provides a silver bullet solution to the issues of the grid in Puerto Rico. Congress may consider whether the efforts to restore electric power in Puerto Rico need to progress beyond simple restoration of electricity, and require new investment and oversight by the federal government.
Zimbabwe: A Military-Compelled Transition?
This report discusses the military intervention in Zimbabwe which occurred on November 14 and 15th, 2017, and provides a discussion of the main events leading up to the action and possible outcomes.
The Article V Convention to Propose Constitutional Amendments: Current Developments
This report provides information for Members of Congress and congressional staff on current developments in Congress, the states, and the relevant advocacy and policy communities concerning the Article V Convention alternative for proposing constitutional amendments.
Joint Employment and the Save Local Business Act
This report discusses the proposed "Save Local Business Act" in the House and its provisions and implications for employers and employees in businesses where unions exist. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) broadening of the definition of what constituted a joint employer in the case of Browning-Ferris Industries of California led to resist by some in the business community and the "Save Local Business Act" seeks to restore the former more narrow definition of joint employers.
Telehealth Services Proposed for Medicare Part B Reimbursements, 2018: Fact Sheet
This report discusses telehealth services covered under Medicare and describes the five conditions that a telehealth service must meet to be covered and paid for under Medicare Part B, provides an overview of how the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) adds telehealth services to Medicare's reimbursable list, and includes a table listing the proposed telehealth services to be added to the CY2018 list for Medicare reimbursement.
Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) in the United States
This report discusses the process of carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) and its use in the United States. Legislation in the 115th Congress and the current state of the CCS process are discussed.
Generalized System of Preferences: Overview and Issues for Congress
This report discusses the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program which provides non-reciprocal, duty-free tariff treatment to certain products imported from designated beneficiary developing countries (BDCs). This report examines, first, recent legislative developments, along with a brief history, economic rationale, and legal background leading to the establishment of the GSP. Second, the report describes U.S. GSP implementation. Third, the report briefly analyzes of the U.S. program's effectiveness and stakeholders' views, and discusses possible options for Congress in renewing the program for fiscal year 2018.
Impact of the Budget Control Act Discretionary Spending Caps on a Continuing Resolution
This report answers common questions regarding the government's discretionary spending limits under the Budget Control Act which if they are exceeded trigger sequestration. The result of continuing budget resolutions and possibilities for fiscal year 2018 are addressed.
In Any Way, Shape, or Form? What Qualifies as "Any Court" Under the Gun Control Act?
This report discusses the requirements under the Gun Control Act of 1968 that prohibit persons convicted of felony crimes and misdemeanor domestic violence from buying or possessing firearms and what courts are covered under the phrase "any court' in the legislation.
The Latest Chapter in Insider Trading Law: Major Circuit Decision Expands Scope of Liability for Trading on a "Tip"
This report discusses a recent court decision regarding insider trading laws and the liability of someone who acts on a tip that consists of inside information that they should have known was obtained or shared illegally. Background on the case, relevant case law, and implications of the decision are discussed.
A Primer on U.S. Immigration Policy
This report provides a broad overview of U.S. immigration policy. The first section addresses policies governing how foreign nationals enter the United States either to reside permanently or to stay temporarily. Related topics within this section include visa issuance and security, forms of quasi-legal status, and naturalization. The second section discusses enforcement policies both for excluding foreign nationals from admission into the United States, as well as for detaining and removing those who enter the country unlawfully or who enter lawfully but subsequently commit crimes that make them deportable. The section also covers worksite enforcement and immigration fraud. The third section addresses policies for unauthorized aliens residing in the United States.
Trade Promotion Authority (TPA): Frequently Asked Questions
This report answers frequently asked questions regarding the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) program which requires international trade agreements that reduce tariff or non-tariff barriers to trade in ways that require changes in U.S. law, to be implemented only through the enactment of legislation. If the trade agreement and the process of negotiating it meet certain requirements, TPA allows Congress to consider the required implementing bill under expedited procedures, pursuant to which the bill may come to the floor without action by the leadership, and can receive a guaranteed up-or-down vote with no amendments.
21st Century Flood Reform Act (H.R. 2874): Reforming the National Flood Insurance Program
This report discusses the National Flood Insurance Act and the proposed 21st Century Flood Reform Act in the House. House leaders submitted an Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute (H.R. 2874ANS) on November 6, 2017, that would modify H.R. 2874, the 21st Century Flood Reform Act, to add provisions from the six other bills approved by the House Financial Services Committee. H.R. 2874 would authorize the NFIP until September 30, 2022. This report summarizes selected provisions of the bill, concentrating on changes related to premiums and surcharges, affordability, increasing participation, the role of private insurance, treatment of multiple loss properties, and some provisions related to floodplain mapping and mitigation.
EPA Proposes to Repeal the Clean Power Plan
This report discuses the EPA proposal in October 2017 to repeal the "Clean Power Plan" due to their determination after review of the rule that it exceeded their statutory authority to implement it. Steps in the process of repealing the rule, the outcome of the current court case regarding the rule, and possible replacement rules regarding Carbon dioxide emissions and power plants.
Flood-Risk Reduction and Resilience: Federal Assistance and Programs
This report provides an overview of flood assistance programs and the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) related mitigation incentives; it also raises flood-related policy considerations associated with federal programs and practices.
Potential Effects of a U.S. NAFTA Withdrawal: Agricultural Markets
This report examines some of the potential consequences to U.S. agricultural markets of a U.S. withdrawal from NAFTA, focusing on the possibility that higher tariffs could be imposed on U.S. imports and exports. In particular, under a NAFTA withdrawal, it is likely that most-favored nation (MFN) tariffs would be imposed on agricultural products traded among the NAFTA countries instead of the current zero tariff (i.e., duty-free trade) for most agricultural products. In general, MFN tariffs on U.S. agricultural imports would likely raise prices both to U.S. consumers and other end users, such as manufacturers of value-added food products.
Tax Reform: The Child Credit and the Child Care Credit
This report discusses the child credit and the child care credit and what changes are being made to them in the new tax reform plan currently being debated. This report provides background to help assess who would be assisted by potential changes to either credit. It shows what types of families with children receive both credits and how the credits are distributed across the income distribution.