Congressional Research Service Reports - Browse

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The 2009 Influenza Pandemic: Selected Legal Issues

Description: In late April 2009, human cases of infection with a novel influenza A(H1N1) virus, commonly known as "swine flu," were identified. Since then, the virus has become widespread. It is timely to examine the legal issues surrounding this public health threat. This report provides a brief overview of selected legal issues including emergency measures, civil rights, liability issues, and employment issues.
Date: June 15, 2009
Creator: Swendiman, Kathleen S. & Jones, Nancy Lee
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response: The SAFER Grant Program

Description: The Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Act (the "SAFER Act") was enacted by the 108th Congress as part of the FY2004 National Defense Authorization Act. This report describes the SAFER Act in brief and discusses possible budgetary modifications to the SAFER Act that are being considered due to the recent economic downturn.
Date: June 23, 2009
Creator: Kruger, Lennard G.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

United States Fire Administration: An Overview

Description: The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) - which includes the National Fire Academy (NFA) - is currently an entity within the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The objective of the USFA is to significantly reduce the nation's loss of life from fire, while also achieving a reduction in property loss and non-fatal injury due to fire. In the 111th Congress, debate over the USFA budget focuses on whether the USFA is receiving sufficient funding to accomplish its mission, given that appropriations for USFA have consistently been well below the agency's authorized level. An ongoing issue is the viability and status of the USFA and National Fire Academy within the Department of Homeland Security.
Date: June 23, 2009
Creator: Kruger, Lennard G.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Project BioShield: Purposes and Authorities

Description: Many potential chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) terrorism agents lack available countermeasures. In 2003, President Bush proposed Project BioShield to address this need. The Project BioShield Act became law in July 2004. This report discusses the three main provisions of Project BioShield, funding for Project BioShield, and additional measures that Congress has considered since Project BioShield's implementation to further encourage CBRN countermeasure development.
Date: July 6, 2009
Creator: Gottron, Frank
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Peacekeeping/Stabilization and Conflict Transitions: Background and Congressional Action on the Civilian Response/Reserve Corps and other Civilian Stabilization and Reconstruction Capabilities

Description: This report provides background information relating to the Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization (S/CRS) in the Office of the Secretary of State. This office was created in mid-2004 as part of the Bush Administration's efforts to develop adequate civilian organizational structures, procedures, and personnel to respond effectively to post-conflict, "stabilization and reconstruction" situations, most especially in Afghanistan and Iran. This report also discusses proposals and tracks related legislative action.
Date: June 16, 2009
Creator: Serafino, Nina M.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Federal Evacuation Policy: Issues for Congress

Description: This report discusses federal evacuation policy and analyzes potential lessons learned from the evacuation of individuals from Hurricane Katrina. Several issue areas that might arise concerning potential lawmaking and oversight on evacuation policy are also highlighted. This report will be updated as significant legislative or administrative changes occur.
Date: March 30, 2009
Creator: Lindsay, Bruce R.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Emergency Communications: The Future of 911

Description: Today's 911 system is built on an infrastructure of analog technology that does not support many of the features that most Americans expect are part of an emergency response. Recognizing the importance of providing effective 911 service, Congress has passed three major bills supporting improvements in the handling of 911 emergency calls. This report includes a detailed overview of the 911 system, as well as related legislation and policies currently in consideration by Congress.
Date: November 21, 2008
Creator: Moore, Linda K.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The National Response Framework: Overview and Possible Issues for Congress

Description: In response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Congress and the President consolidated numerous federal emergency plans into the National Response Plan (NRP). This report discusses how national response planning documents have evolved over time and describes the authorities that shape the National Response Framework (NRF). Several issue areas that might be examined for potential lawmaking and oversight concerning the NRF are also highlighted.
Date: November 20, 2008
Creator: Lindsay, Bruce R.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Financing Recovery from Large-Scale Natural Disasters

Description: Two important issues before Congress are (1) securing the nation's capacity to prepare for, respond to, and recover/rebuild from natural catastrophe events, and (2) determining whether and how the federal government should intervene in catastrophe insurance markets. This report focuses on this issue at length, taking into consideration the Gulf Coast hurricanes of 2004 and 2005; a sequence of tornadoes, wildfire, earthquakes, Hurricanes Ike and Gustav, and the 2008 Midwestern floods; and the financial market turmoil in 2008.
Date: November 18, 2008
Creator: King, Rawle O.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Department of Homeland Security Assistance to States and Localities: A Summary and Issues for the 111th Congress

Description: This report summarizes several emergency management and homeland security programs, and identifies and analyzes potential issues for the 111th Congress. These issues include (1) the purpose and number of assistance programs; (2) the evaluation of the use of grant funding; (3) the determination of eligible grant recipients; (4) the programs' funding amounts; and (5) the programs; funding distribution methodologies.
Date: June 8, 2009
Creator: Reese, Shawn
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Haiti: Post-Hurricane Conditions and Assistance

Description: In August and September 2008, four major storms directly hit or passed close to Haiti, causing widespread devastation. As of early October, 2008, the U.S. government has either provided or pledged just over $30 million in humanitarian assistance to affected Haitian populations in response to the hurricanes in Haiti. Congress provided not less than $100 million for hurricane relief and reconstruction assistance for Haiti and other Caribbean countries in the FY2009 continuing appropriations resolution signed into law September 30, 2008. The Haitian government says it needs $400 million over the next 18 months for hurricane recovery and reconstruction, and that so far the international community has committed $145 million.
Date: October 27, 2008
Creator: Taft-Morales, Maureen & Sullivan, Mark P.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Flood Insurance Requirements for Stafford Act Assistance

Description: The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (the Stafford Act) imposes flood insurance requirements upon eligibility for disaster assistance in two general cases: (1) if the entity seeking disaster assistance has received disaster assistance in the past, or (2) if the entity seeking disaster assistance is a state or local government or private nonprofit located in a federally designated special flood hazard area (SFHA) as determined under the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968. The requirements imposed by the Stafford Act operate independently of each other, and a potential applicant for disaster assistance may fall into both categories. This report will discuss the specific requirements imposed in each situation after briefly discussing the history of flood insurance and the relevant types of disaster assistance.
Date: September 5, 2008
Creator: Liu, Edward C.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Disaster Tax Relief for the Midwest

Description: The Midwestern Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2008 is intended to assist with the recovery from the severe weather that affected the Midwest during the summer of 2008. The Jobs, Energy, Families, and Disaster Relief Act of 2008 includes some similar provisions, but these are not limited to the Midwest disaster. The disaster relief in the three bills is similar to that provided to assist with the recovery from the 2005 hurricanes and the 2007 Kansas tornadoes. This report broadly discusses the disaster relief provisions in other relevant legislation.
Date: August 20, 2008
Creator: Lunder, Erika
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Public Health and Medical Preparedness and Response: Issues in the 110th Congress

Description: The 2001 terrorist attacks, Hurricane Katrina, and concerns about an influenza ("flu") pandemic have sharpened congressional interest in the nation's systems to track and respond to public health threats. The 109th Congress passed laws that reauthorized public health and medical preparedness and response programs in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and reorganized parts of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), including the establishment of an Office of Health Affairs (OHA). This report discusses key issues in public health and medical preparedness and response, citing additional CRS reports and other resources.
Date: August 1, 2008
Creator: Lister, Sarah A.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Public Health and Medical Preparedness and Response: Issues in the 110th Congress

Description: The 2001 terrorist attacks, Hurricane Katrina, and concerns about an influenza ("flu") pandemic have sharpened congressional interest in the nation's systems to track and respond to public health threats. The 109th Congress passed laws that reauthorized public health and medical preparedness and response programs in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and reorganized parts of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), including the establishment of an Office of Health Affairs (OHA). This report discusses key issues in public health and medical preparedness and response, citing additional CRS reports and other resources.
Date: June 16, 2008
Creator: Lister, Sarah A.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Avian Flu Pandemic: Potential Impact of Trade Disruptions

Description: Concerns about potential disruptions in U.S. trade flows due to a global health or security crisis are not new. The possibility of an avian flu pandemic with consequences for global trade is a concern that has received attention recently, although some experts believe there is little cause for alarm. This report considers possible trade disruptions, including possible impacts on trade between the United States and countries and regions that have reported avian influenza infections.
Date: May 8, 2008
Creator: Langton, Danielle
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

National Flood Insurance Program: Treasury Borrowing in the Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina

Description: In 2008, Hurricanes Ike, Gustav, and Dolly made landfall in the United States, causing widespread flood damage. Exactly three years earlier, claims and expenses related to the massive flooding caused by Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma had financially overwhelmed the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) estimates that the NFIP will need about $3 billion in additional borrowing authority to cover the claims currently outstanding and a yet to be determined amount for the 2008 Hurricanes. Congress is currently working to reform the NFIP while retaining its original intent to keep rates affordable for people to buy the insurance.
Date: September 19, 2008
Creator: King, Rawle O.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Federal Employees: Human Resources Management Flexibilities in Emergency Situations

Description: Federal executive branch departments and agencies have available to them various human resources management flexibilities which can be utilized in emergency situations, such as those which resulted from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and which could occur during a pandemic influenza outbreak. The Office of Personnel Management has issued guidance on these flexibilities, which supplements the basic policies governing staffing, compensation, leave sharing, and telework in Title 5 of the United States Code. Legislation (S. 1000, H.R. 4106, and proposed amendments to S. 3268) to enhance telework in the federal government is pending in the 110th Congress.
Date: July 31, 2008
Creator: Schwemle, Barbara L.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Agricultural Disaster Assistance

Description: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) offers several permanently authorized programs to help farmers recover financially from a natural disaster, including federal crop insurance, the noninsured assistance program (NAP), and emergency disaster loans. This report outlines the various agricultural disaster assistance appropriations included in the FY2007 Iraq war supplemental appropriations act; the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008; the 2008 farm bill; and the FY2008 Supplemental Appropriations Act.
Date: July 3, 2008
Creator: Chite, Ralph M.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

United States Fire Administration: An Overview

Description: The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) - which includes the National Fire Academy (NFA) - is currently an entity within the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The objective of the USFA is to significantly reduce the nation's loss of life from fire, while also achieving a reduction in property loss and non-fatal injury due to fire. This report describes and analyzes the Administration's FY2009 budget proposal, as well as related information and legislation.
Date: October 10, 2008
Creator: Kruger, Lennard G.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

United States Fire Administration: An Overview

Description: The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) - which includes the National Fire Academy (NFA) - is currently an entity within the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The objective of the USFA is to significantly reduce the nation's loss of life from fire, while also achieving a reduction in property loss and non-fatal injury due to fire. This report describes and analyzes the Administration's FY2009 budget proposal, as well as related information and legislation.
Date: June 26, 2008
Creator: Kruger, Lennard G.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) in Iraq and Afghanistan: Effects and Countermeasures

Description: Since October 2001, Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs, or roadside bombs) have been responsible for many of the more than 2,000 combat deaths in Iraq, and 178 combat deaths in Afghanistan. IEDs are hidden behind signs and guardrails, under roadside debris, or inside animal carcasses, and encounters with these bombs are becoming more numerous and deadly in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Department of Defense (DOD) efforts to counter IEDs have proven only marginally effective, and U.S. forces continue to be exposed to the threat at military checkpoints, or whenever on patrol. IEDs are increasingly being used in Afghanistan, and DOD reportedly is concerned that they might eventually be more widely used by other insurgents and terrorists worldwide.
Date: September 25, 2006
Creator: Wilson, Clay
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Use of Federal Troops for Disaster Assistance: Legal Issues

Description: Hurricane Katrina raised questions concerning the President's legal authority to send active duty military forces into a disaster area and the permissible functions the military can perform to protect life and property and maintain order. This report summarizes the possible constitutional and statutory authorities and constraints relevant to the use of armed forces, including National Guard units in federal service, to provide assistance to states when a natural disaster impedes the operation of state and local police. This report also addresses proposed legislation, including H.R. 5122 (S. 2766).
Date: August 14, 2006
Creator: Elsea, Jennifer K.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Emergency Supplemental Appropriations for Hurricane Katrina Relief

Description: In response to the widespread destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina, the 109th Congress enacted two FY2005 emergency supplemental appropriations bills, which together provided $62.3 billion for emergency response and recovery needs. This CRS report summarizes federal disaster assistance funding legislation in the 109th Congress and presents some information on federal expenditures and obligations for disaster recovery activities.
Date: August 22, 2006
Creator: Bea, Keith
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department