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Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) Status for Russia and U.S.-Russian Economic Ties
This report discusses the issues surrounding whether or not the U.S. should grant Russia permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) following its accession into the World Trade Organization (WTO). 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.
Tax Havens: International Tax Avoidance and Evasion
The federal government loses both individual and corporate income tax revenue from the shifting of profits and income into low-tax countries, often referred to as tax havens. The revenue losses from this tax avoidance and evasion are difficult to estimate, but some have suggested that the annual cost of offshore tax abuses may be around $100 billion per year. Recent actions by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the G-20 industrialized nations have targeted tax haven countries, focusing primarily on evasion issues. There are also a number of legislative proposals that address these issues including the Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act (S. 506, H.R. 1265); draft proposals by the Senate Finance Committee; two other related bills, S. 386 and S. 569; and a proposal by President Obama. This report discusses this issue in detail.
Tax Credit Bonds: Overview and Analysis
Tax Credit Bonds (TCBs) are a type of bond that offers the holder a federal tax credit instead of interest. This report explains the tax credit mechanism and describes the market for the bonds. It also discusses related pieces of legislation and what the most common uses of the proceeds from TCBs are.
The U.S. Postal Service's Financial Condition: A Primer
Report that discusses the USPS financial challenges, agency's revenues, and recent financial difficulties.
The U.S. Postal Service's Financial Condition: Overview and Issues for Congress
This report provides an overview of the U.S. Postal Service's (USPS's) financial condition, legislation enacted to alleviate the USPS's financial challenges, and possible issues for the 112th Congress. It also includes a side-by-side comparison of two of the postal reform bills, H.R. 2309 and S. 1789.
The U.S. Postal Service's Use of Contractors to Deliver Mail: Background and Recent Developments
Currently, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is collectively bargaining with the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) and National Rural Letter Carriers Association (NRLCA). One issue that may or may not be settled is the Postal Service's use of non-USPS employees (i.e., contractors) to deliver mail. If the parties cannot come to a satisfactory arrangement, Congress may be approached to consider the matter.
World Trade Organization (WTO) Decisions and Their Effect in U.S. Law
This report looks at specific laws that have been affected by interactions between the Uruguay Round Agreements Act, the WTO, and domestic law.
The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN)
Congress has passed legislation to facilitate the reemployment of workers who through no fault of their own are let go by their employers. Among these laws is the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, P.L. 100-379, enacted in 1988. This report discusses the WARN Act in brief, especially as related to Congress's renewed interest in the Act due to the current financial crises and recession.
Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act
Report that discusses the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act in brief, especially as related to Congress's renewed interest in the Act due to the current financial crises and recession.
The Workforce Investment Act and the One-Stop Delivery System
Report that provides details of WIA Title I state formula program structure, services, allocation formulas, and performance accountability. In addition, it provides a program overview for national grant programs.
War Powers Litigation Initiated by Members of Congress Since the Enactment of the War Powers Resolution
This report summarizes the eight cases initiated by Members of Congress in which final rulings were reached, which concerned U.S. military activities in El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Grenada; military action taken during the Persian Gulf conflict between Iraq and Iran; U.S. activities in response to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait (prior to the congressional authorization); U.S. participation in NATO's action in Kosovo and Yugoslavia; and U.S. military action in Libya.
Water Infrastructure Funding in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009
This report identifies funding for water infrastructure programs and projects contained in the legislation, including amounts in the House- and Senate-passed versions that preceded the conference agreement. Among the purposes identified in the legislation are preservation and creation of jobs and promotion of U.S. economic recovery, and investment in transportation, environmental protection, and other infrastructure that will provide long-term economic benefits.
The United Nations Human Rights Council: Issues for Congress
On March 15, 2006, the U.N. General Assembly passed a resolution replacing the Commission on Human Rights with a new Human Rights Council (the Council). The Council was designed to be an improvement over the Commission, which was widely criticized for the composition of its membership when perceived human rights abusers were elected as members. This report discusses the history of the Council, the previous participation of the Bush Administration, the current participation of the Obama Administration, and ongoing international and Congressional concerns of the credibility and effectiveness of the Council.
Unauthorized Aliens Residing in the United States: Estimates Since 1986
This report discusses a rise in the unauthorized resident ("illegal") alien population from 1986 to 2010. It looks at reasons that illegal aliens stay resort to breaking the law and how illegal aliens affect the workforce in certain industries.
U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea: Living Resources Provisions
This report describes provisions of the LOS Convention relating to living marine resources and discusses how these provisions comport with current U.S. marine policy. As presently understood and interpreted, these provisions generally appear to reflect current U.S. policy with respect to living marine resource management, conservation, and exploitation.
Numerical Limits on Employment-Based Immigration: Analysis of the Per-Country Ceilings
The report opens with brief explanations of the employment-based preference categories and the per-country ceilings governing annual admissions of LPRs. The focus is on the major employment-based preference categories. The report continues with a statistical analysis of the pending caseload of approved employment-based LPR petitions.
Outer Continental Shelf Moratoria on Oil and Gas Development
This report discusses moratoria measures for the outer continental shelf (OCS) which establish bans or restrictions on oil and gas exploration and development in federal ocean areas. It includes a background of offshore oil and gas development, the sources of U.S. moratorium policy, the background of ocean governance, U.S. moratoria in international areas, and related issues for congress.
Outer Continental Shelf Moratoria on Oil and Gas Development
Moratoria measures for the outer continental shelf (OCS) establish bans or restrictions on oil and gas exploration and development in federal ocean areas. With some exceptions for marine sanctuaries and monuments, no portion of the federal OCS has a permanent moratorium on oil and gas leasing and development. While some areas are under temporary development bans, such as suspensions or moratoria directed by either legislative or executive powers, most of the OCS is free of such restrictions and is considered permissible for offshore leasing activity.
Protecting Classified Information and the Rights of Criminal Defendants: The Classified Information Procedures Act
A criminal prosecution involving classified information may cause tension between the government's interest in protecting classified information and the criminal defendant's right to a constitutionally valid trial. In some cases, a defendant may threaten to disclose classified information in an effort to gain leverage. Concerns about this practice, referred to as "graymail," led the 96th Congress to enact the Classified Information Procedures Act to provide uniform procedures for prosecutions involving classified information.
Protecting Classified Information and the Rights of Criminal Defendants: The Classified Information Procedures Act
This report gives an overview of the Classified Information Procedures Act, enacted by the 96th Congress, which provides uniform procedures for prosecutions involving classified information. It provides a background of the act and discusses its various sections.
Passports: Current Regulations
This report details changes made to travel between the United States and other countries in the Western Hemisphere, including Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, and the Caribbean island nations. Such changes include the expansion of time necessary to get a passport, as well as additional passport and proof-of-identity documentation requirements.
Offshore Oil and Gas Development: Legal Framework
This report explains the nature of U.S. authority over offshore areas pursuant to international and domestic law. It also describes the laws, at both the state and federal levels, governing the development of offshore oil and gas and the litigation that has flowed from development under the current legal regimes. Also included is an outline of the recent changes to the authorities regulating offshore development wrought by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and subsequent legislation enacted by the 109th Congress prior to adjournment. Finally, this report discusses legislation under consideration by the 110th Congress that might also amend existing law in this area.
Reauthorization of the FISA Amendments Act
This report describes the changes that were made by the FISA Amendments Act within the context of the government's authority to conduct surveillance for foreign intelligence purposes.
Mountain Pine Beetles and Forest Destruction: Effects, Responses, and Relationship to Climate Change
This report examines the mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) epidemic because it is one of the most damaging insects affecting forests and because more is known about its life cycle than the cycles of many other forest pests.
Piracy off the Horn of Africa
This report discusses recent (2008-2009) pirate attacks on vessels, including United States vessels, in the waters off the Horn of Africa. The Horn of Africa is sometimes called the Somali Peninsula and includes the nations of Eritrea, Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Somalia. This report explores reasons behind the increased number of pirate attacks in recent years, as well as what efforts are being taken to combat said attacks, including those by the 111th Congress and President Obama and his Administration.
Piracy off the Horn of Africa
This report discusses recent (2010) pirate attacks on vessels, including United States vessels, in the waters off the Horn of Africa. The Horn of Africa is sometimes called the Somali Peninsula and includes the nations of Eritrea, Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Somalia. This report explores reasons behind the increased number of pirate attacks in recent years, as well as what efforts are being taken to combat said attacks, including those by the 111th Congress and President Obama and his Administration.
Omnibus Appropriations Acts: Overview of Recent Practices
This report discusses Omnibus appropriations acts, which have become a significant feature of the legislative process in recent years as Congress and the President have used them more frequently to bring action on the regular appropriations cycle to a close. Following a discussion of pertinent background information, this report reviews the recent enactment of such measures and briefly addresses several issues raised by their use.
Supreme Court Appellate Jurisdiction Over Military Court Cases
This report surveys military courts' jurisdiction, the structure of appellate review for military cases, interactions between military and civilian courts, and legislative proposals.
Omnibus Appropriations Acts: Overview of Recent Practices
Omnibus appropriations acts have become a significant feature of the legislative process in recent years as Congress and the President have resorted more frequently to their use to bring action on the regular appropriations cycle to a close. Following a discussion of pertinent background information, this report reviews the recent use of such measures and briefly addresses several issues that their use raises.
Judge Sonia Sotomayor: Analysis of Selected Opinions
This report provides an analysis of selected opinions authored by Judge Sotomayor during her tenure as a judge on the Second Circuit. Discussions of the selected opinions are grouped according to various topics of legal significance.
The No Child Left Behind Act and "Unfunded Mandates": A Legal Analysis of School District of the City of Pontiac v. Secretary of the United States Department of Education
This report discusses some of the implications of the Sixth Circuit's decision in School District of the City of Pontiac v. Secretary of the United States Department of Education. This includes information regarding the potential practical effect, procedural ramifications, and legal impact of both the original ruling and the recent decision to rehear the case.
Iraq: Oil-for-Food Program, International Sanctions, and Illicit Trade
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Iraq: Oil-for-Food Program, International Sanctions, and Illicit Trade
No Description Available.
Iraq: Oil-for-Food Program, International Sanctions, and Illicit Trade
No Description Available.
Iraq: Oil-for-Food Program, International Sanctions, and Illicit Trade
No Description Available.
Export Administration Act of 1979 Reauthorization
The Export Administration Act of 2001 was introduced on January 23, 2001. Hearings were held by the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, and the bill was reported for consideration by the full Senate by a vote of 19-1 to March 22, 2001. A companion version in the House, H.R. 2581, was introduced by Rep. Gilmanon July 20, 2001. The House International Relations Committee reported the measure with 35 amendments on August 1. The Export Administration Act of 1979 expired on August 20, 2001, however the President extended export control authority and the Export Administration Regulations by invoking the International Emergency Economic Powers Act. During the 106th Congress, both houses held hearings on export control legislation and the Senate Banking Committee voted to adopt the Export Administration Act of 1999 (S. 1712, reported on October 8, 1999, S.Rept. 106-180).
Export Administration Act of 1979 Reauthorization
The Export Administration Act of 2001 was introduced on January 23, 2001. Hearings were held by the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, and the bill was reported for consideration by the full Senate by a vote of 19-1 to March 22, 2001. A companion version in the House, H.R. 2581, was introduced by Rep. Gilmanon July 20, 2001. The House International Relations Committee reported the measure with 35 amendments on August 1. The Export Administration Act of 1979 expired on August 20, 2001, however the President extended export control authority and the Export Administration Regulations by invoking the International Emergency Economic Powers Act. During the 106th Congress, both houses held hearings on export control legislation and the Senate Banking Committee voted to adopt the Export Administration Act of 1999 (S. 1712, reported on October 8, 1999, S.Rept. 106-180).
Export Administration Act of 1979 Reauthorization
The Export Administration Act of 2001 was introduced on January 23, 2001. Hearings were held by the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, and the bill was reported for consideration by the full Senate by a vote of 19-1 to March 22, 2001. A companion version in the House, H.R. 2581, was introduced by Rep. Gilmanon July 20, 2001. The House International Relations Committee reported the measure with 35 amendments on August 1. The Export Administration Act of 1979 expired on August 20, 2001, however the President extended export control authority and the Export Administration Regulations by invoking the International Emergency Economic Powers Act. During the 106th Congress, both houses held hearings on export control legislation and the Senate Banking Committee voted to adopt the Export Administration Act of 1999 (S. 1712, reported on October 8, 1999, S.Rept. 106-180).
Drug Certification of Mexico in 1999: Arguments For and Against Congressional Resolutions of Disapproval
This report presents arguments for and against congressional resolutions to disapprove President Clinton’s February 26, 1999 certification of Mexico as a fully cooperative country in efforts to control illicit narcotics.1 These resolutions (H.J.Res. 35--Bachus, and H.J.Res. 43--Mica and Gilman) would disapprove the President’s certification, but would permit him to avoid withholding of assistance to Mexico if he determined that vital national interests required such assistance.
Drug Certification Requirements and Congressional Modifications in 2001
This report provides a brief summary of the existing drug certification requirements for drug producing and drug-transit countries, background on the experience, criticisms, and reform efforts under these provisions; a summary of early congressional options and proposals advanced in 2001, with possible advantages and disadvantages; a summary of later initiatives with legislative activity; and (5) a tracking of legislative action on the major initiatives.
Drug Certification Requirements and Congressional Modifications in 2001-2002
This report provides a brief summary of the existing drug certification requirements for drug producing and drug-transit countries, background on the experience, criticisms, and reform efforts under these provisions; a summary of early congressional options and proposals advanced in 2001, with possible advantages and disadvantages; a summary of later initiatives with legislative activity; and (5) a tracking of legislative action on the major initiatives.
Drug Certification Requirements and Congressional Modifications in 2001-2002
This report provides a brief summary of the existing drug certification requirements for drug producing and drug-transit countries, background on the experience, criticisms, and reform efforts under these provisions; a summary of early congressional options and proposals advanced in 2001, with possible advantages and disadvantages; a summary of later initiatives with legislative activity; and (5) a tracking of legislative action on the major initiatives.
Drug Certification Requirements and Proposed Congressional Modifications in 2001
This report provides a brief summary of the existing drug certification requirements for drug producing and drug-transit countries, background on the experience, criticisms, and reform efforts under these provisions; a summary of early congressional options and proposals advanced in 2001, with possible advantages and disadvantages; a summary of later initiatives with legislative activity; and (5) a tracking of legislative action on the major initiatives.
EPA and the Army Corps' Rule to Define "Waters of the United States"
This report describes the final revised rule--which the agencies refer to as the Clean Water Rule--announced by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. It includes a table comparing the existing regulatory language that defines "waters of the United States" with the revisions.
Energy-Water Nexus: The Water Sector's Energy Use
This report provides background on energy for facilities that treat and deliver water to end users, and also to dispose of and discharge wastewater.
U.S. Postal Service Rolls Back Its Prices
This report discusses the USPS drop in the price of First-Class "Forever" (or equivalent domestic letter) postage.
Overview of U.S. Sanctions Regimes on Russia
This report discusses sanctions imposed by the Obama administration on Russia for malicious cyber activity.
Clean Power Plan: Legal Background and Pending Litigation in West Virginia v. EPA
This report provides legal background on the Clean Power Plan rule (CPP) to regulate emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs), its Clean Air Act (CAA) framework under Section 111, and climate-related lawsuits that have preceded the present litigation over the CPP. It then gives an overview of the participants in the current litigation, including two groups of Members of Congress, who have offered briefs in support of the petitioners and the respondents, respectively.
Russia: Background and U.S. Policy
This report provides descriptions and background information on Russian government organization and power, the Russian military's role, and U.S. policy toward Russia. Specific topics covered include Russian governmental structures and background, Vladimir Putin's rise to power, human rights concerns, opposition groups, the economy of Russia and the impact of sanctions, the foreign relations of Russia with other countries in Europe, NATO, the EU, China, Syria, and the U.S., the Ukraine conflict and Russian military aggression. U.S. policies toward Russia, U.S. sanctions on Russia, and cyber warfare.
Retirement Benefits for Federal Law Enforcement Personnel
This report discusses federal law enforcement officers enhanced retirement benefits due to mandatory retirement ages making these employees retire younger than the average government employee. Many individuals and employee groups who work in law enforcement-related positions, but who have not qualified as law enforcement officers for retirement purposes, have sought enhanced benefits through legislation in recent Congresses. Possible pros and cons of such legislation are discussed.