Congressional Research Service Reports - Browse

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Piracy: A Legal Definition

Description: Pirate attacks in the waters off the Horn of Africa, including those on U.S.-flagged vessels, have brought continued U.S. and international attention to the long-standing problem of piracy in the region. A recent development in one of the piracy trials in Norfolk, VA, has highlighted a potential limitation in the definition of piracy under the United States Code. This report first examines the historical development of the offense of piracy, as defined by Congress and codified in the United States Code. The focus then turns to how contemporary international agreements define piracy. Finally, the report highlights a recent federal district court ruling that the offense of piracy under 18 U.S.C. ยง 1651 requires a robbery at sea.
Date: October 19, 2010
Creator: Mason, R. Chuck
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Essential Air Service (EAS)

Description: This report discusses Congress' establishment of the Essential Air Service (EAS), a program to ensure that small communities that were served by certificated air carriers before the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978 would continue to receive scheduled passenger service, with subsidies if necessary. Deregulation gave airlines almost total freedom to determine which domestic markets to serve and what airfares to charge, which raised the concern that communities with relatively low passenger levels would lose service as carriers shifted their operations to serve larger and often more profitable markets.
Date: September 3, 2015
Creator: Tang, Rachel Y.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Airline Passenger Rights: The Federal Role in Aviation Consumer Protection

Description: This report examines aviation consumer protections following the 1978 elimination of most governmental control regarding airline business practices. It explains the roles of Congress and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) in protecting airline consumers, and discusses some major passenger rights issues and related laws and regulations.
Date: July 21, 2015
Creator: Tang, Rachel Y.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Emergency Relief for Disaster-Damaged Roads and Transit Systems: In Brief

Description: This report describes Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) assistance for the repair and reconstruction of highways and bridges damaged by disasters (such as Hurricane Sandy in 2012) or catastrophic failures (such as the collapse of the Skagit River Bridge in Washington State in 2013).
Date: October 2, 2015
Creator: Kirk, Robert S.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Federal Freight Policy: In Brief

Description: This report discusses the federal role in freight system planning. The U.S. freight system is a complex network including four principal modes of transportation: The National Truck Network, railroads, barge and ship lines, and air carriers.
Date: February 5, 2016
Creator: Frittelli, John
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Unmanned Aircraft Operations in Domestic Airspace: U.S. Policy Perspectives and the Regulatory Landscape

Description: This report discusses the uses and potential risks of Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), which are often referred to as "drones." In the future, it is anticipated that some UAS will share airspace, and potentially share facilities like airports and helipads, with manned aircraft. Technological innovations, as well as standardized procedures operators must follow, will be needed for full integration.
Date: January 27, 2016
Creator: Elias, Bart
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Emergency Relief for Disaster-Damaged Roads and Transit Systems: In Brief

Description: This report describes Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) assistance for the repair and reconstruction of highways and bridges damaged by disasters (such as Hurricane Sandy in 2012) or catastrophic failures (such as the collapse of the Skagit River Bridge in Washington State in 2013). It begins with a brief discussion of the legislative origins of federal assistance, and then addresses eligibility issues and program operation.
Date: June 27, 2016
Creator: Kirk, Robert S.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Mileage-Based Road User Charges

Description: This report examines mileage-based user charges as an possible source of highway funding. Federal highway and public transportation programs are funded mainly by taxes on motor fuel that flow into the Highway Trust Fund (HTF). The tax rates, set on a per-gallon basis, have not been raised since 1993, and motor fuel tax receipts have been insufficient to support the transportation programs authorized by Congress since FY2008.
Date: June 22, 2016
Creator: Kirk, Robert S. & Levinson, Marc
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Funding and Financing Highways and Public Transportation

Description: This report begins with a discussion of the problems associated with the trust fund financing system (which supports both federal highway and public transportation programs) and then explores possible options for financing surface transportation infrastructure.
Date: November 1, 2016
Creator: Kirk, Robert S. & Mallett, William J.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (LHWCA): Overview of Workers' Compensation for Certain Private- Sector Maritime Workers

Description: This report discusses the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (LHWCA), a federal workers' compensation program that covers certain private-sector maritime workers. More than $980 million in LHWCA benefits are paid each year. The LHWCA is administered by the Department of Labor (DOL) and all benefit costs are paid by employers and their insurance carriers.
Date: November 29, 2010
Creator: Szymendera, Scott
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Positive Train Control (PTC): Overview and Policy Issues

Description: This report gives and overview of the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 and discusses policy issues related to it. Congress passed the Act following several high-profile train accidents; it mandates positive train control (PTC) on many passenger and freight railroads by December 31, 2015.
Date: July 30, 2012
Creator: Peters, Jeffrey C. & Frittelli, John
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Highway Bridge Conditions: Issues for Congress

Description: This report discusses the nation's transportation infrastructure in general, and in particular the federal role in funding, building, maintaining, and ensuring the safety of roads and especially bridges in the United States.
Date: December 19, 2013
Creator: Kirk, Robert S. & Mallett, William J.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Army's Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV): Background and Issues for Congress

Description: This report provides background information on the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV) and it discusses the Army's proposed replacement to the Vietnam-era M-113 personnel carriers, which are still in service in a variety of support capacities in Armored Brigade Combat Teams (ABCTs).
Date: January 6, 2014
Creator: Feickert, Andrew
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Army's Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV): Background and Issues for Congress

Description: This report provides background information on the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV) and it discusses the Army's proposed replacement to the Vietnam-era M-113 personnel carriers, which are still in service in a variety of support capacities in Armored Brigade Combat Teams (ABCTs).
Date: May 6, 2014
Creator: Feickert, Andrew
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Inland Waterways: Recent Proposals and Issues for Congress

Description: This report discusses the major issues for Congress which include whether to increase inland waterway funding in the future (and by what amount); the appropriate type of revenue stream (e.g., fuel taxes or lockage fees) for the user-required portion of these projects; division of the cost-share responsibilities between the federal government and commercial users (e.g., 50/50 or some other division); and whether to initiate process-based recommendations that some argue will improve the delivery and efficiency of Corps-led IWTF projects.
Date: May 3, 2013
Creator: Stern, Charles V.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) Implementation: The Future of Commercial Trucking Across the Mexican Border

Description: This report discusses the implementation of trucking provisions set forth by NAFTA that would have opened the border states to cross-border trucking competition in 1995 and all of North America in 2000. The full implementation of the provisions has been stalled because of concern with the safety of Mexican trucks.
Date: February 1, 2010
Creator: Frittelli, John
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) Implementation: The Future of Commercial Trucking Across the Mexican Border

Description: This report discusses the implementation of trucking provisions set forth by NAFTA that would have opened the border states to cross-border trucking competition in 1995 and all of North America in 2000. The full implementation of the provisions has been stalled because of concern with the safety of Mexican trucks.
Date: June 1, 2010
Creator: Frittelli, John
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Navy Force Structure and Shipbuilding Plans: Background and Issues for Congress

Description: This report provides background information and presents potential issues for Congress concerning the Navy's ship force-structure goals and shipbuilding plans, particularly the planned size of the Navy, the rate of Navy ship procurement, and the prospective affordability of the Navy's shipbuilding plans. Decisions that Congress makes on Navy shipbuilding programs can substantially affect Navy capabilities and funding requirements, and the U.S. shipbuilding industrial base.
Date: July 30, 2010
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department