Congressional Research Service Reports - 349 Matching Results

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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. § 1651 requires a robbery at sea.
Date: October 19, 2010
Creator: Mason, R. Chuck
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Accelerated Vehicle Retirement Programs in Japan and South Korea: Background for Congress

Description: This report discusses the accelerated vehicle retirement (AVR) programs initiated in 2009 by the United States, Japan, South Korea, and other industrial nations (commonly known in the U.S. as the "cash for clunkers" program). The U.S. program began in June 2009, when President Obama signed the Consumer Assistance to Recycle and Save (CARS) Act. The report discusses how these various AVR programs affected the automobile industries in the U.S., Japan, and South Korea, specifically. Neither Japan nor South Korea imports large numbers of foreign vehicles, a circumstance not much altered by AVR program implementation.
Date: October 26, 2010
Creator: Canis, Bill; Grimmett, Jeanne J.; Platzer, Michaela D. & Yacobucci, Brent D.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Navy SSBN(X) Ballistic Missile Submarine Program: Background and Issues for Congress

Description: This report discusses the Navy's plan to develop and design a class of 12 next-generation ballistic missile submarines, or SSBN(X)s, as replacements for the 14 Ohio class SSBNs currently in operation. The report explores certain related issues for Congress, including the affordability of the project and its potential impact on other Navy shipbuilding programs, alternatives to the program, and which shipyard or shipyards will build the proposed ships.
Date: October 28, 2010
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Cars, Trucks, and Climate: EPA Regulation of Greenhouse Gases from Mobile Sources

Description: As Congress and the Administration considered new legislation to reduce the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that contribute to climate change over the last year and a half (a process that has now stalled), the Environmental Protection Agency simultaneously began to exercise its existing authority under the Clean Air Act to set standards for GHG emissions. The Administration has made clear that its preference would be for Congress to address the climate issue through new legislation. Nevertheless, it is moving forward on several fronts to define how the Clean Air Act will be used and to promulgate regulations. This report covers the steps that the Administration is taking on this topic.
Date: November 2, 2010
Creator: McCarthy, James E.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

F-35 Alternate Engine Program: Background and Issues for Congress

Description: This report discusses the past four years of administration proposals to terminate the program to develop the General Electric/Rolls-Royce F136 engine as an alternative to the Pratt & Whitney F135 engine that currently powers the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF). These proposals have been continually rejected by Congress. The Obama Administration's FY2011 budget submission against proposes to terminate the program. This report explores both sides of the termination argument.
Date: November 10, 2010
Creator: Gertler, Jeremiah
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Surface Transportation Funding and Finance

Description: This report discusses changes in funding to the national surface transportation infrastructure, especially in light of the recession that began in 2007, which led to decreases in driving and fuel use. This report focuses on possible revenue sources for surface transportation infrastructure. It begins with a brief discussion of the problems associated with the trust fund financing system and then explores possible immediate and longer-term solutions to the financing problem.
Date: November 10, 2010
Creator: Fischer, John W; Kirk, Robert S. & Mallett, William J.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Surface Transportation Funding and Finance

Description: This report discusses changes in funding to the national surface transportation infrastructure, especially in light of the recession that began in 2007, which led to decreases in driving and fuel use. This report focuses on possible revenue sources for surface transportation infrastructure. It begins with a brief discussion of the problems associated with the trust fund financing system and then explores possible immediate and longer-term solutions to the financing problem.
Date: November 10, 2010
Creator: Fischer, John W.; Kirk, Robert S. & Mallett, William J.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Navy SSBN(X) Ballistic Missile Submarine Program: Background and Issues for Congress

Description: This report discusses the Navy's plan to develop and design a class of 12 next-generation ballistic missile submarines, or SSBN(X)s, as replacements for the 14 Ohio class SSBNs currently in operation. The report explores certain related issues for Congress, including the affordability of the project and its potential impact on other Navy shipbuilding programs, alternatives to the program, and which shipyard or shipyards will build the proposed ships.
Date: November 22, 2010
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald
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

Screening and Securing Air Cargo: Background and Issues for Congress

Description: The October 2010 discovery of two explosive devices being prepared for loading on U.S.-bound all-cargo aircraft overseas has heightened concerns over the potential use of air cargo shipments to bomb passenger and all-cargo aircraft. This incident renewed congressional interest in air cargo security. This report discusses a number of policy issues that may arise regarding air cargo security.
Date: December 2, 2010
Creator: Elias, Bart
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Keeping America's Pipelines Safe and Secure: Key Issues for Congress

Description: This report discusses new legislation being considered by the 111th Congress to improve the safety and security of the U.S. pipeline network. H.R. 6008 would require pipeline operators to provide immediate telephonic notice of a pipeline release to federal emergency response officials and would increase civil penalties for pipeline safety violations. S. 3824 would increase the number of federal pipeline safety inspectors, would require automatic shutoff valves for natural gas pipelines, and would mandate internal inspections of transmission pipelines, among other provisions
Date: December 13, 2010
Creator: Parfomak, Paul W.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Piracy: A Legal Definition

Description: 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 developments in two trials involving charges of piracy in the federal district court in Norfolk, VA, United States v. Said and United States v. Hasan, specifically focusing on how the courts interpreted the definition of piracy under 18 U.S.C. § 1651.
Date: December 13, 2010
Creator: Mason, R. Chuck
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Alternative Fuels and Advanced Technology Vehicles: Issues in Congress

Description: High levels of oil imports and high crude oil and gasoline prices in recent years have led to increased interest in the U.S. fuel supply. Recent congressional interest has focused on alternatives to petroleum, ways to improve the efficiency of the U.S. transportation sector, and ways to improve the stability and security of the petroleum supply and refining sectors. Key components of federal policies to reduce petroleum consumption include the promotion of alternatives to petroleum fuels and the promotion of more efficient vehicles. This report provides an overview of current issues surrounding alternative fuels and advanced technology vehicles.
Date: December 23, 2010
Creator: Yacobucci, Brent D.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Federalism Issues in Surface Transportation Policy: Past and Present

Description: This report provides an historical perspective on contemporary federalism issues in surface transportation policy that are likely to be addressed by Congress during the 112th Congress, including possible devolution of programmatic responsibility to states and proposals to change state maintenance-of-effort requirements and state cost matching requirements.
Date: January 5, 2011
Creator: Dilger, Robert Jay
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

F-35 Alternate Engine Program: Background and Issues for Congress

Description: The administration's proposal to terminate the alternate engine program for the F-35 Lightning II fighter is a significant issue for Congress in FY2012, with implications for the defense budget, military capability in the future, and the division of power between Congress and the executive branch. This report discusses these issues.
Date: January 10, 2011
Creator: Gertler, Jeremiah
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund Expenditures

Description: In 1986, the Harbor Maintenance Tax (HMT) was enacted to fund U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' (USACE or the Corps) activities related to the routine operation and maintenance (O&M) of harbors, namely the dredging of harbor channels to their authorized depths and widths. Economic and equity issues related to HMT expenditures and collections are the main focus of this report. Before analyzing these issues, the report reviews the legislative history of the tax and legal challenges to it, discusses the advantages and disadvantages of alternative funding mechanisms, and describes the commercial context of current dredging activity. The last section identifies legislation related to harbor maintenance funding.
Date: January 10, 2011
Creator: Frittelli, John
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Navy Virginia (SSN-774) Class Attack Submarine Procurement: Background and Issues for Congress

Description: This report provides background information and oversight issues for Congress on the Virginia-class nuclear-powered attack submarine (SSN) program. The Navy's proposed FY2012 budget requests procurement funding for the 15th and 16th Virginia-class boats, and advance procurement (AP) funding for Virginia-class boats to be procured in future years. Decisions that Congress makes on procurement of Virginia-class boats could substantially affect U.S. Navy capabilities and funding requirements, and the U.S. shipbuilding industrial base.
Date: January 11, 2011
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Can Marine Highways Deliver?

Description: Policymakers have been discussing the potential for shifting some freight traffic from roads to river and coastal waterways as a means of mitigating highway congestion. While waterways carry substantial amounts of bulk commodities (e.g., grain and coal), seldom are they used to transport containerized cargo (typically finished goods and manufactured parts) between points within the contiguous United States. This report examines the viability of such a shift, from legislative and economic standpoints.
Date: January 14, 2011
Creator: Frittelli, John
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Navy SSBN(X) Ballistic Missile Submarine Program: Background and Issues for Congress

Description: Report discussing the United States Navy's plan to develop and design a class of 12 next-generation ballistic missile submarines, or SSBN(X)s, as replacements for the 14 Ohio class SSBNs currently in operation. The report explores the affordability of the project and its potential impact on other Navy shipbuilding programs, alternatives to the program, and which shipyard or shipyards will build the proposed ships.
Date: January 14, 2011
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Navy Nuclear-Powered Surface Ships: Background, Issues, and Options for Congress

Description: This report discusses the possibility of increasing the number of Navy surface ships powered by nuclear energy, including the Navy's planned CG(X) cruiser. The report explores a 2006 Navy study that discusses budget considerations, the cost of a nuclear-powered ship compared to a ship powered by crude oil, and other suggestions relating to this proposed expansion. The overall report has a specific emphasis on the planned CG(X) cruiser and how the implementation of this cruiser may be delayed by current budget proposals.
Date: January 18, 2011
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Inland Waterways: Recent Proposals and Issues For Congress

Description: This brief 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: January 20, 2011
Creator: Stern, Charles V.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department