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Iran Sanctions

Description: This report focuses on the United States' relationship with Iran and how the Obama Administration is handling prior administration's economic sanctions against Iran. The Obama Administration's policy approach toward Iran has contrasted with the Bush Administration's by attempting to couple the imposition of sanctions to an active and direct U.S. effort to negotiate with Iran on the nuclear issue. That approach was not initially altered because of the Iranian dispute over its June 12, 2009, elections. However, with subsequent negotiations yielding no firm Iranian agreement to compromise, since early 2010 the Administration has focused on achieving the imposition of additional U.N., U.S., and allied country sanctions whose cumulative effect would be to compel it to accept a nuclear bargain.
Date: December 13, 2010
Creator: Katzman, Kenneth
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Changes in the Arctic: Background and Issues for Congress

Description: The diminishment of Arctic sea ice has led to increased human activities in the Arctic, and has heightened concerns about the region's future. Issues such as Arctic sovereignty claims; commercial shipping through the Arctic; Arctic oil, gas, and mineral exploration; endangered Arctic species; and increased military operations in the Arctic could cause the region in coming years to become an arena of international cooperation, competition, or conflict. This report provides an overview of Arctic-related issues for Congress, and refers readers to more in-depth CRS reports on specific Arctic-related issues.
Date: October 8, 2010
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

An Overview of Recent U.S. Supreme Court Jurisprudence in Patent Law

Description: This report provides a brief summary of the Supreme Court's patent law jurisprudence in the following nine cases that have been decided since 2005: Merck KGaA v. Integra Lifesciences I, Unitherm Food Systems v. Swift-Eckrich, Illinois Tool Works v. Independent Ink, eBay v. MercExchange, Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings v. Metabolite Labs., MedImmune v. Genentech, KSR International Co. v. Teleflex Inc., Microsoft v. AT&T, Quanta Computer, Inc. v. LG Electronics, Inc., and Bilski v. Kappos.
Date: September 17, 2010
Creator: Yeh, Brian T.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Unauthorized Alien Students: Issues and "DREAM Act" Legislation

Description: Supporters of comprehensive immigration reform have urged the President and Congress to pursue reform legislation. While legislative action on comprehensive reform does not appear likely during the remainder of the 111th Congress, there may be an effort to enact a measure, commonly referred to as the "DREAM Act," to enable certain unauthorized alien students to legalize their status. This report discusses the DREAM act and related issues.
Date: December 1, 2010
Creator: Bruno, Andorra
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Samantar v. Yousef: The Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act and Foreign Officials

Description: On June 1, 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court decided unanimously in Samantar v. Yousef that the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA), which governs the immunity of foreign states in U.S. courts, does not apply in suits against foreign officials. This report provides an overview of the FSIA, followed by a consideration of the remaining options for foreign officials who seek immunity from lawsuits, as well as some of the questions that may emerge from each option. The report also addresses legislation that would affect the immunity of foreign officials, including S. 2930.
Date: September 24, 2010
Creator: Elsea, Jennifer K.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Responsibility Determinations Under the Federal Acquisition Regulation: Legal Standards and Procedures

Description: This report discusses the standards and procedures that federal agencies use in making responsibility determinations under the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR). It discusses (1) how responsibility determinations relate to other mechanisms that the government relies upon to ensure that contractors are responsible and otherwise eligible for federal contracts; (2) the performance-related and collateral standards used in making responsibility determinations; (3) the procedures for making responsibility determinations; and (4) recently enacted or proposed amendments to the standards or procedures for responsibility determinations.
Date: October 1, 2010
Creator: Manuel, Kate M.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Securing America's Borders: The Role of the Intelligence Community

Description: Maintaining the security of U.S. borders is a fundamental responsibility of the federal government. This report discusses the contribution of intelligence agencies to the border security efforts of the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense, and other federal agencies that work in cooperation with state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies. Much of the intelligence community's border security-related efforts are classified, however.
Date: December 7, 2010
Creator: Best, Richard A., Jr.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Army Corps of Engineers' Nationwide Permits Program: Issues and Regulatory Developments

Description: Congressional interest in wetlands permit regulatory programs has been evident in the past in oversight hearings and in connection with bills to fund the Corps' regulatory programs. For some time, there has been a stalemate over legislation that would revise wetlands regulatory law and that could, if enacted, modify the nationwide permit program. During this time, no consensus has emerged on whether or how to reform overall wetlands policy legislatively. Recently, Obama Administration initiatives and actions intended to restrict harmful effects of surface coal mining activities in Appalachia have drawn congressional attention and criticism that is likely to continue in the 112th Congress and that could include oversight of the Corps' regulatory program generally.
Date: December 28, 2010
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Federal Employees' Retirement System: Benefits and Financing

Description: Most civilian federal employees who were hired before 1984 are covered by the Civil Service Retirement System, and contribute 7.0% of their pay to a retirement fund. Federal employees hired in 1984 or later are covered by the Federal Employees' Retirement System and contribute 0.8% of their pay to a retirement fund. Both require participants to contribute toward the cost of their pensions through a payroll tax. The taxable wage base is $106,800 in 2010. This report discusses both retirement funds.
Date: September 15, 2010
Creator: Isaacs, Katelin P.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Cybercrime: An Overview of the Federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Statute and Related Federal Criminal Laws

Description: The federal computer fraud and abuse statute, 18 U.S.C. 1030, outlaws conduct that victimizes computer systems. It is a cyber security law. It protects federal computers, bank computers, and computers connected to the Internet. It shields them from trespassing, threats, damage, espionage, and from being corruptly used as instruments of fraud. It is not a comprehensive provision, but instead it fills cracks and gaps in the protection afforded by other federal criminal laws. This is a brief sketch of Section 1030 and some of its federal statutory companions, including the amendments found in the Identity Theft Enforcement and Restitution Act.
Date: December 27, 2010
Creator: Doyle, Charles
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Abortion Services and Military Medical Facilities

Description: The purpose of this report is to describe and discuss the provisions for providing abortion services to military personnel, their dependents, and other military health care beneficiaries at military medical facilities. The report describes the history of these provisions, with particular emphasis on legislative actions. Finally, this report discusses a number of proposals to modify the law, as well as other related legislative and administrative actions.
Date: December 16, 2010
Creator: Burrelli, David F.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

State Efforts to Deter Unauthorized Aliens: Legal Analysis of Arizona's S.B. 1070

Description: This report discusses S.B. 1070 and some of the notable preemption issues raised by some of its provisions. Where relevant, it examines the district court's ruling that the federal government is likely to succeed on the merits of its arguments that certain sections of S.B. 1070 are preempted by federal law. It also discusses other preemption issues potentially raised by S.B. 1070 or similar legislation, including some issues that were not expressly addressed by the district court in its preliminary ruling.
Date: September 14, 2010
Creator: Manuel, Kate M.; Garcia, Michael John & Eig, Larry M.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

A U.S.-centric Chronology of the International Climate Change Negotiations

Description: The Copenhagen conference in December 2009 achieved only mandates to continue negotiating toward the next Conference of the Parties (COP) to be held in Mexico City in December 2010. As a background to these proceedings, this document provides a U.S.-centric chronology of the international policy deliberations to address climate change from 1979-2009. Negotiations underway since 2007 have run on two tracks, the Kyoto Protocol the Convention under the Bali Action Plan. Many in the U.S. Congress are concerned with the goals and obligations that a treaty or other form of agreement might embody. For U.S. legislators, additional issues include the compatibility of any international agreement with U.S. domestic policies and laws; the adequacy of appropriations, fiscal measures, and programs to achieve any commitments under the agreement; and the desirable form of the agreement and related requirements, with a view toward potential Senate ratification of the agreement and federal legislation to assure that U.S. commitments are met.
Date: January 7, 2010
Creator: Leggett, Jane A.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Authority of State and Local Police to Enforce Federal Immigration Law

Description: This report discusses the authority of state and local law enforcement to assist in the enforcement of federal immigration law through the investigation and arrest of persons believed to have violated such laws. It describes current provisions in federal law that permit state and local police to enforce immigration law directly, analyzes major cases concerning the ability of states and localities to assist in immigration enforcement, and briefly examines opinions on the issue by the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) within the Department of Justice.
Date: September 17, 2010
Creator: Garcia, Michael John & Manuel, Kate M.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Environmental Laws: Summaries of Major Statutes Administered by the Environmental Protection Agency

Description: This report summarizes several federal statutes providing legal authority for the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) programs and activities. These include: the Clean Air Act (CAA), the Clean Water Act (CWA), the Ocean Dumping Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), the Solid Waste Disposal Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), the Pollution Prevention Act (PPA), the Emergency Planning Act, and the Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA).
Date: October 8, 2010
Creator: Bearden, David M.; Copeland, Claudia; Luther, Linda; McCarthy, James E.; Schierow, Linda-Jo & Tiemann, Mary
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Omnibus Appropriations Acts: Overview of Recent Practices

Description: 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.
Date: August 25, 2010
Creator: Tollestrup, Jessica
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Cuba: U.S. Restrictions on Travel and Remittances

Description: The first half of this report looks at the background of U.S. travel restrictions to Cuba over the last 40 years. The second half of this report looks at several initiatives from the 111th Congress that would ease U.S. travel restrictions to Cuba.
Date: January 25, 2010
Creator: Sullivan, Mark P.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Cuba: U.S. Restrictions on Travel and Remittances

Description: The first half of this report looks at the background of U.S. travel restrictions to Cuba over the last 40 years. The second half of this report looks at several initiatives from the 111th Congress that would ease U.S. travel restrictions to Cuba.
Date: April 16, 2010
Creator: Sullivan, Mark P.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Energy Tax Policy: Historical Perspectives on and Current Status of Energy Tax Expenditures

Description: This report examines how current revenue losses resulting from energy tax provisions compare to historical losses and provides a foundation for understanding how current energy tax policy evolved by providing a longitudinal perspective on energy tax policy and expenditures.
Date: May 7, 2010
Creator: Sherlock, Molly F.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Supreme Court Appointment Process: Roles of the President, Judiciary Committee, and Senate

Description: This report discusses the appointment of Supreme Court Justices, including the President's selection of a nominee and process to reach confirmation in the Senate. The appointment of a Supreme Court Justice is an event of major significance in American politics. Each appointment is of consequence because of the enormous judicial power the Supreme Court exercises as the highest appellate court in the federal judiciary. Appointments are usually infrequent, as a vacancy on the nine-member Court may occur only once or twice, or never at all, during a particular President's years in office. Under the Constitution, Justices on the Supreme Court receive lifetime appointments. Such job security in the government has been conferred solely on judges and, by constitutional design, helps insure the Court's independence from the President and Congress.
Date: September 3, 2010
Creator: Rutkus, Denis S.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP): Status and Issues

Description: The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-246, 2008 farm bill) created the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP). This report discusses the two main purposes of BCAP, which are (1) to support the establishment and production of eligible crops for conversion to bioenergy in selected areas, and (2) to assist agricultural and forest land owners and operators with collection, harvest, storage, and transportation of eligible material for use in a biomass conversion facility.
Date: August 13, 2010
Creator: Stubbs, Megan
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The "Volcker": Proposals to Limit "Speculative" Proprietary Trading by Banks

Description: This report briefly discusses the permissible proprietary trading activities of commercial banks and their subsidiaries under current law. It then analyzes the Volcker Rule proposals under the House- and Senate-passed financial reform bills and under the Conference Report, which would limit the ability of commercial banking institutions and their affiliated companies and subsidiaries to engage in trading unrelated to customer needs and investing in and sponsoring hedge funds or private equity funds.
Date: June 30, 2010
Creator: Carpenter, David H.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Iran Sanctions

Description: This report focuses on the United States' relationship with Iran and how the Obama Administration is handling prior administration's economic sanctions against Iran. The Obama Administration's policy approach toward Iran has contrasted with the Bush Administration's by attempting to couple the imposition of sanctions to an active and direct U.S. effort to negotiate with Iran on the nuclear issue. That approach was not initially altered because of the Iranian dispute over its June 12, 2009, elections. However, with subsequent negotiations yielding no firm Iranian agreement to compromise, since early 2010 the Administration has focused on achieving the imposition of additional U.N., U.S., and allied country sanctions whose cumulative effect would be to compel it to accept a nuclear bargain.
Date: August 3, 2010
Creator: Katzman, Kenneth
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department