Congressional Research Service Reports - Browse


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

Ocean Dumping Act: A Summary of the Law

Description: The Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act has two basic aims: to regulate intentional ocean disposal of materials, and to authorize related research. Permit and enforcement provisions of the law are often referred to as the Ocean Dumping Act. The basic provisions of the act have remained virtually unchanged since 1972, when it was enacted to establish a comprehensive waste management system to regulate disposal or dumping of all materials into marine waters that are within U.S. jurisdiction, although a number of new authorities have been added. This report presents a summary of the law.
Date: December 15, 2010
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Tax Credit Bonds: Overview and Analysis

Description: Almost all state and local governments sell bonds to finance public projects and certain qualified private activities. Most of the bonds issued are tax-exempt bonds because the interest payments are not included in the bondholder's (purchaser's) federal taxable income. In contrast, 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.
Date: July 29, 2010
Creator: Maguire, Steven
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Federal Civil and Criminal Penalties Possibly Applicable to Parties Responsible for the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill

Description: The Deepwater Horizon oil spill that began on April 20, 2010 lead Congress to give attention to the compensatory liability provisions of the Oil Pollution Act and, to a lesser extent, those of the Jones Act and the Death on the High Seas Act. However, federal laws possibly relevant to the oil spill also impose civil and criminal money penalties, which may reach dollar amounts in connection with the Gulf spill greater than those for compensatory liability. This report summarizes selected federal civil and criminal penalty provisions that may be found violated in connection with the Gulf spill and related worker fatalities.
Date: December 16, 2010
Creator: Meltz, Robert
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA): Liability of Responsible Parties

Description: The Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA) establishes a framework that addresses the liability of responsible parties in connection with the discharge of oil into the navigable waters of the United States, adjoining shorelines, or the exclusive economic zone. Among other provisions, OPA limits certain liabilities of a responsible party in connection with discharges of oil into such areas. This report addresses liability under OPA for removal costs and damages, and the basic procedure for recovering removal costs and damages from the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund in the event that the responsible party fails to settle such claims.
Date: June 2, 2010
Creator: Nichols, James E.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Nuclear, Biological, Chemical, and Missile Proliferation Sanctions: Selected Current Law

Description: This report offers a listing and brief description of legal provisions that require or authorize the imposition of some form of economic sanction against countries, companies, persons, or entities that violate U.S. nonproliferation norms. For each provision, information is included on what triggers the imposition of sanctions, their duration, what authority the President has to delay or abstain from imposing sanctions, and what authority the President has to waive the imposition of sanctions.
Date: November 30, 2010
Creator: Rennack, Dianne E.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Exon-Florio National Security Test for Foreign Investment

Description: This report covers the recent background of the Exon-Florio provision with special regards to issues faced in the 112th Congress. The Exon-Florio provision grants the President the authority to block proposed or pending foreign acquisitions of "persons engaged in interstate commerce in the United States" that threaten to impair the national security.
Date: July 19, 2010
Creator: Jackson, James K.
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: August 24, 2010
Creator: Elsea, Jennifer K.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Outer Continental Shelf Moratoria on Oil and Gas Development

Description: 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.
Date: June 15, 2010
Creator: Hagerty, Curry L.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Tax Havens: International Tax Avoidance and Evasion

Description: The first section of this report reviews what countries might be considered tax havens, including a discussion of the Organization for Economic Development and Cooperation (OECD) initiatives and lists. The next two sections discuss, in turn, the corporate profit-shifting mechanisms and evidence on the existence and magnitude of profit shifting activity. The following two sections provide the same analysis for individual tax evasion. The report concludes with overviews of alternative policy options and a summary of specific legislative proposals.
Date: June 4, 2010
Creator: Gravelle, Jane G.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department