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China-India Border Tensions at Doka-La
This report discusses border disputes between China and India in the Himalayas and the recent dispute at Doka La over China extending a road into disputed territory between Bhutan and China.
Puerto Rico and Electric Power Restoration from Hurricane Maria
This report discusses the mass power outage in Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria and challenges and efforts to get repair work under way. As of October 3, 2017 only 5.4 % of customers had their power back from the storm which it on September 20, 2017.
Broadband Loan and Grant Programs in the USDA's Rural Utilities Service
This report discusses the broadband loan and grant program for rural areas administered through the USDA, its past authorizations, and upcoming legislation related to it as a part of the Farm Bill.
Arms Sales in the Middle East: Trends and Analytical Perspectives for U.S. Policy
This report analyzes state-to-state arms sales in the Middle East with a particular focus on U.S. transfers, as authorized and reviewed by Congress. The information in this report, including sales data, is drawn from a number of official and unofficial open sources. The report focuses on recent arms sales, primarily from the United States, to seven Middle Eastern states: Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Iraq, Turkey, and Qatar. It concludes by considering a number of arms sales-related issues of congressional interest and options available to Members of Congress to influence or control aspects of arms sales, including those related to oversight, reporting requirements, checks on executive action, and conditions on transfers or funding.
Regulatory Exclusivity Reform in the 115th Congress
This report introduces the various regulatory exclusivities that protect certain medicines from marketplace competition for a set period of time and then describes pertinent legislation in the 115th Congress addressing them.
State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs: Fiscal Year 2017 Budget and Appropriations
This report provides an overview and highlights of the State Department Foreign Operations and Related Appropriations request with an account-by-account comparison of the FY2017 request to the House and Senate committee-passed bills and FY2016 estimates in Appendix A. Appendix B provides the International Affairs 150 function funding levels.
Gun Control: Federal Law and Legislative Action in the 114th Congress
This report provides background on the two major federal gun control statutory frameworks: the National Firearms Act of 1934 (NFA), as amended, and the Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA), as amended. It then provides analysis of the Senate amendments offered in the 114th Congress that would have addressed issues regarding expanding federal background check requirements to private non-licensed gun sellers in public places, allowing the Attorney General power to stop the sale of firearms or explosives to a person deemed "a dangerous terrorist", revising and codifying rules regarding people with mental health conditions acquiring firearms, and improving computer systems and the availability of information on persons not authorized to possess a firearm . It also tracks the status of gun control related appropriations for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Federal Bureau of Investigation National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) Section, National Criminal History Improvement Program (NCHIP), and NICS Amendments Record Improvement Program (NARIP).
NASA Appropriations and Authorizations: A Fact Sheet
This report provides data on past, current, and proposed NASA appropriations. No bills have yet been introduced in the 115th Congress proposing future-year authorizations of NASA appropriations. Table 1 shows appropriations for NASA from FY2012 through FY2017. The data for FY2012 through FY2016 include supplemental appropriations, rescissions, transfers, reprogramming, and, in the case of FY2013, sequestration, Table 2 shows enacted appropriations for FY2017, and Figure 1 shows NASA's total annual budget authority from the agency's establishment in FY1958 to FY2017, in both current dollars and inflation-adjusted FY2017 dollars.
Lobbying Registration and Disclosure: The Role of the Clerk of the House and the Secretary of the Senate
This report explains the role of the Clerk of the House of Representatives and the Secretary of the Senate in implementing lobbying registration and disclosure requirements and summarizes the guidance documents they have jointly issued.
U.S. Global Health Assistance: Fiscal Years 2002-Fiscal Year 2018
This report discusses U.S. support of global health initiatives and outlines the 2018 fiscal year budget request and various issues related to it such as budget cuts.
National Health Service Corps: Background, Funding, and Programs
This report discusses the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) a federal program which offers loan repayment and scholarships to physicians and other health professionals who agree to work at an approved clinic in a under-served area for at least two years. The report summarizes the National Health Service Corps's (NHSC) recruitment and retention programs, and the NHSC's funding trends from FY2010 through FY2017.
Navy Irregular Warfare and Counterterrorism Operations: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and potential issues for Congress on the Navy's irregular warfare (IW) and counterterrorism (CT) operations. The Navy's IW and CT activities pose a number of potential oversight issues for Congress, including how much emphasis to place on IW and CT activities in Navy budgets, particularly in a context of constraints on Navy budgets and Navy desires to devote resources to developing "high end" combat capabilities for countering improved conventional military capabilities of countries such as China and Russia.
Airline Passenger Denied Boarding: Rules and Regulations
This report discusses regulations regarding an airline's responsibilities when a passenger with a confirmed ticket is denied boarding on a flight due to lack of seats (known as overselling). The various updates to the original regulation from 1967 are discussed with the latest modifications occurring in 2015.
Reconsidering the Clean Power Plan
This report provides background on the Clean Power Plan (CPP) and its proposed repeal, describes the administrative steps that are required to repeal or amend a rule, and discusses how the CPP and its proposed repeal fit into the context of recent and projected power sector evolution.
Trespassing: The Leading Cause of Rail-Related Fatalities
This report discusses rail-related fatalities and the problem of trespassing by pedestrians on the railroad tracks which is the leading cause of fatalities in rail incidents. Statistics on fatalities, known causes of trespassing, and initiatives to reduce trespassing incidents such as Operation Lifesaver are discussed.
Senate Proceedings Establishing Majority Cloture for Supreme Court Nominations: In Brief
This report explains the actions taken on April 6, 2017, by which the Senate effectively extended to Supreme Court nominations its November 2013 reinterpretation of Rule XXII regarding how many Senators are needed to invoke cloture for nominations being debated by the Senate. It concludes with a list of related CRS products that provide more history and context regarding the method used to reinterpret the Senate Rule, the nominations process, and cloture and filibusters.
Ongoing Section 232 Steel and Aluminium Investigations
This report discuses two investigations by the Department of Commerce related to Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 which allows the President to impose tariffs or quotas on imported goods if it is in the interest of national security. These investigations are being conducted on the steel and aluminium industries to determine whether the President can and whether he should impose import restrictions. Mixed reactions to the investigations and proposals are also discussed.
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act: History, Impact, and Issues
This report examines debates over what constitutes an unfunded federal mandate and the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act's (UMRA) implementation. It focuses on UMRA's requirement that CBO issue written cost estimate statements for federal mandates in legislation, its procedures for raising points of order in the House and Senate concerning unfunded federal mandates in legislation, and its requirement that federal agencies prepare written cost estimate statements for federal mandates in rules. It also assesses UMRA's impact on federal mandates and arguments concerning UMRA's future, focusing on UMRA's definitions, exclusions, and exceptions that currently exempt many federal actions with potentially significant financial impacts on nonfederal entities. An examination of the rise of unfunded federal mandates as a national issue and a summary of UMRA's legislative history are provided in Appendix A. Citations to UMRA points of order raised in the House and Senate are provided in Appendix B.
Presidential Appointee Positions Requiring Senate Confirmation and Committees Handling Nominations
This report identifies, by Senate committee, presidentially appointed positions requiring Senate confirmation as of June 30, 2016. For each committee list, positions are categorized as full- or part-time and then grouped by department or agency. Where nominations have been referred to more than one committee, they are noted under each of the committees to which the nominations were referred. The lists also include the lengths of fixed terms, where applicable.
Provisions of Obamacare Repeal Reconciliation Act of 2017 (ORRA)
This report provides summaries of each provision of the Obamacare Repeal Reconciliation Act of 2017 (ORRA).
Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) Fiscal Year 2018 Appropriations: Overview
This report outlines the Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) appropriations bill for the 2018 fiscal year. This bill includes funding for the Department of the Treasury (Title I), the Executive Office of the President (EOP; Title II), the judiciary (Title III), the District of Columbia (Title IV), and more than two dozen independent agencies (Title V). The bill typically funds mandatory retirement accounts in Title VI, which also contains additional general provisions applying to the funding provided agencies through the FSGG bill. Title VII contains general provisions applying government-wide. The FSGG bills have often also contained provisions relating to U.S. policy toward Cuba
Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response: The SAFER Grant Program
This report discusses federal grants to fire departments and firefighters under the SAFER Act and its reauthorizations and considerations for authorizing the program again in fiscal year 2018 and beyond.
Congressional News Media and the House and Senate Press Galleries
This report provides information about the rules and authorities that affect media coverage of Congress, current practices among the press galleries, and selected data on gallery membership since the 94th Congress. It also provides a brief discussion of considerations that commonly underlie the galleries' practices or may affect gallery operations and congressional media rules.
National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC)
This report provides a brief description of the establishment, purposes, and organization of the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC).
Direct Overt U.S. Aid Appropriations for and Military Reimbursements to Pakistan, FY2002-FY2018
Table of data outlining direct overt U.S. aid appropriations and military reimbursements to Pakistan including number for fiscal years 2002-2011 (combined), fiscal years 2012-2016 (individually) and estimates for 2017 and 2018.
Taylor Force Act: Palestinian Terrorism-Related Payments and U.S. Aid
This report discusses the proposed Taylor Force Act in Congress which relates to the amount of foreign aid sent to the Palestinian Authority and reductions and further requirements being implemented due to Palestinian payments to families of those killed in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict whether as combatants or civilians and Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons that have been convicted of terrorism related offenses.
Methane and Other Air Pollution Issues in Natural Gas Systems
This report provides information on the natural gas industry and the types and sources of air pollutants in the sector. It examines the role of the federal government in regulating these emissions, including the provisions in the Clean Air Act and other statutes, and EPA's and other agencies' regulatory activities. It concludes with a brief discussion of a number of issues under debate, including: defining the roles of industry and local, state, and federal governments; establishing comprehensive emissions data; determining the proper control of pollutants and sources; understanding the human health and environmental impacts of emissions; and estimating the costs of pollution abatement. Recent action by President Trump and the courts regarding EPA and BLM air pollution rules are also discussed.
Supreme Court October Term 2017: A Preview of Select Cases
This report highlights four of the notable cases of the new term that could impact the work of Congress: (1) Carpenter v. United States, which examines the limits the Fourth Amendment imposes on the warrantless collection of the historical cell phone location records of a criminal suspect; (2) Christie v. National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), a case exploring whether Congress, by prohibiting a state from partially repealing a state law, impermissibly commandeers the powers of the state; (3) Gill v. Whitford, which considers when a state's redistricting plan amounts to impermissible partisan gerrymandering; and (4) Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, which asks whether a baker has a First Amendment right to decline to make cakes for same-sex weddings. Each case is addressed in a separate section that provides background information on the case; summarizes the arguments that were or are likely to be presented to the Court in each case; and examines the implications that the Court's ruling could have for Congress, including broader ramifications for the jurisprudence in a given area of law.
The Budget Control Act and the Defense Budget: Frequently Asked Questions
This report addresses several frequently asked questions related to the Budget Control Act (BCA) and the defense budget. The BCA limits discretionary spending on defense through the process of sequestration and was enacted in 2011. Recent proposals to remove the restrictions of the BCA on defense or raise the spending limits are also discussed.
Farm Safety-Net Payments Under the 2014 Farm Bill: Comparison by Program Crop
This report looks at available Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) and Federal Crop Insurance Act (FCIC) data for the major program crops and compares relative support using several different measures: absolute payments, payments per acre, payments as a share of the value of production, and payments as a share of the cost of production. In addition, price and income support levels are compared to market prices.
Libya: Transition and U.S. Policy
This report discusses Libya's political situation of local politicians and armed militias controlling power and attempts to establish a stable central government since the 2011 uprising that overthrew Muammar al Qadhafi. U.S. relations and economic and security assistance to efforts to form a representative central government in Libya and combat Islamic extremism are also discussed.
Patent Boxes: A Primer
This report looks at several aspects of patent boxes, including their general purpose. In addition, the report looks at the key considerations in designing a patent box, identifies the countries that currently have a patent box, describes the main elements of those boxes, and sheds light on the U.S. industries that would be likely to benefit the most from such a tax subsidy if the United States were to adopt one. The final two sections discuss what is known about the effectiveness of patent boxes and several other policy issues raised by patent boxes. The report is intended to complement a 2016 CRS report on the "expected effectiveness" of patent boxes.
The Individual Mandate for Health Insurance Coverage: In Brief
This report provides an overview of the individual mandate, its associated penalty, and the exemptions from the mandate. It discusses the ACA reporting requirements designed, in part, to assist individuals in providing evidence of having met the mandate. The report includes some national- and state-level data on the application of the mandate's penalty in tax year (TY) 2014 and TY2015.
Civilian Nuclear Waste Disposal
This report discusses disposal of nuclear waste, primarily highly radioactive spent fuel from nuclear power plants. Presidential and Congressional actions regarding nuclear waste disposal sites and the Yucca Mountain Project, other alternatives previously proposed by the Obama Administration, and temporary solutions are discussed.
"Smith v. Obama": A Servicemember's Legal Challenge to the Campaign Against the Islamic State
This report discuses the case of "Smith v. Obama" where a military officer sued President Obama for overstepping his bounds as President by waging war on the Islamic State without a Congressional declaration of war. The case was dismissed due to lack of jurisdiction by the court.
U.S. Periods of War and Dates of Recent Conflicts
This report lists the beginning and ending dates for "periods of war" found in Title 38 of the Code of Federal Regulations, dealing with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). It also lists and differentiates other beginning dates given in declarations of war, as well as termination of hostilities dates and armistice and ending dates given in proclamations, laws, or treaties. The dates for the recent conflict in Afghanistan and Iraq including the campaign against the Islamic State are included.
Small Business Administration Microloan Program
This report opens with a discussion of the rationale provided for having a Microloan program, describes the program's eligibility standards and operating requirements for lenders and borrowers, and examines the arguments presented by the program's critics and advocates. It then discusses P.L. 111-240, the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, which increased the Microloan program's loan limit for borrowers from $35,000 to $50,000, and the aggregate loan limit for intermediaries after their first year of participation in the program from $3.5 million to $5 million. It also discusses H.R. 2056, the Microloan Modernization Act of 2017, and S. 526, its companion bill in the Senate. The bill, as amended, was favorably reported by the House Committee on Small Business on July 12, 2017, and agreed to by the House on July 24, 2017, by voice vote.
Legislative Branch Appropriations: Frequently Asked Questions
This report responds to frequently asked questions about legislative branch appropriations. Frequently asked questions include the items that are funded within this bill; development, presentation, and consideration of the legislative branch budget requests; the legislative branch budget in historical perspective; and recent actions.
Electoral College Reform: Contemporary Issues for Congress
This report provides a brief introduction to the electoral college system, its original intent, pros and cons of the system, recent criticisms, and proposals to reform or end the electoral college.
Iran Sanctions
This report discusses U.S. sanctions against Iran and the 2016 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear agreement which led to the lifting of sanctions based on nuclear proliferation in Iran. The bulk of the report outlines the various sanctions against Iran and their current implementation status, international efforts to bring about compliance, and their effects. Recent discussions regarding President's Trump announcement that the U.S. was decertifying the nuclear agreement and the possibility of reinstating certain sanctions are also discussed.
Human Trafficking: New Global Estimates of Forced Labor and Modern Slavery
This report discusses a new report by the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the Walk Free Foundation that estimates that 40.3 million people worldwide were victims of modern slavery (including forced labor run by individuals and governments, forced marriages, and sex trafficking) which used a new methodology that combined multiple data sources and statistical probability calculations. A brief overview of the findings, past reports and variance between State Department Trafficking in Persons (TIP reports and other reports such as this one, and varying definitions of the terms modern slavery, human trafficking, and forced labor are discussed. Current bills to reauthorize the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) in Congress are also discussed.
Extension of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Block Grant in the Consolidated Appropriations Act: In Brief
This report discusses the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant which provides monthly assistance (welfare) to needy families with children and funding for family and youth poverty alleviation programs such as job training for parents, early childhood education for children, and child care subsidies. Different types of research funded through the appropriations for TANF are also discussed.
The Value of Energy Tax Incentives Across Energy Resources: Trends over Time
This report discusses energy tax incentives and historical trends regarding their value and the types of fuels they supported.
The National Park Service's Maintenance Backlog: Frequently Asked Questions
This report addresses frequently asked questions about NPS deferred maintenance also known as the maintenance backlog. The discussion is organized under the headings of general questions, funding-related questions, management-related questions, and questions on Congress's role in addressing the backlog.
Navy Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) Program: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and issues for Congress on the Aegis ballistic missile defense (BMD) program, which is carried out by the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and the Navy, and gives Navy Aegis cruisers and destroyers a capability for conducting BMD operations.
H.R. 79, Section 452 of H.R. 10, and Section 913 of H.R. 3280: Helping Angels Lead Our Startups
This report discusses policy issues related to the extension of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act of 2012 focused on corporate regulatory relief and recent legislation in Congress known as the Helping Angels Lead Our Startups Act.
Federal Lifeline Program: Frequently Asked Questions
This report answers frequently asked questions regarding the Federal Lifeline Program which was established in 1985 by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to assist qualifying low-income consumers in gaining access to and remaining on the telecommunications network. The program assists eligible individuals in paying the reoccurring monthly service charges associated with telecommunications usage. While initially designed to support traditional landline service, in 2005 the FCC expanded the program to cover either a landline or a wireless/mobile option. On March 31, 2016, the FCC adopted an Order (2016 Order or Order) to once again expand the program to make broadband an eligible service. The Lifeline program is available to eligible low-income consumers in every state, territory, commonwealth, and on tribal lands.
How to Develop and Write a Grant Proposal
This report is intended for Members and staff assisting grant seekers in districts and states and covers writing proposals for both government and private foundation grants. In preparation for writing a proposal, the report first discusses preliminary information gathering and preparation, developing ideas for the proposal, gathering community support, identifying funding resources, and seeking preliminary review of the proposal and support of relevant administrative officials. The second section of the report covers the actual writing of the proposal, from outlining of project goals, stating the purpose and objectives of the proposal, explaining the program methods to solve the stated problem, and how the results of the project will be evaluated, to long-term project planning, and, finally, developing the proposal budget. The last section of the report provides a listing of free grants-writing websites, including guidelines from the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance and the Foundation Center's "Proposal Writing Short Course."
Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies: Overview of Fiscal Year 2018 Appropriations
This report first presents a brief overview of the major agencies in the annual Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies appropriations bill. It then describes the appropriations requested by President Trump for FY2018. Next, it compares the President's request for FY2018 with appropriations enacted for FY2017. It then compares the amounts in H.R. 3354, as reported by the House Appropriations Committee, with FY2017 enacted appropriations and with FY2018 appropriations requested by the President.
The HUD Homeless Assistance Grants: Programs Authorized by the HEARTH Act
This report discusses the problem of homelessness and prevention programs funded by grants through the Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) HEARTH Act. It has multiple sections describing the implementation of the HEARTH Act provisions which are; changes to the definition of homelessness in the section "The Definition of Homelessness"; the way in which ESG operated prior to HEARTH Act implementation as well as the changes made beginning in FY2011 in the section "The Emergency Solutions Grants Program (ESG)"; components of the competitive Homeless Assistance Grants prior to enactment of the HEARTH Act, and how they have been absorbed in the CoC program in the section "Transition to the Continuum of Care Program"; how funds are distributed pursuant to the CoC program in the section "Distribution of Continuum of Care Program Funds"; and the housing and services that are authorized to be provided through the RHS program and how communities are to receive funds in the section "Rural Housing Stability Assistance Program."