Congressional Research Service Reports - Browse

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Evolution of the Meaning of "Waters of the United States" in the Clean Water Act
This report outlines how the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 (BCTPAA) regulates the eligibility of covered trade agreements for expedited consideration, describes the operation of the statutory expedited procedures for considering implementing bills, and discusses how Congress may use the procedural mechanisms established by the act, as well as other pertinent rules of each chamber, to retain a substantial measure of control over legislation to implement covered trade agreements.
Energy Policy: 114th Congress Issues
This report begins by providing background on the economic rationale for energy market interventions; it highlights various market failures production and consumption of energy, and discusses possible interventions. The report concludes with an analysis of the current status of energy tax policy.
A New Aid Package for Israel
This report discusses potential legislation that could impact the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on U.S. assistance to Israel as the countries continue to negotiate terms for the period FY2019-FY2028.
Acquisition Reform in the House and Senate Versions of the FY2017 National Defense Authorization Act
This report focuses on the sections of the House and Senate versions of the Fiscal Year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 4909 and S. 2943, respectively) that appear closely linked to the respective armed services committees' stated efforts to reform the acquisition system. For purposes of this analysis, CRS selected 31 sections of the House bill and 67 sections of the Senate bill.
Military Retirement: Background and Recent Developments
This report discusses the military retirement system. The system currently includes monthly compensation for qualified active and reserve retirees, disability benefits for those deemed medically unfit to serve, and a survivor annuity program for the eligible survivors of deceased retirees.
2016 Rio Games: Anti-Doping Testing
This report discusses the the anti-doping testing program during the 2016 Summer Olympics. Responsibility for the rests with the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The testing period began July 24, 2016, when the Olympic village opened, and continues through August 21, 2016, the date of the closing ceremony.
Sea-Level Rise and U.S. Coasts: Science and Policy Considerations
This report provides information for policymakers that are interested in sea-level rise because of the risk to coastal populations and infrastructure and the consequences for coastal species and ecosystems.
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act: History, Impact, and Issues
This report examines debates over what constitutes an unfunded federal mandate and the Unfunded Mandate Reform Act's (UMRA's) implementation. It also discusses particular mandates and procedures associated with UMRA, and 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.
Immigration Legislation and Issues in the 114th Congress
This report discusses border security, interior enforcement, visa security, asylum, and other immigration-related issues that have received legislative action or are of significant congressional interest in the 114th Congress.
Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV): Background and Issues for Congress
This report discusses the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV), which is an Army-led, multi-service initiative to develop a family of light tactical vehicles as a successor to the High Mobility, Multi-Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWVs). It includes background information; a description of the JLTV program, program history, and program activities; information about the JLTV contract, Lockheed Martin's protest to the program, budgetary issues, and potential issues for Congress.
Clean Power Plan: Legal Background and Pending Litigation in West Virginia v. EPA
This report provides legal background on the Clean Power Plan rule (CPP or Rule) to regulate emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs), its Clean Air Act (CAA) framework under Section 111, and climate-related lawsuits that have preceded the present litigation over the CPP. It then gives an overview of the participants in the current litigation, including two groups of Members of Congress, who have offered briefs in support of the petitioners and the respondents, respectively.
Federal Advisory Committees: An Introduction and Overview
This report offers a history of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), examines its current requirements, and provides data on federal advisory committees' operations and costs.
The Terrorist Screening Database and Preventing Terrorist Travel
This report briefly discusses how the U.S. government fashions and uses the Terrorist Screening Database (TSDB). It also discusses how the federal government engages in two travel-related screening processes--visa screening and air passenger screening. Both processes involve subsets of the Terrorist Screening Database.
Cuba: Issues for the 114th Congress
This report is divided into three major sections analyzing Cuba's political and economic environment, U.S. policy, and selected issues in U.S.-Cuban relations. Legislative initiatives in the 114th Congress are noted throughout the report, and four appendixes provide a listing of enacted measures, bills receiving some action in 2015, bills seeing action in 2016, and additional bills and resolution this Congress.
The Army's Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV): Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information on the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV), which is the Army's proposed replacement to the Vietnam-era M-113 personnel carriers.
How a National Infrastructure Bank Might Work
This report discusses the national infrastructure and ways to provide low-cost, long-term loans for the propose of increasing federal infrastructure investment.
How Much Slack Remains in the Labor Market?
The amount of "slack" in the labor market--jobless or underemployed workers--has consequences for the appropriate stance of monetary policy, the future path of the budget deficit, and counter-cyclical spending on programs such as unemployment insurance. This report briefly examines this concept in the context of the current economy.
Prospects in Colombia: Cease-Fire, Peace Accord Vote, and Potential Disrupters
This report discusses the political situation in Colombia after a peace accord negotiated over four years between the government of President Juan Manuel Santos and the country's largest insurgent group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
Treasury's Recent Report on Foreign Exchange Rate Policies
This report responds to the new reporting requirements on exchange rates mandated in the Trade Facilitation and Enforcement Act of 2015 (P.L. 114-125), passed by Congress and signed by the President in February 2016.
Security Cooperation: Comparison of Proposed Provisions for the FY2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)
This report discusses the FY2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that could significantly alter the way in which the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) engages and partners with foreign security forces.
The Social Security Retirement Age
This report discusses the two important ages that may affect a worker's plans to claim Social Security retired-worker benefits. Workers may claim full Social Security benefits at the full retirement age (FRA), which is rising gradually to age 67 for workers who were born in 1960 or later. Retired workers may claim benefits as early as age 62, which is known as the early eligibility age (EEA). Social Security benefits are reduced, however, for every month that retired worker benefits are claimed before the FRA.
State Challenges to Federal Enforcement of Immigration Law: From the Mid-1990s to the Present
This report provides an overview of challenges by states to federal officials' alleged failure to enforce provisions of immigration law. It begins by discussing (1) the lawsuits filed by six states in the mid-1990s; (2) Arizona's counterclaims to the federal government's suit to enjoin enforcement of S.B. 1070; and (3) Mississippi's challenge to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative. It then describes the challenge brought by over 25 states or state officials in December 2014 to the Obama Administration's proposal to expand DACA and create a similar program for unauthorized aliens whose children are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent resident aliens (LPRs) (commonly known as DAPA).
Brazil in Crisis
This report briefly examines the political situation and discusses public opinion regarding the Rousseff Administration.
Iran's Foreign and Defense Policies
This report discusses Iran's national security policy. Some experts forecast that Iran's foreign and defense policies might shift after international sanctions were eased in January 2016 in accordance with the July 2015 multilateral nuclear agreement with Iran (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, JCPOA).
Contingent Election of the President and Vice President by Congress: Perspectives and Contemporary Analysis
This report provides an examination of constitutional requirements and historical precedents associated with contingent elections. It also identifies and evaluates contemporary issues that might emerge in the modern context.
Congress's Early Organization Meetings
This report discusses Congress's early organization meetings. The purposes of these meetings are both educational and organizational. Educational sessions range from legislative procedures and staff hiring to current issues.
Cuba: Issues for the 114th Congress
This report is divided into three major sections analyzing Cuba's political and economic environment, U.S. policy, and selected issues in U.S.-Cuban relations.
Digital Searches and Seizures: Overview of Proposed Amendments to Rule 41 of the Rules of Criminal Procedure
This report provides a brief overview of the proposed amendment to Rule 41, which would amend the federal search and seizure rules to permit the government to remotely access electronic devices although the location of the device may be unknown. First, the report provides a background on the origin of, and rationale underlying, the proposed amendment and a description of the rule as currently written. Second, it reviews the potential changes made by the proposed amendment and will survey various concerns commenters have raised with the proposal. Lastly, this report addresses efforts being made in Congress to alter, delay, or stop this rule change.
Medicare: Part B Premiums
This report provides an overview of Medicare Part B premiums, including information on Part B eligibility and enrollment, late-enrollment penalties, collection of premiums, determination of annual premium amounts, premiums for high-income enrollees, premium assistance for low-income enrollees, protections for Social Security recipients from rising Part B premiums, and historical Medicare Part B premium trends. This report also provides a summary of various premium-related issues that may be of interest to Congress.
Economic Development Administration: FY2016 Appropriations
This report discusses budget issues for the Economic Development Administration (EDA), which was created pursuant to the enactment of the Public Works and Economic Development Act of 1965, with the objective of fostering growth in economically distressed areas characterized by high levels of unemployment and low per-capita income levels.
Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) FY2017 Appropriations: Overview
This report discusses the Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) appropriations bill, which 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.
North American Leaders' Summit
This report discusses the 10th annual North American Leaders' Summit (NALS), in which Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hosted President Barack Obama and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
Corporate Inversions: Frequently Asked Legal Questions
This report answers frequently-asked legal questions about corporate inversions. It answers questions relating to the scope and operation of Section 7874, including how key statutory terms have been interpreted by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). It discusses important Department of Treasury regulations that were finalized in 2015 and 2016, and answers questions about the IRS's authority to issue these regulations. Other questions that are answered relate to legislation introduced in the 114th Congress, the interaction of Section 7874 with tax treaties, and the imposition of an excise tax on corporate insiders who benefit from an inversion.
The First Responder Network (FirstNet) and Next-Generation Communications for Public Safety: Issues for Congress
This report discusses the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet), which is a federal agency that includes private sector and other non-federal representation on its board of directors. FirstNet was created by Congress with provisions in Title VI (Spectrum Act) of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (P.L. 112-96) to ensure the deployment and operation of a nationwide, broadband network for public safety communications.
Presidential Transitions: Issues Involving Outgoing and Incoming Administrations
This report discusses issues surrounding the transition of Presidential power, including the variety of events, decisions, and activities contribute to it.
Human Trafficking and Forced Labor: Trends in Import Restrictions
This report discusses issues regarding a provision against forced labor in the Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1307), which prohibited from import into the United States "all goods, wares, articles, and merchandise mined, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part in any foreign country by convict labor or/and forced labor or/and indentured labor under penal sanctions" (Section 307 of the Act).
The First Day of a New Congress: A Guide to Proceedings on the House Floor
This report focuses on the floor activities of the House of Representatives during its first formal session in a new Congress, and serves as a guide for those participating in or watching these proceedings.
Comparing DHS Component Funding, FY2017: Fact Sheet
This report provides figures that show total net discretionary appropriations for Department of Homeland Security (DHS) broken down by component, and ordered from largest to smallest by FY2016 enacted funding level.
F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Program
This report discusses the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), also called the Lightning II, which is a strike fighter airplane being procured in different versions for the Air Force, Marine Corps, and Navy. The F-35 program is DOD's largest weapon procurement program in terms of total estimated acquisition cost.
What Does the Supreme Court's 4-4 Split in Texas Mean for Future Executive Action as to Immigration?
This legal sidebar discusses the Supreme Court's recent 4-4 split in Texas v. United States and how it might affect the Executive's ability to "go it alone" on immigration in the future. The nominee or presumptive nominee for President of both major political parties has expressed a willingness to take certain actions as to immigration on his or her own, without waiting for Congress to enact further legislation (although the specific actions they would take vary, depending upon their policies on immigration and other issues).
State Voter Identification Requirements: Analysis, Legal Issues, and Policy Considerations
This report provides an updated overview of state requirements for voters to present some form of ID before casting a ballot in a federal election. The report also discusses the origins of voter ID, relevant federal legislative action in the 114th Congress, and selected legal and policy issues related to state voter ID laws.
Social Security: Calculation and History of Taxing Benefits
This report discusses the calculations that go into taxing Social Security benefits, which prior to 1984 were exempt from taxation but have since been taxed at gradually increasing levels.
Pipeline Security: Domestic Threats
This report discusses recent acts of sabotage against U.S. oil pipelines by environmental activists have raised concern about the security of the nation's energy pipelines and the federal program to protect them.
Use of the Annual Appropriations Process to Block Implementation of the Affordable Care Act (FY2011-FY2017)
This report summarizes the ACA-related language added to annual appropriations legislation by congressional appropriators since the ACA was signed into law. The information is presented in Table 1. While a detailed examination of the ACA itself is beyond the scope of this report, a brief overview of the ACA's core provisions and its impact on federal spending is provided as context for the material in the table.
TPP: American Agriculture and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement
This report identifies four considerations about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement that are particularly relevant for U.S. food and agriculture. It includes a partial snapshot of some of the higher-profile improvements in market access for agricultural products in the agreement, a summary of selected provisions beyond market access that are of interest to food and agriculture, a brief overview of industry reactions to the agreement, and a review of what would need to occur for the agreement to enter into force for the United States.
Tolling U.S. Highways
This report provides a brief history of tolling on federal roads and relevant current law. It also discusses financial realities on toll roads and tolling policy issues.
U.S. International Food Aid Programs: Background and Issues
This report includes three principal sections: a description of U.S. international food aid programs under current law; a discussion of several important policy issues related to U.S. international food aid; and a description of Administration and congressional proposals intended to change the nature of U.S. food international aid.
U.S.-Mexico Economic Relations: Trends, Issues, and Implications
This report provides an overview of U.S.-Mexico trade and economic trends, the Mexican economy, the effects of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and major trade issues between the United States and Mexico.
Counting Regulations: An Overview of Rulemaking, Types of Federal Regulations, and Pages in the Federal Register
This report serves to inform the congressional debate over rulemaking by analyzing different ways to measure federal rulemaking activity. It provides data on and analysis of the total number of rules issued each year, as well as information on other types of rules, such as "major" rules, "significant" rules, and "economically significant" rules.
Post-Heller Second Amendment Jurisprudence
This report examines the scope of the Second Amendment, as interpreted by the federal circuit courts of appeals, after the watershed Supreme Court decisions in District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. City of Chicago.