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Cuba Sanctions: Legislative Restrictions Limiting the Normalization of Relations
This report provides background information on the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), and discusses U.S. trade negotiating objectives, procedures for congressional-executive notification and consultation, and expedited legislative procedures.
Party Leaders in the United States Congress, 1789-2017
This report briefly describes current responsibilities and selection mechanisms for 15 House and Senate party leadership posts and provides tables with historical data, including service dates, party affiliation, and other information for each.
Dakota Access Pipeline: Siting Controversy
This report discusses the Dakota Access Pipeline including background on the project and information about siting approval, as well as opposition and litigation against the pipeline.
Statutory Restrictions on the Position of Secretary of Defense: Issues for Congress
This report is designed to assist Congress as it considers how to proceed with the proposed nomination of General (Ret.) James Mattis to be Secretary of Defense. After exploring the history of the statutory restriction and its evolution over time, it touches upon some of the broader questions that have recently been raised in the public debate on whether, and how, this proposed nomination might impact civilian-military relations and the principle of civilian control of the military.
Revisiting U.S.-Mexico Sugar Agreements
This report discusses negotiations of the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) with the government of Mexico regarding consideration of changes to two sugar suspension agreements made in December 2014.
Dakota Access Pipeline: Siting Controversy
This report discusses the Dakota Access Pipeline including background on the project and information about siting approval, as well as opposition and litigation against the pipeline.
Stealing Trade Secrets and Economic Espionage: An Overview of the Economic Espionage Act
This report discusses the theft of trade secrets, which is considered a federal crime when the information relates to a product in interstate or foreign commerce. Offenders face lengthy prison terms as well as heavy fines, and they must pay restitution.
Qatar: Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy
This report provides a brief history of the state of Qatar, discussing its governance and human rights. The report also includes U.S. - Qatari defense and security cooperation and economic issues.
Privileged Business on the House Floor
This report discusses privileged business, which relates to the order or priority of business before the House and is defined in House rules and precedents as business that has precedence over the regular order of business.
The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS): In Brief
This report provides a basic description of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), which mandates that U.S. transportation fuel must contain a minimum volume of biofuel, and is a federal statutory requirement. The mandated minimum volume increases annually and can be met using both conventional biofuel (e.g., cornstarch ethanol) and advanced biofuels. This report also includes some of the widely-discussed issues.
Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA): Resources for Frequently Asked Questions
This report provides resources to answer frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the Patient Protect and Affordable Care Act (ACA; P.L. 111-148, as amended). It includes a list of contacts for specific questions on insurance coverage and for questions about HealthCare.gov and tax provisions as well as sources for congressional staff to contact federal agencies. It also contains a glossary and general information about public health programs and related topics.
Gun Control, Mental Incompetency, and Social Security Administration Final Rule
This report discusses the Congressional Review Act disapproval resolution (H.J.Res. 40) passed by the House of Representative to overturn a final rule promulgated by the Social Security Administration (SSA) regarding implementation of firearms restrictions for certain persons.
Next Steps for Auction of TV Broadcast Airwaves to Commercial Carriers
This report discusses the incentive auction process to license airwaves currently used for television broadcasting. The proceeds of the auction are expected to pay billions of dollars to broadcasters that relinquish their spectrum holdings and may alter the competitive environment for wireless broadband if new entrants acquire spectrum licenses in the auction.
Coalition Contributions to Countering the Islamic State
This report discusses the formation of the Islamic State. Some 60 nations and partner organizations agreed to participate, contributing either military forces or resources (or both) to the campaign. In Brussels in December 2014, these 60 partners agreed to organize themselves along five "lines of effort," with at least two countries in the lead for each.
International Trade and Finance: Overview and Issues for the 115th Congress
This report provides a brief overview of some of the trade and finance issues that may be of interest or continuing attention of the 115th Congress. During its 114th session, Congress faced numerous international trade and finance policy issues.
Cuba: U.S. Restrictions on Travel and Remittances
This report examines developments in U.S. policy restricting travel and remittances to Cuba, including significant changes that have occurred, current permissible travel and remittances, enforcement of the travel restrictions, and debate on lifting the travel restrictions.
Cabo Verde: Background and U.S. Relations
This report discusses Cabo Verde, a small island nation located off the west coast of Africa; its geographic location has made the country a transshipment point for Latin American cocaine bound for Europe and a key refueling stop-over for trans-Atlantic air traffic between Africa and the United States.
Department of Defense Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation (RDT&E): Appropriations Structure
This report discusses the Department of Defense's (DOD's) research, development, testing, and evaluation (RDT&E) in support of its mission requirements.
An Introduction to Judicial Review of Federal Agency Action
This report provides a broad overview of the issues that may be relevant to any number of present and future challenges to agency action in federal court.
The Committee Markup Process in the House of Representatives
This report focuses on the markup stage of the legislative process in committee. It discusses the selection of the text to be marked up, the procedures for proposing and debating amendments to that text, the voting and quorum procedures that govern markups, and the final stages of ordering the marked-up text reported to the House for its consideration.
Heroin Trafficking in the United States
This report provides an overview of heroin trafficking into and within the United States. It includes a discussion of links between the trafficking of heroin and the illicit movement of related substances such as controlled prescription drugs and synthetic drugs like fentanyl. The report also outlines existing U.S. efforts to combat heroin trafficking and possible congressional considerations going forward.
Five-Year Program for Federal Offshore Oil and Gas Leasing: Status and Issues in Brief
This report discusses the five year plan as amended under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) for proposed public oil and gas lease sales on the U.S. outer continental shelf (OCS).
The United States Withdraws from the TPP
This report discusses discusses the withdrawal of the United States as a signatory from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement as directed by President Trump.
Noncitizen Eligibility for Federal Public Assistance: Policy Overview
This report discusses the extent to which residents of the United States who are not U.S. citizens should be eligible for federally-funded public aid. This issue meets at the intersection of two major policy areas: immigration policy and welfare policy. This report deals with the four major federal means-tested benefit programs: the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps), the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant programs, and Medicaid.
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.
Iran: Politics, Gulf Security, and U.S. Policy
This report provides background on Iran's political history and examines the current political climate. The report also considers U.S. policy responses, specifically in regards to Iran's nuclear capabilities.
Army Corps Easement Process and Dakota Access Pipeline Easement Status
This report discusses the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), a 1,172-mile pipeline system to transport oil from North Dakota to Illinois.
Membership of the 114th Congress: A Profile
This report presents a profile of the membership of the 114th Congress (2015-2016). Statistical information is included on selected characteristics of Members, including data on party affiliation, average age, occupation, education, length of congressional service, religious affiliation, gender, ethnicity, foreign births, and military service.
Navy Force Structure and Shipbuilding Plans: Background and Issues for Congress
This report presents background information and issues for Congress concerning the Navy's ship force-structure goals and shipbuilding plans. The planned size of the Navy, the rate of Navy ship procurement, and the prospective affordability of the Navy's shipbuilding plans have been matters of concern for the congressional defense committees for the past several years.
Speakers of the House: Elections, 1913-2017
This report provides data on elections of the Speaker in each Congress since 1913, when the House first reached its present size of 435 Members. During that period (63rd through 115th Congresses), a Speaker was elected five times with the votes of less than a majority of the full membership.
Nuclear Cooperation with Other Countries: A Primer
This report discusses section 123 of the Atomic Energy Act (AEA), the specific requirements of which must be met in order for the United States to engage in civilian nuclear cooperation with other states. The AEA also provides for exemptions to these requirements, export control licensing procedures, and criteria for terminating cooperation.
Fidel Castro's Death: Implications for Cuba and U.S. Policy
This report discusses the death of Cuba's former long-time ruler Fidel Castro on November 25, 2016, and Castro's historical legacy.
Zika Poses New Challenges for Blood Centers
This report report examines recent steps being taken to prevent the spread of Zika virus (ZIKV) in the blood supply.
Police Shootings and Federal Support for Law Enforcement Safety
This report discusses federal support for law enforcement safety in light of the recent shooting deaths of police officers in Dallas, Texas, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations In Brief
This report provides information and analysis on key issues related to Turkish foreign and domestic policy issues, particularly regarding the aftermath of the failed July 15-16, 2016 coup attempt.
European Security and Islamist Terrorism
This report briefly discusses the current security climate in Europe, as well as policy considerations for the U.S. Over the last two years, European governments and the European Union (EU) have grown increasingly alarmed by the rise of the Islamic State terrorist organization, its ability to attract European citizens to join the fighting in the Syria-Iraq region, and its use of violent extremist propaganda to inspire others.
The 2016 Olympic Games: Health, Security, Environmental, and Doping Issues
This report discusses a variety of issues might pose risks to the health, safety, and general well-being of athletes and their families, team personnel, and spectators participating in or attending the 2016 Olympic Games. Chief among these are the Zika virus, public safety threats, security concerns, and environmental conditions. The report also discusses the possible implications of hosting the Olympics for Brazil and the issue of doping.
The Federal Circuit Rules on Trademarks Considered Offensive: May Affect Redskins Trademark Dispute
This legal sidebar examines cases involving the revocation of the Washington Redskins' federally-registered trademarks (Pro-Football, Inc. v. Blackhorse) and the refusal to grant registration for a rock band's name (In re Tam). These cases raise questions about the constitutionality of Section 2(a) of the Trademark Act of 1946 (conventionally known as the Lanham Act), which denies trademark registration to certain offensive content.
Department of Homeland Security Preparedness Grants: A Summary and Issues
This report a brief summary of the development of the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS's) role in providing homeland security assistance, a summary of the current homeland security programs managed by DHS, and a discussion of the following policy questions: (1) the purpose and number of programs; (2) the use of homeland security assistance program funding; and (3) the funding amounts for the programs.
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.
Human-Induced Earthquakes from Deep-Well Injection: A Brief Overview
This report reviews the current scientific understanding of induced seismicity, primarily in the context of Class II oil and gas wastewater disposal wells. The report also outlines the regulatory framework for these injection wells, and identifies several federal and state initiatives responding to recent events of induced seismicity associated with Class II disposal.
The European Union's Small Business Act: A Different Approach
This report provides information and analysis useful to Congress as it crafts small business policy for the United States. The Small Business Act for Europe (2008) is not an act, per se, as understood in the United States.
How Big Should the Army Be? Considerations for Congress
This report provides an overview of active duty Army personnel strength changes in recent years, outlines the different end strength authorizations in the House and Senate versions of the FY2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), highlights the perspectives which have contributed to these diverging approaches in the respective NDAAs, and outlines some factors which Congress may consider as it determines the appropriate size for the Army.
The Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA; H.R. 5278, S. 2328)
The report presents a brief description of Puerto Rico, its relationship with the federal government, and its fiscal challenges. The body of the report provides a section-by-section description of H.R. 5278, including a short overview of the bill, along with a comparison with previous legislation involving control boards.
Russian Compliance with the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty: Background and Issues for Congress
This report describes the current status of the INF Treaty and highlights issues that Congress may address as the United States pursues its compliance concerns with Russia. It includes a historical overview and summary of the provisions of the INF Treaty and Russia's concerns with U.S. compliance with the treaty and concludes with a discussion of options that the United States might pursue to address its concerns with Russia's activities and options that it might pursue if Russia deploys new INF-range missiles.
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 (Appendix A), bills receiving some action in 2015 (Appendix B), bills seeing action in 2016 (Appendix C), and additional bills and resolution this Congress (Appendix D).
Orlando Shooting Revives Debate over Restricting Blood Donations by Gay Men
This report discusses new FDA guidance regarding blood donations from sexually-active gay men. Since the 1980s, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recommended that men who have sex with men (MSM) be indefinitely deferred (i.e., permanently banned) from donating blood. This action was taken to help control the spread of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) through the blood supply.
Poverty in the United States in 2015: In Brief
This report presents information on poverty for demographic groups (by family structure, age, race and Hispanic origin, and work status) and for states. In this report, the numbers and percentages of those in poverty are based on the Census Bureau's estimates
Department of Veterans Affairs FY2017 Appropriations
This report provides and overview of department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and range of benefits and services to veterans. The report discusses VA budget and the President's budget request for FY2017 and congressional action
Ex-Im Bank: No Quorum, No Problem?
This report discusses the operation on a limited basis of the Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im Bank) despite a renewal of its general statutory charter through FY2019 (P.L. 114-94,