Congressional Research Service Reports - 82 Matching Results

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Terrorism Information Sharing and the Nationwide Suspicious Activity Report Initiative: Background and Issues for Congress
This report describes the NSI, the rationale for the sharing of terrorism-related SARs, and how the NSI seeks to achieve this objective. It examines the privacy and civil liberties concerns raised by the initiative and identifies other oversight issues for Congress.
National Infrastructure Bank: Overview and Current Legislation
Several bills to establish a national infrastructure bank have been introduced in the 112th Congress. This report examines three such bills, the Building and Upgrading Infrastructure for Long-Term Development Act (S. 652), the American Infrastructure Investment Fund Act of 2011 (S. 936), and the National Infrastructure Development Bank Act of 2011 (H.R. 402).
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA): Policies, Programs, and Funding
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), an agency of the Department of Commerce, is the executive branch's principal advisory office on domestic and international telecommunications and information policies. Its mandate is to provide greater access for all Americans to telecommunications services, support U.S. attempts to open foreign markets, advise on international telecommunications negotiations, and fund research for new technologies and their applications. NTIA also manages the distribution of funds for several key grant programs.
Drug Offenses: Maximum Fines and Terms of Imprisonment for Violation of the Federal Controlled Substances Act and Related Laws
This is a chart of the maximum fines and terms of imprisonment that may be imposed as a consequence of conviction for violation of the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and other drug supply and drug demand related laws. It lists the penalties for: heroin, cocaine, crack, PCP, LSD, marihuana (marijuana), amphetamine, methamphetamine, listed (precursor) chemicals, paraphernalia, date rape drugs, rave drugs, designer drugs, ecstasy, drug kingpins, as well as the other substances including narcotics and opiates assigned to Schedule I, Schedule II, Schedule III, Schedule IV, and Schedule V of the Controlled Substances Act and the Controlled Substances Import and Export Act (Title II and Title III of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse and Control Act).
Numerical Limits on Employment-Based Immigration: Analysis of the Per-Country Ceilings
The report opens with brief explanations of the employment-based preference categories and the per-country ceilings governing annual admissions of LPRs. The focus is on the major employment-based preference categories. The report continues with a statistical analysis of the pending caseload of approved employment-based LPR petitions.
Governmental Tracking of Cell Phones and Vehicles: The Confluence of Privacy, Technology, and Law
This report will briefly survey Fourth Amendment law as it pertains to the government's tracking programs. It will then summarize federal electronic surveillance statutes and the case law surrounding cell phone location tracking. Next, the report will describe the GPS-vehicle tracking cases and review the pending Supreme Court GPS tracking case, United States v. Jones. Finally, the report will summarize the geolocation and electronic surveillance legislation introduced in the 112th Congress.
Congressional Lawmaking: A Perspective On Secrecy and Transparency
The objectives of this report are four-fold: first, to outline briefly the historical and inherent tension between secrecy and transparency in the congressional process; second, to review several common and recurring secrecy/transparency issues that emerged again with the 2011 formation of the Joint Select Deficit Reduction Committee; third, to identify various lawmaking stages typically imbued with closed door activities; and fourth, to close with several summary observations.
Qualifications for President and the "Natural Born" Citizenship Eligibility Requirement
This report discusses the history of the qualifications clause in the Federal Convention of 1787, the Common Law meaning of the term "Natural Born" citizen or subject, and common understanding in 18th Century of the term "Natural Born" citizen.
Solar Projects: DOE Section 1705 Loan Guarantees
This report discusses the solar energy initiative and the political implications. The objective of this report is to provide Congress with insight regarding solar projects supported by Department of Energy (DOE’s) loan guarantee program, the risk characteristics of these projects, and how other DOE loan guarantee projects are either similar to or different from the Solyndra solar manufacturing project.
Numerical Limits on Employment-Based Immigration: Analysis of the Per-Country Ceilings
The report opens with brief explanations of the employment-based preference categories and the per-country ceilings governing annual admissions of LPRs. The focus is on the major employment-based preference categories. The report continues with a statistical analysis of the pending caseload of approved employment-based LPR petitions.
Unauthorized Aliens Residing in the United States: Estimates Since 1986
This report discusses a rise in the unauthorized resident ("illegal") alien population from 1986 to 2010. It looks at reasons that illegal aliens stay resort to breaking the law and how illegal aliens affect the workforce in certain industries.
Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response: The SAFER Grant Program
The Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Act (the "SAFER Act") was enacted by the 108th Congress as part of the FY2004 National Defense Authorization Act. This report describes the SAFER Act in brief, discusses possible budgetary modifications to the SAFER Act that are being considered due to the recent economic downturn, and explores related issues for the 112th Congress as they consider reauthorization.
The Federal Communications Commission: Current Structure and Its Role in the Changing Telecommunications Landscape
The report discusses the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)-Related Congressional Actions in the 112th Congress. The policymakers, including some in Congress, have long called for varying degrees and types of reform to the FCC. Most proposals fall into two categories: (1) procedural changes made within the FCC or through congressional action that would affect the agency's operations or (2) substantive policy changes requiring congressional action that would affect how the agency regulates different services and industry sectors.
U.S.-Mexican Security Cooperation: The Mérida Initiative and Beyond
Increasing violence perpetrated by drug trafficking organizations and other criminal groups is threatening citizen security and governance in Mexico. Escalating violence has increased U.S. concerns about stability in Mexico, a key political and economic ally, and about the possibility of violence spilling over into the United States. In recent years, U.S.-Mexican security cooperation has increased significantly, largely as a result of the development and implementation of the Mérida Initiative, a counterdrug and anticrime assistance package for Mexico and Central America that was first proposed in October 2007. This report looks at the funding and Congressional oversight for this Initiative.
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.
State and Local Economic Sanctions: Constitutional Issues
This report considers the Constitutionality of states and localities enacting their own sanctions on foreign countries, particularly Iran and Sudan.
Nuclear Energy Cooperation with Foreign Countries: Issues for Congress
This report discusses broad themes related to U.S. nuclear cooperation with other countries.
Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response: The SAFER Grant Program
The Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Act (the "SAFER Act") was enacted by the 108th Congress as part of the FY2004 National Defense Authorization Act. This report describes the SAFER Act in brief, discusses possible budgetary modifications to the SAFER Act that are being considered due to the recent economic downturn, and explores related issues for the 112th Congress as they consider reauthorization.
Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS): Background and Funding
The Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program was created by Title I of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (P.L. 103-322). The mission of the COPS program is to advance community policing in all jurisdictions across the United States. Legislation introduced in the 111th Congress would reauthorize the COPS program through FY2014 and reestablish COPS as a multi-grant program. This report provides an overview and analysis of issues Congress might choose to consider when taking up legislation to reauthorize the COPS program.
Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response: The SAFER Grant Program
The Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Act (the "SAFER Act") was enacted by the 108th Congress as part of the FY2004 National Defense Authorization Act. This report describes the SAFER Act in brief, discusses possible budgetary modifications to the SAFER Act that are being considered due to the recent economic downturn, and explores related issues for the 112th Congress as they consider reauthorization.
National Flood Insurance Program: Background, Challenges, and Financial Status
This report provides an analysis of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and its financial status; summarizes the major challenges facing the program, including issues affecting its long-term financial solvency; presents some alternative approaches for managing and financing the flood losses; and describes pending legislation on this issue.
National Flood Insurance Program: Background, Challenges, and Financial Status
In 1968, Congress created the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to address the increasing costs of taxpayer-funded disaster relif for flood victims and the increasing amount of damage caused by floods. This report provides an analysis of the NFIP and its financial status; summarizes the major challenges facing the program, including issues affecting its long-term financial solvency; presents some alternative approaches for managing and financing the flood losses; and describes pending legislation on this issue.
Outer Continental Shelf Moratoria on Oil and Gas Development
Moratoria measures for the outer continental shelf (OCS) establish bans or restrictions on oil and gas exploration and development in federal ocean areas. With some exceptions for marine sanctuaries and monuments, no portion of the federal OCS has a permanent moratorium on oil and gas leasing and development. While some areas are under temporary development bans, such as suspensions or moratoria directed by either legislative or executive powers, most of the OCS is free of such restrictions and is considered permissible for offshore leasing activity.
Energy Projects on Federal Lands: Leasing and Authorization
The report first reviews the laws and regulations affecting leasing of federal lands for exploration and production of oil, natural gas, and coal, as well as the permits that lessees must obtain in order to explore for and produce these resources. The report also addresses existing laws and regulations that govern the use of federal lands for renewable energy projects, including geothermal, wind, and solar energy.
DNA Testing in Criminal Justice: Background, Current Law, Grants, and Issues
This report provides an overview of how DNA is used to investigate crimes and help protect the innocent. It also reviews current statutory law on collecting DNA samples, sharing DNA profiles generated from those samples, and providing access to post-conviction DNA testing. The report also includes a summary of grant programs authorized by Congress to assist state and local governments with reducing DNA backlogs, provide post-conviction DNA testing, and promote new technology in the field. It also reviews select issues Congress might consider should it legislate or conduct oversight in this area.
Energy Tax Policy: Historical Perspectives on and Current Status of Energy Tax Expenditures
This report presents Energy Tax Policy from 1916 to 1970, throughout the 1970s, in the 1980s, and in the 1990s. It also discusses the economic rationale for Intervention in energy markets, energy tax expenditures, and other energy tax provisions.
Offshore Oil and Gas Development: Legal Framework
The development of offshore oil, gas, and other mineral resources in the United States is impacted by a number of interrelated legal regimes, including international, federal, and state laws. International law provides a framework for establishing national ownership or control of offshore areas, and domestic federal law mirrors and supplements these standards. This report discusses these issues.
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization: An Overview of Legislative Action in the 112th Congress
This report looks at issues faced by the 112th Congress in regards to reauthorization of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) programs. The House has passed a bill which would authorize programs through FY2014, while the Senate's bill would only last until FY2011. The Senate's bill also proposes an increase in jet fuel tax for general aviation and a new jet fuel surcharge for fractionally owned air crafts. The report covers key issues that need to be addressed for reconciliation between the two bills.
Piracy off the Horn of Africa
This report discusses recent (2010) pirate attacks on vessels, including United States vessels, in the waters off the Horn of Africa. The Horn of Africa is sometimes called the Somali Peninsula and includes the nations of Eritrea, Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Somalia. This report explores reasons behind the increased number of pirate attacks in recent years, as well as what efforts are being taken to combat said attacks, including those by the 111th Congress and President Obama and his Administration.
The Technology Innovation Program
The Technology Innovation Program (TIP) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) was established in 2007 to replace the Advanced Technology Program (ATP). This effort is designed "to support, promote, and accelerate innovation in the United States through highrisk, high-reward research in areas of critical national need," according to the authorizing legislation. Grants are provided to small and medium-sized firms for individual projects or joint ventures with other research organizations.
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.
Federalism Issues in Surface Transportation Policy: Past and Present
This report provides an historical perspective on contemporary federalism issues in surface transportation policy that are likely to be addressed by Congress during the 112th Congress, including possible devolution of programmatic responsibility to states and proposals to change state maintenance-of-effort requirements and state cost matching requirements.
Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response: The SAFER Grant Program
The Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Act (the "SAFER Act") was enacted by the 108th Congress as part of the FY2004 National Defense Authorization Act. This report describes the SAFER Act in brief, discusses possible budgetary modifications to the SAFER Act that are being considered due to the recent economic downturn, and explores related issues for the 112th Congress as they consider reauthorization.
The Congressional Research Service and the American Legislative Process
The Legislative Reference Service, it was charged with responding to congressional requests for information. For more than 50 years, this department assisted Congress primarily by providing facts and publications and by transmitting research and analysis done largely by other government agencies, private organizations, and individual scholars. In 1970, Congress enacted a law transforming the Legislative Reference Service into the Congressional Research Service (CRS) and directing CRS to devote more of its efforts and increased resources to performing research and analysis that assists Congress in direct support of the legislative process.
Judicial Discipline Process: An Overview
The first part of this report covers the process for handling complaints against federal judges and judicial discipline, which was enacted on November 2, 2002 as the Judicial Improvements Act of 2002. The second part of this report covers two impeachments during the 111th Congress, those of Judge Samuel B. Kent and Judge G. Thomas Porteous Jr.
Tort Suits Against Federal Contractors: An Overview of the Legal Issues
This report provides an overview of key legal issues that have been raised to date in recent tort suits against government contractors. Most of these issues pertain to jurisdiction, or the court’s power over the parties or subject matter of the case. A number of cases are pending that could affect courts’ treatment of the issues discussed here.
Federal Agency Actions Following the Supreme Court’s Climate Change Decision: A Chronology
This report presents a chronology of major federal agency actions related to environmental concerns following the decision of Massachusetts v. EPA; it particularly looks at actions of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In Massachusetts v. EPA, the Supreme Court held that greenhouse gases (GHGs), widely viewed as contributing to climate change, constitute “air pollutants” as that phrase is used in the Clean Air Act (CAA).
The National Directory of New Hires
This report details the National Directory of New Hires - including its background, how data is managed in the directory, and concerns regarding the directory.
Military Justice: Courts-Martial, An Overview
This report gives a detailed overview of the military court-martial system, including a discussion of the three types of court-martials: summary, special, and general. It includes a chart showing procedural safeguards in federal and military courts.
Protecting Classified Information and the Rights of Criminal Defendants: The Classified Information Procedures Act
This report gives an overview of the Classified Information Procedures Act, enacted by the 96th Congress, which provides uniform procedures for prosecutions involving classified information. It provides a background of the act and discusses its various sections.
The Exon-Florio National Security Test for Foreign Investment
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.
Supreme Court Appellate Jurisdiction Over Military Court Cases
This report discusses events in which the U.S. Supreme Court would have jurisdiction over military court cases.
Outer Continental Shelf Moratoria on Oil and Gas Development
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.
The Technology Innovation Program
This report discusses the elimination of the Technology Innovation Program (TIP) - specifically a renewal of the debate over the role of the federal government in promoting commercial technology development. TIP was established in 2007 at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to replace the Advanced Technology Program (ATP). This effort was designed "to support, promote, and accelerate innovation in the United States through high-risk, high-reward research in areas of critical national need," according to the authorizing legislation.
Funeral Protests: Selected Federal Laws and Constitutional Issues
This report discusses the Supreme Court's decision in Snyder vs. Phelps, which deals with the question of Westboro Baptist Church's tort liability, a church that has protested military funerals for a number of years. It analyzes the constitutional issues facing federal laws that create funeral protest buffer zones and examines legislative options for amending the federal laws restricting funeral protests, including H.R. 961.
Unauthorized Alien Students: Issues and “DREAM Act” Legislation
This report discusses the "DREAM Act", a measure to enable certain unauthorized alien students to legalize their status, as well as related issues.
Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies: FY2011 Appropriations
This report provides an overview of actions taken by Congress to provide FY2011 appropriations for Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS). It also provides an overview of FY2010 appropriations for agencies and bureaus funded under the CJS bill.
EPA Regulations: Too Much, Too Little, or On Track?
This report provides background information on recent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rulemaking to help address dissenting concerns from critics and the EPA. It examines 43 major or controversial regulatory actions taken by or under development at EPA since January 2009. The report also discusses factors that affect the timeframe in which regulations take effect.
Overview of Immigration Issues in the 112th Congress
This report synthesizes immigration issues as a multi-tiered debate. It breaks down the U.S. immigration law and policy into key elements: border control and visa security; legal immigration; documentation and verification; interior immigration enforcement; integration, status, and benefits; and refugees and other humanitarian populations. This report also delineates the debate in the 112th Congress for a range of issues, including border security, criminal aliens, and worksite enforcement.
The Origination Clause of the U.S. Constitution: Interpretation and Enforcement
Article I, Section 7, clause 1 of the U.S. Constitution is known as the Origination Clause because it provides that "All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives." The meaning and application of this clause has evolved through practice and precedent since the Constitution was drafted. The Constitution does not provide specific guidelines as to what constitutes a "bill for raising revenue." This report analyzes congressional and court precedents regarding that constitutes such a bill. Second, this report describes the various ways in which the Origination Clause has been enforced. Finally, this report looks at the application of the Origination Clause to other types of legislation.