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Defense Primer: Department of the Navy
This report provides basic information on the Department of the Navy, which includes both the Navy and the Marine Corps. It also describes the Coast Guard's relationship to the Department.
Defense Primer: Geography, Strategy, and U.S. Force Design
This report describes how world geography influences U.S. military strategy. Of particular importance to U.S. policymakers is preventing the emergence of a regional hegemony in one part of Eurasia.
Defense Primer: Naval Forces
This report provides an overview of the United States Naval Forces, which includes the Navy and Marine Corps.
House Committee Funding: Description of Process and Analysis of Disbursements
This report discusses the funding process for House committees. It is organized in three sections: [1] an overview of the committee funding process in the House and analyzes funding levels since 1996; [2] a review of House floor and committee action on committee funding in the 115th Congress, and [3] a summary of the rules and regulations that structure the use of committee funds, with analysis of actual committee funding spending patterns during six previous years.
House Committee Party Ratios: 98th-115th Congresses
This report documents, in tabular form, House committee party ratios for 18 Congresses -- covering the period from the 98th Congress (1983-1985) through February 2017, the first part of the 115th Congress (2017-2019).
Iran: Efforts to Preserve Economic Benefits of the Nuclear Deal
This report discusses efforts by the non-U.S. parties to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)--the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia, China, the European Union (EU), and Iran--to preserve the accord after the United States announced they would cease implementation.
Military Medical Care: Frequently Asked Questions
This report answers selected frequently-asked questions about military health care, including: 1) How is the Military Health System structured?, 2) What is TRICARE?, 3) What are the different TRICARE plans and who is eligible?, 4) What are the costs of military health care to beneficiaries?, 5) What is the relationship of TRICARE to Medicare?, 6) How does the Affordable Care Act affect TRICARE?, 7) When can beneficiaries change their TRICARE plan?, and 8) What is the Medicare Eligible Retiree Health Care fund, which funds TRICARE for Life?
Senate Committee Party Ratios: 98th-115th Congresses
This report provides, in tabular form, Senate committee party ratios for 18 Congresses, covering the period of the 98th Congress (1983-1985) through April 2017, the first part of the 115th Congress (2017-2019).
Abortion, Justice Kennedy, and Judge Kavanaugh
This report addresses the questions that have arisen about the future of the Supreme Court's abortion jurisprudence, after the recent retirement of Justice Kennedy, the last remaining justice from the Casey plurality. The report first reviews the undue burden standard set from the Casey decision and discusses Justice Kennedy's views on the standard in the case law that has developed since Casey. Then, in light of President Trump's July 9, 2018 nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to replace Justice Kennedy, it examines Judge Kavanaugh's only substantive abortion opinion: a dissent in the 2017 case from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (D.C. Circuit), Garza v. Hargan. Finally, as lower courts continue to apply the undue burden standard to new abortion regulations, the report concludes by noting some of the abortion cases that the Supreme Court could possibly review in the near future.
Oops: When Does a Plain Error in Calculating a Defendant's Sentencing Guidelines Range Warrant Resentencing?
This report discusses the Supreme Court opinion that an appellate court should exercise its discretion to correct an unpreserved error "if the error seriously affects the fairness, integrity or public reputation of judicial proceedings."
Overview of U.S.-South Korea Agricultural Trade
This report provides an overview of U.S.-South Korea agricultural trade, including details of key agricultural products and issues affecting U.S. exports.
Capital Markets, Securities Offerings, and Related Policy Issues
This report analyzes legislative proposals that would generally affect the terms and amounts of capital provided to companies by investors. It analyzes a number of current legislative proposals and agency actions to expand both public and private securities offerings through amendments to program design, investor access, and disclosure requirements, among other provisions.
Department of State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs: FY2019 Budget and Appropriations
This report outlines the 2019 fiscal year budget request for the U.S. State Department, foreign operations, and related programs such as foreign aid. It discusses information about funding levels requested, major projects for the year, and Congressional actions.
UPDATE: Termination of Temporary Protected Status for Sudan, Nicaragua, Haiti, and El Salvador: Key Takeaways and Analysis
This report is an update to a February 2, 2018 report discussing Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designations and answering questions regarding the recent termination of TPS for El Salvador, Nicaragua, Haiti, and Sudan. The update discusses the termination of TPS for Nepal and Honduras.
Arms Control and Nonproliferation: A Catalog of Treaties and Agreements
This report provides an overview of many of the key arms control and nonproliferation agreements and endeavors of the past 40 years, divided into three sections. The first describes arms control efforts between the United States and the states of the former Soviet Union. The second section describes multilateral nuclear nonproliferation efforts. The final section reviews treaties and agreements that address chemical, biological, and conventional weapons.
Broadband Loan and Grant Programs in the USDA's Rural Utilities Service
This report discusses the U.S. Department of Agruculture's (USDA) broadband loan and grant program in rural utilities areas.
Does Executive Privilege Apply to the Communications of a President-elect?
This report discusses the concept of executive privilege and whether the communications of a president-elect are protected by executive privilege.
Election in Italy
This report discusses the results of the Italian Parliamentary election on March 4, 2018 which ended with no party gaining a majority making a coalition necessary. Populist parties gained a significant number of seats and implications of their rise to power for Italy, the EU, NATO, and the U.S. are discussed.
Energy Tax Provisions That Expired in 2017 (Tax Extenders)
This report discusses energy tax provisions or "tax extenders" which expired at the end of 2017 and their economic impact.
Oman: Reform, Security, and U.S. Policy
This report discusses Oman's political and governmental structure, economy, foreign policy, and human rights concerns as well as U.S. security assistance and cooperation.
Supreme Court Interprets Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Protections: Implications for Securities Law and Beyond
This report discusses the Supreme Court decision in the case of "Digital Realty Trust Inc. v. Somers" which addressed when retaliation protections for whistle-blowers apply under the Dodd-Frank Act. The court ruled that the protections only apply if the whistle-blower reports securities violations to the SEC and not if they only report the violations internally.
The 10-20-30 Plan and Persistent Poverty Counties
This report discusses the 10-20-30 plan of reallocating funds in rural development programs toward counties with systemic poverty levels defined as 20% of the population being at or below poverty level for 30 years. This report explains why targeting funds to persistent poverty counties might be of interest, how "persistent poverty" is defined and measured, and how different interpretations of the definition and different data source selections could yield different lists of counties identified as persistently poor. This report does not compare the 10-20-30 plan's advantages and disadvantages against other policy options, nor does it examine the range of programs or policy goals for which the 1020-30 plan might be an appropriate policy tool.
Egypt: Background and U.S. Relations
This report provides an overview of the key issues for Congress related to Egypt and U.S. foreign aid to Egypt. Topics covered include the Egyptian government and economy, terrorist groups operating in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, human rights concerns, and relations with the U.S, including U.S. aid payments.
Federal Reserved Water Rights and Groundwater: Quantity, Quality, and Pore Space
This report discusses Native American tribes rights to groundwater on tribal land and the recent Supreme Court decision to not review the decision of the Ninth Circuit Court which upheld the groundwater rights of a California Tribe. The concepts of quantity, quality, and pore space as related to groundwater are also discussed.
Iran: Politics, Human Rights, and U.S. Policy
This report discusses Iran's political and governmental structure, human rights violations and concerns, and relations with the U.S.
Medicare Trigger
This report analyzes the financing of Medicare and its impact on the federal budget. It includes a discussion of the Medicare "trigger," which requires certain actions to be taken should general revenue funding be expected to exceed a certain proportion of total Medicare outlays within a certain number of years.
The Missing and Exploited Children's (MEC) Program: Background and Policies
This report discusses the Missing and Exploited Children Program's various parts such as the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, The Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, and the Amber Alert program along with their funding levels.
A Balanced Budget Constitutional Amendment: Background and Congressional Options
This report discuses the idea of requiring a balanced budget for the U.S. government and provides an overview of the issues and options that have been raised during prior consideration of proposals for a balanced budget constitutional amendment.
Congress Considers Reform to Queries of FISA Information as Reauthorization Deadline Approaches
This report is an update of an earlier report regarding Title VII of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and its expiration on January 19, 2018, along with proposed reforms to the FISA process.
HUD Fiscal Year 2018 Appropriations: In Brief
This report describes the Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD's) 2018 budget appropriations. The report tracks progress on FY2018 HUD appropriations and provides detailed account-level, and in some cases sub-account-level, funding information (Table 1) as well as a discussion of selected key issues.
Iran: Politics, Human Rights, and U.S. Policy
This report discusses Iran's political and governmental structure, major elections and political unrest (including the Dec. 2017-Jan 2018 protests), and human rights violations, as well as U.S. policy and relations with Iran.
Kosovo: Background and U.S. Relations
This report describes Kosovo's government and political structure, economy, and relations with the U.S., Serbia, and the European Union (EU).
Libya: Transition and U.S. Policy
This report discusses Libya's political and governmental structure, struggles to transition to a stable democratic government after Muammar al Qadhafi was overthrown in 2011, and U.S. policy and assistance in Libya.
Smart Toys and the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998
This report discusses "smart toys" for children that use the internet to interact with the user. It outlines various security concerns regarding the collection and use of information about children, and whether these toys are governed by the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998.
Sponsorship and Cosponsorship of House Bills
This report discusses the rules and procedures regarding a Congress member sponsoring or cosponsoring a bill in the House.
The U.S. Export Control System and the Export Control Reform Initiative
This report discusses the U.S. export control system and the initiative started by President Obama to study and make recommendations for reform of the export control system by streamlining processes and consolidating control of the program in one agency.
Vessel Incidental Discharge Legislation in the 115th Congress: Background and Issues
This report outlines regulations for vessels discharging ballast water into U.S waters, to prevent the spread of invasive species and pollution of bodies of water. It discusses various federal, state, and Coast Guard requirements along with exempted vessel types, and recent legislative action regarding the issue.
"Extraordinary Measures" and the Debt Limit
This report briefly examines the statutory debt limit and the use of extraordinary measures by the Treasury Department when Congress does not modify the debt limit by the deadline.
Jerusalem: U.S. Recognition as Israel's Capitol and Planned Embassy Move
This report discuses President's Trump's announcement recognizing Jerusalem as the capitol of Israel and stating that the U.S. embassy would be moved there from Tel Aviv "as soon as practicable". It includes an overview of policy questions and concerns, international reactions, and Congressional reactions.
Medicare Temporary Payment Adjustments for Ground Ambulance Scheduled to Expire
This report discusses the Medicare program which allows for adjustments in payment for ambulances due to the location of the service and level of service provided. A chart is provided showing the number of zip-codes in urban, rural, and super-rural areas for each state and territory.
Nonimmigrant (Temporary) Admissions to the United States: Policy and Trends
This report discusses U.S. non-immigrant visa types and statistics regarding travel by visa types and place of origin.
Researching Current Federal Legislation and Regulations: A Guide to Resources for Congressional Staff
This report is designed to introduce congressional staff to selected governmental and nongovernmental sources that are useful in tracking and obtaining information on federal legislation and regulations. It includes governmental sources, such as, the Government Publishing Office's Federal Digital System (FDsys), and U.S. Senate and House websites. Nongovernmental or commercial sources include resources such as HeinOnline and the Congressional Quarterly (CQ) websites. The report also highlights classes offered by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) and the Law Library of Congress.
Energy Tax Provisions in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Acts (H.R.1)
This report discusses energy-related tax provisions in the The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R.1). These changes are summarized in Table 1. H.R. 1 includes a broad restructuring of the federal income tax system. A full analysis of the consequences of this proposal for the energy sector, or various subsets of the energy sector, is beyond the scope of this insight.
Fiscal Year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act
This report discusses the FY2018 defense budget request and provides a summary of congressional action on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year (FY) 2018. The annual NDAA authorizes appropriations for the Department of Defense (DOD) and defense-related nuclear energy programs of the Department of Energy and typically includes provisions affecting DOD policies or organization. Unlike an appropriations bill, the NDAA does not provide budget authority for government activities.
Government Printing, Publications, and Digital Information Management: Issues and Challenges
This report examines three areas related to the production, distribution, retention, and management of government information in a primarily digital environment. These areas include the Joint Committee on Printing; the Federal Depository Library Program; and government information management in the future.
The Rohingya Crises in Bangladesh and Burma
This report discusses the Rohingya refugee crisis in Burma and Bangladesh and proposed legislation in Congress regarding restrictions on Burmese military officials, trade, and humanitarian assistance. A brief background on the Rohingya people group, repressive policies by the Burmese government, current conditions in Burma and Bangladesh, risks of radicalization, human rights violations, and attempts by the U.N. and others to resolve the conflict are included in the report.
Why is Violence Rebounding in Mexico?
This report discusses violence in Mexico fueled by organized crime cartels and the rising homicide rate which for 2017 based on preliminary reports will be above 18 per 100,000 persons. The rate in 2016 was 16.2 per 100,000. Various possible causes of the increase in violence discussed are the fragmentation of the Sinaloa Cartel, the increase in heroin trafficking and sales in the U.S., and the removal of major cartel bosses by the Mexican military leading to a power struggle in the organizations.
Congressional Primer on Responding to Major Disasters and Emergencies
This report provides information to aid policymakers as they navigate the many levels of responsibility, and numerous policy pressure points that occur after a disaster. It describes the laws and administrative policies governing the disaster response and recovery process. The report also reviews the legislative framework that exists for providing federal financial assistance following disasters, as well as the policies the executive branch employs to provide supplemental help to state, tribal, and local governments during time of disasters.
Congressional Primer on Responding to Major Disasters and Emergencies
This report provides information to aid policymakers as they navigate the many levels of responsibility, and numerous policy pressure points; it describes the laws and administrative policies governing the disaster response and recovery process. The report also reviews the legislative framework that exists for providing federal financial assistance following disasters, as well as the policies the executive branch employs to provide supplemental help to state, tribal, and local governments during time of disasters.
Education-Related Regulatory Flexibilities, Waivers, and Federal Assistance in Response to Disasters and National Emergencies
This report is intended to inform Congress of existing statutory and regulatory provisions that may aid in responding to future disasters and national emergencies that may affect the provision of or access to education and highlight the actions of previous Congresses to provide additional recovery assistance. This report reflects the most recently available guidance, as of the date of publication, related to education-related disaster response and flexibilities. It will be updated should new or additional statutes be enacted or guidance be issued.