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World Trade Organization: Overview and Future Direction
This report provides background history of the World Trade Organization (WTO), its organization, and current status of negotiations. It also explores concerns regarding the WTO's future direction and key policy issues for Congress.
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. It outlines the various sanctions against Iran and their current implementation status, international efforts to bring about compliance, and their effects; it also addresses recent discussions regarding President's Trump announcement that the U.S. was decertifying the nuclear agreement and the possibility of reinstating certain sanctions.
The "National Security Exception" and the World Trade Organization
This report examines the meaning of the national security exception in Article XXI of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)--a provision also implicated in a recent World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute between Russia and Ukraine; a blockade of Qatar by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates; and a few other disputes.
U.S. Sanctions on Russia
This report provides a comprehensive overview of U.S. sanctions against Russia. It provides an overview of U.S. sanctions authorities and tools; describes various sanctions regimes that have been used and entities or that are available for this purpose, addressing authorities, tools, targets, and historical context; briefly discusses countersanctions by Russia; addresses the evolution of U.S. coordination with the European Union; and assesses the economic impact of sanctions on Russia at the level of the national economy and individual firms.
U.S. Tariff Policy: Overview
This report provides a brief overview of United States tariff policy. A tariff is a customs duty levied on imported and exported goods and services, typically used to protect domestic industries or as leverage in trade negotiations and disputes.
Defense Authorization and Appropriations Bills: FY1961-FY2019
This report is a research aid that lists the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) authorization and appropriations bills for FY1961-FY2019 including: bill numbers, report numbers, dates reported and passed, recorded vote numbers and vote tallies, dates of passage of the conference reports with their numbers and votes, vetoes, substitutions, dates of final passage, and public law numbers. Significant definitions are also included.
District Court Temporarily Blocks Implementation of Asylum Restrictions on Unlawful Entrants at the Southern Border
This report discusses the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) barring the Trump Administration from implementing new asylum restrictions. The asylum restrictions were prompted by reports of a "migrant caravan" traveling through Mexico to the southern border of the United States.
FY2018 and FY2019 Agriculture Appropriations: Federal Food Safety Activities
This report provides a brief overview of the FY2018 and FY2019 appropriations that address food safety activities at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).
Global Human Rights: Multilateral Bodies & U.S. Participation
This report provides an overview of multilateral bodies regarding human rights, including the United Nations, International Criminal Court, and regional bodies.
Section 232 Investigations: Overview and Issues for Congress
This report provides an overview of Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, analyzes the Trump Administration's Section 232 investigations and actions, and considers potential policy and economic implications and issues for Congress. To provide context for the current debate, the report also includes a discussion of previous Section 232 investigations and a brief legislative history of the statute.
U.S. Strategic Nuclear Forces: Background, Developments, and Issues
This report reviews the ongoing programs that will affect the expected size and shape of the U.S. strategic nuclear force structure. It includes information of the historic structure and changes over time as well as details about each category of delivery vehicle--land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), submarine launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), and heavy bombers--focusing on their current deployments and ongoing and planned modernization programs. The report concludes with a discussion of issues related to decisions about the future of the U.S. strategic nuclear force.
Alternative Fuel and Advanced Vehicle Technology Incentives: A Summary of Federal Programs
This report gives an overview of the federal incentives that support the development and deployment of alternatives to conventional fuels and engines in transportation including tax deductions and credits for vehicle purchases and the installation of refueling systems; federal grants for conversion of older vehicles to newer technologies; mandates for the use of biofuels; and incentives for manufacturers to produce alternative fuel vehicles. It also addresses how these incentives relate to goals of reducing petroleum consumption and import dependence, improving environmental quality, expanding domestic manufacturing, and promoting agriculture and rural development.
The Defense Production Act of 1950: History, Authorities, and Considerations for Congress
This report examines some of the extensive history of the Defense Production Act of 1950 (DPA), focusing primarily on its creation and most recent legislative reauthorization. This report also identifies relevant delegations of the President's DPA authorities made in Executive Order (E.O.) 13603 -- National Defense Resources Preparedness -- and provides a brief overview of issues Congress may consider in its oversight.
U.S. Ground Forces Robotics and Autonomous Systems (RAS) and Artificial Intelligence (AI): Considerations for Congress
This report discusses issues for Congress to consider regarding robotics and autonomous systems (RAS) and artificial intelligence (AI), which have the potential to change the nature of warfare. Other nations, notably peer competitors Russia and China, are aggressively pursuing RAS and AI for a variety of military uses, raising considerations about the U.S. military's response--to include lethal autonomous weapons systems (LAWS)--that could be used against U.S. forces.
The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP): Background and Funding
This report begins by describing the population using emergency food assistance. It goes on to discuss the the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) program, including its administration at the federal, state, and local levels, eligibility rules, and funding structure. The report concludes by summarizing TEFAP's role in disaster response and recent reauthorization efforts.
Infrastructure Investment and the Federal Government
This report discusses federal infrastructure investment. The condition and performance of infrastructure are generally thought to be important for the nation's health, welfare, and economy.
Quantum Information Science: Applications, Global Research and Development, and Policy Considerations
This report provides an overview of quantum information science (QIS) technologies: sensing and metrology, communications, and computing and simulation. It also includes examples of existing and potential future applications; brief summaries of funding and selected R&D initiatives in the United States and elsewhere around the world; a description of U.S. congressional activity; and a discussion of related policy considerations.
United States and Saudi Arabia Energy Relations
This report provides an overview of the U.S.-Saudi Arabia energy relationship that dates back to at least 1933. Since then, this relationship has witnessed the creation of the Arabian American Oil Company (Aramco), nationalization and ownership transfer of Aramco to Saudi Arabia (renamed Saudi Aramco), a Saudi-supported embargo of crude oil shipments to the United States, and various periods of energy cooperation. Today, the U.S.-Saudi energy relationship includes interests within three general categories: (1) energy trade, (2) business operations, and (3) global petroleum prices.
The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA): Historical Overview, Funding, and Reauthorization
This report provides a brief history of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) with an overview of the crimes addressed through the act. It includes brief descriptions of earlier VAWA reauthorizations and a more-detailed description of the most recent reauthorization in 2013. The report concludes with a discussion of VAWA programs and a five-year history of funding from FY2014 through FY2018.
Cuba: U.S. Restrictions on Travel and Remittances
This report examines developments in U.S. policy restricting travel and remittances to Cuba, current permissible travel and remittances, enforcement of the travel restrictions, and debate on lifting the travel restrictions.
Defense Primer: Defense Appropriations Process
This report provides an overview of the defense appropriations process. The congressional appropriations process includes various rules and practices that Congress has adopted to distinguish appropriations measures and facilitate their consideration.
Defense Primer: Department of the Army and Army Command Structure
This report discusses the senior leadership and operational and institutional missions of the Department of the Army (DA).
Defense Primer: Navigating the NDAA
This report provides an overview of the structure and organization of the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
Defense Primer: Organization of U.S. Ground Forces
This report outlines the organization of the Army, the U.S. military's primary ground force, and the Marine Corps, the Navy's land-based fighting force.
Defense Primer: Special Operations Forces
This report provides an overview of U.S. military Special Operations Forces (SOF), including personnel selection, command structure, Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), and Theater Special Operations Commands (TSOCs).
Nuclear Energy: Overview of Congressional Issues
This report discusses nuclear energy and various issues and concerns related to it use in six topics: radioactive waste, economic viability, safety, technological advances, security and emergency plans, and nuclear weapon nonproliferation.
Teacher Preparation Policies and Issues in the Higher Education Act
This report provides a description of current programs and provisions in Title II-A and identifies a number of the key issues that may be part of the debate over the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA).
What Role Might the Federal Government Play in Law Enforcement Reform?
This report discuses policy options for Congress to consider in regard to law enforcement reform. Over the past few years, several high-profile police-involved shootings and alleged instances of excessive force have generated congressional interest in state and local policing.
Immigration: "Recalcitrant" Countries and the Use of Visa Sanctions to Encourage Cooperation with Alien Removals
This report discusses the use of visa sanctions by the Trump Administration, past uses of visa sanctions, and alternatives to visa sanctions to encourage countries to comply with repatriation of their citizens.
Introduction to the Legislative Process in the U.S. Congress
This report introduces the main steps through which a bill (or other item of business) may travel in the legislative process. For many bills, the process will not follow the sequence of congressional stages that are often understood to make up the legislative process. This report presents a look at each of the common stages through which a bill may move, but complications and variations abound in practice.
Points of Order, Rulings, and Appeals in the Senate
This report describes the process of enforcing a rule of order in the U.S. Senate.
The SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act (P.L. 115-271): Food and Drug Administration and Controlled Substance Provisions
This report summarizes the provisions in Title III--the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and Controlled Substance Provisions, as well as Section 4004 "Modernizing the Reporting Requirements of Biological and Biosimilar Products" in Title IV--Offsets.
Who Can Serve as Acting Attorney General
This report discusses the two primary arguments raised to challenge the President's decision to name Matthew Whitaker as Acting Attorney General: first, that the Vacancies Act does not apply because another statute, 28 U.S.C. ยง 508, provides that the Deputy Attorney General (DAG) serves as Acting AG in the event of a vacancy; and second, that the Appointments Clause prohibits Whitaker, a non-Senate-confirmed official, from serving as the head of the Department of Justice (DOJ).
Defense Primer: Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering
This report discusses the role of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering and how the position fits into the organizational structure of the Defense Department.
Supersonic Passenger Flights
This report provides an overview of the development of supersonic air travel, renewed interest in supersonic passenger flights, and issues and challenges related to supersonic flights.
Defense Primer: Congress's Constitutional Authority with Regard to the Armed Forces
This report provides an overview of Congress's war powers under the U.S. Constitution.
Defense Primer: Legal Authorities for the Use of Military Forces
This report provides an overview of United States war powers.
Defense Primer: RDT&E
This report describes the appropriations structure and funding levels for the U.S. Department of Defense's (DOD's) research, development, test, and evaluation (RDT&E). The DOD relies on scientific and technical research funded by the department and performed by industry, universities, federal laboratories, and others; the DOD also relies on technology developed by the private sector for commercial markets.
Lame Duck Sessions of Congress Following a Majority-Changing Election: In Brief
This report describes "lame duck" sessions of Congress, which take place whenever one Congress meets after its successor is elected but before the term of the current Congress ends. It specifically provides additional information on the 1954, 1994, and 2010 lame duck sessions.
Energy and Water Development Appropriations: Nuclear Weapons Activities
This report discusses the Weapons Activities section of the annual Energy and Water Development appropriations bill which funds the maintenance of U.S. nuclear warheads and related infrastructure. The report provides an overview of the programs funded through the bill and the FY2019 budget request.
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).
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).
Defense Primer: The United States Air Force
This report provides an overview of U.S. Air Force operations.
Defense Primer: United States Airpower
This report provides an overview of the airpower of the United States military. This includes the U.S. Air Force, and Army, Naval, and Marine Corps aviation.
Tribal Broadband: Status of Deployment and Federal Funding Programs
This report discusses federal funding for tribal broadband, and whether or not it is sufficient. Native American tribal areas and communities tend to lag behind other areas and segments of American society with respect to broadband and telecommunications services.