This report explains Senate rules, precedents, and practices in regard to constitutional points of order that are not ruled on by the presiding officer but is instead submitted to the Senate for its decision, including an analysis of recent cases in which such a point of order has been raised, and will be updated as events warrant. The report identifies 16 constitutional points of order that have been raised and received a Senate vote since 1989. Ten of these cases were disposed of negatively.
This report discusses the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (referred to as the Stafford Act - 42 U.S.C. 5721 et seq.), which authorizes the President to issue "major disaster" or "emergency" declarations before or after catastrophes occur. Emergency declarations trigger aid that protects property, public health, and safety and lessens or averts the threat of an incident becoming a catastrophic event. A major disaster declaration, issued after catastrophes occur, constitutes broader authority for federal agencies to provide supplemental assistance to help state and local governments, families and individuals, and certain nonprofit organizations recover from the incident.
This report examines the current crisis in Iraq regarding the Islamic State, a transnational Sunni Islamist insurgent and terrorist group that has expanded its control over areas of parts of Iraq and Syria since 2013. There is debate over the degree to which the Islamic State organization might represent a direct terrorist threat to the U.S. homeland or to U.S. facilities and personnel in the region.
This report provides background on the pre-Section 1206 status of security assistance authorities and the factors contributing to the enactment of Section 1206. It then sets out the purposes of the legislation and scope of its activities, restrictions on its use, the Department of Defense (DOD0-State Department planning process, and funding. It concludes with a discussion of issues for Congress.
This report is designed to assist Congress in its oversight of federal grants-in-aid programs by providing a summary of relevant laws, processes, and authorities. The report analyzes the causes of undisbursed grant funds in expired grant accounts and presents congressional options to reform federal grant administration to increase the timeliness, reliability, and comprehensiveness of grant management-related information.
This report analyzes the special immigrant visa (SIV) classifications for Iraqis and Afghans within the context of both the larger Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) special immigrant category and selected other permanent admissions categories. It discusses the legislative changes to the individual Iraqi and Afghan special immigrant programs since their initial authorization, provides statistics on visa issuance, and considers challenges facing the programs today.
From Summary: "This report describes and analyzes H.R. 4024 and S. 1961, as reported. The bill share a number of broadly similar provisions-both would direct states or the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to establish programs to prevent and respond to releases from chemical storage facilities (H.R. 4024) or tanks (S. 1961) located near drinking water sources-but they take different approaches to doing so; S. 1961 would make programmatic changes by amending the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), while H.R. 4024 would amend the Clean Water Act (CWA)."
This report discusses the continued debate amongst congressional policymakers regarding telecommunications reform. A major point of the ongoing discussion is whether action is needed to ensure unfettered access to the Internet.
This report provides background information regarding the prison population in the United States that has been growing steadily for more than 30 years. The report presents correctional system statistics and discusses the federal government's involvement in offender reentry programs and the Second Chance Act (P.L. 110-199) that was enacted on April 9, 2008.
This report discusses policy issues regarding military-to-military contacts with the People's Republic of China (PRC) and provides a record of major contacts and crises since 1993. The first part of this report discusses policy issues regarding such contacts. The second part provides a record of such contacts since 1993, when the United States resumed exchanges after suspending them in response to the Tiananmen Crackdown in 1989.
This report examines debates regarding what constitutes an "unfunded federal mandate" and the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995's (UMRA) implementation, requirements, and costs. It also assesses UMRA's impact on federal mandates and arguments concerning UMRA's future.
This report discusses the current political state of Afghanistan, and the Afghan government. It also discusses Afghanistan's relationship with the United States, particularly U.S. efforts to urge President Hamid Karzai to address corruption within the Afghan government.
This report discusses the current political state of Afghanistan and the Afghan government. It also discusses Afghanistan's relationship with the United States, particularly U.S. efforts to urge President Hamid Karzai to address corruption within the Afghan government.
This report discusses airport privatization, particularly the low participation in the Airport Privatization Pilot Program (APPP) and the policy changes that would be required to encourage more airports to privatize. It provides background on privatization in general, the APPP and reasons why it has not stimulated privatization, privatization in Europe and Canada, and related issues and options.
This report provides an annotated list of Congressional Research Service (CRS) resources and analyses relevant to funding gaps, including (1) the funding gap that commenced on October 1, 2013, and terminated on October 17, 2013, with the enactment of P.L. 113-46 -- a continuing appropriations measure providing appropriations through January 15, 2014; (2) historical funding gaps; and (3) continuing appropriations measures.
This report discusses how Social Security benefits are currently computed, including information about eligibility, earnings, cost-of-living adjustments, factors that can affect benefit levels, and benefits for dependents.
This report briefly summarizes and tracks congressional and State Department actions in response to the attack on U. S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya, and will be updated as necessary to reflect further developments and actions on ongoing policy proposals.
This report focuses on legislative actions--including comprehensive bills with individual climate change titles, sections, or provisions--that explicitly address climate change issues. The provisions in these bills fall into six general categories: carbon price (i.e., tax or fee) on greenhouse (GHG) emissions; other mechanisms intended to encourage mitigation of GHG emissions (e.g., sequestration of emissions); research on climate change-related issues; adaptation activities related to expected climate change impacts; support for international climate change-related activities; and action that limits or prohibits climate change-related authorities, efforts, or considerations.
This report focuses on the policies contained in the 2014 farm bill that support agriculture based renewable energy, especially biofuels. The introductory sections of this report briefly describe how U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) bioenergy policies evolved and how they fit into the larger context of U.S. biofuels policy.
This report provides and introduction to key provisions in the Spectrum Act to improve public safety communications and discusses planning authority, state and local participation, federal governance and other issues regarding the evolving network technologies.
This report describes the eligibility criteria applicable to the premium tax credits and cost-sharing subsidies, and the calculation method for the credit and subsidy amounts. It also highlights selected issues addressed in the final regulation on premium credits.
This report discusses the Help America Vote Act (HAVA; P.L. 107-252) enacted in 2002. It provides background information about HAVA and its provisions, the Election Assistance Commission (EAC), funding for the agency and for state programs to improve elections, and a number of enduring election administration issues.
This report discusses the Spectrum Act, a provision of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012. It includes an overview of the Spectrum Act, the specific policy revisions (deficit reduction, directed auctions, incentive auctions, federal spectrum use and reallocation, and unlicensed spectrum) and a conclusion discussing geographic coverage of spectrum licenses, spectrum caps, and planning for future needs.
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