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Regulation of Debit Interchange Fees
This report provides a description of the debit payments process and network pricing, as well as an overview of the effects of the Durbin Amendement implemented by the Federal Reserve which includes a cap on the interchange fee for large issuers. In particular, the Durbin Amendment is discussed in light of comments by Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke.
Security Cooperation: Comparison of Proposed Provisions for the FY2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)
This report discusses the FY2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that could significantly alter the way in which the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) engages and partners with foreign security forces.
Extraterritorial Application of American Criminal Law
This report discusses the application of American criminal law outside the United States.
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.
The Social Security Retirement Age
This report discusses the two important ages that may affect a worker's plans to claim Social Security retired-worker benefits. Workers may claim full Social Security benefits at the full retirement age (FRA), which is rising gradually to age 67 for workers who were born in 1960 or later. Retired workers may claim benefits as early as age 62, which is known as the early eligibility age (EEA). Social Security benefits are reduced, however, for every month that retired worker benefits are claimed before the FRA.
DHS Appropriations FY2017: Security, Enforcement, and Investigations
This report is part of a suite of reports that discuss appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for FY2017. It specifically discusses appropriations for the components of DHS included in the second title of the homeland security appropriations bill-- Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Transportation Security Administration, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the U.S. Secret Service. Collectively, Congress has labeled these components in recent years as "Security, Enforcement, and Investigations.
Federal Advisory Committees: An Introduction and Overview
This report offers a history of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), examines its current requirements, and provides data on federal advisory committees' operations and costs.
Social Security: Calculation and History of Taxing Benefits
This report discusses the calculations that go into taxing Social Security benefits, which prior to 1984 were exempt from taxation but have since been taxed at gradually increasing levels.
Social Security: Cost-of-Living Adjustments
This report discusses the issues surrounding Social Security recipients that usually receive an annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA).
Treatment of Noncitizens Under the Affordable Care Act
This report provides information regarding the treatment of noncitizens under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) including definitions of "lawfully present," the health insurance mandate, exchanges, and ACA changes to Medicaid. It also discusses the verification of alien status under the ACA and related legislation in the 113th Congress.
Ukraine: Current Issues and U.S. Policy
This report provides an overview of the situation in Ukraine. Following the February 2014 collapse of the Kremlin-supported government of President Viktor Yanukovych, there was an emergence of a pro-Western, pro-reform government and an energized public generally anxious to lessen Moscow's influence, committed to addressing the need for serious reform and determined to draw closer to Europe and the United States.
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act: History, Impact, and Issues
This report examines debates over what constitutes an unfunded federal mandate and the Unfunded Mandate Reform Act's (UMRA's) implementation. It also discusses particular mandates and procedures associated with UMRA, and assesses UMRA's impact on federal mandates and arguments concerning UMRA's future, focusing on UMRA's definitions, exclusions, and exceptions that currently exempt many federal actions with potentially significant financial impacts on nonfederal entities.
Department of Veterans Affairs FY2017 Appropriations
This report provides an overview of Veterans Affairs (VA) appropriations; for a discussion on military construction appropriations. The VA provides a range of benefits and services to veterans and eligible dependents who meet certain criteria as authorized by law.
Did a Thermostat Break the Internet?
This report discusses cyber security and the challenges the new form of hacking poses -- specifically, the attacks by a common malicious botnet named Mirai.
Navy Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) Program: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and issues for Congress on the Aegis ballistic missile defense (BMD) program, which is carried out by the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and the Navy, and gives Navy Aegis cruisers and destroyers a capability for conducting BMD operations. Congress's decisions on the Aegis BMD program could significantly affect U.S. BMD capabilities and funding requirements, and the BMD-related industrial base.
Legal Processes for Contesting the Results of a Presidential Election
This report discusses the legal processes for contesting the results of a Presidential election.
Cybersecurity: Legislation, Hearings, and Executive Branch Documents
This report provides links to cybersecurity-related committee hearings in the 112th, 113th, and 114th Congresses. It also provides a list of executive orders and presidential directives pertaining to information and computer security.
Iran's Foreign and Defense Policies
This report discusses Iran's national security policy. Some experts forecast that Iran's foreign and defense policies might shift after international sanctions were eased in January 2016 in accordance with the July 2015 multilateral nuclear agreement with Iran (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, JCPOA).
Navy Lasers, Railgun, and Hypervelocity Projectile: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and issues for Congress on three potential new weapons that could improve the ability of Navy surface ships to defend themselves against enemy missiles--solid state lasers (SSLs), the electromagnetic railgun (EMRG), and the hypervelocity projectile (HVP).
State Voter Identification Requirements: Analysis, Legal Issues, and Policy Considerations
This report provides an updated overview of state requirements for voters to present some form of ID before casting a ballot in a federal election. The report also discusses the origins of voter ID, relevant federal legislative action in the 114th Congress, and selected legal and policy issues related to state voter ID laws.
Yemen: Recent Attacks Against U.S. Naval Vessels in the Red Sea
This report discusses the United States' involvement into the Yemen war, which has killed an estimated 10,000 people since it began in March 2015.
DHS Appropriations FY2017: Research and Development, Training, and Services
This report discuss appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for FY2017. It specifically discusses appropriations for the components of DHS included in the fourth title of the homeland security appropriations bill--in past years, this has comprised U.S. Citizenship and Naturalization Services, the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, the Science and Technology Directorate, and the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO). In FY2017, the Administration proposed moving the Domestic Nuclear Detection office into a new Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosives Office, along with several other parts of DHS. Congress has labeled this title of the bill in recent years as "Research and Development, Training, and Services."
Navy Force Structure: A Bigger Fleet? Background and Issues for Congress
This report presents background information and potential issues for Congress on the question of whether to increase the Navy's force-level goal (i.e., the planned size of the Navy) to something more than the current goal of 308 ships.
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.
U.S.-South Korea Relations
This report contains two main parts: a section describing recent events and a longer background section on key elements of the U.S.-South Korea relationship. It also provides a list of CRS products on South Korea and North Korea. The report identifies South Korean individuals by using their last name first.
Elections Strengthen Georgia's Ruling Party
This report discusses the country of Georgia's parliamentary elections, which domestic and international observers assessed as democratic, despite isolated violations and violent incidents.
Private Flood Insurance in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)
This report briefly discusses federal law regarding flood insurance. By law or regulation, federal agencies, federally-regulated lending institutions, and government-sponsored enterprises must require certain property owners to purchase flood insurance as a condition of any mortgage that these entities make, guarantee, or purchase.
An Abridged Sketch of Extradition To and From the United States
This report discusses "extradition", which is the formal surrender of a person by a State to another State for prosecution or punishment.
Counting Regulations: An Overview of Rulemaking, Types of Federal Regulations, and Pages in the Federal Register
This report serves to inform the congressional debate over rulemaking by analyzing different ways to measure federal rulemaking activity. It provides data on and analysis of the total number of rules issued each year, as well as information on other types of rules, such as "major" rules, "significant" rules, and "economically significant" rules.
Military Construction: FY2017 Appropriations
This report discusses military construction for active and reserve components of the armed forces, military family housing construction and operations, and the U.S. contribution to the NATO Security Investment Program.
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
Navy Columbia Class (Ohio Replacement) Ballistic Missile Submarine (SSBN[X]) Program: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and potential oversight issues for Congress on the Columbia class program, previously known as the Ohio replacement program (ORP) or SSBN(X) program, a program to design and build a new class of 12 ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) to replace the Navy's current force of 14 Ohio-class SSBNs.
Energy Policy: 114th Congress Issues
This report begins by providing background on the economic rationale for energy market interventions; it highlights various market failures production and consumption of energy, and discusses possible interventions. The report concludes with an analysis of the current status of energy tax policy.
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.
Internships, Fellowships, and Other Work Experience Opportunities in the Federal Government
This report describes Internet resources on major internship, fellowship, and work experience programs within the federal government. It is intended as a selective guide for students of all levels: high school, undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate.
Statutorily Required Federal Advisory Committees that Began Operations in FY2015
This report discusses the establishment of the federal advisory committees--sometimes called task forces, panels, commissions, working groups, boards, councils, or conferences.
Zika Response Funding: Request and Congressional Action
This report presents the Administration's request for supplemental appropriations for the Zika response. It includes sections outlining Congressional actions, the emergency supplemental appropriations request for Zika response efforts -- by both U.S. health and human services agencies and international assistance programs -- and information about unobligated Ebola response funds.
Kuwait: Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy
This report examines Kuwait's relationships with its neighbors in the Persian Gulf, and its own political system which has been in turmoil since 2006. Kuwait remains pivotal to U.S. efforts to secure the Persian Gulf region because of its willingness to cooperate with U.S. strategy and military operations in the region and its proximity to both Iran and Iraq.
Presidential Transitions: Issues Involving Outgoing and Incoming Administrations
This report discusses issues surrounding the transition of Presidential power, including the variety of events, decisions, and activities contribute to it.
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.
Armed Conflict in Syria: Overview and U.S. Response
This report discusses the ongoing conflict in Syria and provides an overview of U.S. Policy responses. The rise of the insurgent terrorist group known as the Islamic State (IS, aka the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant or ISIL/ISIS) and Russia's military intervention on behalf of the Syrian government have reshaped debates over U.S. policy toward the ongoing civil conflict in Syria, now in its fifth year.
Israel: Background and U.S. Relations in Brief
This report focuses on recent dynamics in U.S.-Israel relations; U.S.-Israel next steps following the July 2015 Iranian nuclear deal; regional threats Israel perceives from Hezbollah, Syria, and elsewhere; recently intensified Israeli-Palestinian tensions and violence in connection with Jerusalem's holy sites; and domestic political developments in Israel.
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,
How a National Infrastructure Bank Might Work
This report discusses the national infrastructure and ways to provide low-cost, long-term loans for the propose of increasing federal infrastructure investment.
The Army's Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV): Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information on the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV), which is the Army's proposed replacement to the Vietnam-era M-113 personnel carriers.
Brazil in Crisis
This report briefly examines the political situation and discusses public opinion regarding the Rousseff Administration.
Navy Ship Names: Background for Congress
This report discusses the process of naming Navy ships, which have traditionally been chosen and announced by the Secretary of the Navy. Rules for giving certain types of names to certain types of Navy ships have evolved over time.
Nicaragua: In Brief
This report discusses Nicaragua's current politics, economic development and relations with the United States and provides context for Nicaragua's controversial November 6, 2016, elections.
Prospects in Colombia: Cease-Fire, Peace Accord Vote, and Potential Disrupters
This report discusses the political situation in Colombia after a peace accord negotiated over four years between the government of President Juan Manuel Santos and the country's largest insurgent group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
Trade Adjustment Assistance for Workers and the TAA Reauthorization Act of 2015
This report describes Trade Adjustment Assistance for Workers (TAA) as reauthorized by the Trade Adjustment Assistance Reauthorization Act of 2015.