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U.S. Policy on Cuban Migrants: In Brief
This report discusses the U.S. policy on Cuban migration that has been shaped by a 1966 law known as the Cuban Adjustment Act, as amended, and U.S.-Cuban migration agreements signed in the mid-1990s, operating in conjunction with the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
Agency Final Rules Submitted on or After June 13, 2016, May Be Subject to Disapproval by the 115th Congress
This report discusses the possibility of the new Congress and the new President to overturn agency final rules of the Obama Administration issued after early June 2016.
The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS): In Brief
This report provides a basic description of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), which mandates that U.S. transportation fuel must contain a minimum volume of biofuel, and is a federal statutory requirement. The mandated minimum volume increases annually and can be met using both conventional biofuel (e.g., cornstarch ethanol) and advanced biofuels. This report also includes some of the widely-discussed issues.
Department of Defense Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation (RDT&E): Appropriations Structure
This report discusses the Department of Defense's (DOD's) research, development, testing, and evaluation (RDT&E) in support of its mission requirements.
Women in Combat: Issues for Congress
This report looks at the history of women in US military roles and combat since the 1990s and discusses critics' views of exclusionary policy as a civil rights issue. Over the past two decades of conflict, women have served with valor and continue to serve on combat aircraft, naval vessels, and in support of ground combat operations. The expansion of roles for women in the armed forces has evolved since the early days of the military when women were restricted by law and policy from serving in certain occupations and units.
Noncitizen Eligibility for Federal Public Assistance: Policy Overview
This report discusses the extent to which residents of the United States who are not U.S. citizens should be eligible for federally-funded public aid. This issue meets at the intersection of two major policy areas: immigration policy and welfare policy. This report deals with the four major federal means-tested benefit programs: the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps), the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant programs, and Medicaid.
Creating a Federal Advisory Committee in the Executive Branch
This report report provides a brief overview on how Congress can establish federal advisory committees, and provides some considerations as to why a federal advisory committee may or may not be an appropriate mechanism to assist a particular policy or funding question. The report also explores why Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) may or may not be appropriate for application to particular advisory committees. It presents data on the number of active FACA committees established by Congress with special emphasis on the committees established in FY2015. This report concludes by presenting a list of the federal advisory committees currently proposed for statutory establishment in the 114th Congress.
The Federal Budget Deficit and the Business Cycle
This report discusses the annual federal budget deficit, which has fallen significantly over the course of the current economic expansion, from a high of 9.8% of gross domestic product (GDP) in FY2009 to 3.2% of GDP in FY2016
"Fiscal Space" and the Federal Budget
This report discusses plans for the federal budget and the concept of "fiscal space," or the amount of room available for additional government borrowing.
Qatar: Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy
This report provides a brief history of the state of Qatar, discussing its governance and human rights. The report also includes U.S. - Qatari defense and security cooperation and economic issues.
Dakota Access Pipeline: Siting Controversy
This report discusses the Dakota Access Pipeline including background on the project and information about siting approval, as well as opposition and litigation against the pipeline.
Democratic Republic of Congo: Targeted Sanctions
This report discusses human rights and humanitarian hardship in war-ravaged eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
Has the U.S. Government Ever "Defaulted"?
This report discusses the concept of default in the context of the federal government's financial obligations and provides examples of past cases in which the federal government failed to make certain payments on time.
Terrorist Material Support: An Overview of 18 U.S.C. §2339A and §2339B
This report discusses the two federal material support statutes that have been at the heart of the Justice Department's terrorist prosecution efforts. One provision outlaws providing material support for the commission of certain designated offenses that might be committed by terrorists (18 U.S.C. 2339A); the other outlaws providing material support to certain designated terrorist organizations (18 U.S.C. 2339B). They share a common definition of the term "material support," some aspects of which have recently come under constitutional attack.
The Trump-Tsai Call and the United States' "Unofficial" Relationship with Taiwan
This report discusses the controversy over the President-elect Donald J. Trump's telephone call with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen on December 2, 2016.
Federal Workforce Statistics Sources: OPM and OMB
This report describes online tools, reports, and data compilations created by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) that contain statistics about federal employees and the federal workforce. The report also describes key characteristics of each resource and briefly discusses selected methodological differences, with the intention of facilitating the selection of appropriate data for specific purposes.
An Introduction to Judicial Review of Federal Agency Action
This report provides a broad overview of the issues that may be relevant to any number of present and future challenges to agency action in federal court.
EPA's Mid-Term Evaluation of Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards
This report discusses the standards set by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for fuel economy and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for new light-duty vehicles (defined generally as passenger cars and light trucks).
Federal Citations to the Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases
This report compiles a table of Federal Register notices related to federal regulatory actions that specifically cite the social cost of carbon (SC-CO2), SC-CH4 (social cost of methane), SC-N2O (social cost of nitrous oxide), or SC-GHG (social cost of greehnouse gases).
The Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC): In Brief
This report describes the eligibility criteria for the Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC) and the types of health insurance to which the tax credit may be applied. The tax credit's purpose is to make the purchase of health insurance more affordable for eligible individuals. The report also briefly describes the administration of the HCTC program and receipt of the credit by eligible taxpayers; it concludes with a summary of the HCTC's statutory history.
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.
Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA): Resources for Frequently Asked Questions
This report provides resources to answer frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the Patient Protect and Affordable Care Act (ACA; P.L. 111-148, as amended). It includes a list of contacts for specific questions on insurance coverage and for questions about HealthCare.gov and tax provisions as well as sources for congressional staff to contact federal agencies. It also contains a glossary and general information about public health programs and related topics.
U.S. Trade in Services: Trends and Policy Issues
This report provides background information and analysis on U.S. international trade in services, as well as policy issues. It examines emerging issues and current negotiations, including the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA), the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP).
Colombia Adopts Revised Peace Accord: What Next?
This report discusses the Colombian government's revised peace accord, signed in November 2016 by President Juan Manuel Santos and the FARC's leader (known as Timochenko).
International Insurance Issues and H.R. 5143
This report discusses the international response to the financial crisis, which included the creation of a Financial Stability Board (FSB) largely made up of various national financial regulators and the increased focus by the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS).
An Introduction to Judicial Review of Federal Agency Action
This report provides a broad overview of the issues that may be relevant to any number of present and future challenges to agency action in federal court.
Iran Nuclear Agreement
This report provides background on the agreement negotiated by Iran and six other countries (the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, China, and Germany--collectively known as the P5+1) regarding Iran's nuclear program, and discusses the implications for U.S.-Iran relations.
Membership of the 114th Congress: A Profile
This report presents a profile of the membership of the 114th Congress (2015-2016). Statistical information is included on selected characteristics of Members, including data on party affiliation, average age, occupation, education, length of congressional service, religious affiliation, gender, ethnicity, foreign births, and military service.
Social Security Primer
This report provides an overview of Social Security financing and benefits under current law. Specifically, the report covers the origins and a brief history of the program; Social Security financing and the status of the trust funds; how Social Security benefits are computed; the types of Social Security benefits available to workers and their family members; the basic eligibility requirements for each type of benefit; the scheduled increase in the Social Security retirement age; and the federal income taxation of Social Security benefits.
The Committee Markup Process in the House of Representatives
This report focuses on the markup stage of the legislative process in committee. It discusses the selection of the text to be marked up, the procedures for proposing and debating amendments to that text, the voting and quorum procedures that govern markups, and the final stages of ordering the marked-up text reported to the House for its consideration.
Fidel Castro's Death: Implications for Cuba and U.S. Policy
This report discusses the death of Cuba's former long-time ruler Fidel Castro on November 25, 2016, and Castro's historical legacy.
The Central African Republic: Background and U.S. Policy
This report provides an overview of the Central African Republic (CAR) social and political situation and has struggled to emerge from conflict and state collapse since 2013.
European Union Efforts to Counter Disinformation
This report discusses European Union efforts to counter the use of propaganda by both state and non-state actors, including new strategies to combat disinformation.
Internet Sales and State Taxes: Policy Issues
This report discusses Internet sales, which do not always include sales and use tax. Customers who do not pay sales or use tax to the vendor are typically required to remit the tax to their home state.
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.
Waiver of Statutory Qualifications Relating to Prior Military Service of the Secretary of Defense
This report discusses the status of the Secretary of Defense, who has authority, direction, and control over the Department of Defense, as a civilian appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate.
Afghanistan: Post-Taliban Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy
This report examines the current political state of Afghanistan at length, discussing the political background, security policy, and regional relations.
Cuba: Issues for the 114th Congress
This report is divided into three major sections analyzing Cuba's political and economic environment, U.S. policy, and selected issues in U.S.-Cuban relations.
Intelligence Community Programs, Management, and Enduring Issues
This report explains the management structure for the National Intelligence Program (NIP), and Military Intelligence Program (MIP), to include their two separate budget processes and the roles of the Director of National Intelligence and the Under Secretary of Defense (Intelligence). The concluding section of this report considers the ability of the U.S. government to make the best use of its intelligence-related resources when: (1) total intelligence spending is impossible to calculate; (2) its management and oversight is completely decentralized; and (3) IC funding alone is largely divided into two categories (NIP and MIP)-- managed within the executive branch separately, justified to Congress separately, and overseen by separate congressional committees.
Intelligence Community Spending: Trends and Issues
This report examines Intelligence Community (IC) funding over the past several decades, with an emphasis on the period from 2007-2017--the period in which total national and military intelligence program (NIP and MIP) spending dollars have been publicly disclosed on an annual basis. Intelligence-related spending (such as the Homeland Security Intelligence Program) that does not fall within the NIP and MIP is outside the scope of this report.
FY2017 Defense Spending Under an Interim Continuing Resolution (CR): In Brief
This report provides a basic discussion of interim "continuing resolutions" (CRs) and highlights some specific issues for the Department of Defense (DOD) under a CR. It also provides a brief look at selected FY2017 defense programs that could be affected by a CR.
The Terrorist Screening Database and Preventing Terrorist Travel
This report briefly discusses how the U.S. government fashions and uses the Terrorist Screening Database (TSDB). It also discusses how the federal government engages in two travel-related screening processes--visa screening and air passenger screening. Both processes involve subsets of the Terrorist Screening Database.
Women in Congress, 1917-2016: Biographical and Committee Assignment Information, and Listings by State and Congress
This report includes biographical information for the 313 women who have been elected or appointed to Congress including names, committee assignments, dates of service, listings by Congress and state, and (for Representatives) congressional districts.
Moldova: A Pivotal Election?
This report discusses Moldova's presidential election on October 30, 2016. This is the first time since 1996 that Moldova's president is being elected by a popular vote.
U.S.-Mexico Economic Relations: Trends, Issues, and Implications
This report provides an overview of U.S.-Mexico trade and economic trends, the Mexican economy, the effects of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and major trade issues between the United States and Mexico.
Contingent Election of the President and Vice President by Congress: Perspectives and Contemporary Analysis
This report provides an examination of constitutional requirements and historical precedents associated with contingent elections. It also identifies and evaluates contemporary issues that might emerge in the modern context.
The First Day of a New Congress: A Guide to Proceedings on the House Floor
This report focuses on the floor activities of the House of Representatives during its first formal session in a new Congress, and serves as a guide for those participating in or watching these proceedings.
Pipeline Security: Domestic Threats
This report discusses recent acts of sabotage against U.S. oil pipelines by environmental activists have raised concern about the security of the nation's energy pipelines and the federal program to protect them.
Treasury's Recent Report on Foreign Exchange Rate Policies
This report responds to the new reporting requirements on exchange rates mandated in the Trade Facilitation and Enforcement Act of 2015 (P.L. 114-125), passed by Congress and signed by the President in February 2016.
Congress's Early Organization Meetings
This report discusses Congress's early organization meetings. The purposes of these meetings are both educational and organizational. Educational sessions range from legislative procedures and staff hiring to current issues.