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Statutory Restrictions on the Position of Secretary of Defense: Issues for Congress

Description: This report is designed to assist Congress as it considers how to proceed with the proposed nomination of General (Ret.) James Mattis to be Secretary of Defense. After exploring the history of the statutory restriction and its evolution over time, it touches upon some of the broader questions that have recently been raised in the public debate on whether, and how, this proposed nomination might impact civilian-military relations and the principle of civilian control of the military.
Date: January 5, 2017
Creator: McInnis, Kathleen J.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Veterans Choice Program (VCP): Program Implementation

Description: This report discusses the Veterans Choice Program (VCP),which is a new, temporary program (the VCP is set to expire in August 2017 or whenever funds in the Veterans Choice Fund are exhausted). The VCP enables eligible veterans to receive medical care in the community.
Date: January 5, 2017
Creator: Viranga Panangala, Sidath
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Budget Reconciliation Process: Stages of Consideration

Description: This report discusses the budget reconciliation process which allows Congress to use an expedited procedure when considering legislation that would bring existing spending, revenue, and debt limit laws into compliance with current fiscal priorities established in the annual budget resolution.
Date: January 4, 2017
Creator: Lynch, Megan S. & Saturno, James V.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

China-U.S. Trade Issues

Description: This report discusses the U.S.-China economic relationship and China's rapid expansion as a global economic market, both with respect to the current global economic crisis. It also examines major U.S.-China trade issues and related legislation.
Date: January 4, 2017
Creator: Morrison, Wayne M.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Speakers of the House: Elections, 1913-2017

Description: This report provides data on elections of the Speaker in each Congress since 1913, when the House first reached its present size of 435 Members. During that period (63rd through 115th Congresses), a Speaker was elected five times with the votes of less than a majority of the full membership.
Date: January 4, 2017
Creator: Beth, Richard S. & Heitshusen, Valerie
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Ukraine: Current Issues and U.S. Policy

Description: 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.
Date: January 3, 2017
Creator: Morelli, Vincent L.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The "Waters of the United States" Rule: Legislative Options and 114th Congress Responses

Description: This report discusses legislative activity in the 114th Congress regarding a major regulatory initiative related to the "waters of the United States" rule. Despite the court's stay of the rule, some in Congress favor halting the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) and the Corps' current approach to defining "waters of the United States."
Date: December 29, 2016
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Political Status of Puerto Rico: Brief Background and Recent Developments for Congress

Description: This report provides policy and historical background about Puerto Rico's political status--a term of art referring to the relationship between the federal government and a territorial one. The report emphasizes recent developments that are likely to be most relevant for Congress. Congress has not altered the island's status since 1952, when it approved a territorial constitution.
Date: December 28, 2016
Creator: Garrett, R. Sam
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Expedited Procedures Governing Senate Consideration of Legislation Waiving a Restriction Related to the Military Service of the Secretary of Defense

Description: This report discusses the Section 179 of the Further Continuing and Security Assistance Appropriations Act, 2017 (P.L. 114-254), which establishes expedited or "fast track" parliamentary procedures governing Senate consideration of legislation that would waive a legal restriction related to the prior military service of the Secretary of Defense.
Date: December 27, 2016
Creator: Davis, Christopher M.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Nuclear Cooperation with Other Countries: A Primer

Description: 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.
Date: December 27, 2016
Creator: Kerr, Paul K. & Nikitin, Mary Beth D.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

U.S. Foreign Aid to Israel

Description: This report provides an overview of U.S. foreign assistance to Israel. It includes a review of past aid programs, data on annual assistance, and an analysis of current issues.
Date: December 22, 2016
Creator: Sharp, Jeremy M.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

International Trade and Finance: Overview and Issues for the 115th Congress

Description: This report provides a brief overview of some of the trade and finance issues that may be of interest or continuing attention of the 115th Congress. During its 114th session, Congress faced numerous international trade and finance policy issues.
Date: December 21, 2016
Creator: Irace, Mary A. & Nelson, Rebecca M.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Iran's Foreign and Defense Policies

Description: 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).
Date: December 21, 2016
Creator: Katzman, Kenneth
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Federal Food Safety System: A Primer

Description: This report discusses concerns about food safety, the resources required to ensure food safety, and whether federal food safety laws themselves, first enacted in the early 1900s, have kept pace with the significant changes that have occurred in the food production, processing, and marketing sectors since then.
Date: December 16, 2016
Creator: Johnson, Renée
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

U.S. Policy on Cuban Migrants: In Brief

Description: 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).
Date: December 16, 2016
Creator: Bruno, Andorra
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS): In Brief

Description: 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.
Date: December 14, 2016
Creator: Bracmort, Kelsi
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Women in Combat: Issues for Congress

Description: 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.
Date: December 13, 2016
Creator: Kamarck, Kristy N.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Noncitizen Eligibility for Federal Public Assistance: Policy Overview

Description: 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.
Date: December 12, 2016
Creator: Siskin, Alison
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Creating a Federal Advisory Committee in the Executive Branch

Description: 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.
Date: December 9, 2016
Creator: Ginsberg, Wendy & Burgat, Casey
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department