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Navy Virginia (SSN-774) Class Attack Submarine Procurement: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and issues for Congress on the Virginia-class nuclear-powered attack submarine (SSN) program.
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.
China's Economic Rise: History, Trends, Challenges, and Implications for the United States
This report provides background on China's economic rise; describes its current economic structure; identifies the challenges China faces to maintain economic growth; and discusses the challenges, opportunities, and implications of China's economic rise for the United States.
Iran Sanctions
This report analyzes U.S. and international sanctions against Iran and provides some examples, based on open sources, of companies and countries that conduct business with Iran.
North Korean Cyber Capabilities: In Brief
This report discusses how as North Korea has accelerated its missile and nuclear programs in spite of international sanctions, Congress and the Trump Administration have elevated North Korea to a top U.S. foreign policy priority. Legislation such as the North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act of 2016 (P.L. 114-122) and international sanctions imposed by the United Nations Security Council have focused on North Korea's WMD and ballistic missile programs and human rights abuses. North Korea's cyberattacks have the potential not only to disrupt international commerce, but to direct resources to its clandestine weapons and delivery system programs, potentially enhancing its ability to evade international sanctions. This report will provide a brief summary of what unclassified open-source reporting has revealed about the secretive program, introduce four case studies in which North Korean operators are suspected of having perpetrated malicious operations, and provide an overview of the international finance messaging service that these hackers may be exploiting.
In Brief: Highlights of Fiscal Year 2018 Defense Appropriations Actions
This report outlines the defense related appropriations request for fiscal year 2018 and selected issues in Congress dealing with the defense budget.
Honduras: Background and U.S. Relations
This report analyzes political, economic, and security conditions in Honduras. It also examines issues in U.S.-Honduran relations that have been of particular interest to Congress, including foreign assistance, migration, security cooperation, human rights, and trade and investment.
NAFTA and Motor Vehicle Trade
This report discusses the development of U.S. motor vehicle production under the North American Free Trade Act (NAFTA) and analyzes the North American motor vehicle market, including production, plant locations, and continental trade patterns. It summarizes the motor vehicle rules of origin in NAFTA and compares them with similar requirements in other trade agreements, and examines how the potential changes in NAFTA might affect the motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts industries in the United States.
Methane and Other Air Pollution Issues in Natural Gas Systems
This report discusses the natural gas supply chain that contributes to air pollution in several ways, including (1) the leaking, venting, and combustion of natural gas in the course of production operations; and (2) the combustion of other fossil fuel resources or other emissions during associated operations.
Lebanon
This report provides an overview of Lebanon and current issues of U.S. interest. It offers background information, analyzes recent developments and key legislative debates, and tracks legislation, U.S. assistance, and recent congressional action.
Oman: Reform, Security, and U.S. Policy
This report describes the relationship between the United States and the Sultanate of Oman, especially with respect to Oman's support of U.S. efforts toward peace in the Middle East, the U.S. free trade agreement with Oman, and Oman's relatively close relations with Iran.
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.
Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS): OECD Tax Proposals
This report first reviews the basics of international tax rules. It then discusses the various action items organized into Action Item 1, which relates to the digital economy and proposes standards only with respect to VATS; Action Items 2-5, 7, and 8-10, items related primarily to profit shifting; Action Item 5, which relates to harmful tax practices; Action Item 6, regarding tax treaties; and Action Items 11-15, which are primarily administrative in nature.
Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) in the United States
This report provides a summary and analysis of the current state of carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) in the United States and current legislation and funding related to the CCS process and the regulation of air pollution and greenhouse gases.
Gulf Coast Restoration: RESTORE Act and Related Efforts
This report provides information on environmental damage and restoration activities related to the Deepwater Horizon spill. An overview of how the RESTORE Act is being implemented and a discussion of multiple funding sources and plans to recover and restore the Gulf Coast environment are discussed. Further, potential issues for Congress related to this restoration initiative are presented.
Iran Sanctions
This report analyzes U.S. and international sanctions against Iran and provides some examples, based on open sources, of companies and countries that conduct business with Iran.
The U.S. Export Control System and the Export Control Reform Initiative
This report discusses the U.S. export control system and initiatives to reform the export control system. Topics covered include the dual-use system, military export controls, nuclear controls, and President Obama's export control initiative.
Comparison of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) and the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA)
This report discusses the comparison between the American Health Care Act (AHCA) and the "discussion draft" titled, "The Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017" (BCRA) intended to repeal or modify provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Reform of U.S. International Taxation: Alternatives
This report describes and assesses the principal prescriptions that have been offered for broad reform of the international system. It begins with an overview of current law and possible revisions. It then sets the framework for considering economic efficiency as well as tax shelter activities. Finally, it reviews alternative approaches to revision in light of those issues.
Legislative Branch Appropriations: Frequently Asked Questions
This report responds to frequently-asked questions about legislative branch appropriations, including: items that are funded within this bill; development, presentation, and consideration of the legislative branch budget requests; the legislative branch budget in historical perspective; and recent actions.
Legislative Branch: FY2018 Appropriations
This report discusses the the legislative branch appropriations bill (FY2018, which provides funding for the Senate; House of Representatives;Joint Items; Capitol Police; Office of Compliance; Congressional Budget Office (CBO); Architect of the Capitol (AOC); Library of Congress (LOC), including the Congressional Research Service (CRS); Government Publishing Office (GPO); Government Accountability Office (GAO); Open World Leadership Center; and the John C. Stennis Center.
The Peace Corps: Current Issues
The report discusses the President's annual funding request for the Peace Corps, efforts to reauthorize the Peace Corps, and related issues. Current issues include the extent to which there is available funding for Peace Corps expansion, whether volunteers are able to function in a safe and secure environment, volunteer access to abortion, and other issues.
Energy and Water Development: FY2018 Appropriations
This report discusses the Energy and Water Development appropriations bill that provides funding for civil works projects of the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps).
Foreign Affairs Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) Funding: Background and Current Status
This report provides background information and discusses the foreign affairs Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funding.
Economic Impact of Infrastructure Investment
This report provides an overview of the trends surrounding infrastructure investment in the United States and examines the potential impact of additional infrastructure investments on economic output and employment.
Federal Disaster Assistance Response and Recovery Programs: Brief Summaries
This report is designed to assist Members of Congress and their staff as they address the needs of their states, communities, and constituents after a disaster. It includes a summary of federal programs that provide federal disaster assistance to individual survivors, states, territories, local governments, and nongovernmental entities following a natural or man-made disaster.
FY2018 Appropriations for Department of Justice Grant Programs
This report discusses the funding for a variety of grant programs through the Department of Justice (DOJ).
Remedies for Patent Infringement
This report discusses the current legal system rules for patent infringement cases and current bills introduced in Congress related to patents.
Human Rights in China and U.S. Policy: Issues for the 115th Congress
This report discusses U.S. policy toward China in regards to the many human rights abuses found there. A selection of the top areas human rights violations in China are discussed such as internet control. religious freedom, the criminal justice system, family planning policies, and the persecution of ethnic minorities. This is followed by a discussion of U.S. efforts and policies aimed at ending or decreasing human rights abuses in China.
Pending ACA Legal Challenges Remain as Congress Pursues Health Care Reform
This report discusses developments since January 2017 related to legal challenges to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and health care reform.
U.S. Role in the World: Background and Issues for Congress
This report presents background information and issues for Congress on the overarching U.S. foreign policy issue of the U.S. role in the world. Certain statements and actions from the Trump Administration have led to uncertainty about the Administration's intentions regarding the future U.S. role, and have intensified an ongoing debate among foreign policy specialists, strategists, policymakers, and the public about what that role should be.
Overview of U.S. Sanctions Regimes on Russia
This report discusses the U.S.-imposed sanctions on Russia for malicious cyber activity.
No "Bivens" for You?
This report discusses the Supreme Court's ruling in "Ziglar v. Abbassi" and the "Bivens" remedy that the plaintiffs were attempting to use to win their case. The "Bivens" remedy is a legal precedent that came from a 1971 case where the plaintiff Bivens sued federal agents with the Federal Bureau of Narcotics for violations of the fourth amendment due to them handcuffing him inside his own home without a warrant. It has been used two other times for suits against federal officials related to breaches of constitutional rights, one related to gender bias and equality and the other for lack of medical care in prison.
Comparison of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) and the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA)
This report discusses the comparison between the American Health Care Act (AHCA) and the "discussion draft" titled, "The Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017" (BCRA).
Department of Labor's 2016 Fiduciary Rule: Background and Issues
This report discusses fiduciary standard with respect to his or her advice, an individual had to, which include: (1) make recommendations on investing in, purchasing, or selling securities or other property, or give advice as to the value (2) on a regular basis (3) pursuant to a mutual understanding that the advice (4) will serve as a primary basis for investment decisions, and (5) will be individualized to the particular needs of the plan regarding such matters as, among other things, investment policies or strategy, overall portfolio composition, or diversification of plan investments.
Military Enlisted Personnel
This report describes each level of military enlisted personnel and the percentage of the force that they make up along with how many people are in each pay grade in the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines. A chart of insignia for the various ranks is also included.
Military Officers
This report provides background information and includes charts that show active military officers by pay grade and branch, as well as associated insignia.
The Federal Budget: Overview and Issues for FY2018 and Beyond
This report summarizes issues surrounding the federal budget, examines policy changes relevant to the budget framework for FY2018, and discusses recent major policy proposals included in the President's FY2018 budget. It concludes by addressing major short- and long-term fiscal challenges facing the federal government.
The Legal and Practical Effects of Private Immigration Legislation and Recent Policy Changes
This report discusses the use of private immigration bills in Congress which allow Congress to grant permanent residency status to an immigrant who is not eligible under normal immigration procedures but that they deem to have extraordinary equities in the United States. It also addresses the announcement of new rules by the Immigration and Citizenship Enforcement Department (ICE) that limit stays of removal granted to immigrants who are proposed beneficiaries of a private immigration bill in Congress.
Navy Force Structure and Shipbuilding Plans: Background and Issues for Congress
This report presents background information and issues for Congress concerning the Navy's ship force-structure goals and shipbuilding plans. The planned size of the Navy, the rate of Navy ship procurement, and the prospective affordability of the Navy's shipbuilding plans have been matters of concern for the congressional defense committees for the past several years.
Navy Littoral Combat Ship/Frigate (LCS/FF) Program: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and issues for Congress on the Navy's Littoral Combat Ship/Frigate (LCS/FF) program, a program to procure a total of 40, and possibly as many as 52, small surface combatants (SSCs), meaning LCSs and frigates.
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).
Foreign Direct Investment in the United States: An Economic Analysis
This report discusses the foreign direct investment in the United States that declined sharply after 2000, when a record $300 billion was invested in U.S. businesses and real estate.
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.
Climate Change: Frequently Asked Questions About the 2015 Paris Agreement
This report discusses the frequently asked questions about the 2015 Paris Agreement (PA). The PA opened for signature by Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on April 22, 2016, at U.N. headquarters in New York City.
The Coast Guard's Role in Safeguarding Maritime Transportation: Selected Issues
This report discusses the the U.S. Coast Guard responsibility for safeguarding vessel traffic on the nation's coastal and inland waterways.
Defense: FY2017 Budget Request, Authorization, and Appropriations
This report discusses the current administration's request of $523.9 billion to cover the fiscal year 2017 discretionary "base budget" of the Department of Defense (DOD).
Help Wanted: Supreme Court Holds Vacancies Act Prohibits Nominees from Serving as Acting Officers
This report discusses the Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998 and a recent Supreme Court case decision in "NLRB v SW General Inc." related to acting officials filling Presidential nominated positions under the Vacancies Act.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE): Issues for U.S. Policy
This report discusses the current political and economic landscape of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and its relationship with the U.S. The UAE has been a significant U.S. partner in Gulf security for more than two decades, and the alliance has deepened further in recent years in order to address multiple regional threats.
Update: The Microsoft Ireland Decision: U.S. Appeals Court Rules that ECPA does not Require Internet Service Providers to Produce Electronic Communications Stored Overseas
This report discusses the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in the case of "Microsoft Corporation v. United States" where the court ruled that the U.S. could not enforce a subpoena asking Microsoft to retrieve emails stored on a server in Ireland. On June 28, 2017 the United States filed for reversal of the decision through a writ of certiorari in the Supreme Court.