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Numerical Limits on Employment-Based Immigration: Analysis of the Per-Country Ceilings
The report opens with brief explanations of the employment-based preference categories and the per-country ceilings governing annual admissions of LPRs. The focus is on the major employment-based preference categories. The report continues with a statistical analysis of the pending caseload of approved employment-based LPR petitions.
The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS)
This report discusses the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) comprising nine members, two ex officio members, and other members as appointed by the President representing major departments and agencies within the federal executive branch. While the group generally has operated in relative obscurity, the proposed acquisition of commercial operations at six U.S. ports by Dubai Ports World in 2006 placed the group's operations under intense scrutiny by Members of Congress and the public.
Iran: U.S. Economic Sanctions and the Authority to Lift Restrictions
This report identifies the legislative bases for sanctions imposed on Iran, and the nature of the authority to waive or lift those restrictions. It comprises two tables that present legislation and executive orders that are specific to Iran and its objectionable activities in the areas of terrorism, human rights, and weapons proliferation.
Separation of Powers: An Overview
This report provides an overview of separation of powers. It reviews the philosophical and political origins of the doctrine, surveys the structure of separation of power in the Constitution, and discusses the consequences of the system for both the institutions and for individual political actors. Finally, there is a discussion of separation of powers in the context of contemporary politics.
The Glass-Steagall Act: A Legal and Policy Analysis
This report provides background on the economic conditions in which the Glass-Steagall Act was enacted and provides an economic and legal analysis of the Glass-Steagall Act's enactment, erosion, and partial repeal by GLBA. The report concludes with an analysis of the Glass-Steagall Act's relationship with financial stability and the Glass-Steagall-like provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act.
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. While legislative initiatives are noted throughout the report, a final section of the report provides a listing of bills and resolutions introduced in the 114th Congress.
The Role of Local and Regional Food Systems in U.S. Farm Policy
This report provides background information on many of the type of operations engaged in the U.S. local and regional food system. A wide range of farm businesses are involved in local foods, such as direct-to-consumer marketing, farmers' markets, farm-to-school programs, community-supported agriculture,6 community gardens, school gardens, food hubs and market aggregators, kitchen incubators, and mobile slaughter units. This report also highlights some of the available resources within existing federal programs administered by USDA and other agencies.
The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS): Waiver Authority and Modification of Volumes
This report discusses the process and criteria for the Environmental Protection Agency to waive various portions of the renewable fuel standard (RFS), and the modification of applicable volumes.
FY2017 Defense Budget Request: In Brief
This report discusses the Obama Administration's FY2017 budget request, which includes $619.5 billion for national defense of which $590.6 billion is for the Department of Defense (DOD). It includes an overview of the defense budget structure including defense and budget caps, the base budget request, funding over overseas contingency operations, and other selected budget issues.
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.
Congress and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 2016
This report briefly discusses authorization legislation for the water resources activities of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) in 2016, which the 114th Congress is anticipated to consider. These issues span the agency's role in new and existing navigation improvements, coastal and riverine flood risk reduction, and environmental restoration and protection efforts.
U.S. Trade Deficit and the Impact of Changing Oil Prices
This report provides an estimate of the initial impact of the changing oil prices on the nation's merchandise trade balance.
Temporary Protected Status: Current Immigration Policy and Issues
This report is a brief overview of current policies regarding temporary protected status (TPS), which is relief from removal under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). It includes information about humanitarian migrants, temporary protected status, other blanket forms of relief, nationalities receiving protections, and issues with TPS, as well as recent legislation.
EPA and the Army Corps' Rule to Define "Waters of the United States"
This report describes the revised rule of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) which defines the scope of waters protected under the Clean Water Act (CWA). Agencies refer to this final rule as the Clean Water Rule. This report includes a table comparing the existing regulatory language that defines "waters of the United States" with the revisions.
The Shutdown of the Joint North/South Korean Kaesong Industrial Complex
This report briefly discusses the South Korean government's decision to shut down the Kaesong Industrial Complex (KIC), which is an 11-year-old industrial park located in North Korea just across the demilitarized zone where more than 120 South Korean manufacturers employed over 50,000 North Korean workers.
Pakistan's Nuclear Weapons
This report discusses Pakistan's nuclear arsenal, which probably consists of approximately 110-130 nuclear warheads, although it could have more. Pakistan's nuclear arsenal is widely regarded as designed to dissuade India from taking military action against Pakistan, but Islamabad's expansion of its nuclear arsenal, development of new types of nuclear weapons, and adoption of a doctrine called "full spectrum deterrence" have led to concern about an increased risk of nuclear conflict between Pakistan and India.
Federal Reserve: Oversight and Disclosure Issues
This report provides an overview of existing Federal Reserve (Fed) oversight and disclosure practices. It also considers the potential impact of greater oversight and disclosure on the Fed's independence and its ability to achieve its macroeconomic and financial stability goals.
Cyprus: Reunification Proving Elusive
This report provides a brief overview of the history of the negotiations between Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders, a review of the negotiations since 2008, and a description of some of the issues involved in the talks.
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.
Electric Grid Physical Security: Recent Legislation
This report briefly discusses legislative initiatives to address the physical safety of electrical transformers and 0other parts of the U.S. electric grid which are vulnerable to damage from theft, vandalism, or terrorist attacks.
Ukraine: Current Issues and U.S. Policy
This report provides an overview of the situation in Ukraine, two years after the February 2014 collapse of the Kremlin-supported government of President Viktor Yanukovych. Following the collapse, 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.
State Minimum Wages: An Overview
This report begins with a brief discussion of Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) minimum wage coverage. It then provides a summary of state minimum wage laws, followed by an examination of rates and mechanisms of adjustments in states with minimum wage levels above the FLSA rate. The report also discusses the interaction of federal and state minimum wages over time.
Volkswagen, Defeat Devices, and the Clean Air Act: Frequently Asked Questions
This report provides answers to a series of frequently asked questions focusing on a description of modern diesel technologies, their market and emissions profiles, and some potential reasons that could underlie the use of defeat devices. It summarizes the specific allegations filed against VW under the Clean Air Act, the current status of federal and state investigations, and the potential civil and criminal penalties. Further, the report introduces several outstanding issues currently under debate regarding the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) resources and activities, and issues surrounding VW's defeat device.
Marine Corps Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV) and Marine Personnel Carrier (MPC): Background and Issues for Congress
This report discusses issues surrounding the funding for development of Marine Corps Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV) and Marine Personnel Carrier (MPC). The Marines are required by law to have the necessary equipment to conduct amphibious operations and land operations.
"Regulatory Relief" for Banking: Selected Legislation in the 114th Congress
This report discusses regulatory relief legislation for banks in the 114th Congress that has seen floor action or has been ordered to be reported by a committee. Many, but not all, of the bills would make changes to the Dodd-Frank Act (P.L. 111-203), a wide-ranging financial reform enacted in response to the financial crisis.
Continuing Resolutions: Overview of Components and Recent Practices
The purpose of this report is to provide an overview of the components of Continuing Resolutions (CRs) and a longitudinal analysis of recent congressional practices. Consequently, the data and analysis in this report are inclusive of all appropriations acts entitled or otherwise designated as providing continuing appropriations. The first section of this report explains six of the possible main components of CRs: coverage, duration, funding rate, restrictions on new activities, anomalies, and legislative provisions. The second section discusses the enactment of regular appropriations prior to the start of the fiscal year and the number of regular appropriations bills enacted through a CR since FY1977. The third section analyzes variations in the number and duration of CRs enacted each fiscal year since FY1997, the most recent fiscal year that all regular appropriations were enacted on time. Finally, the fourth section of this report discusses the features of the 15 CRs that provided funding through the remainder of the fiscal year since FY1977. A list of all CRs enacted between FY1977 and FY2016 is provided at the end of this report in Table 4.
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.
Oil Sands and the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund: The Definition of "Oil" and Related Issues for Congress
This report provides background on oil sands resources followed by a discussion of the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund (OSLTF), including authorized uses and revenue sources; the scope of oil subject to the per-barrel tax (that funds the OSLTF) versus the scope of oil that triggers activities under the Oil Pollution Act; and relevant legislative activities of the 113th and 114th Congresses. The final section offers concluding observations.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP): In Brief
This report briefly summarizes some of the key controversial issues of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), including select market access issues (such as on dairy and other agricultural products, autos, and textiles and apparel) as well as the level of intellectual property protection, the scope and enforcement of environment and worker rights provisions, investor-state dispute settlement, access to government procurement, and the potential inclusion of provisions on currency valuation and exchange rates. The TPP is a proposed free trade agreement (FTA) among 12 Asia-Pacific countries, which the Obama Administration casts as comprehensive, with economic and strategic significance for the United States.
Provisions of the Senate Amendment to H.R. 3762
This report includes a table listing all provisions in H.R. 3762 and the Senate amendment to H.R. 3762 that would amend or repeal Affordable Care Act (ACA) provisions. It also provides a brief explanation of the provisions included in the Senate Amendment to H.R. 3762.
Intelligence Spending: In Brief
This report examines intelligence 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 spending dollars have been publicly disclosed on an annual basis.
Escalating Violence in El Salvador
This report briefly discusses gangs and violence in El Salvador, and examines the U.S. policy response.
Iran's Nuclear Program: Tehran's Compliance with International Obligations
This report provides a brief overview of Iran's nuclear program and describes the legal basis for the actions taken by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) board and the Security Council.
Iran-U.S. Air Service Not Imminent
This report discusses the prospect of air travel between Iran and the U.S., which last operated during 1979, when the U.S. government imposed an embargo on flights following the Iran hostage crisis. Since then, travel and air cargo shipments between the two countries have been routed through third countries, and their extent has been limited by U.S. sanctions.
Federal Securities Law: Insider Trading
This report discusses various regulations regarding insider trading violations. Insider trading in securities may occur when a person in possession of material nonpublic information about a company trades in the company's securities and makes a profit or avoids a loss.
Changes in the Arctic: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides an overview of Arctic-related issues for Congress such as: Arctic sovereignty claims; commercial shipping through the Arctic; Arctic oil, gas, and mineral exploration; endangered Arctic species; and increased military operations in the Arctic that could cause the region in coming years to become an arena of international cooperation or competition.
Deficits and Debt: Economic Effects and Other Issues
This report explores distinctions in the concept and composition of deficits and debt, explains how these two measures interact, and discusses their possible effects on the economy. The combination of persistent budget deficits and a large and increasing federal debt has generated discussions over the long-term sustainability of current budget projections. Federal debt totaled $18.922 trillion at the end of calendar year 2015, and as a percentage of GDP is at its highest value since the end of World War II; $13.673 trillion of that debt was held by the public.
Navy Littoral Combat Ship (LCS)/Frigate Program: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and issues for Congress on the Navy's Littoral Combat Ship (LCS)/Frigate program, a program to procure a large number of LCSs and modified LCSs (frigates). The Navy's execution of the program has been a matter of congressional oversight attention for several years.
Ocean Energy Agency Appropriations, FY2016
This report discusses FY2016 appropriations for the Department of the Interior's (DOI's) Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), and Office of Natural Resources Revenue (ONRR)--the three agencies that collectively administer federal ocean energy resources covering more than 1.7 billion acres on the U.S. outer continental shelf (OCS).
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.
Is Biopower Carbon Neutral?
This report discusses biomass energy, or bioenergy, which may receive more attention from stakeholders as an alternative to fossil fuels because of its potential to minimize the environmental impacts of energy production, provide energy security, and promote economic development. The report discusses some factors taken into account when considering whether biopower is carbon neutral.
Congress and the Budget: 2016 Actions and Events
This report seeks to assist in (1) anticipating what federal budget-related actions might occur within the year 2016, and (2) staying abreast of budget actions that occur this year. It provides a general description of the recurrent types of budgetary actions, and reflects on current events that unfold in each category during 2016. In addition, it includes information on certain events that may affect Congress's work on the budget, such as the President's budget request and the Congressional Budget Office's budget and economic outlook.
Goldwater-Nichols and the Evolution of Officer Joint Professional Military Education (JPME)
This report focuses mainly on Joint Professional Military Education (JPME) requirements in the context of the reforms of the Goldwater-Nichols Act of 1986 that led to major changes in officer training and career development through the establishment of a joint management system. Although the report refers to joint officer assignments and promotions, it does not address the joint officer management system as a whole. The first sections provide background on joint education and the changes put in place by GNA. The following sections discuss the implementation and evolution of JPME over the past 30 years. The final section lays out some of the stakeholders' concerns and issues with the current state of JPME that Congress may consider as they conduct their GNA review.
U.S. Foreign Assistance to Latin America and the Caribbean: Recent Trends and FY2016 Appropriations
This report provides an overview of U.S. assistance to Latin America and the Caribbean. It analyzes historical and recent trends in aid to the region as well as the Obama Administration's FY2016 request for State Department and U.S Agency for International Development (USAID)-administered assistance. It also examines legislative developments on foreign aid appropriations for Latin America and the Caribbean in FY2016, and raises questions Congress may examine as it considers future appropriations for the region.
Egypt: Background and U.S. Relations
This report provides an overview of the key issues for Congress related to Egypt and U.S. foreign aid to Egypt. The United States has provided significant military and economic assistance to Egypt since the late 1970s. U.S. policymakers are now debating complex questions about the future of U.S.-Egypt relations, and these debates and events in Egypt are shaping consideration of appropriations and authorization legislation in the 114th Congress.
Overview of Labor Enforcement Issues in Free Trade Agreements
This report discusses free trade agreements (FTAs) that have enforceable labor provisions, grouped into four model types. It outlines the provisions for each and identifies two types of labor enforcement issues: (1) those that relate to the FTA provisions themselves, including their definitions and their enforceability, and (2) those that relate to executive branch responsibilities, such as resource availability and determining dispute settlement case priorities. This report does not address other labor issues in the various free trade agreements, including cooperative consultation and capacity-building provisions.
EPA Regulations: Too Much, Too Little, or On Track?
This report provides background information on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulatory activity during the Obama Administration. It examines major or controversial regulatory actions since January 2009, providing details on the regulatory action itself, presenting an estimated timeline for completion of rules not yet promulgated (including related court or statutory deadlines), and, in general, providing EPA's estimates of costs and benefits, where available. The report includes tables for rules under development, and an appendix that describes major or controversial rules that are now final.
Iran, Gulf Security, and U.S. Policy
This report discusses issues regarding Iran's political history and structure. It also takes a look at economic and defense policy responses for Congress, specifically focusing on Iran's nuclear capabilities.
Unauthorized Aliens, Higher Education, In-State Tuition, and Financial Aid: Legal Analysis
This report surveys key legal issues pertaining to unauthorized alien students' access to higher education, in-state tuition, and financial aid. The existence of a sizable population of "DREAMers" in the United States has prompted questions about these topics. The term DREAMer is widely used to describe aliens who were brought to the United States as children and raised in the U.S., but lack legal immigration status.
Legislative Actions to Repeal, Defund, or Delay the Affordable Care Act
This report provides background information and three tables summarizing legislative actions taken to repeal, defund, delay, or otherwise amend the Affordable Care Act (ACA) since it was enacted. Table 1 summarizes the ACA changes that have been signed into law. Table 2 lists all the House-passed ACA bills. Table 3 summarizes the ACA provisions in the vetoed reconciliation bill.