Congressional Research Service Reports - Browse

Overview of Federal Housing Assistance Programs and Policy
This report provides an overview of the history and evolution of federal housing assistance policy, a description of today's major federal housing assistance programs, and a discussion of issues and trends in federal housing assistance policy.
Small Business Management and Technical Assistance Training Programs
This report examines the historical development of federal small business management and technical assistance training programs; describes their current structures, operations, and budgets; and assesses their administration and oversight and the measures used to determine their effectiveness. It also discusses several bills introduced during the 111th and 112th Congresses that would have authorized changes to the SBA's management and technical assistance training programs in an effort to improve their performance and oversight.
Senate Committees: Categories and Rules for Committee Assignments
This report outlines information about the senate Rule XXV and party conference rules that address committee assignments.
Immigration Policies and Issues on Health-Related Grounds for Exclusion
This report discusses the criteria that foreign nationals must meet before admission to the United States including the reasons why a foreign national might be denied admission, most particularly on health-related grounds. It describes this issue in relation to the recent outbreak of the 2009 H1N1 ("swine flu") virus, and how the outbreak has affected various government agencies, such as the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). This report also discusses efforts to confront and address related issues on a legislative front.
Commercial Filming and Photography on Federal Lands
This report discusses the requirements of commercial filming and photography in federal lands, such as national parks, forests, wildlife refuges, ranges, and other landscapes that are popular locations for motion pictures and commercial photography.
Peace Talks in Colombia
This report provides background on Colombia's armed conflict and describes its key players. It briefly analyzes prior negotiations with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the lessons learned from those efforts that apply to the current talks. It examines what has transpired in the talks that have now lasted for more than a year and a half, considers some of the constraints that could limit the success of the peace talks, and looks at the prospects for the current negotiations.
Executive Orders: Issuance, Modification, and Revocation
This report reviews the "definition" of an executive order and how it is distinguishable from other written instruments, and then provides an overview of the President's constitutional authority to issue such directives. Next, the report discusses the legal framework relied on by the courts to analyze the validity of presidential actions, and also discusses the roles of the President and Congress in modifying and revoking executive orders.
Ukraine: Current Issues and U.S. Policy
This report offers background information on Ukraine's current political and economic situation, and foreign policy towards NATO, the European Union, and Russia. It also discusses U.S. policy, U.S. aid to Ukraine, the congressional response, and related legislation.
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.
The Amending Process in the Senate
This report is intended to provide an overview of the fundamentals of the Senate amendment process. It summarizes many of the rules, precedents, and practices of the Senate affecting the consideration of amendments to measures on the floor.
Survivor Benefits for Families of Civilian Federal Employees and Retirees
This report discusses federal employees with permanent appointments that may be eligible for retirement and disability benefits under either the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) or the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS).
Defense Surplus Equipment Disposal: Background Information
This report discusses the Department of Defense (DOD) policy for disposing of items via the Defense Utilization and Marketing Service (DRMS); this method is used for government equipment and supplies considered surplus or deemed unnecessary to the agency's currently designated mission. The report focuses on DRMS background, as well as the most recent DRMS policy modifications.
The Federal Prison Population Buildup: Overview, Policy Changes, Issues, and Options
This report explores the issues related to the growing federal prison population.
Guam: U.S. Defense Deployments
This report discusses the strategic significance of Guam for defense buildup and the force relocation and deployments from the U.S. mainland. It also discusses the concerns and issues for Congress, such as allies and partners, relations with China, and legislation.
Moldova: Background and U.S. Policy
This report provides information and analysis on Moldova, including its political and economic situation, foreign policy, and U.S. policy toward Moldova.
Afghanistan: Politics, Elections, and Government Performance
This report discusses the current political state of Afghanistan and the Afghan government. It also discusses Afghanistan's relationship with the United States, particularly U.S. efforts to urge President Hamid Karzai to address corruption within the Afghan government.
What Is the Farm Bill?
This report discusses the farm bill, which is an omnibus, multi-year piece of authorizing legislation that governs an array of agricultural and food programs.
FY2015 Budget Documents: Internet and GPO Availability
This report provides brief descriptions of the budget volumes and related documents, together with Internet addresses, Government Printing Office (GPO) stock numbers, and prices for obtaining print copies of these publications. It also explains how to find the locations of government depository libraries, which can provide both printed copies for reference use and Internet access to the online versions.
Military Uniform Procurement: Questions and Answers
This report discusses military uniform procurement through the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), an agency of the Department of Defense.
Dominican Republic: Background and U.S. Relations
This report provides background information on political and economic conditions in the Dominican Republic, as well as an overview of some of the key issues in U.S.-Dominican relations
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 the Peace Corps has the institutional capacity to expand, and whether volunteers are able to function in a safe and secure environment.
Kuwait: Security, Reform, and U.S. Policy
This report looks at Kuwait's relationships with its neighbors in the Persian Gulf and its own political system which has been in turmoil since 2006.
House Committee on Ethics: A Brief History of Its Evolution and Jurisdiction
This report briefly outlines the background of ethics enforcement in the House of Representatives, including the creation of both the Select Committee on Ethics and the Committee on Ethics. The report also focuses on various jurisdictional and procedural changes that the House Committee on Ethics has experienced since 1967, and discusses the committee's current jurisdiction and procedures.
Same-Sex Marriage: A Legal Background After United States v. Windsor
This report discusses the recognition of same-sex marriage that generates debate on both the federal and state levels.
Azerbaijan: Recent Developments and U.S. Interests
This report covers the recent history of Azerbaijan and the purposes for U.S. assistance, according to the Obama Administration. Azerbaijan has been a useful ally since the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, granting over-flight rights to the U.S. and approving numerous landings in their civilian airport.
The DHS S&T Directorate: Selected Issues for Congress
This report provides a brief overview of the Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate's mission, organization, and budgetary structure; a discussion of selected critiques of the S&T Directorate; and an analysis of selected issues facing congressional policymakers.
Conservation Reserve Program (CRP): Status and Issues
This report discusses the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) enacted in 1985, which provides payments to farmers to take highly erodible or environmentally-sensitive cropland out of production for ten years or more to conserve soil and water resources.
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.
Social Media in the House of Representatives: Frequently Asked Questions
This report answers several questions about the regulation of social media accounts in the House of Representatives.
Advance Appropriations, Forward Funding, and Advance Funding: Concepts, Practice, and Budget Process Considerations
This report discusses the federal programs that are funded through the annual appropriations process in regular appropriations acts, which may typically obligate those funds during a period that starts at the beginning of that fiscal year.
Security Assistance Reform: "Section 1206" Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background on the pre-Section 1206 status of security assistance authorities and the factors contributing to the enactment of Section 1206. It then sets out the purposes of the legislation and scope of its activities, restrictions on its use, the Department of Defense (DOD0-State Department planning process, and funding. It concludes with a discussion of issues for Congress.
S. 2262, Shaheen-Portman Bill 2014: Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act
This report reviews the provisions of S. 2262, highlights the most controversial bill provision, and identifies potential amendments to the bill.
Cluster Munitions: Background and Issues for Congress
This report discusses the background of cluster munitions in the U.S. military, and the current Department of Defense (DOD) and Obama Administration stances on the topic. It also discusses the two major international initiatives to address cluster munitions: the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) and negotiations under the U.N. Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW).
Federal Grants to State and Local Governments: An Historical Perspective on Contemporary Issues
This report provides a historical synopsis of the evolving nature of the federal grants-in-aid system, focusing on the role Congress has played in defining the system's scope and nature. It begins with an overview of the contemporary federal grants-in-aid system and then examines its evolution over time, focusing on the internal and external factors that have influenced congressional decisions concerning the system's development. It concludes with an assessment of the scope and nature of the contemporary federal grants-in-aid system and raises several issues for congressional consideration, including possible ways to augment congressional capacity to provide effective oversight of this system.
Federal Employees' Retirement System: Benefits and Financing
This report discusses the retirement systems in place for federal employees including the Civil Service Retirement System (for employees hired before 1984) and the Federal Employees' Retirement System (for employees hired in 1984 or later). Both programs require participants to contribute toward the cost of their pensions through a payroll tax. This report also summarizes relevant legislation in the 113th Congress that would make significant changes to federal benefits and financing, including H.J.Res. 59, S. 18, S. 1678, and H.R. 3639.
Perjury Under Federal Law: A Sketch of the Elements
This report discusses the three general federal perjury laws. It is an abbreviated version of CRS Report 98-808, Perjury Under Federal Law: A Brief Overview, by Charles Doyle, stripped of most footnotes, quotations, citations, and bibliography.
Immigration Detainers: Legal Issues
This report provides background information regarding the Immigration and Naturalization Service rules and regulations and discusses the "immigration detainer," a document by which U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) advises other law enforcement agencies that it seeks custody of individual aliens whom these agencies are detaining.
Congressional Primer on Responding to Major Disasters and Emergencies
This report covers the role of the government in disaster management. While the disaster response and recovery process is fundamentally a relationship between the federal government and the requesting state government, there are roles for congressional offices to play in providing information to the federal/state response and recovery teams in their respective states and districts, and as a source of accurate and timely information to their constituents.
Obstruction of Justice: An Abridged Overview of Related Federal Criminal Laws
This report briefly discusses obstruction of justice, which is defined as the frustration of governmental purposes by violence, corruption, destruction of evidence, or deceit. This is an abridged version of CRS Report RL34304, Obstruction of Justice: An Overview of Some of the Federal Statutes That Prohibit Interference with Judicial, Executive, or Legislative Activities, by Charles Doyle, without the footnotes, quotations, or citations to authority found in the longer report.
Declarations of War and Authorizations for the Use of Military Force: Historical Background and Legal Implications
This report provides historical background on the enactment of declarations of war and authorizations for the use of force and analyzes their legal effects under international and domestic law. It also sets forth their texts in two appendices. The report includes an extensive listing and summary of statutes that are triggered by a declaration of war, a declaration of national emergency, and/or the existence of a state of war. The report concludes with a summary of the congressional procedures applicable to the enactment of a declaration of war or authorization for the use of force and to measures under the War Powers Resolution.
Congressional Liaison Offices of Selected Federal Agencies
This report provides a list of roughly 200 congressional liaison offices with phone numbers, addresses, and other contact information.
Legislative Options for Financing Water Infrastructure
This report discusses several options being considered by Congress to address the financing needs of local communities for wastewater and drinking water infrastructure projects, and to decrease or close the gap between available funds and projected needs.
Analysis of Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) in the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS)
This report outlines the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and the current Renewable Identification Numbers (RIN) system, discusses the current market for various RINs, and outlines policy considerations to address RIN fraud going forward.
Analysis of S. 2198: Emergency Drought Relief Act of 2014
This report discusses S. 2198, which would address drought impacts in California and other states, and assist with drought response.
Internet Domain Names: Background and Policy Issues
This report discusses the Domain Name System (DNS), which is the distributed set of databases that contain address numbers mapped to corresponding domain names, making it possible to send and receive messages and to access information on the Internet. The report includes background on the DNS and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) that manages the servies, as well as related issues for the 113th Congress.
"Sense of" Resolutions and Provisions
This report discusses the "Sense of" resolutions, which are considered under the normal legislative processes of each chamber applicable to any other legislative vehicle.
Congressional Liaison Offices of Selected Federal Agencies
This report provides a list of roughly 200 congressional liaison offices with phone numbers, addresses, and other contact information.
Asian Pacific Americans in the United States Congress
This report presents information on Senators, Representatives, and Delegates, including previous occupations and leadership positions (such as committee and subcommittee chairmanships), and the bipartisan and bicameral Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus. It also provides a list of Members' and Delegates' party affiliations, length and dates of service, and committee assignments. Also included in the report is a map showing the total number of Asian Pacific Americans and the states or territories they represent in the 113th Congress.
Guam: U.S. Defense Deployments
This report discusses the strategic significance of Guam for defense buildup and the force relocation and deployments from the U.S. mainland. It also discusses the concerns and issues for Congress, such as allies and partners, relations with China, and legislation.
Changes in the Arctic: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides an overview of Arctic-related issues for Congress and refers readers to more in-depth CRS reports on specific relevant topics.