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Navy Virginia (SSN-774) Class Attack Submarine Procurement: Background and Issues for Congress

Description: This report provides background information and oversight issues for Congress on the Virginia-class nuclear-powered attack submarine (SSN) program. The Navy's proposed FY2012 budget requests procurement funding for the 15th and 16th Virginia-class boats, and advance procurement (AP) funding for Virginia-class boats to be procured in future years. Decisions that Congress makes on procurement of Virginia-class boats could substantially affect U.S. Navy capabilities and funding requirements, and the U.S. shipbuilding industrial base.
Date: February 24, 2011
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald

War Powers Resolution: Presidential Compliance

Description: This report gives a summary of the usage of the War Powers Resolution (WPR) and various issues related to proposals to modify or repeal the resolution. The report summarizes the most recent developments and background, and gives an overview of United Nations actions, and WPR activities in former Yugoslavia/Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq (post-1991), Haiti, and Somalia. It also includes commentary on the instances formally reported under the WPR, the requirement for consultation with Congress, and the current issues which Congress is considering.
Date: September 25, 2012
Creator: Grimmett, Richard F.

Section 179 and Bonus Depreciation Expensing Allowances: Current Law, Legislative Proposals in the 112th Congress, and Economic Effects

Description: This report examines the current status, legislative history, and economic effects of the two expensing allowances (Section 179 and Bonus Depreciation Allowance) and also discusses initiatives in the 112th Congress to modify them. Expensing is the most accelerated form of depreciation for tax purposes. Section 179 of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) allows a taxpayer to expense up to $125,000 of the total cost of new and used qualified depreciable assets it buys and places in service in 2012, within certain limits. In addition, Section 168(k) generally allows taxpayers to expense half the cost of qualified assets bought and placed in service in 2012.
Date: August 14, 2012
Creator: Guenther, Gary

Section 179 and Bonus Depreciation Expensing Allowances: Current Law, Legislative Proposals in the 112th Congress, and Economic Effects

Description: This report examines the current status, legislative history, and economic effects of the two expensing allowances (Section 179 and Bonus Depreciation Allowance) and also discusses initiatives in the 112th Congress to modify them. Expensing is the most accelerated form of depreciation for tax purposes. Section 179 of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) allows a taxpayer to expense up to $125,000 of the total cost of new and used qualified depreciable assets it buys and places in service in 2012, within certain limits. In addition, Section 168(k) generally allows taxpayers to expense half the cost of qualified assets bought and placed in service in 2012.
Date: September 10, 2012
Creator: Guenther, Gary

Presidential Appointments, the Senate's Confirmation Process, and Changes Made in the 112th Congress

Description: This report provides information on presidential appointments in the executive and judicial branch including a brief background on advice and consent issues, an overview of the appointment process in both the executive and legislative branches, and a brief discussion of recent concerns about the system. Also, the report explores the events in the 112th Congress leading up to the introduction and passage of two measures purported to make the appointment process easier and quicker, and it concludes with an analysis of the two measures.
Date: October 9, 2012
Creator: Carey, Maeve P.

Unemployment: Issues in the 112th Congress

Description: This report briefly reviews the situation in the 2012 labor market, expands on the policy steps taken to date, and analyzes policy issues that typically arise during consideration of stimulus legislation. Three policy issues are examined: whether to take additional measures to increase jobs, what measures might be most effective, and how job creation proposals should be financed.
Date: October 5, 2012
Creator: Gravelle, Jane G.; Hungerford, Thomas L. & Levine, Linda

Tax Reform: An Overview of Proposals in the 112th Congress

Description: This report gives an overview of tax reform issues. The President and leading members of Congress have stated that fundamental tax reform is a major policy objective for the 112th Congress. Some Members have said that fundamental tax reform is needed in order to raise a large amount of additional revenue, which is necessary to reduce high forecast budget deficits and the sharply rising national debt. Congressional interest has been expressed in both a major overhaul of the U.S. tax system and the feasibility of levying a consumption tax.
Date: October 26, 2012
Creator: Bickley, James M.

America COMPETES 2010 and the FY2013 Budget

Description: This report discusses the 112th Congress' possible changes to the implementation of the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010. Signed on January 4, 2011, this law seeks to improve U.S. competitiveness and innovation by authorizing, among other things, increased federal support for research in the physical sciences and engineering; and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. The specific debate about FY2013 funding for America COMPETES 2010 provisions will occur within the broader context of the national conversation about U.S. competitiveness.
Date: October 9, 2012
Creator: Gonzalez, Heather B.

Armed Conflict in Syria: U.S. and International Response

Description: This report looks at the recent conflict in Syria, particularly casualty estimates and an assessment of possible future scenarios. A large part of the report looks at U.S. policy towards Syria, including how Congress will handle humanitarian dilemmas, security of Syrian Weapons of Mass Destruction, and how the country is open to opportunities for terrorism recruitment. It also looks at key developments that have occurred during the conflict, including support of the Asad government, political dynamics, and minority communities. The report ends with a look at the Syrian economy and current/possible sanctions.
Date: August 21, 2012
Creator: Sharp, Jeremy M. & Blanchard, Christopher M.

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Meetings in Vladivostok, Russia: A Preview

Description: Russia will host the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation's (APEC) week-long series of senior-level meetings in Vladivostok on September 2-9, 2012. The main event for the week will be the 20th APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting to be held September 8-9, 2012. This report looks at the main points of this meeting as they relate to the U.S.
Date: August 16, 2012
Creator: Martin, Michael F.

Authority of State and Local Police to Enforce Federal Immigration Law

Description: This report discusses the authority of state and local law enforcement to assist in the enforcement of federal immigration law through the investigation and arrest of persons believed to have violated such laws. It describes current provisions in federal law that permit state and local police to enforce immigration law directly; analyzes major cases concerning the ability of states and localities to assist in immigration enforcement, including the Supreme Court's ruling in Arizona v. United States; and briefly examines opinions on the issue by the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) within the Department of Justice. This report does not discuss legal issues raised by state and local measures intended to supplement federal immigration laws through the imposition of additional criminal or civil penalties.
Date: September 10, 2012
Creator: Garcia, Michael John & Manuel, Kate M.

Budget "Sequestration" and Selected Program Exemptions and Special Rules

Description: This report looks at the history and current status of sequestration at it relates to Congress, including how it is enacted and special rules that can apply. "Sequestration" is a process of automatic, largely across-the-board spending reductions under which budgetary resources are permanently canceled to enforce certain budget policy goals.
Date: August 9, 2012
Creator: Spar, Karen

Chinese Tire Imports: Section 421 Safeguards and the World Trade Organization (WTO)

Description: This report discusses World Trade Organization (WTO) safeguards provisions contained in Article XIX of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and the Agreement on Safeguards; the WTO China-specific safeguard and how it differs from preexisting WTO provisions; authorities and procedures set out in Section 421 of the Trade Act of 1974; the International Trade Commission (ITC) determination and the President's decision to provide relief in the 2009 China tires case; and China's WTO case against the U.S. tire safeguard.
Date: August 24, 2012
Creator: Grimmett, Jeanne J.

China Naval Modernization: Implications for U.S. Navy Capabilities—Background and Issues for Congress

Description: This report focuses on the implications that certain elements of China's military modernization may have for future required U.S. Navy capabilities. The issue for Congress addressed in this report is: How should China's military modernization be factored into decisions about U.S. Navy programs? Congress's decisions on this issue could significantly affect future U.S. Navy capabilities, U.S. Navy funding requirements, and the U.S. defense industrial base, including the shipbuilding industry.
Date: January 20, 2011
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald

Federal Civil Aviation Programs: An Overview

Description: This report focuses on Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Department of Transportation (DOT) civil aviation programs addressed in the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (P.L. 112-95), enacted on February 14, 2012, which authorizes AATF taxes and revenue collections and civil aviation program expenditures through FY2015. Programs for these agencies are funded primarily through a special trust fund, the airport and airways trust fund (AATF), and, in part, through general fund contributions.
Date: October 17, 2012
Creator: Elias, Bart

The Federal Communications Commission: Current Structure and Its Role in the Changing Telecommunications Landscape

Description: The report discusses the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)-Related Congressional Actions in the 112th Congress. The policymakers, including some in Congress, have long called for varying degrees and types of reform to the FCC. Most proposals fall into two categories: (1) procedural changes made within the FCC or through congressional action that would affect the agency's operations or (2) substantive policy changes requiring congressional action that would affect how the agency regulates different services and industry sectors.
Date: February 21, 2012
Creator: Moloney Figliola, Patricia

Employment for Veterans: Trends and Programs

Description: This report discusses veterans' employment trends and programs. The first section presents data on veterans' employment outcomes, identifying recent trends, and discussing issues to consider when interpreting veterans' employment data. The following sections present brief discussions of existing programs that provide employment-related services to veterans. These services are divided into (1) general programs that are broadly available to veterans, (2) programs that target veterans with service-connected disabilities, and (3) competitive grant programs that provide additional employment-related services to veterans but may be limited in scope or availability.
Date: October 23, 2012
Creator: Collins, Benjamin; Bradley, David H.; Dortch, Cassandria; Kapp, Lawrence & Scott, Christine

Extending Unemployment Compensation Benefits During Recessions

Description: This report describes the history of temporary federal extensions to unemployment benefits from 1980 to the present. It has five sections which discuss: [1] background information on unemployment compensation (UC) benefits, [2] a definition of a recession and the process of declaring a recession, [3] a summary of the legislative history of federal extensions of unemployment benefits, [4] figures examining the statistics of recessions, and [5] previous methods for financing temporary recession programs.
Date: September 13, 2012
Creator: Whittaker, Julie M. & Isaacs, Katelin P.

Extending Unemployment Compensation Benefits During Recessions

Description: This report describes the history of temporary federal extensions to unemployment benefits from 1980 to the present. It has five sections which discuss: [1] background information on unemployment compensation (UC) benefits, [2] a definition of a recession and the process of declaring a recession, [3] a summary of the legislative history of federal extensions of unemployment benefits, [4] figures examining the statistics of recessions, and [5] previous methods for financing temporary recession programs.
Date: October 11, 2012
Creator: Whittaker, Julie M. & Isaacs, Katelin P.

Egypt: Background and U.S. Relations

Description: This report provides an overview of Egyptian politics and current issues in U.S.-Egyptian relations. It briefly provides a political history of modern Egypt, an overview of its political institutions, and a discussion of the prospects for democratization in Egypt. U.S.-Egyptian relations are complex and multi-faceted, and this report addresses the following current topics: the Arab-Israeli peace process, Iraq, terrorism, democratization and reform, human rights, trade, and military cooperation.
Date: September 13, 2012
Creator: Sharp, Jeremy M.