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Postsecondary Education Issues in the 113th Congress

Description: This report identifies and briefly examines several postsecondary education policy issue areas that may be of general interest. For each of these broader issue areas, the report provides a brief background summary and an introduction to and discussion of various aspects of the issue. Varied policy options are also identified for further consideration.
Date: November 7, 2013
Creator: Smole, David P.

U.S. Sanctions on Burma: Issues for the 113th Congress

Description: This report provides a brief history of U.S. policy towards Burma and the development of U.S. sanctions, a topical summary of those sanctions, and an overview of actions taken to waive or ease those sanctions by the Obama Administration. The report concludes with a discussion of actions taken by the 112th Congress and options for the 113th Congress.
Date: September 13, 2013
Creator: Martin, Michael F.

The FY2014 Government Shutdown: Economic Effects

Description: This report discusses the effects of the FY2014 government shutdown on the economy. It also reviews third-party estimates of the effects of the shutdown on the economy, which predicted a reduction in gross domestic product (GDP) growth of at least 0.1 percentage points for each week of the shutdown, with a cumulative effect of up to 0.6 percentage points in the fourth quarter of 2013.
Date: November 1, 2013
Creator: Labonte, Marc

Government Shutdown: Operations of the Department of Defense During a Lapse in Appropriations

Description: This report provides an overview of guidelines that have governed planning for Department of Defense (DOD) operations over the last 30 years in the event of a funding lapse. It also discusses the implications of the guidelines for a possible impending shutdown and briefly reviews what is known about current DOD planning for a shutdown.
Date: October 7, 2013
Creator: Towell, Pat & Belasco, Amy

American Jihadist Terrorism: Combating a Complex Threat

Description: This report describes homegrown violent jihadists and the plots and attacks that have occurred since 9/11. For this report, "homegrown" and "domestic" are terms that describe terrorist activity or plots perpetrated within the United States or abroad by American citizens, legal permanent residents, or visitors radicalized largely within the United States. The report also discusses the radicalization process and the forces driving violent extremist activity. It analyzes post-9/11 domestic jihadist terrorism and describes law enforcement and intelligence efforts to combat terrorism and the challenges associated with those efforts. It also outlines actions underway to build trust and partnership between community groups and government agencies and the tensions that may occur between law enforcement and engagement activities.
Date: September 20, 2013
Creator: Bjelopera, Jerome P.

U.S.-Mexico Water Sharing: Background and Recent Developments

Description: This report is a primer on U.S. and Mexican water-sharing topics. It focuses on surface water quantity sharing and recent developments, including drought conditions. Due to Mexico's recent below-target deliveries of Rio Grande water to the United States, particular attention is given to the status, underlying causes, and responses to the Rio Grande water debt. This report describes: legal obligations and processes under the 1944 Water Treaty; drought conditions from 2010 to 2013; water sharing and developments in the Colorado River Basin; water sharing in the Rio Grande Basin and Mexico's water debt; and stakeholder, diplomatic, and legislative responses to Mexico's Rio Grande water debt.
Date: November 19, 2013
Creator: Carter, Nicole T.; Seelke, Clare Ribando & Shedd, Daniel T.

Iran Sanctions

Description: This report analyzes U.S. and international sanctions against Iran and provides examples of companies and countries that conduct business with Iran, based on a wide range of open-source reporting.
Date: October 11, 2013
Creator: Katzman, Kenneth

Presidential Permits for Border Crossing Energy Facilities

Description: This report discusses the executive orders regarding the construction, operation, and maintenance of facilities that cross the U.S.-Mexico or U.S.- Canada border, including the source of the executive branch authority to issue the orders, the standards set forth in the orders, and the projects approved pursuant to the orders.
Date: October 29, 2013
Creator: Vann, Adam & Parfomak, Paul W.

Navy Force Structure and Shipbuilding Plans: Background and Issues for Congress

Description: This report provides background information and presents potential 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. Decisions that Congress makes on Navy shipbuilding programs can substantially affect Navy capabilities and funding requirements, and the U.S. shipbuilding industrial base.
Date: November 8, 2013
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald

Navy Ohio Replacement (SSBN[X]) Ballistic Missile Submarine Program: Background and Issues for Congress

Description: This report provides background information and potential oversight issues for Congress on the Ohio replacement program (ORP), a program to design and build a new class of 12 ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) to replace the Navy's current force of 14 Ohio-class SSBNs. This report focuses on the Ohio replacement program as a Navy shipbuilding program.
Date: October 22, 2013
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald

Multiyear Procurement (MYP) and Block Buy Contracting in Defense Acquisition: Background and Issues for Congress

Description: This report provides background information and issues for Congress on multiyear procurement (MYP) and block buy contracting (BBC),1 which are special contracting mechanisms that Congress permits the Department of Defense (DOD) to use for a limited number of defense acquisition programs. Compared to the standard or default approach of annual contracting, MYP and BBC have the potential for reducing weapon procurement costs by several percent.
Date: October 29, 2013
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald & Schwartz, Moshe

Sovereign Debt in Advanced Economies: Overview and Issues for Congress

Description: This report discusses sovereign debt, which is also called public debt or government debt, and refers to debt incurred by governments. The first section provides background information on sovereign debt, including why governments borrow, how sovereign debt differs from private debt, why governments repay their debt (or not), and how sovereign debt is measured. The second section examines the shift of concerns over sovereign debt sustainability from emerging markets in the 1990s and 2000s to advanced economies following the global financial crisis of 2008-2009, and the challenges posed by high debt levels. The third section analyzes the different policy options governments have for lowering debt levels. It also discusses the current strategy being used by most advanced economies -- fiscal austerity -- and concerns that have been raised about its global impact. Finally, the fourth section analyzes issues of particular interest to Congress, including comparisons between U.S. and European debt levels, how efforts to reduce debt levels could impact the U.S. economy, and policy options available to Congress for engaging on this issue.
Date: October 28, 2013
Creator: Nelson, Rebecca M.

Government Shutdown: Operations of the Department of Defense During a Lapse in Appropriations

Description: This report provides an overview of guidelines that have governed planning for Department of Defense (DOD) operations over the last 30 years in the event of a funding lapse. It also discusses the implications of the guidelines for a possible impending shutdown and briefly reviews what is known about current DOD planning for a shutdown.
Date: October 15, 2013
Creator: Belasco, Amy & Towell, Pat

The Debt Limit: History and Recent Increases

Description: This report discusses how the total debt of the federal government can increase, an historical overview of debt limits, and how the current economic slowdown has led to higher deficits and thereby a series of debt limit increases, as well as legislation related to these increases.
Date: October 15, 2013
Creator: Austin, D. Andrew & Levit, Mindy R.

Women in the United States Congress: Historical Overview, Tables, and Discussion

Description: This report includes a discussion of the impact of women in Congress as well as historical information, including the number and percentage of women in Congress over time, means of entry to Congress, comparisons to international and state legislatures, records for tenure, firsts for women in Congress, women in leadership, and African American and Asian Pacific American women in Congress.
Date: September 26, 2013
Creator: Manning, Jennifer E.; Shogan, Colleen J. & Brudnick, Ida A.

Oman: Reform, Security, and U.S. Policy

Description: 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, the last of which seems incongruous with the other positive aspects of Oman's relationship with the U.S.
Date: September 24, 2013
Creator: Katzman, Kenneth

Army Corps of Engineers: Water Resource Authorizations, Appropriations, and Activities

Description: This report summarizes congressional authorization and appropriations processes for the Corps. It also discusses agency activities under general authorities. Congress directs the Corps through authorizations, appropriations, and oversight of its studies, construction projects, and other activities.
Date: October 18, 2013
Creator: Carter, Nicole T. & Stern, Charles V.