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Millennium Challenge Corporation
This report discusses the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) which provides economic assistance through a competitive selection process to developing nations that demonstrate positive performance in three areas: ruling justly, investing in people, and fostering economic freedom.
The Zika Outbreak Is Declared a Public Health Emergency in Puerto Rico
This report provides background on the Zika virus (ZIKV) -- first recognized in Uganda in 1947 -- which emerged in South America early in 2015. It also specifically discusses the authority to declare a public health emergency in relation to Zika.
Terrorist Material Support: An Overview of 18 U.S.C. §2339A and §2339B
This report discusses the two federal material support statutes that have been at the heart of the Justice Department's terrorist prosecution efforts. One provision outlaws providing material support for the commission of certain designated offenses that might be committed by terrorists (18 U.S.C. 2339A); the other outlaws providing material support to certain designated terrorist organizations (18 U.S.C. 2339B). They share a common definition of the term "material support," some aspects of which have recently come under constitutional attack.
Expedited Procedures Governing Senate Consideration of Legislation Waiving a Restriction Related to the Military Service of the Secretary of Defense
This report discusses the Section 179 of the Further Continuing and Security Assistance Appropriations Act, 2017 (P.L. 114-254), which establishes expedited or "fast track" parliamentary procedures governing Senate consideration of legislation that would waive a legal restriction related to the prior military service of the Secretary of Defense.
The Budget Reconciliation Process: Stages of Consideration
This report discusses the budget reconciliation process which allows Congress to use an expedited procedure when considering legislation that would bring existing spending, revenue, and debt limit laws into compliance with current fiscal priorities established in the annual budget resolution.
U.S. Trade with Free Trade Agreement (FTA) Partners
This report presents data on U.S. merchandise (goods) trade with its Free Trade Agreement (FTA) partner countries. The data are presented to show bilateral trade balances for individual FTA partners and groups of countries representing such major agreements as the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Central American Free Trade Agreement and Dominican Republic (CAFTA-DR) relative to total U.S. trade balances.
International Insurance Issues and H.R. 5143
This report discusses the international response to the financial crisis, which included the creation of a Financial Stability Board (FSB) largely made up of various national financial regulators and the increased focus by the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS).
Navy Columbia Class (Ohio Replacement) Ballistic Missile Submarine (SSBN[X]) Program: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and potential oversight issues for Congress on the Columbia class program, previously known as the Ohio replacement program (ORP) or SSBN(X) program, 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.
Questions of Privilege in the House
This report describes and discusses the difference between privileged business and questions of privilege.
Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) Negotiations: Overview and Issues for Congress
This report provides a brief overview of U.S. trade in services, background on services in U.S. trade agreements, and an in-depth discussion of the ongoing Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) negotiations.
Military Benefits for Former Spouses: Legislation and Policy Issues
The purpose of this report is to provide a general discussion of legislative provisions and proposals relating to the military benefits for former spouses.
Display of the Confederate Flag at Federal Cemeteries in the United States
This report discusses policies regarding the display of the Confederate Flag at national cemeteries. If a state observes a Confederate Memorial Day, National Park Service (NPS) cemeteries in the state may permit a sponsoring group to decorate the graves of Confederate veterans with small Confederate flags. Additionally, such flags may also be displayed on the nationally observed Memorial Day, to accompany the U.S. flag on the graves of Confederate veterans.
How Treasury Issues Debt
This report examines Treasury's debt management practices, focusing on the auction process, how prices and interest rates of securities are determined, and the role of market participants in the process. It also addresses the role of debt plays in influencing present and future budget outcomes.
The Trump-Tsai Call and the United States' "Unofficial" Relationship with Taiwan
This report discusses the controversy over the President-elect Donald J. Trump's telephone call with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen on December 2, 2016.
U.S. Policy on Cuban Migrants: In Brief
This report discusses the U.S. policy on Cuban migration that has been shaped by a 1966 law known as the Cuban Adjustment Act, as amended, and U.S.-Cuban migration agreements signed in the mid-1990s, operating in conjunction with the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
What Is Manufacturing? Why Does the Definition Matter
This report discusses provisions that define manufacturing as the process of physically transforming goods and the importance of such provisions in federal law.
The Federal Food Safety System: A Primer
This report discusses concerns about food safety, the resources required to ensure food safety, and whether federal food safety laws themselves, first enacted in the early 1900s, have kept pace with the significant changes that have occurred in the food production, processing, and marketing sectors since then.
Navy Irregular Warfare and Counterterrorism Operations: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and potential issues for Congress on the Navy's irregular warfare (IW) and counterterrorism (CT) operations. The Navy's IW and CT activities pose a number of potential oversight issues for Congress, including how much emphasis to place on IW and CT activities in future Navy budgets.
The "Waters of the United States" Rule: Legislative Options and 114th Congress Responses
This report discusses legislative activity in the 114th Congress regarding a major regulatory initiative related to the "waters of the United States" rule. Despite the court's stay of the rule, some in Congress favor halting the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) and the Corps' current approach to defining "waters of the United States."
U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policy: Considering "No First Use"
This report have discusses the benefits and risks of the U.S. nuclear weapons policy, known as a "no first use" pledge. U.S. officials have repeatedly stated that the United States could, under certain circumstances, use nuclear weapons against a state, even if the latter has not already done so.
Waiver of Statutory Qualifications Relating to Prior Military Service of the Secretary of Defense
This report discusses the status of the Secretary of Defense, who has authority, direction, and control over the Department of Defense, as a civilian appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate.
DOD Security Cooperation: An Overview of Authorities and Issues
This report provides a general overview of current Department of Defense (DOD) Title 10 authorities to assist foreign governments, militaries, security forces, and populations funded by the DOD budget. It presents background information; provides summary overviews of nine categories of security cooperation assistance and activities; and discusses recent issues related to the development, implementation, sustainment, and coordination of security cooperation to support continuing congressional oversight.
Zika Testing Poses Challenges for Blood Centers
This report discusses the updated guidance recommending that all U.S. blood centers begin testing donations for Zika virus (ZIKV) using an investigational test cleared by FDA.
Women in Combat: Issues for Congress
This report looks at the history of women in US military roles and combat since the 1990s and discusses critics' views of exclusionary policy as a civil rights issue. Over the past two decades of conflict, women have served with valor and continue to serve on combat aircraft, naval vessels, and in support of ground combat operations. The expansion of roles for women in the armed forces has evolved since the early days of the military when women were restricted by law and policy from serving in certain occupations and units.
Federal Workforce Statistics Sources: OPM and OMB
This report describes online tools, reports, and data compilations created by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) that contain statistics about federal employees and the federal workforce. The report also describes key characteristics of each resource and briefly discusses selected methodological differences, with the intention of facilitating the selection of appropriate data for specific purposes.
Presidential Appointee Positions Requiring Senate Confirmation and Committees Handling Nominations
This report identifies, by Senate committee, presidentially-appointed positions requiring Senate confirmation based on referrals as of the date of passage of S. 679, which became P.L. 112-166 on August 10, 2012.
Defense Authorization and Appropriations Bills: FY1970-FY2017
This report is a research aid that lists the Department of Defense (DOD) authorization bills (Table 1) and appropriations bills (Table 2) for FY1970-FY2017. This report includes all the pertinent information on the passage of these bills through the legislative process: bill numbers, report numbers, dates reported and passed, recorded vote numbers and vote tallies, dates of passage of the conference reports with their numbers and votes, vetoes, substitutions, dates of final passage, and public law numbers.
Nuclear Cooperation with Other Countries: A Primer
This report discusses section 123 of the Atomic Energy Act (AEA), the specific requirements of which must be met in order for the United States to engage in civilian nuclear cooperation with other states. The AEA also provides for exemptions to these requirements, export control licensing procedures, and criteria for terminating cooperation.
Supreme Court: Length of the Scalia Vacancy in Historical Context
This report provides data and analysis related to the potential length of the current vacancy on the Supreme Court caused by the death of Antonin Scalia on February 13, 2016. Specifically, this report provides the number of days the Scalia vacancy will have existed on specified future dates if a nominee has not been confirmed.
An Introduction to Judicial Review of Federal Agency Action
This report provides a broad overview of the issues that may be relevant to any number of present and future challenges to agency action in federal court.
"Fiscal Space" and the Federal Budget
This report discusses plans for the federal budget and the concept of "fiscal space," or the amount of room available for additional government borrowing.
Military Retirement: Background and Recent Developments
This report discusses the military retirement system. The system currently includes monthly compensation for qualified active and reserve retirees, disability benefits for those deemed medically unfit to serve, and a survivor annuity program for the eligible survivors of deceased retirees.
U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF): Background and Issues for Congress
This report discusses Special Operations Forces (SOF), which play a significant role in U.S. military operations and, in recent years, have been given greater responsibility for planning and conducting worldwide counterterrorism operations. A potential issue for Congress is the Administration's decision to send U.S. SOF forces to Syria.
EPA's Mid-Term Evaluation of Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards
This report discusses the standards set by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for fuel economy and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for new light-duty vehicles (defined generally as passenger cars and light trucks).
The Federal Budget Deficit and the Business Cycle
This report discusses the annual federal budget deficit, which has fallen significantly over the course of the current economic expansion, from a high of 9.8% of gross domestic product (GDP) in FY2009 to 3.2% of GDP in FY2016
EPA's Mid-Term Evaluation of Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards
This report discusses the standards for fuel economy and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for new light-duty vehicles.
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).
The Essential Neil Gorsuch Reader: What Judge Gorsuch Cases Should You Read?
This report discusses President Trump's nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court and deliberation by Senators as part of the initial phases of determining whether to provide "Advice and Consent" to the nomination.
Agency Final Rules Submitted on or After June 13, 2016, May Be Subject to Disapproval by the 115th Congress
This report discusses the possibility of the new Congress and the new President to overturn agency final rules of the Obama Administration issued after early June 2016.
Internet Sales and State Taxes: Policy Issues
This report discusses Internet sales, which do not always include sales and use tax. Customers who do not pay sales or use tax to the vendor are typically required to remit the tax to their home state.
Navy John Lewis (TAO-205) Class Oiler Shipbuilding Program: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and issues for Congress on the John Lewis (TAO-205) class oiler shipbuilding program, a program to build a new class of 17 fleet oilers for the Navy.
Creating a Federal Advisory Committee in the Executive Branch
This report report provides a brief overview on how Congress can establish federal advisory committees, and provides some considerations as to why a federal advisory committee may or may not be an appropriate mechanism to assist a particular policy or funding question. The report also explores why Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) may or may not be appropriate for application to particular advisory committees. It presents data on the number of active FACA committees established by Congress with special emphasis on the committees established in FY2015. This report concludes by presenting a list of the federal advisory committees currently proposed for statutory establishment in the 114th Congress.
March-In Rights Under the Bayh-Dole Act
This report reviews the availability of march-in rights under the Bayh-Dole Act. It begins by providing a brief overview of the patent system and innovation policy, then introduces the Bayh-Dole Act. The report also reviews specific details of the march-in authority provided to federal agencies, considers past efforts to obtain march-in authorization from NIH, and identifies potential issues for congressional consideration.
General Policy Statements: Legal Overview
This report examines one type of guidance document of particular recent prominence: agency policy statements. It explores judicial doctrine regarding the difference between legislative rules and statements of policy; discusses when such statements are judicially reviewable; analyzes when courts will grant deference to agency interpretations contained in guidance documents; and notes the relative costs and benefits of potential judicial and statutory rules regarding their use.
Considering Measures in the House Under the One-Hour Rule
This report discusses the fundamental rule of the House of Representatives governing debate is the one-hour rule.
Social Security Primer
This report provides an overview of Social Security financing and benefits under current law. Specifically, the report covers the origins and a brief history of the program; Social Security financing and the status of the trust funds; how Social Security benefits are computed; the types of Social Security benefits available to workers and their family members; the basic eligibility requirements for each type of benefit; the scheduled increase in the Social Security retirement age; and the federal income taxation of Social Security benefits.
Broadband Internet Access and the Digital Divide: Federal Assistance Programs
This report provides an overview of the "digital divide," which is a term used to describe a perceived gap between those Americans who use or have access to telecommunications and information technologies and those who do not.
Defense Primer: A Guide for New Members
This report describes the power of the Congress over the armed forces, including the power to "to raise and support Armies," "to provide and maintain a Navy," "to make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces" and "to provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States.... "
Federal Citations to the Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases
This report compiles a table of Federal Register notices related to federal regulatory actions that specifically cite the social cost of carbon (SC-CO2), SC-CH4 (social cost of methane), SC-N2O (social cost of nitrous oxide), or SC-GHG (social cost of greehnouse gases).
The Veterans Choice Program (VCP): Program Implementation
This report discusses the Veterans Choice Program (VCP),which is a new, temporary program (the VCP is set to expire in August 2017 or whenever funds in the Veterans Choice Fund are exhausted). The VCP enables eligible veterans to receive medical care in the community.