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Police Shootings and Federal Support for Law Enforcement Safety
This report discusses federal support for law enforcement safety in light of the recent shooting deaths of police officers in Dallas, Texas, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations In Brief
This report provides information and analysis on key issues related to Turkish foreign and domestic policy issues, particularly regarding the aftermath of the failed July 15-16, 2016 coup attempt.
European Security and Islamist Terrorism
This report briefly discusses the current security climate in Europe, as well as policy considerations for the U.S. Over the last two years, European governments and the European Union (EU) have grown increasingly alarmed by the rise of the Islamic State terrorist organization, its ability to attract European citizens to join the fighting in the Syria-Iraq region, and its use of violent extremist propaganda to inspire others.
The 2016 Olympic Games: Health, Security, Environmental, and Doping Issues
This report discusses a variety of issues might pose risks to the health, safety, and general well-being of athletes and their families, team personnel, and spectators participating in or attending the 2016 Olympic Games. Chief among these are the Zika virus, public safety threats, security concerns, and environmental conditions. The report also discusses the possible implications of hosting the Olympics for Brazil and the issue of doping.
The Federal Circuit Rules on Trademarks Considered Offensive: May Affect Redskins Trademark Dispute
This legal sidebar examines cases involving the revocation of the Washington Redskins' federally-registered trademarks (Pro-Football, Inc. v. Blackhorse) and the refusal to grant registration for a rock band's name (In re Tam). These cases raise questions about the constitutionality of Section 2(a) of the Trademark Act of 1946 (conventionally known as the Lanham Act), which denies trademark registration to certain offensive content.
Department of Homeland Security Preparedness Grants: A Summary and Issues
This report a brief summary of the development of the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS's) role in providing homeland security assistance, a summary of the current homeland security programs managed by DHS, and a discussion of the following policy questions: (1) the purpose and number of programs; (2) the use of homeland security assistance program funding; and (3) the funding amounts for the programs.
U.S. Periods of War and Dates of Recent Conflicts
This report lists the beginning and ending dates for "periods of war" found in Title 38 of the Code of Federal Regulations, dealing with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). It also lists and differentiates other beginning dates given in declarations of war, as well as termination of hostilities dates and armistice and ending dates given in proclamations, laws, or treaties.
Human-Induced Earthquakes from Deep-Well Injection: A Brief Overview
This report reviews the current scientific understanding of induced seismicity, primarily in the context of Class II oil and gas wastewater disposal wells. The report also outlines the regulatory framework for these injection wells, and identifies several federal and state initiatives responding to recent events of induced seismicity associated with Class II disposal.
The European Union's Small Business Act: A Different Approach
This report provides information and analysis useful to Congress as it crafts small business policy for the United States. The Small Business Act for Europe (2008) is not an act, per se, as understood in the United States.
How Big Should the Army Be? Considerations for Congress
This report provides an overview of active duty Army personnel strength changes in recent years, outlines the different end strength authorizations in the House and Senate versions of the FY2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), highlights the perspectives which have contributed to these diverging approaches in the respective NDAAs, and outlines some factors which Congress may consider as it determines the appropriate size for the Army.
The Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA; H.R. 5278, S. 2328)
The report presents a brief description of Puerto Rico, its relationship with the federal government, and its fiscal challenges. The body of the report provides a section-by-section description of H.R. 5278, including a short overview of the bill, along with a comparison with previous legislation involving control boards.
Russian Compliance with the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty: Background and Issues for Congress
This report describes the current status of the INF Treaty and highlights issues that Congress may address as the United States pursues its compliance concerns with Russia. It includes a historical overview and summary of the provisions of the INF Treaty and Russia's concerns with U.S. compliance with the treaty and concludes with a discussion of options that the United States might pursue to address its concerns with Russia's activities and options that it might pursue if Russia deploys new INF-range missiles.
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. Legislative initiatives in the 114th Congress are noted throughout the report, and four appendixes provide a listing of enacted measures (Appendix A), bills receiving some action in 2015 (Appendix B), bills seeing action in 2016 (Appendix C), and additional bills and resolution this Congress (Appendix D).
Orlando Shooting Revives Debate over Restricting Blood Donations by Gay Men
This report discusses new FDA guidance regarding blood donations from sexually-active gay men. Since the 1980s, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recommended that men who have sex with men (MSM) be indefinitely deferred (i.e., permanently banned) from donating blood. This action was taken to help control the spread of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) through the blood supply.
Poverty in the United States in 2015: In Brief
This report presents information on poverty for demographic groups (by family structure, age, race and Hispanic origin, and work status) and for states. In this report, the numbers and percentages of those in poverty are based on the Census Bureau's estimates
Department of Veterans Affairs FY2017 Appropriations
This report provides and overview of department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and range of benefits and services to veterans. The report discusses VA budget and the President's budget request for FY2017 and congressional action
Ex-Im Bank: No Quorum, No Problem?
This report discusses the operation on a limited basis of the Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im Bank) despite a renewal of its general statutory charter through FY2019 (P.L. 114-94,
Navy Lasers, Railgun, and Hypervelocity Projectile: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and issues for Congress on three potential new weapons that could improve the ability of Navy surface ships to defend themselves against enemy missiles--solid state lasers (SSLs), the electromagnetic railgun (EMRG), and the hypervelocity projectile (HVP).
DHS Appropriations FY2017: Research and Development, Training, and Services
This report discuss appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for FY2017. It specifically discusses appropriations for the components of DHS included in the fourth title of the homeland security appropriations bill--in past years, this has comprised U.S. Citizenship and Naturalization Services, the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, the Science and Technology Directorate, and the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO). In FY2017, the Administration proposed moving the Domestic Nuclear Detection office into a new Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosives Office, along with several other parts of DHS. Congress has labeled this title of the bill in recent years as "Research and Development, Training, and Services."
Climate Change: Frequently Asked Questions about the 2015 Paris Agreement
This report discusses the frequently asked questions about the 2015 Paris Agreement (PA). The PA opened for signature by Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on April 22, 2016, at U.N. headquarters in New York City.
Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty: Background and Current Developments
This report discusses the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), as well as the Obama Administration's stated goal of pursuing U.S. ratification of the CTBT, although the Administration has mainly focused on securing Senate consent to ratification of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START).
Recent State Election Law Challenges: In Brief
This report begins by setting forth key constitutional provisions relevant to recent state election law challenges. Next, it discusses federal statutory provisions contained in the Voting Rights Act and the National Voter Registration Act and briefly examines pertinent Supreme Court precedent. Then, based on that legal framework, it provides an overview of several recent challenges to state election laws in Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, and Texas that resulted in major decisions by the various federal courts of appeals as illustrative examples of the types of challenges that have been playing out in the courts. Finally, the report discusses some potential implications of these challenges.
Judiciary Appropriations, FY2017
The first section of this report provides an overview of the consideration of FY2017 judiciary appropriations, followed by a section on prior-year actions and funding. The report then provides an overview of judiciary accounts.
OPM Announces Premium Increase in the Federal Long-Term Care Insurance Program
This report discusses the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) announcement regarding premium rate increase for long-term care insurance policies purchased through the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program (FLTCIP).
U.S. Foreign Assistance as Colombia's Peace Talks on Cusp of Completion
This report discusses the ongoing peace process in Colombia and the potential effects for U.S. policy. On July 18, 2016, the Colombian Constitutional Court approved a plebiscite to allow Colombian voters to decide the fate of the peace accord under negotiation between the government of President Juan Manuel Santos and the country's largest insurgent group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
Foreign Aid and the Education Sector: Programs and Priorities
This report is a descriptive profile of recent U.S. foreign aid education sector activities; it outlines actors, policy, funding levels, and programs.
Women in Congress, 1917-2016: Biographical and Committee Assignment Information, and Listings by State and Congress
This report includes biographical information for the 313 women who have been elected or appointed to Congress including names, committee assignments, dates of service, listings by Congress and state, and (for Representatives) congressional districts.
Did a Thermostat Break the Internet?
This report discusses cyber security and the challenges the new form of hacking poses -- specifically, the attacks by a common malicious botnet named Mirai.
Federal Assistance for Victims of Terrorism or Mass Violence: In Brief
This report focuses solely on assistance available from Department of Justice's (DOJ's) Office for Victims of Crime (OVC)--the primary federal assistance available to victims of terrorism or mass violence. Jurisdictions and individuals may be eligible to receive various types of victim assistance both directly from the Department of Justice (DOJ) and indirectly from DOJ through their respective state victim assistance agencies or other programs following incidents of terrorism or mass violence in the United States.
Encryption: Frequently Asked Questions
This report discusses encryption, which is a process to secure information from unwanted access or use. Encryption uses the art of cryptography to change information which can be read (plaintext) and make it so that it cannot be read (ciphertext).
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act: History, Impact, and Issues
This report examines debates over what constitutes an unfunded federal mandate and the Unfunded Mandate Reform Act's (UMRA's) implementation. It also discusses particular mandates and procedures associated with UMRA, and assesses UMRA's impact on federal mandates and arguments concerning UMRA's future, focusing on UMRA's definitions, exclusions, and exceptions that currently exempt many federal actions with potentially significant financial impacts on nonfederal entities.
Economic Implications of a United Kingdom Exit from the European Union
This report provides an analysis of the possible economic implications for the United States and the global economy of an exit from the European Union (EU) by the United Kingdom (UK), commonly referred to as Brexit. It offers background information on possible implications of the vote to leave the EU, an overview of U.S.-UK trade and investment relations, and various estimates of Brexit's financial implications for the U.S. and global economies.
Private Flood Insurance in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)
This report briefly discusses federal law regarding flood insurance. By law or regulation, federal agencies, federally-regulated lending institutions, and government-sponsored enterprises must require certain property owners to purchase flood insurance as a condition of any mortgage that these entities make, guarantee, or purchase.
Zika Poses New Challenges for Blood Centers
This report examines recent steps being taken to prevent the spread of Zika virus (ZIKV) in the blood supply.
Social Security: Cost-of-Living Adjustments
This report discusses the issues surrounding Social Security recipients that usually receive an annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA).
FY2017 Defense Spending Under an Interim Continuing Resolution (CR): In Brief
This report provides a basic discussion of interim "continuing resolutions" (CRs) and highlights some specific issues for the Department of Defense (DOD) under a CR. It also provides a brief look at selected FY2017 defense programs that could be affected by a CR.
Evolution of the Meaning of "Waters of the United States" in the Clean Water Act
This report outlines how the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 (BCTPAA) regulates the eligibility of covered trade agreements for expedited consideration, describes the operation of the statutory expedited procedures for considering implementing bills, and discusses how Congress may use the procedural mechanisms established by the act, as well as other pertinent rules of each chamber, to retain a substantial measure of control over legislation to implement covered trade agreements.
Energy Policy: 114th Congress Issues
This report begins by providing background on the economic rationale for energy market interventions; it highlights various market failures production and consumption of energy, and discusses possible interventions. The report concludes with an analysis of the current status of energy tax policy.
A New Aid Package for Israel
This report discusses potential legislation that could impact the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on U.S. assistance to Israel as the countries continue to negotiate terms for the period FY2019-FY2028.
Acquisition Reform in the House and Senate Versions of the FY2017 National Defense Authorization Act
This report focuses on the sections of the House and Senate versions of the Fiscal Year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 4909 and S. 2943, respectively) that appear closely linked to the respective armed services committees' stated efforts to reform the acquisition system. For purposes of this analysis, CRS selected 31 sections of the House bill and 67 sections of the Senate bill.
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.
2016 Rio Games: Anti-Doping Testing
This report discusses the the anti-doping testing program during the 2016 Summer Olympics. Responsibility for the rests with the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The testing period began July 24, 2016, when the Olympic village opened, and continues through August 21, 2016, the date of the closing ceremony.
Sea-Level Rise and U.S. Coasts: Science and Policy Considerations
This report provides information for policymakers that are interested in sea-level rise because of the risk to coastal populations and infrastructure and the consequences for coastal species and ecosystems.
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act: History, Impact, and Issues
This report examines debates over what constitutes an unfunded federal mandate and the Unfunded Mandate Reform Act's (UMRA's) implementation. It also discusses particular mandates and procedures associated with UMRA, and assesses UMRA's impact on federal mandates and arguments concerning UMRA's future, focusing on UMRA's definitions, exclusions, and exceptions that currently exempt many federal actions with potentially significant financial impacts on nonfederal entities.
Immigration Legislation and Issues in the 114th Congress
This report discusses border security, interior enforcement, visa security, asylum, and other immigration-related issues that have received legislative action or are of significant congressional interest in the 114th Congress.
Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV): Background and Issues for Congress
This report discusses the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV), which is an Army-led, multi-service initiative to develop a family of light tactical vehicles as a successor to the High Mobility, Multi-Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWVs). It includes background information; a description of the JLTV program, program history, and program activities; information about the JLTV contract, Lockheed Martin's protest to the program, budgetary issues, and potential issues for Congress.
Clean Power Plan: Legal Background and Pending Litigation in West Virginia v. EPA
This report provides legal background on the Clean Power Plan rule (CPP or Rule) to regulate emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs), its Clean Air Act (CAA) framework under Section 111, and climate-related lawsuits that have preceded the present litigation over the CPP. It then gives an overview of the participants in the current litigation, including two groups of Members of Congress, who have offered briefs in support of the petitioners and the respondents, respectively.
Federal Advisory Committees: An Introduction and Overview
This report offers a history of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), examines its current requirements, and provides data on federal advisory committees' operations and costs.
The Terrorist Screening Database and Preventing Terrorist Travel
This report briefly discusses how the U.S. government fashions and uses the Terrorist Screening Database (TSDB). It also discusses how the federal government engages in two travel-related screening processes--visa screening and air passenger screening. Both processes involve subsets of the Terrorist Screening Database.
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. Legislative initiatives in the 114th Congress are noted throughout the report, and four appendixes provide a listing of enacted measures, bills receiving some action in 2015, bills seeing action in 2016, and additional bills and resolution this Congress.