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Federal Rulemaking: The Role of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs

Description: This report discusses the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1980, which created the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) within the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). This report addresses OIRA's responsibilities, controversies related to OIRA, and possible legislative issues involving OIRA, including increasing or decreasing the office's funding and staffing, and improvements in the transparency of OIRA's review process.
Date: June 9, 2009
Creator: Copeland, Curtis W.

Financial Market Turmoil and U.S. Macroeconomic Performance

Description: Lending in credit markets requires confidence in the borrowers' ability to repay the debt (principal and interest) in full and on schedule. The current turmoil in U.S. financial markets is the result of a breakdown in that necessary confidence. A number of indicators have pointed to a substantial rise in the cost of credit and a decrease in the flow of credit to the broader economy. Economic policy may be needed to get credit flowing smoothly again and to mitigate the damage incurred by households and non-financial businesses. Three types of policy response exist and are being applied in varying degrees. This report discusses each of these policy responses.
Date: June 9, 2009
Creator: Elwell, Craig K.

How to Develop and Write a Grant Proposal

Description: This report is intended for Members and staff assisting grant seekers in districts and states and covers writing proposals for both government and private foundations grants. In preparation for writing a proposal, the report first discusses preliminary information gathering and preparation, developing ideas for the proposal, gathering community support, identifying funding resources, and seeking preliminary review of the proposal and support of relevant administrative officials. The second section of the report covers the actual writing of the proposal. The last section of the report provides a listing of free grants-writing websites.
Date: June 9, 2009
Creator: Gerli, Merete F.

Israeli-Arab Negotiations: Background, Conflicts, and U.S. Policy

Description: This report discusses issues related to peace in the Middle East, including post-Gulf War negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon; U.S. interest in these and continuing negotiations and peacetalks between Middle Eastern countries; and the role of the U.S., the U.N., the European Union, and Russia in Middle Eastern relations.
Date: June 9, 2009
Creator: Migdalovitz, Carol

Jordan: Background and U.S. Relations

Description: This report provides an overview of Jordanian politics and current issues in U.S.-Jordanian relations. It provides a brief discussion of Jordan's government and economy and of its cooperation in promoting Arab-Israeli peace and other U.S. policy objectives in the Middle East.
Date: June 9, 2009
Creator: Sharp, Jeremy M.

Same-Sex Marriages: Legal Issues

Description: This report discusses the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and legal challenges to it. It reviews legal principles applied to determine the validity of a marriage contracted in another state and surveys the various approaches employed by states to address same-sex marriage. It also examines previous congressional resolutions proposing a constitutional amendment and limiting federal courts' jurisdiction to hear or determine any question pertaining to the interpretation of DOMA.
Date: June 9, 2009
Creator: Smith, Alison M.

Department of Homeland Security Assistance to States and Localities: A Summary and Issues for the 111th Congress

Description: This report summarizes several emergency management and homeland security programs, and identifies and analyzes potential issues for the 111th Congress. These issues include (1) the purpose and number of assistance programs; (2) the evaluation of the use of grant funding; (3) the determination of eligible grant recipients; (4) the programs' funding amounts; and (5) the programs; funding distribution methodologies.
Date: June 8, 2009
Creator: Reese, Shawn

Geospatial Information and Geographic Information Systems (GIS): Current Issues and Future Challenges

Description: This report provides a primer on geospatial data and GIS and provides several examples of their use. The report discusses issues that may be of interest to Congress: sharing, coordination, and management of geospatial information, including examples of legislation. Finally, recommendations are included from several organizations for how to improve the coordination and management of geospatial information at the federal and state levels.
Date: June 8, 2009
Creator: Folger, Peter

Honduran-U.S. Relations

Description: This report discusses the current state of Honduras, which is one of the Western Hemisphere's poorest countries and has a high poverty rate, high infant mortality rate, and a widespread HIV/AIDS epidemic. This report also discusses the relationship between the U.S. and Honduras, focusing on the countries' important trade partnership, the U.S. military presence in Honduras, and U.S. foreign aid.
Date: June 8, 2009
Creator: Meyer, Peter J. & Sullivan, Mark P.

Iraq: Post-Saddam Governance and Security

Description: This report discusses the current political and social climate of Iraq, specifically in regards to the influence of the U.S. military presence over recent years. This report addresses planned and possible future efforts under the Obama Administration, including the scheduled gradual troops withdrawal. Some U.S. officials believe that a U.S. military presence is needed beyond the scheduled August 31, 2010 date, by which point all U.S. troops will have been withdrawn. This report also discusses the continued tensions between various Iraqi sociocultural groups.
Date: June 8, 2009
Creator: Katzman, Kenneth

The National Security Council: An Organizational Assessment

Description: The National Security Council (NSC) was established in 1947. This report describes the history of the NSC, how is structure and influence have varied over the years from one Administration to another, what its current structure and who its current members are, varying opinions as to what the role of the NSC should be, and future developments for the NSC.
Date: June 8, 2009
Creator: Best, Richard A., Jr.

El Salvador: Political, Economic, and Social Conditions and U.S. Relations

Description: This report discusses the state of the El Salvadoran government and recently elected President Mauricio Funes. This report also discusses the relationship between El Salvador and the United States, notably U.S. efforts to restore democracy and initiate economic reform in El Salvador. This report also briefly addresses the effects of the current financial crisis on El Salvador's economy, poverty levels, and crime rates.
Date: June 8, 2009
Creator: Seelke, Clare Ribando & Meyer, Peter J.

Thailand: Background and U.S. Relations

Description: This report discusses the current political and economic state of Thailand, particularly in the wake of the September 2006 coup that displaced Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and has resulted in continuing instability. This report also discusses the ongoing U.S.-Thai relationship, despite different policies in such areas as human rights.
Date: June 8, 2009
Creator: Chanlett-Avery, Emma

Afghanistan: Government Formation and Performance

Description: This report discusses the current Afghan government, which is rife with corruption and very limited in power, hence the continued presence of the Taliban and general worldwide pessimism about Afghanistan stabilization efforts. This report addresses issues such as ethnic diputes, President Hamid Karzai's re-election bid for August 2009, and the U.S.-Afghanistan relationship in particular. The Obama Administration is currently promoting, among other Afghanistan stabilization efforts, a "civilian surge" of additional U.S. personnel to Afghanistan.
Date: June 5, 2009
Creator: Katzman, Kenneth

Leave Benefits in the United States

Description: This report begins by reviewing the federal statutes that pertain directly or indirectly to employer provision of leave benefits for any purpose, including a discussion of the California and New Jersey family leave insurance programs. The report than examines the incidence of different types of paid leave that U.S. employers voluntarily provide as part of an employee's total compensation (wages and benefits). The report closes with results from a federal government survey of the average direct cost to business of different types of leave.
Date: June 5, 2009
Creator: Levine, Linda