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Special Rules and Options for Regulating the Amending Process

Description: A special rule is a House resolution intended to regulate floor consideration of a specific legislative measure named in the resolution. This report briefly describes the two key functions of special rules, as well as the most common kinds of modifications recommended by the Rules Committee in terms used by the committee.
Date: November 17, 2010
Creator: Lynch, Megan Suzanne
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Bills and Resolutions: Examples of How Each Kind Is Used

Description: When Congress seeks to pass a law, it uses a bill or joint resolution, which must be passed by both houses in identical form, then presented to the President for his approval or disapproval. This report briefly describes this process.
Date: December 2, 2010
Creator: Beth, Richard S.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Democratic Republic of Congo: Background and Current Developments

Description: This report discusses in brief the current political state of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as the crisis situation in eastern Congo that has displaced more than 250,000 civilians. It also describes U.S., U.N., and other international efforts to aid in resolving the crisis.
Date: October 8, 2010
Creator: Dagne, Ted
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Rwanda: Background and Current Developments

Description: This report discusses the current political conditions of Rwanda, including a brief historical overview. The report also includes information about the poor human rights conditions in Rwanda and U.S. Rwanda relations.
Date: October 8, 2010
Creator: Dagne, Ted
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The President's State of the Union Address: Tradition, Function, and Policy Implications

Description: This report explores the President's State of the Union Address, in which the President reports to Congress on the current conditions of the United States and provides policy proposals for the upcoming legislative year. This report also discusses the State of the Union's considerable evolution over time.
Date: November 17, 2010
Creator: Shogan, Colleen J. & Neale, Thomas H.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS): Overview and Issues

Description: This report focuses on the mandated minimum usage requirements - referred to as the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) - whereby a minimum volume of biofuels is to be used in the national transportation fuel supply each year. It describes the general nature of the biofuels RFS and its implementation, and outlines some of the emerging issues related to the sustainability of the continued growth in U.S. biofuels production needed to fulfill the expanding RFS mandate, as well as the emergence of potential unintended consequences of this rapid expansion. This report does not address the broader public policy issue of how best to support U.S. energy policy.
Date: October 14, 2010
Creator: Schnepf, Randy & Yacobucci, Brent D.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Venezuela: Issues in the 111th Congress

Description: This report discusses U.S.-Venezuela relations, including an historical overview. It also discusses the current political conditions in Venezuela, and certain Venezuela-related concerns the 111th Congress faces, such as Venezuela's human rights situation and its deepening relations with Iran.
Date: November 24, 2010
Creator: Sullivan, Mark P.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Argentina's Defaulted Sovereign Debt: Dealing with the "Holdouts"

Description: In December 2001, following an extended period of economic and political instability, Argentina suffered a severe financial crisis, leading to the largest default on sovereign debt in history. This report discusses efforts Argentina has made over the past decade, since that financial crisis, to restructure its debt. The report also includes discussion of the Argentine 2010 Bond Exchange and an outlook of Argentina's economic future.
Date: September 24, 2010
Creator: Hornbeck, J. F.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Beginning and End of the Terms of United States Senators Chosen to Fill Senate Vacancies

Description: This report discusses the procedures for when a Senator is chosen to fill a Senate vacancy during a session of Congress, i.e., when the appointed Senator can begin his or her term of office, and how long the Senator remains in office (until the new "Senator-elect" is sworn in and seated by the Senate).
Date: September 28, 2010
Creator: Maskell, Jack
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Navy SSBN(X) Ballistic Missile Submarine Program: Background and Issues for Congress

Description: This report discusses the Navy's plan to develop and design a class of 12 next-generation ballistic missile submarines, or SSBN(X)s, as replacements for the 14 Ohio class SSBNs currently in operation. The report explores certain related issues for Congress, including the affordability of the project and its potential impact on other Navy shipbuilding programs, alternatives to the program, and which shipyard or shipyards will build the proposed ships.
Date: November 22, 2010
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Landsat and the Data Continuity Mission

Description: This report discusses the U.S. Landsat Mission, which has collected remotely sensed imagery of the Earth's surface for more than 35 years. The two satellites currently in orbit are operating beyond their designed life and may fail at any time. Most Landsat data is used by federal agencies. Efforts to commercialize Landsat operations have not been successful. This report discusses issues facing Congress regarding funding for new Landsat satellites.
Date: September 17, 2010
Creator: Behrens, Carl E.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

U.S. Sanctions on Burma

Description: Existing U.S. sanctions on Burma are based on various U.S. laws and Presidential Executive Orders. 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 examination of additional sanctions that have been considered, but not enacted, by Congress, or that could be imposed under existing law or executive orders. The report concludes with a discussion of options for Congress.
Date: January 11, 2011
Creator: Martin, Michael F.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Obama Administration's Open Government Initiative: Issues for Congress

Description: This report reviews the objectives delineated in President Obama's Open Government Initiative (OGI) and examines the expectations placed on agencies to meet these objectives. This report reviews department and agency attempts to implement Obama Administration initiatives that seek to make the federal government more transparent, participatory, and collaborative. The report then analyzes options for congressional action in this area.
Date: January 28, 2011
Creator: Ginsberg, Wendy R.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Geoengineering: Governance and Technology Policy

Description: This report is intended as a primer on the policy issues, science, and governance of geoengineering technologies. The report will first set the policy parameters under which geoengineering technologies may be considered. It will then describe selected technologies in detail and discuss their status. The third section provides a discussion of possible approaches to governmental involvement in, and oversight of, geoengineering, including a summary of domestic and international instruments and institutions that may affect geoengineering projects.
Date: January 10, 2011
Creator: Bracmort, Kelsi; Lattanzio, Richard K. & Barbour, Emily C.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Samantar v. Yousef: The Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act and Foreign Officials

Description: On June 1, 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court decided unanimously in Samantar v. Yousef that the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA), which governs the immunity of foreign states in U.S. courts, does not apply in suits against foreign officials. The report also addresses legislation considered by the 111th Congress that would have affected the immunity of foreign officials (the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, S. 2930, 111th Cong.).
Date: January 11, 2011
Creator: Elsea, Jennifer K.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Criminal Prohibitions on the Publication of Classified Defense Information

Description: The recent online publication of classified defense documents by the organization WikiLeaks and subsequent reporting by the New York Times and other news media have focused attention on whether such publication violates U.S. criminal law. The Justice Department and Department of Defense are investigating the circumstances to determine whether any prosecutions will be undertaken in connection with the disclosure. This report discusses the statutory prohibitions that may be implicated, including the Espionage Act; the extraterritorial application of such statutes; and the First Amendment implications related to such prosecutions against domestic or foreign media organizations and associated individuals. The report provides a summary of recent legislation relevant to the issue as well as some previous efforts to criminalize the unauthorized disclosure of classified information.
Date: January 10, 2011
Creator: Elsea, Jennifer K.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Neglected Tropical Diseases: Background, Responses, and Issues for Congress

Description: Over the past decade, global health has become a priority in U.S. foreign policy, more than tripling U.S. funding for such efforts. This report discusses neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), a group of 17 diseases that are found primarily among the poorest people in 149 countries and territories. NTDs are an important focus of U.S. global health assistance and may come under scrutiny as the 112th Congress debates spending levels for ongoing global health programs.
Date: January 21, 2011
Creator: Salaam-Blyther, Tiaji
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Violence Against Members of Congress and Their Staff: Selected Examples and Congressional Responses

Description: This report describes legislation introduced in the 112th Congress related to violence against members and congressional staff, provides examples of violence in which members of Congress were the apparent target, and some actions Congress has taken based in part on those incidents. This report comes in the aftermath of a recent attack in Tucson, Arizona, in which congressional staff and several constituents were injured or killed.
Date: January 25, 2011
Creator: Petersen, R. Eric; Manning, Jennifer E. & Hemlin, Erin
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Obama Administration's Feed the Future Initiative

Description: The primary objectives of this report are to (1) provide a context for the state of food insecurity in the world; (2) provide an overview of the Obama Administration's global hunger and food security initiative, called Feed the Future; and (3) provide an overview of issues that the 112th Congress may consider in relation to agricultural development and global food security.
Date: January 10, 2011
Creator: Ho, Melissa D. & Hanrahan, Charles E.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Cuba: Issues for the 112th Congress

Description: This report discusses the current political conditions of Cuba, as well as its relationship with the United States. In particular, the report focuses on U.S. policy regarding Cuba, including various economic sanctions, human rights issues, and foreign aid appropriations.
Date: January 28, 2011
Creator: Sullivan, Mark P.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Why Certain Trade Agreements Are Approved as Congressional-Executive Agreements Rather Than as Treaties

Description: U.S. trade agreements such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), World Trade Organization agreements, and bilateral free trade agreements (FTAs) have been approved by majority vote of each house rather than by two-thirds vote of the Senate - that is, they have been treated as congressional-executive agreements rather than as treaties. The congressional-executive agreement has been the vehicle for implementing Congress's long-standing policy of seeking trade benefits for the United States through reciprocal trade negotiations. This report discusses this topic in brief.
Date: January 19, 2011
Creator: Grimmett, Jeanne J.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement

Description: This report discusses the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), a free trade agreement that includes nations on both sides of the Pacific. Original members of the TPP were Brunei, Chile, New Zealand, and Singapore. The United States, Australia, Peru, and Vietnam have committed themselves to joining and expanding this group. This report discusses similar trade partnerships, the importance of Asia to U.S. trade and security interests, and U.S. participation in the TPP.
Date: January 10, 2011
Creator: Fergusson, Ian F. & Vaughn, Bruce
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department