Search Results

U.S. Immigration Policy on Permanent Admissions

Description: Four major principles underlie current U.S. policy on permanent immigration: the reunification of families, the admission of immigrants with needed skills, the protection of refugees, and the diversity of admissions by country of origin. Against competing priorities for increased immigration are those who offer options to scale back immigration levels, with options ranging from limiting family-based legal permanent residents to the immediate relatives of U.S. citizens to confining employment-based legal permanent residents exceptional, extraordinary, or outstanding individuals.
Date: March 13, 2012
Creator: Wasem, Ruth Ellen
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Chemical Facility Security: Issues and Options for the 112th Congress

Description: This report provides a brief overview of the existing statutory authority and the regulation implementing this authority. It describes several policy issues raised in previous debates regarding chemical facility security and identifies policy options for congressional consideration. Finally, legislation in the 112th Congress is discussed.
Date: January 13, 2012
Creator: Shea, Dana A.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Industrial Competitiveness and Technological Advancement: Debate Over Government Policy

Description: There is ongoing interest in the pace of U.S. technological advancement due to its influence on U.S. economic growth, productivity, and international competitiveness. Because technology can contribute to economic growth and productivity increases, congressional attention has focused on how to augment private-sector technological development. This report covers legislative activity in the past and present on this topic. It also looks at the future of Congressional action towards mandated specific technology development. As the Congress develops its appropriation priorities, the manner by which the government encourages technological progress in the private sector again may be explored and/or redefined.
Date: March 13, 2012
Creator: Schacht, Wendy H.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Federal Networking and Information Technology Research and Development Program: Background, Funding, and Activities

Description: The federal government has long played a key role in the country's information technology (IT) research and development (R&D) activities. The government's support of IT R&D began because it had an important interest in creating computers and software that would be capable of addressing the problems and issues the government needed to solve and study.
Date: January 13, 2012
Creator: Figliola, Patricia Moloney
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Nanotechnology: A Policy Primer

Description: Nanoscale science, engineering, and technology-commonly referred to collectively as nanotechnology-is believed by many to offer extraordinary economic and societal benefits. Congress has demonstrated continuing support for nanotechnology and has directed its attention primarily to three topics that may affect the realization of this hoped for potential: federal research and development (R&D) in nanotechnology; U.S. competitiveness; and environmental, health, and safety (EHS) concerns. This report provides an overview of these topics-which are discussed in more detail in other CRS reports-and two others: nanomanufacturing and public understanding of and attitudes toward nanotechnology.
Date: April 13, 2012
Creator: Sargent, John F., Jr.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Keeping America's Pipelines Safe and Secure: Key Issues for Congress

Description: Nearly half a million miles of pipeline transporting natural gas, oil, and other hazardous liquids crisscross the United States. While an efficient and fundamentally safe means of transport, many pipelines carry materials with the potential to cause public injury and environmental damage. The nation's pipeline networks are also widespread and vulnerable to accidents and terrorist attack. As it oversees the federal pipeline safety program and the federal role in pipeline security, Congress may wish to assess how the various elements of U.S. pipeline safety and security fit together in the nation's overall strategy to protect transportation infrastructure. Pipeline safety and security necessarily involve many groups: federal agencies, oil and gas pipeline associations, large and small pipeline operators, and local communities. Reviewing how these groups work together to achieve common goals could be an oversight challenge for Congress.
Date: March 13, 2012
Creator: Parfomak, Paul W.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Keystone XL Pipeline Project: Key Issues

Description: This report describes the Keystone XL pipeline proposal and the process required for federal approval. It summarizes key arguments for and against the pipeline put forth by the pipeline's developers, federal agencies, environmental groups, and other stakeholders. The report discusses potential consistency challenges faced by the State Department in reviewing the pipeline application given its recent prior approvals of similar pipeline projects. Finally, the report reviews the constitutional basis for the State Department's authority to issue a Presidential Permit, and opponents' possible challenges to this authority.
Date: March 13, 2012
Creator: Parfomak, Paul W.; Nerurkar, Neelesh; Luther, Linda & Vann, Adam
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Project BioShield Act: Issues for the 112th Congress

Description: This report discusses the Project BioShield Act (P.L. 108-276), In 2004, passed by Congress to encourage the private sector to develop medical countermeasures against chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) terrorism agents and to provide a novel mechanism for federal acquisition of those newly developed countermeasures. This law provides three main authorities: (1) relaxing regulatory requirements for some CBRN terrorism-related spending, including hiring personnel and awarding research grants; (2) guaranteeing a federal market for new CBRN medical countermeasures; and (3) permitting emergency use of unapproved countermeasures.
Date: March 13, 2012
Creator: Gottron, Frank
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Federal Networking and Information Technology Research and Development Program: Background, Funding, and Activities

Description: In the early 1990s, Congress recognized that several federal agencies had ongoing high performance computing programs, but no central coordinating body existed to ensure long-term coordination and planning. To provide such a framework, Congress passed the High-Performance Computing and Communications Program Act of 1991 to enhance the effectiveness of the various programs. In conjunction with the passage of the act, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy released Grand Challenges: High-Performance Computing and Communications. Current concerns are the role of the federal government in supporting IT R&D and the level of funding to allot to it. This report also looks at federal budgets for the Networking and Information Technology Research and Development Program.
Date: January 13, 2012
Creator: Moloney Figliola, Patricia
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Navy Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Program: Background, Issues, and Options for Congress

Description: This report discusses current issues for Congress concerning the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) program including the program's mission modules, the combat survivability of the LCS, hull cracking and engine problems on LCS-1, and corrosion on LCS-2. The LCS is a relatively inexpensive Navy surface combatant equipped with modular "plug-and-fight" mission packages. The Navy wants to field a force of 55 LCSs. Twelve LCSs have been funded through FY2012, and the FY2013-FY2017 Future Years Defense Plan (FYDP) calls for procuring 16 more, in annual quantities of 4-4-4-2-2.
Date: June 13, 2012
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

U.S. Solar Photovoltaic Manufacturing: Industry Trends, Global Competition, Federal Support

Description: This report gives an overview of the most widely-used solar technology involving photovoltaic (PV) solar modules, which draw on semiconducting materials to convert sunlight into electricity. The competitiveness of solar PV as a source of electric generation in the United States will likely be adversely affected both by the expiration of tax provisions and by the rapid development of shale gas, which has the potential to lower the cost of gas-fired power generation and reduce the cost-competitiveness of solar power, particularly as an energy source for utilities.
Date: June 13, 2012
Creator: Platzer, Michaela D.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Health Care Flexible Spending Accounts

Description: Health care Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) are benefit plans established by employers to reimburse employees for health care expenses such as deductibles and copayments. The contributions to and withdrawals from FSAs are tax-exempt. On June 7, 2012, the House passed H.R. 436, the Health Care Cost Reduction Act of 2012, which would allow up to $500 of unused balances in health FSAs to be distributed back to the account holder after the plan year ends and to allow over-the-counter prescriptions to be a qualified medical expense. The bill has been sent to the Senate for its consideration. Similar bills in the Senate have been referred to the Senate Finance Committee (S. 1368 and S. 1404). This report discusses these bills in greater detail.
Date: June 13, 2012
Creator: Mulvey, Janemarie
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Australia: Background and U.S. Relations

Description: This report gives an overview of the relationship between the Commonwealth of Australia and the United States including the close alliance under the ANZUS treaty. The report includes information about the structure of the Australian government, political and domestic issues, economics, defense policies and security ties, counterterrorism, environmentalism, affairs in Asia and the Pacific Southwest, and an analysis of other specific events.
Date: January 13, 2012
Creator: Vaughn, Bruce
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Iraq: Politics, Governance, and Human Rights

Description: This report discusses the situation immediately following the completion of the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq on December 18, 2011, when relations among major political factions worsened substantially, threatening Iraq's stability and the legacy of the U.S. intervention in Iraq. It includes an overview of historical and current political, military, and governance issues as well as an analysis of Iraq in relation to the other nations in the region.
Date: June 13, 2012
Creator: Katzman, Kenneth
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Jackson-Vanik Amendment and Candidate Countries for WTO Accession: Issues for Congress

Description: This report gives an analysis of the unconditional most-favored-nation (MFN) status, or in U.S. statutory parlance, normal trade relations (NTR) status, which is a fundamental principle of the World Trade Organization (WTO). This conflicts with the U.S. laws under Title IV of the Trade Act of 1974 that limits trade status with several nations undergoing accession into the WTO. On June 12, 2012, Sen. Max Baucus introduced a bill with bipartisan co-sponsorship to authorize PNTR for Russia. The report includes information about MFN status and the WTO, the Jackson-Vanik Amendment restricting trade, the case of China, and prospective WTO accessions.
Date: June 13, 2012
Creator: Cooper, William H.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Security Assistance Reform: "Section 1206" Background and Issues for Congress

Description: Section 1206 is the first major DOD authority to be used expressly for the purpose of training and equipping the national military forces of foreign countries. This report provides background on the pre-Section 1206 status of security assistance authorities and the factors contributing to the enactment of Section 1206. It then sets out the purposes of the legislation and scope of its activities, restrictions on its use, the DOD-State Department planning process, and funding. It concludes with a discussion of issues for Congress. An appendix provides a descriptive legislative history of the bill and evolving congressional committee attitudes towards the appropriate division of labor between the Department of Defense and the State Department regarding Section 1206 authority.
Date: January 13, 2012
Creator: Serafino, Nina M.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Conventional Prompt Global Strike and Long-Range Ballistic Missiles: Background and Issues

Description: Prompt global strike (PGS) would allow the United States to strike targets anywhere on Earth with conventional weapons in as little as an hour. This capability may bolster U.S. efforts to deter and defeat adversaries by allowing the United States to attack high-value targets or “fleeting targets” at the start of or during a conflict. Congress has generally supported the PGS mission, but it has restricted funding and suggested some changes in funding for specific programs. Some concerns that Congress has shown are the Department of Defenses' rationale for the mission, the Air Force's ability to set up the system in a timely manner, and how the new START Treaty between the US and Russia will affect the system.
Date: February 13, 2012
Creator: Woolf, Amy F.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Keeping America's Pipelines Safe and Secure: Key Issues for Congress

Description: Nearly half a million miles of pipeline transporting natural gas, oil, and other hazardous liquids crisscross the United States. While an efficient and fundamentally safe means of transport, many pipelines carry materials with the potential to cause public injury and environmental damage. The nation's pipeline networks are also widespread and vulnerable to accidents and terrorist attack. As it oversees the federal pipeline safety program and the federal role in pipeline security, Congress may wish to assess how the various elements of U.S. pipeline safety and security fit together in the nation's overall strategy to protect transportation infrastructure. Pipeline safety and security necessarily involve many groups: federal agencies, oil and gas pipeline associations, large and small pipeline operators, and local communities. Reviewing how these groups work together to achieve common goals could be an oversight challenge for Congress.
Date: February 13, 2012
Creator: Parfomak, Paul W.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Defense: FY2012 Budget Request, Authorization and Appropriations

Description: This report discusses legislative action that applied the Budget Control Act (BCA)-mandated spending reduction to FY2012 defense funding legislation was taken by the Senate Appropriations Committee on September 7, 2011, when it adopted discretionary spending ceilings for each of its 12 subcommittees that required the Defense Subcommittee to cut $25.9 billion from the President's request for programs funded by the DOD Appropriations bill. On September 15, the Senate Appropriations Committee reported an amended version of the House-passed DOD Appropriations bill (H.R. 2219) that would cut $29.3 billion from the Administration request.
Date: February 13, 2012
Creator: Towell, Pat
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

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: June 13, 2012
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald & Schwartz, Moshe
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department