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Marijuana and Federal Tax Law: In Brief – R44056

As an increasing number of states have permitted the use of marijuana for medical and recreational uses,1 questions have arisen about the federal income tax consequences for businesses that sell marijuana and their buyers. This report

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Insurance Regulation: Background, Overview, and Legislation in the 114th Congress – R44046

The individual states have been the primary regulators of insurance since 1868. Following the 1945 McCarran-Ferguson Act, this system has operated with the explicit blessing of Congress, but has also been subject to periodic scrutiny a

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Defense Spending and the Budget Control Act Limits – R44039

Enacted on August 1, 2011, the Budget Control Act (BCA) as amended (P.L. 112-75, P.L. 112- 240, P.L. 113-67) sets limits on defense spending between FY2012 and FY2021 that are playing a significant role in the debate about the appropri

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Fact Sheet: Selected Highlights of the FY2016 National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 1735 and S. 1376) – R44019

Following are selected highlights of pending versions of the FY2016 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA): H.R. 1735, passed by the House of Representatives on May 15, 2015, and S. 1376, reported by the Senate Armed Services Commit

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Burundi’s Electoral Crisis: In Brief – R44018

This report provides context on the political crisis in Burundi, along with analysis of U.S. policy and potential issues for Congress. President Pierre Nkurunziza’s decision to run for a third term has sparked large protests, a r

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Energy and Water Development: FY2016 Appropriations for Nuclear Weapons Stockpile Stewardship – R43948

The annual Energy and Water Development appropriations bill provides funding for civil works projects of the Army Corps of Engineers, the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation, the Department of Energy (DOE), and sev

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Overview of FY2016 Appropriations for Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) – R43918

This report tracks and describes actions taken by the Administration and Congress to provide FY2016 appropriations for the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) accounts. It also provides an overview of FY2015 appropri

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Cuba Sanctions: Legislative Restrictions Limiting the Normalization of Relations – R43888

In December 2014, President Obama announced major changes in U.S. policy toward Cuba, including the restoration of diplomatic relations (relations were severed in January 1961), a review by the Department of State of Cuba’s desig

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Russian Compliance with the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty: Background and Issues for Congress – R43832

The United States and Soviet Union signed the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty in December 1987. Negotiations on this treaty were the result of a “dual-track” decision taken by NATO in 1979. At that time, in r

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Legislation to Facilitate Cybersecurity Information Sharing: Economic Analysis – R43821

Data breaches, such as those at Target, Home Depot, Neiman Marcus, JPMorgan Chase, and Anthem, have affected financial records of tens of millions of households and seem to occur regularly. Companies typically respond by trying to incr

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Congressional Power to Create Federal Courts: A Legal Overview – R43746

The United States Constitution established only one federal court—the United States Supreme Court. Beyond this, Article III of the Constitution left it to the discretion of Congress to “ordain and establish” lower fed

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Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD): FY2016 Appropriations – R43582

The House and Senate Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) appropriations subcommittees are charged with providing annual appropriations for the Department of Transportation (DOT), Department of Hou

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Monuments and Memorials in the District of Columbia: Analysis and Options for Proposed Exemptions to the Commemorative Works Act – R43241

During the course of each Congress, numerous proposals to create new commemorative works (i.e., monuments and memorials) in the District of Columbia are introduced. In evaluating each proposal, Congress considers the subject of the pro

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Maritime Territorial and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) Disputes Involving China: Issues for Congress – R42784

China’s actions for asserting and defending its maritime territorial and exclusive economic zone (EEZ) claims in the East China (ECS) and South China Sea (SCS), particularly since late 2013, have heightened concerns among observe

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Coast Guard Cutter Procurement: Background and Issues for Congress – R42567

The Coast Guard’s program of record (POR) calls for procuring 8 National Security Cutters (NSCs), 25 Offshore Patrol Cutters (OPCs), and 58 Fast Response Cutters (FRCs) as replacements for 90 aging Coast Guard cutters and patrol

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Alternative Fuel and Advanced Vehicle Technology Incentives: A Summary of Federal Programs – R42566

A wide array of federal incentives supports the development and deployment of alternatives to conventional fuels and engines in transportation. These incentives include tax deductions and credits for vehicle purchases and the installat

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Federal Reserve: Oversight and Disclosure Issues – R42079

Critics of the Federal Reserve (Fed) have long argued for more oversight, transparency, and disclosure. Criticism intensified following the extensive assistance the Fed provided to financial firms during the financial crisis. Recently,

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The Social Security Retirement Age: In Brief – R41962

Two important ages may affect a worker’s decision of when to claim Social Security retired worker benefits. Workers may claim full Social Security benefits at the full retirement age (FRA), which is currently 66 and is rising gra

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Commemorative Commissions: Overview, Structure, and Funding – R41425

Commemorative commissions are entities established to oversee the commemoration of a person or event. These commissions typically coordinate celebrations, scholarly events, public gatherings, and other activities, often to coincide wit

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Changes in the Arctic: Background and Issues for Congress – R41153

The diminishment of Arctic sea ice has led to increased human activities in the Arctic, and has heightened interest in, and concerns about, the region’s future. The United States, by virtue of Alaska, is an Arctic country and has

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Cyprus: Reunification Proving Elusive – R41136

As 2015 began, Cyprus entered its 51st year as a politically separated nation and its 41st year as a physically divided country with a permanent solution to end the divisions far from being achieved. Attempts to resolve the Cyprus problem a

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Country-of-Origin Labeling for Foods and the WTO Trade Dispute on Meat Labeling – RS22955

Most retail food stores are now required to inform consumers about the country of origin of fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, shellfish, peanuts, pecans, macadamia nuts, ginseng, and ground and muscle cuts of beef, pork, lamb, chicken

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Foreign Holdings of Federal Debt – RS22331

This report presents current data on estimated ownership of U.S. Treasury securities and major holders of federal debt by country. Federal debt represents the accumulated balance of borrowing by the federal government. To finance federal borrowi

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Iraq: Politics, Security, and U.S. Policy – RS21968

Iraq’s sectarian and ethnic divisions-muted toward the end of the 2003-2011 U.S. military intervention in Iraq-have reemerged to fuel a major challenge to Iraq’s stability and to U.S. policy in Iraq and the broader Middle East region

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The Help America Vote Act and Election Administration: Overview and Issues – RS20898

The deadlocked November 2000 presidential election focused national attention on previously obscure details of election administration. Even before the U.S. Supreme Court had resolved the election in December, numerous bills to address

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Navy Ford (CVN-78) Class Aircraft Carrier Program: Background and Issues for Congress – RS20643

CVN-78, CVN-79, and CVN-80 are the first three ships in the Navy’s new Gerald R. Ford (CVN- 78) class of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers (CVNs). The Navy’s proposed FY2016 budget requests procurement or advance procuremen

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Procurement Debarment and Suspension of Government Contractors: Legal Overview – RL34753

Debarment and suspension (collectively known as “exclusion”) are of perennial interest to Congress because exclusion is one of the primary techniques that federal agencies use to avoid dealings with vendors who have failed,

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Former Presidents: Pensions, Office Allowances, and Other Federal Benefits – RL34631

The Former Presidents Act (FPA; 3 U.S.C. §102 note) charges the General Services Administration (GSA) with providing former U.S. Presidents a pension, support staff, office support, travel funds, and mailing privileges. The FPA wa

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Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) and the Role of Congress in Trade Policy – RL33743

Legislation to reauthorize Trade Promotion Authority (“TPA”), sometimes called “fast track,” was introduced as the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 (TPA- 2015; H.R. 1890/S

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Iran, Gulf Security, and U.S. Policy – RL32048

Since the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979, a priority of U.S. policy has been to reduce the perceived threat posed by Iran to a broad range of U.S. interests, including the security of the Persian Gulf region. In 2014, a common adversary emer

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LIHEAP: Program and Funding – RL31865

The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), established in 1981 as part of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (P.L. 97-35), is a program through which the federal government makes annual grants to states, tribes, and ter

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Research Tax Credit: Current Law and Policy Issues for the 114th Congress – RL31181

Technological innovation is a primary engine of long-term economic growth, and research and development (R&D) serves as the lifeblood of innovation. The federal government encourages businesses to invest more in R&D than they o

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An Overview of the Employment-Population Ratio – R44055

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) defines the employment-population ratio as the ratio of total civilian employment to the civilian noninstitutional population. Simply put, it is the portion of the population that is employed. The r

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Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) FY2016 Budget Request and Funding History: Fact Sheet – R44054

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is the federal agency charged with improving the health safety net by providing access to health care for those who are un

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Department of Homeland Security Appropriations: FY2016 – R44053

This report discusses the FY2016 appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and provides an overview of the Administration’s FY2016 request. The report makes note of many budgetary resources provided to DHS, but

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DHS Budget v. DHS Appropriations: Fact Sheet – R44052

A significant portion of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS’s) budget is not fully reflected in the net discretionary spending level of the annual DHS appropriations act. Some components, such as the Transportation

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Comparing DHS Appropriations by Component, FY2016: Fact Sheet – R44051

Generally, the homeland security appropriations bill includes all annual appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), providing resources to every departmental component. Table 1 and Figure 1

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Trends in the Timing and Size of DHS Appropriations: In Brief – R44048

This report examines trends in the timing and size of homeland security appropriations measures. 

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was officially established on January 24, 2003. Just over a week later, on February 3,

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U.S. Trade with Free Trade Agreement (FTA) Partners – R44044

The United States is negotiating two mega-regional comprehensive and high-standard trade agreements that potentially could affect U.S. economic and trade relations with Europe and Asia. Discussions of these and other FTAs often focus on trade ba

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Sudan – R43957

Congress has played an active role in U.S. policy toward Sudan for more than three decades. Efforts to support an end to the country’s myriad conflicts and human rights abuses have dominated the agenda, as have counterterrorism c

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EPA and the Army Corps’ Proposed “Waters of the United States” Rule: Congressional Response and Options – R43943

In April 2014, the Army Corps of Engineers (the Corps) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) jointly proposed to amend the existing rules that define the scope of waters protected under the Clean Water Act (CWA). Discharges to

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FY2016 Agriculture and Related Agencies Appropriations: In Brief – R43938

The Administration released its FY2016 budget request on February 2, 2015. In Congress, the Agriculture appropriations subcommittees in the House and Senate have held hearings with agency officials and have received their “302(b)

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Cuba Sanctions: Legislative Restrictions Limiting the Normalization of Relations – R43888

In December 2014, President Obama announced major changes in U.S. policy toward Cuba, including the restoration of diplomatic relations (relations were severed in January 1961), a review by the Department of State of Cuba’s desig

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State Sponsors of Acts of International Terrorism-Legislative Parameters: In Brief – R43835

Iran, Sudan, and Syria are identified by the U.S. government as countries with governments that support acts of international terrorism. As the first session of the 114th Congress unfolds, U.S. foreign policy and national security poli

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U.S. Grain Standards Act: Potential Reauthorization in the 114th Congress – R43803

Under the United States Grain Standards Act (USGSA) of 1916, the federal government is authorized to establish official marketing standards (not health and safety standards) for grains and oilseeds, and to provide procedures fo

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The “Islamic State” Crisis and U.S. Policy – R43612

The Islamic State (IS, aka the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL/ISIS or the Arabic acronym Daesh) is a transnational Sunni Islamist insurgent and terrorist group that has seized areas of Iraq and Syria since 2013, th

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Trade Promotion Authority (TPA): Frequently Asked Questions – R43491

Legislation to reauthorize Trade Promotion Authority (“TPA”), sometimes called “fast track,” was introduced as the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 (TPA- 2015; H.R. 1890/S

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National Park Service: FY2016 Appropriations and Recent Trends – R42757

The National Park Service (NPS) receives appropriations in the annual Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies appropriations bill. For FY2016, the Obama Administration requested $3.048 billion in discretionary appropriations for NP

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The Violence Against Women Act: Overview, Legislation, and Federal Funding – R42499

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) has been of ongoing interest to Congress since its enactment in 1994 (P.L. 103-322). The original act was intended to change attitudes toward domestic violence, foster awareness of domestic violenc

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Conservation Compliance and U.S. Farm Policy – R42459

The Food Security Act of 1985 (P.L. 99-198, 1985 farm bill) included a number of significant agricultural conservation provisions designed to reduce farm production and conserve soil and water resources. Many of the provisions remain i

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