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Those who subscribe to our FREE DAILY REPORT receive titles and summaries of just-released CRS reports every Monday through Friday while sipping their first morning cup of coffee. Use the Subscribe tab ( or eMail to subscribe to be added to the Daily Report mailing list. For those [...]

U.S. Farm Income – R40152

According to USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS), national net farm income—a key indicator of U.S. farm well-being—is forecast at $113.2 billion in 2014, down 14% from last year’s record $131.3 billion. The 2014 forecast would be the lowest since 2010, but would remain $25 billion above the previous 10-year average.

The forecast for lower net [...]

The Federal Food Safety System: A Primer – RS22600

Numerous federal, state, and local agencies share responsibilities for regulating the safety of the U.S. food supply. Federal responsibility for food safety rests primarily with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). FDA, an agency of the Department of Health and Human Services, is responsible for ensuring the safety [...]

Guam: U.S. Defense Deployments – RS22570

Since 2000, the U.S. military has been building up forward-deployed forces on the westernmost U.S. territory of Guam (west of Hawaii) to increase U.S. operational presence, deterrence, and power projection for potential responses to crises, disasters, or other contingencies to support Japan, Republic of Korea (ROK), the Philippines, Taiwan, or others in Asia. Since 2006, [...]

Defense Surplus Equipment Disposal: Background Information – RS20549

The effort to dispose of surplus military equipment dates back to the end of World War II when the federal government sought to reduce a massive inventory of surplus military equipment by making such equipment available to civilians. (The disposal of surplus real property, including land, buildings, commercial facilities, and equipment situated thereon, is assigned [...]

Title X (Public Health Service Act) Family Planning Program – RL33644

The federal government provides grants for voluntary family planning services through the Family Planning Program, Title X of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. §§300 to 300a-6). Enacted in 1970, it is the only domestic federal program devoted solely to family planning and related preventive health services. In 2012, Title X-funded clinics served 4.8 [...]

U.S. Strategic Nuclear Forces: Background, Developments, and Issues – RL33640

Even though the United States plans to reduce the number of warheads deployed on its longrange missiles and bombers, consistent with the terms of the New START Treaty, it also plans to develop new delivery systems for deployment over the next 20-30 years. The 113th Congress will continue to review these programs during the annual [...]

Saudi Arabia: Background and U.S. Relations – RL33533

The kingdom of Saudi Arabia, ruled by the Al Saud family since its founding in 1932, wields significant global political and economic influence as the birthplace of the Islamic faith and by virtue of its large oil reserves. Close U.S.-Saudi official relations have survived a series of challenges since the 1940s, and, in recent years, [...]

Ukraine: Current Issues and U.S. Policy – RL33460

After a failed effort to violently disperse pro-European Union protests, the government of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych collapsed on February 21, 2014. The Ukrainian parliament approved a new pro-Western government in February. Russia responded to the change of government in Kyiv by seizing Ukraine’s Crimea region and annexing it on March 18. In April and [...]

The Wetlands Coverage of the Clean Water Act (CWA): Rapanos and Beyond – RL33263

In 1985 and 2001, the Supreme Court grappled with issues as to the geographic scope of the wetlands permitting program in the federal Clean Water Act (CWA). In 2006, the Supreme Court rendered a third decision, Rapanos v. United States, on appeal from two Sixth Circuit rulings. The Sixth Circuit rulings offered the Court a [...]

Recess Appointments: A Legal Overview – RL33009

The U.S. Constitution explicitly provides the President with two methods of appointing officers of the United States. First, the Appointments Clause provides the President with the authority to make appointments with the advice and consent of the Senate. Specifically, Article II, Section 2, clause 2 states that the President “shall nominate, and by and with [...]

U.S.-Mexico Economic Relations: Trends, Issues, and Implications – RL32934

During the remainder of the 113th Congress, policy makers will likely maintain an interest in Mexico on issues related to cross-border trade, Mexico’s participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement negotiations, energy sector and other reforms in Mexico, economic conditions in Mexico, migration, and border issues. Congress may take a more active interest in the [...]

Iran: U.S. Concerns and Policy Responses – RL32048

A priority of U.S. policy has been to reduce the perceived threat posed by Iran to a broad range of U.S. interests. During the 1980s and 1990s, U.S. officials identified Iran’s support for militant Middle East groups as a significant threat to U.S. interests and allies. A perceived potential threat from Iran’s nuclear program came [...]

Research Tax Credit: Current Law and Policy Issues for the 113th 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 otherwise would in several ways, including a tax credit for increases in spending on qualified research above a base amount.

This report [...]

Pakistan Political Unrest: In Brief – R43717

Beginning on August 15, 2014, Pakistan’s struggle to establish a sustainable democratic system has met with a new reversal in the form of major anti-government street protests in the capital. Crowds led by opposition figures have demanded the resignation of democratically elected Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The prime minister regards such demands to be inconsistent [...]

Asylum and Gang Violence: Legal Overview – R43716

The recent increase in the number of unaccompanied alien children (UACs) apprehended at the border between Mexico and the United States has raised questions about the role that gang-related violence in Central America may play in determining whether such children are eligible for refugee status and asylum. Only aliens who are “refugees,” as that term [...]

Aviation War Risk Insurance: Background and Options for Congress – R43715

Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, coverage for such attacks, and for “war risks,” became difficult, if not impossible, for airlines to purchase from private insurers. In response, Congress passed expansions of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Aviation War Risk Insurance Program. The amended statute (49 U.S.C. §44301 et seq) requires that the [...]

Protection of Trade Secrets: Overview of Current Law and Legislation – R43714

A trade secret is confidential, commercially valuable information that provides a company with a competitive advantage, such as customer lists, methods of production, marketing strategies, pricing information, and chemical formulae. (Well-known examples of trade secrets include the formula for Coca-Cola, the recipe for Kentucky Fried Chicken, and the algorithm used by Google’s search engine.) To [...]

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and the Right of Northwestern University Football Players to Unionize: Background and Related Issues – R43713

In late January 2014, a group of students who play football for Northwestern University filed a representation petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The students are seeking to be represented by the College Athletes Players Association (CAPA), a newly created labor organization. CAPA contends that college football and basketball players, particularly those who [...]

Article III Standing and Congressional Suits Against the Executive Branch – R43712

On July 30, 2014, the House of Representatives passed House Resolution 676 (H.Res. 676), authorizing the Speaker of the House to initiate a civil action against the President and/or executive branch officials or employees for their failure to act consistently with their duties under the Constitution or federal law in implementing the Patient Protection and [...]

Common Core State Standards and Assessments: Background and Issues – R43711

Over the last two decades, there has been interest in developing federal policies that focus on student outcomes in elementary and secondary education. Perhaps most prominently, the enactment of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB; P.L. 107-110), which amended and reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), marked a dramatic expansion [...]