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Afghan security forces have lead security responsibility throughout the country, and the United States and its partner countries are in the process of transitioning to a smaller post-2014 mission consisting mostly of training the Afghanistan National Security Forces (ANSF). The number of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, which peaked at about 100,000 in June 2011, has [...]
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides benefits to veterans who meet certain eligibility criteria. Benefits to veterans range from disability compensation and pensions to hospital and medical care. The VA provides these benefits through three major operating units: the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA), and the National Cemetery Administration (NCA). [...]
On March 25, 2014, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) jointly proposed a rule defining the scope of waters protected under the Clean Water Act (CWA). The proposal would revise regulations that have been in place for more than 25 years. Revisions are proposed in light of 2001 [...]
After more than a decade of combating Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the United States now faces an increasingly diverse threat from Al Qaeda affiliates in the Middle East and Africa and from emerging groups that have adopted aspects of Al Qaeda’s ideology but operate relatively or completely autonomously from the group’s senior leadership.
Implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Affordable Care Act, or ACA) is having a significant impact on federal mandatory—also known as direct—spending. Most of the projected spending under the law is for expanding health insurance coverage. This spending includes premium tax credits and other subsidies for individuals and families that purchase private [...]
Congress currently appropriates foreign affairs funding through annual Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs appropriations. Prior to FY2008, however, Congress provided funds for the Department of State and international broadcasting within the Commerce, Justice, and State, the Judiciary, and Related Agencies appropriations (CJS) and separately provided foreign aid funds within Foreign Operations, Export [...]
Within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), eight agencies are designated components of the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS). The PHS agencies are funded primarily with annual discretionary appropriations. They also receive significant amounts of funding from other sources including mandatory funds from the Affordable Care Act (ACA), user fees, and third-party reimbursements [...]
Congress has long been concerned with the well-being of older youth in foster care and those who have recently emancipated from care without going to a permanent home. Research on this population is fairly limited, and the few studies that are available have focused on youth who live in a small number of states. This [...]
The Energy and Water Development appropriations bill provides funding for civil works projects of the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), for the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation), the Department of Energy (DOE), and several independent agencies.
President Obama’s FY2015 budget request for Energy and Water Development was released in March 2014. The [...]
This report provides data from the past 20 years on the size of the U.S. Postal Service’s (USPS’s) workforce. Further, this report examines trends in its workforce composition, particularly focusing on shifts in the ratio between career and non-career employment.
The size of the USPS workforce has declined over the past two decades. The most [...]
The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21; P.L. 112-141), a two-year authorization of federal spending on highway and public transportation programs, surface transportation safety and research, and some rail programs, was set to expire September 30, 2014. The Highway and Transportation Funding Act of 2014 (P.L. 113-159), enacted on August 8, [...]
As a result of enforcement actions and settlements for noncompliance with federal pollution control requirements, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reported that, during FY2013, regulated entities committed to invest an estimated $7.0 billion for judicially mandated actions and equipment to control pollution (injunctive relief), and $22.0 million for implementing mutually agreed-upon (supplemental) environmentally beneficial [...]
Prior to the initiation of economic reforms and trade liberalization 35 years ago, China maintained policies that kept the economy very poor, stagnant, centrally controlled, vastly inefficient, and relatively isolated from the global economy. Since opening up to foreign trade and investment and implementing free market reforms in 1979, China has been among the world’s [...]
At the World Trade Organization’s (WTO’s) Ninth Ministerial Conference in Bali, Indonesia, December 3-7, 2013, ministers adopted the so-called Bali Package—a series of decisions aimed at streamlining trade (referred to as trade facilitation), allowing developing countries more options for providing food security, boosting least-developed-country trade, and helping development more generally. The Bali Package represents the [...]
For purposes of federal law, a bid protest involves a written objection to the conduct of government agencies in acquiring supplies and services for their direct use or benefit. Such conduct can include (1) soliciting or otherwise requesting offers; (2) cancelling such solicitations or requests; (3) awarding or proposing to award a contract; (4) terminating [...]
The President’s FY2015 budget requested $46.7 billion in gross discretionary appropriations for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), not accounting for savings from offsets and other sources. This was about $1 billion more than the amount provided in FY2014. Net budget authority takes into account rescissions and offsets from receipts and collections. In [...]
In the wake of increasing fears about the spread of highly contagious diseases, federal, state, and local governments have become increasingly aware of the need for a comprehensive public health response to such events. An effective response could include the quarantine of persons exposed to infectious biological agents that are naturally occurring or released during [...]
Veterans’ employment outcomes in the civilian labor market are an issue of ongoing congressional interest. This report offers introductory data on veterans’ performance in the civilian labor market as well as a discussion of veteran-targeted federal programs that provide employment-related benefits and services.
According to federal data, the unemployment rate for veterans who served after [...]