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Category Archives: Congress

New GAO Report – Combatting Terrorism

Strategy to Counter Iran in the Western Hemisphere Has Gaps That State Department Should Address, GAO-14-834: Published: Sep 29, 2014. Publicly Released: Oct 21, 2014.

“The activities of Iranian government elements, such as a 2011 attempt to assassinate the Saudi Ambassador in the United States, could pose a threat to U.S. national security. Congress enacted the Countering Iran in the Western Hemisphere Act of 2012, requiring State to assess the threats posed to the United States by Iran’s presence and activity in the Western Hemisphere and to develop a strategy to address those threats. This report examines (1) State’s collaboration with other key U.S. agencies and foreign partners to address Iranian activities in the Western Hemisphere, (2) the extent to which the strategy addresses elements identified in the act, and (3) the extent to which the strategy includes desirable characteristics of national strategies.”

Conflict Minerals and Resource Extraction: Dodd-Frank, SEC Regulations, and Legal Challenges

Conflict Minerals and Resource Extraction: Dodd-Frank, SEC Regulations, and Legal Challenges. Michael V. Seitzinger, Legislative Attorney; Kathleen Ann Ruane, Legislative Attorney. October 15, 2014. “Two sections of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Protection Act (Dodd-Frank) require that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC or Commission) issue regulations to make public the involvement of U.S. companies in conflict minerals and inContinue Reading

Cybercrime: An Overview of the Federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Statute and Related Federal Criminal Laws

CRS – Cybercrime: An Overview of the Federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Statute and Related Federal Criminal Laws. Charles Doyle, Senior Specialist in American Public Law. October 15, 2014. “The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), 18 U.S.C. 1030, outlaws conduct that victimizes  computer systems. It is a cyber security law. It protects federal computers, bank computers, and computersContinue Reading

How Initiatives to Reduce Fraud in Federal Health Care Programs Affect the Budget

“Observers often cite fraud as an important contributor to high health care spending, particularly in federal programs. This report describes how CBO estimates the budgetary effects of legislative proposals to reduce fraud in Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and how those estimates are used in the Congressional budget process. What Is Fraud? ForContinue Reading

CRS – Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA): Resources for Frequently Asked Questions, Angela Napili, Information Research Specialist, October 10, 2014. “The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA; P.L. 111-148, as amended) has numerous provisions affecting private health insurance and public health coverage programs. Many of these provisions take effect in 2014. This report provides resources to help congressionalContinue Reading

Federal and State Quarantine and Isolation Authority

CRS – Federal and State Quarantine and Isolation Authority, Jared P. Cole, Legislative Attorney. October 9, 2014. “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 personsContinue Reading

Al Qaeda-Affiliated Groups: Middle East and Africa

CRS: Al Qaeda-Affiliated Groups: Middle East and Africa, October 10, 2014. “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 ideologyContinue Reading

Common Core State Standards: Frequently Asked Questions

CRS Report – Common Core State Standards: Frequently Asked Questions. Rebecca R. Skinner, Specialist in Education Policy; Jody Feder, Legislative Attorney. September 15, 2014. “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 2001Continue Reading

Two New CRS Reports on Ebola

The Ebola Outbreak: Select Legal Issues, CRS Legal Sidebar, October 6, 2014: “On August 8th, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease in West Africa a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. The recent arrival in the United States of several health care workers who contracted the disease, combined with the firstContinue Reading

Poverty in the United States: 2013

CRS – Poverty in the United States: 2013. Thomas Gabe, Specialist in Social Policy. September 25, 2014. “In 2013, 45.3 million people were counted as poor in the United States under the official poverty measure—a number statistically unchanged from the 46.5 million people estimated as poor in 2012. The poverty rate, or percent of the population considered poorContinue Reading

Temporary Professional, Managerial, and Skilled Foreign Workers: Legislation in the 113th Congress

CRS – Temporary Professional, Managerial, and Skilled Foreign Workers: Legislation in the 113th Congress. Ruth Ellen Wasem, Specialist in Immigration Policy. September 30, 2014 “The admission of professional, managerial, and skilled foreign workers raises a complex set of policy issues as the United States competes internationally for the most talented workers in the world, without adversely effecting U.S. workersContinue Reading

Iran: U.S. Concerns and Policy Responses

CRS – Iran: U.S. Concerns and Policy Responses. Kenneth Katzman,  Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs. October 1, 2014 “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. However, a common enemy has emerged in the form of theContinue Reading