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Category Archives: Congress

Social Security: Cost-of-Living Adjustments

CRS – Social Security: Cost-of-Living Adjustments. Gary Sidor, Information Research Specialist, October 29, 2014. To compensate for the effects of inflation, Social Security recipients usually receive an annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA). Benefits will be increased by 1.7% in 2015, following an increase of 1.5% in 2014. Social Security COLAs are based on changes in the Consumer Price Index for UrbanContinue Reading

New GAO Report – Government Efficiency and Effectiveness

GOVERNMENT EFFICIENCY AND EFFECTIVENESS: Inconsistent Definitions and Information Limit the Usefulness of Federal Program Inventories, GAO-15-83: Published: Oct 31, 2014. Publicly Released: Oct 31, 2014. “GAO’s reports over the past 4 years have found more than 90 areas where opportunities exist for the executive branch or Congress to better manage, reduce, or eliminate fragmentation, overlap, and duplication.Continue Reading

WSJ Database for consitutents to explore composition of Congressional representation

“The U.S. House of Representatives was envisioned as a house of the people, directly elected by voters and reflecting their will. But what if Congress also reflected its constituents’ demographics? Explore how members of the House compare with residents of each of the 435 congressional districts, based on the predominant characteristics within each. Then seeContinue Reading

JPMorgan Data Breach Involves Information on 76 Million Households

JPMorgan Data Breach Involves Information on 76 Million Households, 7 Million Small Businesses, CRS Legal Sidebar, October 23, 2014 “JPMorgan did not provide individual customers with notice of the breach because it believed that it had no obligation to do so because no “sensitive customer information” was involved in the data breach. This means thatContinue Reading

Wastebook 2014: What Washington doesn’t want you to read

“Wastebook 2014 — the report Washington doesn’t want you to read —reveals the 100 most outlandish government expenditures this year, costing taxpayers billions of dollars.” The Fiscal Times – Coburn’s 2014 Wastebook: A $25 Billion Taxpayer Loss

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 theContinue Reading

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