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Archive for the ‘Congressional Research Service’ Category

CRS — The Mental Health Workforce: A Primer (April 16, 2015)

July 8, 2015 Comments off

The Mental Health Workforce: A Primer (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

Congress has held hearings and introduced legislation addressing the interrelated topics of the quality of mental health care, access to mental health care, and the cost of mental health care. The mental health workforce is a key component of each of these topics. The quality of mental health care depends partially on the skills of the people providing the care. Access to mental health care relies on, among other things, the number of appropriately skilled providers available to provide care. The cost of mental health care depends in part on the wages of the people providing care. Thus an understanding of the mental health workforce may be helpful in crafting policy and conducting oversight. This report aims to provide such an understanding as a foundation for further discussion of mental health policy.

CRS — Military Retirement: Background and Recent Developments (April 30, 2015)

July 8, 2015 Comments off

Military Retirement: Background and Recent Developments (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

The military retirement system is a government-funded noncontributory, defined benefit system that has historically been viewed as a significant incentive in retaining a career military force. The system currently includes monthly compensation for qualified active and reserve retirees, disability benefits for those deemed medically unfit to serve, and a survivor annuity program for the eligible survivors of deceased retirees. The amount of compensation is dependent on time served, basic pay at retirement, and is adjusted annually through a Cost-of-Living-Adjustment (COLA). Military retirees are also entitled to nonmonetary benefits including exchange and commissary privileges, medical care through TRICARE, and access to Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) facilities and programs.

CRS — Health Care for Veterans: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions (April 30, 2015)

July 8, 2015 Comments off

Health Care for Veterans: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

The Veterans Health Administration (VHA), within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), operates the nation’s largest integrated health care delivery system, provides care to approximately 5.75 million unique veteran patients, and employs more than 270,000 full-time equivalent employees.

CRS — Conflict Minerals and Resource Extraction: Dodd-Frank, SEC Regulations, and Legal Challenges (April 2, 2015)

July 6, 2015 Comments off

Conflict Minerals and Resource Extraction: Dodd-Frank, SEC Regulations, and Legal Challenges (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

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 in resource extraction payments. Supporters of the Dodd-Frank conflict minerals statute and the SEC implementing rule believe that such disclosures could have an impact on the amount of violence involved with the mining of conflict minerals. Opponents of the statute and rule argue that they require disclosures that are arbitrary and capricious and that some of the required disclosures violate the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of speech. Supporters of the resource extraction statute and the SEC implementing rule believe that they are needed to achieve the goal of the transparency of payments made by resource extraction issuers to governments in order to foster reform and anticorruption and to improve the tax collection process. Opponents believe that they are arbitrary and capricious and violate the First Amendment. Legal challenges to the statutes and regulations have occurred, based primarily on administrative law and First Amendment grounds.

CRS — U.S. Crude Oil and Natural Gas Production in Federal and Non-Federal Areas (April 3, 2015)

June 29, 2015 Comments off

U.S. Crude Oil and Natural Gas Production in Federal and Non-Federal Areas (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

A number of proposals designed to increase domestic energy supply, enhance security, and/or amend the requirements of environmental statutes that apply to energy development were before the 113th Congress and are likely to be reintroduced in the 114th Congress. A key question in this discussion is how much oil and gas is produced in the United States each year and how much of that comes from federal versus non-federal areas. Oil production has fluctuated on federal lands over the past five fiscal years but has increased dramatically on non-federal lands. Non-federal crude oil production has been rapidly increasing in the past few years, partly due to favorable geology and the ease of leasing, rising by 3.0 million barrels per day (mbd) between FY2010 and FY2014, causing the federal share of total U.S. crude oil production to fall from 36.4% to 21.4%.

Crude oil production on federal lands, particularly offshore, however, is likely to continue to make a significant contribution to the U.S energy supply picture and could remain consistently higher than previous decades, but still fall as a percent of total U.S. production, if production on non-federal lands continues to rise at a faster rate.

CRS — Ballistic Missile Defense in the Asia-Pacific Region: Cooperation and Opposition (April 3, 2015)

June 29, 2015 Comments off

Ballistic Missile Defense in the Asia-Pacific Region: Cooperation and Opposition (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

The growing number and modernization of ballistic missiles in the Asia-Pacific region poses a security challenge for the United States and its allies and is thus a concern for many in Congress. The United States has made ballistic missile defense (BMD) a central component of protection for forward-deployed U.S. forces and extended deterrence for allied security. The configuration of sensors, command-and-control centers, and BMD assets in the region has slowly evolved with contributions from treaty allies, primarily Japan, Australia, and South Korea.

Observers believe that North Korea has an arsenal of hundreds of short-range ballistic missiles and likely dozens of medium-range Nodong missiles; the extended-range Nodongs are considered capable of reaching Japan and U.S. bases there. Longer-range North Korean missiles appear to be under development but remain unreliable, with only one successful test out of five in the past 15 years. The U.S. intelligence community has not yet concluded that North Korea can build nuclear warheads small enough to put on ballistic missiles, but there is significant debate among experts on this question.

Editorial: Congressional Research Belongs to the Public

June 18, 2015 Comments off

Congressional Research Belongs to the Public
Source: New York Times

In Washington, the reports have become commodities traded and sold by policy wonks.

Every day, the Congressional Research Service, a little-known government agency attached to the Library of Congress, churns out papers on issues as varied as the defense budget, the farm bill and nuclear weapons. They’re not classified. They’re nonpartisan. And unlike many government reports, they’re fairly easy to understand. Yet it’s hard for most people to get copies of reports produced by the Congressional Research Service, which operates as an in-house think-tank for lawmakers. That is absurd.

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