Archive

Archive for the ‘Congressional Research Service’ Category

CRS — Iran Sanctions (August 19, 2014)

August 28, 2014 Comments off

Iran Sanctions (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

Strict sanctions on Iran’s key energy and financial sectors harmed Iran’s economy. The economic pressure—coupled with the related June 14, 2013, election of the relatively moderate Hassan Rouhani as Iran’s president—contributed to Iran’s accepting a November 24, 2013, six-month interim agreement (“Joint Plan of Action,” JPA) that halts expansion of its nuclear program in exchange for modest sanctions relief. On July 18, 2014, the interim agreement was extended until November 24, 2014.

About these ads

CRS — Social Security: Trust Fund Investment Practices (August 20, 2014)

August 27, 2014 Comments off

Social Security: Trust Fund Investment Practices (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

The Social Security Act has always required surplus Social Security revenues (revenues in excess of program expenditures) to be invested in U.S. government securities (or U.S. government-backed securities). In recent years, attention has been focused on alternative investment practices in an effort to increase the interest earnings of the trust funds, among other goals. This report describes Social Security trust fund investment practices under current law.

The “Militarization” of Law Enforcement and the Department of Defense’s “1033 Program”, CRS Insights (August 20, 2014)

August 26, 2014 Comments off

The “Militarization” of Law Enforcement and the Department of Defense’s “1033 Program”, CRS Insights (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

Recent clashes between police and protesters in Ferguson, MO, have raised questions about the “militarization” of law enforcement. Such concerns have focused almost exclusively on the expanding role of Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) teams. Congress has also turned its attention to the Department of Defense’s (DOD) “1033 Program” and what role it might play in the militarization of law enforcement.

CRS — The Military Commissions Act of 2009 (MCA 2009): Overview and Legal Issues (August 4, 2014)

August 26, 2014 Comments off

The Military Commissions Act of 2009 (MCA 2009): Overview and Legal Issues (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

On November 13, 2001, President Bush issued a Military Order (M.O.) pertaining to the detention, treatment, and trial of certain non-citizens in the war against terrorism. Military commissions pursuant to the M.O. began in November 2004 against four persons declared eligible for trial, but the Supreme Court in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld invalidated the military commissions as improper under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). To permit military commissions to go forward, Congress approved the Military Commissions Act of 2006 (MCA), conferring authority to promulgate rules that depart from the strictures of the UCMJ and possibly U.S. international obligations. Military commissions proceedings were reinstated and resulted in three convictions under the Bush Administration.

Upon taking office in 2009, President Obama temporarily halted military commissions to review their procedures as well as the detention program at Guantánamo Bay in general, pledging to close the prison facilities there by January 2010, a deadline that passed unmet. One case was moved to a federal district court.

CRS — U.S.-Vietnam Nuclear Cooperation Agreement: Issues for Congress (August 8, 2014)

August 26, 2014 Comments off

U.S.-Vietnam Nuclear Cooperation Agreement: Issues for Congress (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

U.S.-Vietnamese cooperation on nuclear energy and nonproliferation has grown in recent years along with closer bilateral economic, military, and diplomatic ties. In 2010, the two countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding that Obama Administration officials said would be a “stepping stone” to a bilateral nuclear cooperation agreement. This agreement was signed by the two countries on May 6, 2014, and transmitted to Congress for review on May 8. Since Congress adjourned for August recess under a joint resolution, the review period was paused. If Congress returns from adjournment as planned on September 8, the estimated congressional review period for this agreement will be completed on September 10, 2014.

Under the agreement, the United States could license the export of nuclear reactor and research information, material, and equipment to Vietnam. The agreement does not allow for the transfer of restricted data or sensitive nuclear technology, and contains required nonproliferation provisions. Under Section 123 of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 (as amended), this agreement is subject to congressional review. The nuclear cooperation agreement is expected to comply with all the terms of the Atomic Energy Act as amended and therefore will be a “non-exempt” agreement. This means that it may enter into force upon the 90th day of continuous session after its submittal to Congress (a period of 30 plus 60 days of review) unless Congress enacts a Joint Resolution disapproving agreement, or approving the agreement at an earlier date. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez introduced a resolution that would approve the agreement (S.J.Res. 36) on May 22. This bill was passed by the Senate on July 31, 2014.

Vietnam would be the first country in Southeast Asia to operate a nuclear power plant. Vietnam has announced a nuclear energy plan that envisions installing several nuclear plants, capable of producing up to 14,800 megawatts of electric power (MWe), by 2030. Nuclear power is projected to provide 20%-30% of the country’s electricity by 2050. Significant work remains, however, to develop Vietnam’s nuclear energy infrastructure and regulatory framework. Since Vietnam has other commercial partners in the nuclear energy field, a lack of agreement with the United States would not be likely to have a significant impact on its nuclear energy plans.

CRS — Immigration Policies and Issues on Health-Related Grounds for Exclusion (August 13, 2014)

August 26, 2014 Comments off

Immigration Policies and Issues on Health-Related Grounds for Exclusion (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

News of humans infected with Ebola in West Africa, avian influenza in China, polio in the Middle East, and dengue fever in the Caribbean are examples of reports that heighten concerns about the health screenings of people arriving in the United States. Under current law, foreign nationals who wish to come to the United States generally must obtain a visa and submit to an inspection to be admitted. One of the reasons why a foreign national might be deemed inadmissible is on health-related grounds. The diseases that trigger inadmissibility in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) are those communicable diseases of public health significance as determined by the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Currently there are seven diseases deemed a communicable disease of public health significance: chancroid, gonorrhea, granuloma inguinale, infectious leprosy, lymphogranuloma venereum, active tuberculosis, and infectious syphilis. Other diseases incorporated by reference are cholera; diphtheria; infectious tuberculosis; plague; smallpox; yellow fever; viral hemorrhagic fevers (Lassa, Marburg, Ebola, Crimean-Congo, South American, and others not yet isolated or named); severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS); and “[i]nfluenza caused by novel or reemergent influenza viruses that are causing, or have the potential to cause, a pandemic.”

CRS — Implementation of Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS): Issues for Congress (August 12, 2014)

August 26, 2014 Comments off

Implementation of Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS): Issues for Congress (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) implements the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) regulations, which regulate security at high-risk facilities possessing more than certain amounts of one or more chemicals of interest. Facilities possessing more than the specified amount must register with DHS through this program (a process known as the Top- Screen) and perform security-related activities. The DHS identifies a subset of high-risk chemical facilities from among those that register. These high-risk chemical facilities must submit a security vulnerability assessment, which DHS uses to confirm their high-risk designation, and a site security plan, which DHS then reviews and authorizes. The DHS also inspects and approves high-risk chemical facilities for adherence to their submitted site security plans. It also later inspects for compliance with these plans following DHS approval. The DHS regulates approximately 4,000 facilities under this program and is in the process of implementing the regulatory requirements for security vulnerability assessment, site security planning, and inspection.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 900 other followers