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Central Valley Project: Issues and Legislation

Defense Primer: The NDAA Process

Defense Primer: Navigating the NDAA

El Salvador: Authoritarian Actions and U.S. Response

Corporate Tax Reform: Issues for Congress

Bank Use of Cloud Technology

Israel: Background and U.S. Relations in Brief

Defense Primer: Cyberspace Operations

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers: Supplemental Appropriations

Immigration Arrests in the Interior of the United States: A Primer

Contaminants of Emerging Concern Under the Clean Water Act

Taiwan: Political and Security Issues

Defense Primer: Department of Defense Pre-Positioned Materiel

Air Force OA-X Light Attack Aircraft/SOCOM Armed Overwatch Program

Social Security: Benefit Calculation Overview

The Impact of a “Fully Refundable” Child Tax Credit

Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Procurement Program

Clean Air Act Issues in the 117th Congress

Defense Primer: Military Use of the Electromagnetic Spectrum

Defense Primer: Directed-Energy Weapons

2021 Elections in Honduras

Defense Primer: Electronic Warfare

Federal Emergency Declarations

Worker Participation in Employer-Sponsored Pensions: Data in Brief

Latin America and the Caribbean: Fact Sheet on Leaders and Elections

Defense Primer: Department of the Army and Army Command Structure

The Post-Pandemic Labor Market and Rising Inflation

Defense Primer: Organization of U.S. Ground Forces

Defense Primer: Special Operations Forces

Offshore Energy Agency Appropriations, FY2022

Defense Primer: Command and Control of Nuclear Forces

Introduction to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)

The Bannon Indictment and Prosecution

Defense Primer: Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP)

National Emergency Powers

FY2022 NDAA: President’s Budget Request

Child Care in the “Build Back Better Act”

Native American Heritage Month: Fact Sheet

FY2022 NDAA: Mental Health Care

FY2022 NDAA: Parental Leave Benefits

Legislative Branch Revolving Funds

An Overview of Small Business Contracting

Redistricting Commissions for Congressional Districts

Federal Research and Development (R&D) Funding: FY2022

Defense Primer: Hypersonic Boost-Glide Weapons

Fifth Circuit Stays OSHA Vaccination and Testing Standard

COVID-19: Restrictions on Noncitizen Travel

Defense Primer: U.S. Policy on Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems

Small Business Administration (SBA) Funding: Overview and Recent Trends

Social Security: The Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP)

Minimum Taxes on Business Income: Background and Policy Options

Small Business Administration Microloan Program

EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program

Forest Service: FY2022 Appropriations

Caribbean Basin Security Initiative

Recent Funding Increases for FEMA Hazard Mitigation Assistance

Russian Military Intelligence: Background and Issues for Congress

Congressional Redistricting Criteria and Considerations

Hindu Holidays: Fact Sheet

National Park Service: FY2022 Appropriations

Small Business Administration HUBZone Program

Latin America and the Caribbean: Impact of COVID-19

Title 36 Congressional Charters

A Survey of House and Senate Committee Rules on Subpoenas

Trends and Proposals for Corporate Tax Revenue

The Weatherization Assistance Program Formula

Small Business Administration 504/CDC Loan Guaranty Program

Defense Primer: Strategic Nuclear Forces

The Congressional Review Act (CRA): Frequently Asked Questions

Global Economic Effects of COVID-19

Title X Family Planning Program: 2019 Final Rule

Stablecoins: Background and Policy Issues

Supply Chain Bottlenecks at U.S. Ports

FY2022 NDAA: Budgetary Context

SBA’s “8(a) Program”: Overview, History, and Current Issues

Small Business Tax Benefits: Current Law

Clearing the Air on the Debt Limit

Emerging Military Technologies: Background and Issues for Congress

SBA Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contracting Program

EU Climate Action and U.S.-EU Relations

Iraq and U.S. Policy

Defense Primer: Senior Reserve Officer Training Corps

Insider Trading

Veterans Day Speech Resources: Fact Sheet


FY2022 NDAA: Selective Service and Draft Registration

Defense Primer: The Department of Defense

Confucius Institutes in the United States: Selected Issues

Defense Primer: Commanding U.S. Military Operations

Membership of the 117th Congress: A Profile

The Military’s COVID-19 Vaccination Mandate

Air Force Tanker Strategy Changes

The Army’s Multi-Domain Task Force (MDTF)

Defense Primer: Personnel Tempo (PERSTEMPO)

SBA Small Business Investment Company Program

Does the President Have the Power to Legalize Marijuana?

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Hazard Mitigation Assistance

Landsat 9 and the Future of the Sustainable Land Imaging Program

Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962

FY2022 NDAA: Strategic Context

The Legality of DACA: Recent Litigation Developments

Air Force F-15EX Eagle II Fighter Program

Congressional Salaries and Allowances: In Brief

Elections Grant Programs: Policy Options

Defense Primer: Military Health System

Small Business Administration 7(a) Loan Guaranty Program

Reserve Component Personnel Issues: Questions and Answers

Clean Energy Standards: Selected Issues for the 117th Congress

Continued State Flexibility to Assist Older Foster Youth Act

Military Criminal Justice System

Mexico: Evolution of the Mérida Initiative, FY2008-FY2022

Small Business Administration: A Primer on Programs and Funding

COVID-19 Variants: Vaccines, Diagnostics, and Therapeutics

The World Bank’s Doing Business Report

Cuba: U.S. Policy Overview

Bank Mergers and Acquisitions

U.S. Climate Change Policy

The Farm Bill Energy Title: An Overview and Funding History

Mark-to-Market Taxation of Capital Gains

The United Arab Emirates (UAE): Issues for U.S. Policy

The European Union: Questions and Answers

Dam Removal and the Federal Role

Central American Migration: Root Causes and U.S. Policy

Defense Primer: United States Airpower

Coup-Related Restrictions in U.S. Foreign Aid Appropriations

United Nations Issues: U.S. Funding of U.N. Peacekeeping

The Palestinians: Background and U.S. Relations

Defense Primer: The United States Air Force

Resources for Tracking Federal COVID-19 Spending

Artemis: NASA’s Program to Return Humans to the Moon

Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA)

Defense Primer: Department of the Navy

Defense Primer: Naval Forces

Military Medical Care: Frequently Asked Questions

Medicare: Insolvency Projections

Defense Primer: Geography, Strategy, and U.S. Force Design

Defense Primer: Army Multi-Domain Operations (MDO)

The Internal Revenue Service’s Private Tax Debt Collection Program

Pandemic Relief: The Emergency Rental Assistance Program

Medicare Financial Status: In Brief

NASA Appropriations and Authorizations: A Fact Sheet

The Freedom to Vote Act (S. 2747): Selected Major Provisions

Children’s Hospitals Graduate Medical Education (CHGME)

Defense Primer: RDT&E

Resolving Subpoena Disputes in the January 6 Investigation

Compensation Programs for Potential COVID-19 Vaccine Injuries

Defense Primer: Quantum Technology

Nuclear Energy: Overview of Congressional Issues

Arms Sales: Congressional Review Process

Congress and the War in Yemen: Oversight and Legislation 2015-2021

Hypersonic Weapons: Background and Issues for Congress

Recent Changes in the Estate and Gift Tax Provisions

Addressing Unruly Airline Passengers

Coast Guard Cutter Procurement: Background and Issues for Congress

Iraq’s October 2021 Election

Patriot Day: Fact Sheet

World Trade Organization: Overview and Future Direction

Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) in the United States

Social Security: What Would Happen If the Trust Funds Ran Out?

Tallying Federal Funding for COVID-19: In Brief

Tribal Lands: An Overview

Social Security: Cost-of-Living Adjustments

USPS Changes Postal Service Standards

USMCA: Motor Vehicle Provisions and Issues

Russian Arms Sales and Defense Industry

Mexican Drug Trafficking and Cartel Operations amid COVID-19

International Trade Agreements and Job Estimates

Cost-of-Living Adjustments for Federal Civil Service Annuities

U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policy: Considering “No First Use”

The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Block Grant

National Park Service: FY2021 Appropriations

Changes in the Arctic: Background and Issues for Congress

Visa Waiver Program

A Brief Introduction to the National Flood Insurance Program

What Happens If the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Lapses?

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

Panama: An Overview

COVID-19-Related Loan Assistance for Agricultural Enterprises

Congressional Reform: A Perspective

Bulgaria: An Overview

The Pregnancy Assistance Fund

Qatar: Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy

Ukraine: Background, Conflict with Russia, and U.S. Policy

Social Security Dual Entitlement

SBA Veterans Assistance Programs: An Analysis of Contemporary Issues

Saudi Arabia: Background and U.S. Relations

Chile: An Overview

National Park Service: Government Shutdown Issues

U.S. Research and Development Funding and Performance: Fact Sheet

Russian Military Exercises

Navy Ship Names: Background for Congress

Commercial Human Spaceflight

Defense Primer: Emerging Technologies

Nuclear Arms Control After the Biden-Putin Summit

Costa Rica: An Overview

Egypt: Background and U.S. Relations

Noncitizen Eligibility for Federal Housing Programs

Morocco: Background and U.S. Relations

COVID-19 Vaccination: Selected U.S. Data Sources

Germany’s September 26 Elections

Apportionment and Redistricting Following the 2020 Census

Medical Product Regulation: Drugs, Biologics, and Devices

Argentina: An Overview

SBA Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Program (SVOG)

Who Pays the Corporate Tax?

Small Business Administration Trade and Export Promotion Programs

Federal Disaster Assistance for Agriculture

SBA Restaurant Revitalization Fund Grants

Supervised Release (Parole): An Overview of Federal Law

Recent Developments in Everglades Restoration

Supervised Release (Parole): An Abbreviated Outline of Federal Law

FDA Human Medical Product User Fee Programs

Need-Tested Benefits: Children and Poverty

B-52 Re-Engining Program Begins

Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS)

PFAS and Drinking Water: Selected EPA and Congressional Actions

Global Research and Development Expenditures: Fact Sheet

The Army’s Project Convergence

The Post-9/11 GI Bill: A Primer


The Debt Limit in 2021

Air Force B-21 Raider Long-Range Strike Bomber

Cameroon: Key Issues and U.S. Policy

The Buy American Act: Proposed Rules

The Legal Framework of the National Environmental Policy Act

Social Security: The Average Wage Index

Noncitizen Eligibility for Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Key Issues in WTO Agriculture Negotiations

Colombia: Challenges for U.S. Policymakers in 2021

Addressing Environmental Justice Through NEPA

Water Resources Development Acts: Primer

Social Security: The Trust Funds

An Overview of Rural Credit Markets

Social Security: Revisiting Benefits for Spouses and Survivors

Syria and U.S. Policy

Abortion: Judicial History and Legislative Response

National Infrastructure Bank: Proposals in the 117th Congress

National Flood Insurance Program Borrowing Authority

Federal Student Loan Debt Relief in the Context of COVID-19

Civilian Nuclear Waste Disposal

Belarus: An Overview

FY2022 Electronic Warfare Funding Trends

COVID-19 Testing: Frequently Asked Questions

Venezuela: Political Crisis and U.S. Policy

The FAFSA Simplification Act

Social Security Primer

Universal Preschool in the “Build Back Better Act”

Potential WTO TRIPS Waiver and COVID-19

National Hispanic Heritage Month: Fact Sheet

Russia’s Nuclear Weapons: Doctrine, Forces, and Modernization

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Political Transition in Tokyo

The Palestinians: Overview, Aid, and U.S. Policy Issues

Pipeline Cybersecurity: Federal Programs

Federal Pell Grant Program of the Higher Education Act: Primer

Section 301: Tariff Exclusions on U.S. Imports from China

Ethiopia’s Transition and the Tigray Conflict

Federal Crop Insurance for Hemp Crops

Instances of Use of United States Armed Forces Abroad, 1798-2021

S. 503, the Parents Act of 2021

Wildfire Statistics

Ecuador: An Overview

Bureau of Reclamation: FY2022 Appropriations

Social Security’s Funding Shortfall

House Full Committee Hearings: 107th-116th Congresses

Tax Policy and Disaster Recovery

Social Security Overview

U.S. Capital Markets and China: Issues for Congress

Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks in U.S. Agriculture

Canadian Railroads Competing to Acquire Major U.S. Freight Line

Libya and U.S. Policy

Social Security Trust Fund Investment Practices

The Home Office Tax Deduction

U.S. Sanctions on Russia: An Overview

Bolivia: An Overview

Unaccompanied Alien Children: An Overview

Energy and Water Development: FY2022 Appropriations

The CDC’s Federal Eviction Moratorium

U.S. Challenges to China’s Farm Policies

National Monuments and the Antiquities Act

Moldova: An Overview

The “Shadow Docket”: The Supreme Court’s Non-Merits Orders

Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS): OECD/G20 Tax Proposals

Dominican Republic

Afghan Aerial Evacuation in Context

Russia’s Nord Stream 2 Natural Gas Pipeline to Germany

Trade Remedies: Countervailing Duties

Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations In Brief

Confederate Names and Military Installations

USDA Nutrition Assistance Programs: Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

Unemployment Rates During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Vehicle Fuel Economy and Greenhouse Gas Standards

Labor Day Speech Resources: Fact Sheet

The Bioeconomy: A Primer

Afghan Women and Girls: Status and Congressional Action

Small Business Research Programs: SBIR and STTR

Overview of the 2018 Farm Bill Energy Title Programs

Terrorist Groups in Afghanistan

Fire Management Assistance Grants: Frequently Asked Questions

The Higher Education Act (HEA): A Primer

The Philippines

The Great American Outdoors Act (P.L. 116-152)

European Union Enlargement

The Big Tech Antitrust Bills

Health Insurance Continuation Coverage Under COBRA

Potential Military Roles for Supersonic Transports

Salaries of Members of Congress: Congressional Votes, 1990-2021

The Digital Equity Act of 2021

Tax Treatment of Gig Economy Workers

COVID-19: Government Resources for Real-Time Economic Indicators

Temporary Protected Status and Deferred Enforced Departure

Federal Assistance for Wildfire Response and Recovery

Defense Health Primer: Military Vaccinations

Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act: Overview and Issues

Overview of Long-Term Services and Supports

Indigenous Peoples in Latin America: Statistical Information

Infrastructure and the Economy

Who Pays for Long-Term Services and Supports?

The United Kingdom, France and the Indo-Pacific

Global COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): Impact in Africa

RICO: A Brief Sketch

RICO: An Abridged Sketch

Dynamic Scoring in the Congressional Budget Process

The New START Treaty: Central Limits and Key Provisions

Diplomacy with North Korea: A Status Report

The U.S. Capitol Police: Brief Background

Veteran Suicide Prevention

Iran: Internal Politics and U.S. Policy and Options

COVID-19 and the U.S. Timber Industry

Wild Horse and Burro Management: Overview of Costs

“Extraordinary Measures” and the Debt Limit

How Stable Are Stablecoins?

Insurgency in Northern Mozambique: Nature and Responses

Budget Reconciliation Measures Enacted into Law: 1980-2021

Supplemental Appropriations: SBA Disaster Loan Account

Submission of the President’s Budget in Transition Years

Salton Sea Restoration

The LIBOR Transition

Military Suicide Prevention and Response

Craft Alcoholic Beverage Industry: Overview and Regulation

Global Human Rights: International Religious Freedom Policy

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM): An Overview

Veterans’ Employment

The Law of Immigration Detention: A Brief Introduction

India-U.S. Relations

Marine Corps Advanced Reconnaissance Vehicle (ARV)

Haiti: Concerns After the Presidential Assassination

Emergency Assistance for Agricultural Land Rehabilitation

U.S. Forest Carbon Data: In Brief

FY2022 Budget Documents: Internet and GPO Availability

Nonstrategic Nuclear Weapons

Jordan: Background and U.S. Relations

Crisis in Mali

U.S. Strategic Nuclear Forces: Background, Developments, and Issues

Army Future Vertical Lift (FVL) Program

Defense Authorization and Appropriations Bills: FY1961-FY2021

India’s Domestic Political Setting

FDA Regulation of Tobacco Products

Defense Primer: Gold Star Designation

Pakistan-U.S. Relations

United Nations Issues: U.S. Funding to the U.N. System

United Nations Issues: Overview of the United Nations System

Crisis in the Central African Republic


Reinstatement of Removal: An Introduction

U.S.-Kenya FTA Negotiations


Small Business Mentor-Protégé Programs

Primer on U.S. Immigration Policy

Grants Work in a Congressional Office

Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2)

Federal Holidays: Evolution and Current Practices

China’s Engagement with Latin America and the Caribbean

The European Deterrence Initiative: A Budgetary Overview

Army Security Force Assistance Brigades (SFABs)

Department of Veterans Affairs FY2021 Appropriations

Agriculture and Related Agencies: FY2021 Appropriations

Child Welfare: Purposes, Federal Programs, and Funding

Latin America and the Caribbean: U.S. Policy Overview

Introduction to U.S. Economy: Productivity

FEMA Funeral Assistance for COVID-19

Defense Primer: Military Commissaries and Exchanges

National Institutes of Health (NIH) Funding: FY1996-FY2022

Resources for Grantseekers

Women in Congress: Statistics and Brief Overview

Carbon Storage Requirements in the 45Q Tax Credit

U.S.-EU Privacy Shield

U.S. Funding for International Conservation and Biodiversity

Independence Day Speech Resources: Fact Sheet

U.S.-European Relations in the 117th Congress

Federal Workforce Statistics Sources: OPM and OMB

SBA Office of Advocacy: Overview, History, and Current Issues

Small Business: Access to Capital and Job Creation

Ukrainian Armed Forces

Digital Assets and SEC Regulation

U.S. Department of the Interior: An Overview

Small Business Administration and Job Creation

The Kingdom of Bhutan

The Debt Collection Market and Selected Policy Issues

Controlling Lead in Public Drinking Water Supplies

Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protections

Iraqi and Afghan Special Immigrant Visa Programs

Mongolia’s Presidential Election

Corporate Expatriation, Inversions, and Mergers: Tax Issues

How FEMA Individual Assistance Works

Army Corps of Engineers: Continuing Authorities Programs

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Budget: Fact Sheet

Military Medical Malpractice and the Feres Doctrine

1890 Land-Grant Universities: Background and Selected Issues

Medicare Part B: Enrollment and Premiums

Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974

Social Security: Minimum Benefits

Past Government Shutdowns: Key Resources

Origins of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Precision-Guided Munitions: Background and Issues for Congress

Constituent Services: Overview and Resources

Hypersonic Missile Defense: Issues for Congress

Afghanistan: Background and U.S. Policy: In Brief

Georgia: Background and U.S. Policy

U.S. Global Health Funding: FY2017-FY2022 Request

Defense Health Primer: U.S. Coast Guard Health Services

Formal Removal Proceedings: An Introduction

Overview of the ACA Medicaid Expansion

The Census Bureau Director

Drought in the Klamath River Basin

Crime Victims’ Rights Act: A Sketch of 18 U.S.C. § 3771

Deep Fakes and National Security

The Tax Credit for Carbon Sequestration (Section 45Q)

China Primer: Uyghurs

The Director of National Intelligence (DNI)

Bureau of Land Management: FY2021 Appropriations

Department of Defense Counter-Unmanned Aircraft Systems

The Marine Corps’ Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV)

The Open Skies Treaty: Background and Issues

WTO: Ministerial Delay, COVID-19, and Ongoing Issues

Defense Primer: U.S. Precision-Guided Munitions

Drought Response and Preparedness: Policy and Legislation

Potential WTO TRIPS Waiver and COVID-19

Tax Treatment of Capital Gains at Death


The Army’s Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV)

Judiciary Budget Request, FY2022

NATO: Key Issues for the 117th Congress

Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV)

WaterSense® Program: Congressional Authorization

Child Welfare Programs: A Timeline

The Bahamas: An Overview

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Media Ownership Rules

Immigration Consequences of Criminal Activity

The Vacancies Act: A Legal Overview

Mexico’s Immigration Control Efforts

Infertility in the Military

The European Parliament and U.S. Interests

South Korea: Background and U.S. Relations

Pandemic-Related Provisions Expiring in the 117th Congress

Conference Committee and Related Procedures: An Introduction

Instructing House Conferees

Senate Sergeant at Arms and Doorkeeper: A Primer

Section 307 and Imports Produced by Forced Labor

House Sergeant at Arms: A Primer

Oman: Politics, Security, and U.S. Policy

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)

Title X Family Planning Program

H.R. 1 and S. 1: Overview and Related CRS Products

Chinese Nuclear and Missile Proliferation

Trends in Active-Duty Military Deaths Since 2006

Defense Primer: DOD “Title 10” Security Cooperation

Housing Funding in the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021

Kuwait: Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy

U.S.-Japan Relations

New Zealand: Background and Relations with the United States

Platte River Restoration Efforts

COVID-19 and the U.S. Economy

Defense Primer: Active Duty Enlisted Retention

Cuba: U.S. Restrictions on Travel and Remittances

Weather and Climate Change: What’s the Difference?

FY2021 Refugee Ceiling Increase

Medicare and Budget Sequestration

The Islamic State

Turkey-U.S. Relations: Timeline and Brief Historical Context

Global Refugee Resettlement: Selected Issues and Questions

COVID-19: Household Debt During the Pandemic

TurkStream: Russia’s Southern Pipeline to Europe

U.S. Retirement Assets in 2020

Trusted Traveler Programs

The Small Business Lending Fund

5G Fund for Rural America

Reauthorization of the Federal Public Transportation Program

From Bill to Law: Stages of the Legislative Process

The Budget Reconciliation Process: The Senate’s “Byrd Rule”

Nuclear Negotiations with North Korea

Introduction to U.S. Economy: Housing Market

African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA)

U.S. Naturalization Policy

U.S.-Singapore Relations

The Venezuela Regional Humanitarian Crisis and COVID-19

Federal Public Transportation Program: In Brief

Overview of Health Insurance Exchanges

Venezuela: Background and U.S. Relations

U.S. Refugee Admissions in FY2021

U.S.-Mexico Trade Relations

The Three Seas Initiative

Qui Tam: The False Claims Act and Related Federal Statutes

Health Insurance Premium Tax Credit and Cost-Sharing Reductions

The Energy Credit or Energy Investment Tax Credit (ITC)

Issues in Autonomous Vehicle Testing and Deployment

Export Restrictions in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims: A Brief Introduction

Older Americans Act: Overview and Funding

Smart Cars and Trucks: Spectrum Use for Vehicle Safety

Health Care for Dependents and Survivors of Veterans


Bahrain: Unrest, Security, and U.S. Policy

Agency Use of Guidance Documents

FY2021 District of Columbia Budget and Appropriations

Handguns, Stabilizing Braces, and Related Components

Oil and Gas Tax Preferences

House Committee Party Ratios: 98th-117th Congresses

Senate Committee Party Ratios: 98th-117th Congresses

Federal Scientific Integrity Policies: A Primer

Russia: Foreign Policy and U.S. Relations

Poverty Among the Population Aged 65 and Older

North Korea’s Nuclear Weapons and Missile Programs

Poverty in the United States in 2019

COVID-19: Financial Relief and Assistance Resources for Renters

Negotiated Rulemaking: In Brief

U.S. Antipersonnel Landmine Use Policy

Kosovo: Background and U.S. Policy

Lying in State or Honor in the U.S. Capitol by Non-Members of Congress

Section 230: An Overview

Funding U.S.-Mexico Border Barrier Construction: Current Issues

Iran Sanctions

Is High Inflation a Risk in 2021?

Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA): An Overview

An Expiration Date for Temporary Control of Fentanyl Analogues

Japan-U.S. Relations: Issues for Congress

SPAC IPO: Background and Policy Issues

Small Businesses and COVID-19: Relief and Assistance Resources

Judiciary Appropriations, FY2021

Romania: An Overview

IAEA Budget and U.S. Contributions: In Brief

Tax Credit Bonds: Overview and Analysis

High Court to Review Tribal Police Search and Seizure Case

Payroll Tax Credit for COVID-19 Sick and Family Leave

The Debt Limit Since 2011

Naming VA Facilities: Fact Sheet

Congressional Oversight Manual

Biometric Technologies and Global Security

Federal Eviction Moratoriums in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

Searches and Seizures at the Border and the Fourth Amendment

Domestic Funding for COVID-19 Vaccines: An Overview

Executive Orders: An Introduction

Public-Private Partnerships (P3s) in Transportation

Boko Haram and the Islamic State’s West Africa Province

Energy and Water Development: FY2021 Appropriations

Mexico: Challenges for U.S. Policymakers in 2021

Heritage Areas: Background, Proposals, and Current Issues

Calculation and Use of the Disaster Relief Allowable Adjustment

Army Corps of Engineers: FY2021 Appropriations

Recent White House Actions on Immigration

Federal Data on Hate Crimes in the United States

The Liquidity Coverage Ratio and the Net Stable Funding Ratio

Stafford Act Assistance for Public Health Incidents

Finding Medicare Enrollment Statistics

An Overview of Federal Regulations and the Rulemaking Process

Coup in Burma (Myanmar): Issues for U.S. Policy

Federal Taxation of Unemployment Insurance Benefits

Pension Provisions in the American Rescue Plan of 2021

Special Financial Assistance to Multiemployer Plans

The Debt Limit

SBA Surety Bond Guarantee Program

Introduction to U.S. Economy: Business Investment

Defense Primer: Arlington National Cemetery

Expanded Access and Right to Try: Access to Investigational Drugs

U.S. Government Procurement and International Trade

WTO Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA)

Railroad Retirement Board: Trust Fund Investment Practices

Medicaid Work Requirements: An End to the Litigation?

Green Building Overview and Issues

Yemen: Civil War and Regional Intervention

Saudi Arabia

Medicare Trigger

The National Guard and the COVID-19 Pandemic Response

Airport Privatization: Issues and Options for Congress

Congressional Member Organizations (CMOs) and Informal Member Groups

SBA New Markets Venture Capital Program

The Qualified Mortgage (QM) Rule and Recent Revisions

Venezuela: Challenges for U.S. Policymakers in 2021

Wind Energy: Offshore Permitting

Unemployment Insurance: Legislative Issues in the 116th Congress

A Brief Overview of FEMA’s Public Assistance Program

Federal Offshore Oil and Gas Revenues During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Resurgence of Chemical Weapons Use: Issues for Congress

The Endangered Species Act: Overview and Implementation

Russia: Poisoning of Alexei Navalny and U.S. Policy

Commercial Filming and Photography on Federal Lands

Social Security: The Lump-Sum Death Benefit

Social Security Survivors Benefits

Agriculture in the WTO: Rules and Limits on U.S. Domestic Support

Regulating Contaminants Under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA)

China Primer: U.S.-China Relations

New U.S. Marine Corps Force Design Initiatives

Farmer Protests in India

Federal-Aid Highway Program (FAHP): In Brief

Cross-Cutting Issues in Cybersecurity: Financial Institutions

Reauthorizing Highway and Transit Funding Programs

Europe, COVID-19, and U.S. Relations

Highway and Public Transit Funding Issues

Iran’s Nuclear Program and U.N. Sanctions Reimposition

The Senkakus (Diaoyu/Diaoyutai) Dispute: U.S. Treaty Obligations

Considering Legislation on the House Floor: Common Practices in Brief

Legislative Branch: FY2021 Appropriations

Military Sexual Assault: A Framework for Congressional Oversight

U.S. Agricultural Aid in Response to COVID-19

Child Nutrition Reauthorization (CNR): An Overview

The Peace Corps: Overview and Issues

Quarter and Half Dollar Coins: History and Current Status

Are Temporary Protected Status Recipients Eligible to Adjust Status?

COVID-19 Testing Supply Chain

U.S. Dollar Coins: History and Current Status

The 10-20-30 Provision: Defining Persistent Poverty Counties

The Federal Net Neutrality Debate: Access to Broadband Networks

A Brief History of U.S. Electricity Portfolio Standard Proposals

Huawei and U.S. Law

Money for Something: Music Licensing in the 21st Century

Rwanda: In Brief

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act: History, Impact, and Issues

U.S. International Food Assistance: An Overview

Off-Label Use of Prescription Drugs

Financial Transactions Taxes: In Brief

Women’s Suffrage: Fact Sheet

Medicaid: An Overview

Supreme Court Appointment Process: President’s Selection of a Nominee

Supreme Court Appointment Process: Senate Debate and Confirmation Vote

Wildlife Trade, COVID-19, and Other Zoonotic Diseases

Social Security: Major Decisions in the House and Senate Since 1935

Federal Crop Insurance: A Primer

Forest Service: FY2021 Appropriations

Sponsorship and Cosponsorship of House Bills

Wildfire Management Funding: FY2021 Appropriations

Sub-Saharan Africa: Key Issues and U.S. Engagement

Trade Adjustment Assistance for Workers (TAA)

Miscellaneous Tariff Bills (MTBs)

Rules of Origin

Power Outages in Texas

The Disaster Relief Fund: Overview and Issues

U.S.-Vietnam Relations

U.S.-China Trade Relations

Military Retirement: Background and Recent Developments

The Federal Land Management Agencies

Boeing-Airbus Subsidy Dispute: Recent Developments

U.S. Strategy for Engagement in Central America: An Overview

Prescription Drug Importation

Voluntary Voting System Guidelines (VVSG): An Overview

Terrorism in Europe

Canada-U.S. Relations

Syria Conflict Overview: 2011-2021

Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs): Frequently Asked Questions

Wildfire Smoke: Air Quality Concerns and Management

U.S. Agent Orange/Dioxin Assistance to Vietnam

Class 8 Truck Zero-Emission Routes

The World Trade Organization

Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) Reductions

The Loan Limits for Government-Backed Mortgages

House Conferees: Restrictions on Their Authority

The Federal Reserve’s Response to COVID-19: Policy Issues

Social Security: The Government Pension Offset (GPO)

Women in National Governments Around the Globe: Fact Sheet

Improving Intercity Passenger Rail Service in the United States

Agency Rescissions of Legislative Rules

Sponsorship and Cosponsorship of Senate Bills

Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Program

The Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program

DOD Concerns About the FCC-Approved Ligado Network

Federal Individual Income Tax Terms: An Explanation

U.S. Trade Policy Primer: Frequently Asked Questions

The Federal Minimum Wage: In Brief

The Bureau of Indian Affairs: FY2021 Appropriations

Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank)

Defense Primer: Acquiring Specialty Metals and Sensitive Materials

Defense Primer: Department of Defense Contractors

Defense Primer: The National Technology and Industrial Base

Environmental Provisions in Free Trade Agreements (FTAs)

Status of U.S.-Russian Nuclear Arms Control Talks

South China Sea Disputes: Background and U.S. Policy


Internal Revenue Service Appropriations, FY2021

Dispute Settlement in the WTO and U.S. Trade Agreements

Resolutions to Censure the President: Procedure and History

U.S.-Proposed Missile Technology Control Regime Changes

Lebanese Hezbollah

Fiscal Policy and Recovery from the COVID-19 Recession

African Elections in 2021

Illicit Fentanyl and China’s Role

State Innovation Waivers: Frequently Asked Questions

Farm Service Agency Committees: In Brief

Yemen: Recent Terrorism Designations

Defense Primer: Active Duty Enlisted Recruiting

Defense Primer: Reserve Forces

Sri Lanka

State Minimum Wage Ballot Measures: In Brief

U.S. International Investment Agreements (IIAs)

The Emoluments Clauses of the U.S. Constitution

Commemorative Coins: An Overview

The Impeachment Process in the Senate

Motor Vehicle Safety: Issues for Congress

Army Corps of Engineers: Environmental Infrastructure Assistance

Limits on TRICARE for Reservists: Frequently Asked Questions

An Introduction to the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit

EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa

Nonimmigrant and Immigrant Visa Categories: Data Brief

U.S. Health Care Coverage and Spending

Kyrgyz Republic

The Budget Reconciliation Process: Stages of Consideration


The Nuclear Ban Treaty: An Overview

Commemorative Commissions: Overview, Structure, and Funding

Overview of FY2021 Appropriations for the Census Bureau

Casework in Congressional Offices: Frequently Asked Questions

Speakers of the House: Elections, 1913-2021

U.S.-South Korea (KORUS) FTA

Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and International Trade

Farmer Mac and Its Board Members

Keystone XL Pipeline: The End of the Road?

Federal Civil Aviation Programs: In Brief

Venezuela: Overview of U.S. Sanctions

Defense Primer: U.S. Defense Industrial Base

Congressional Commissions: Overview and Considerations for Congress

Parliamentary Elections in Kazakhstan

Defense Primer: Lowest Price Technically Acceptable Contracts

Defense Primer: DOD Transfer and Reprogramming Authorities

Farm Credit Administration and Its Board Members

Burma: Key Issues in 2021

Fiscal Policy: Economic Effects

Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank

Expedited Removal of Aliens: An Introduction

U.S. Trade and Development Agency (TDA)

Selected Trump Administration Foreign Aid Priorities: A Wrap-Up

Capital Gains Tax Options: Behavioral Responses and Revenues

U.S. Role in the World: Background and Issues for Congress

U.S.-EU Trade and Investment Ties: Magnitude and Scope

Social Security: Benefit Calculation

New Zealand

U.S.-China Investment Ties: Overview

U.S. Export Control Reforms and China: Issues for Congress

Export Controls: Key Challenges

Brexit and Outlook for a U.S.-UK Free Trade Agreement

Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs Funding for FY2021

The Tax Treatment of Canceled Mortgage Debt

U.S.-Turkey Trade Relations

The Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC)

An Overview of Consumer Finance and Policy Issues

SelectUSA Program: U.S. Inbound Investment Promotion

U.S.-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) Trade Agreement

COVID-19-Related Suspension of Immigrant Entry

Safeguards: Section 201 of the Trade Act of 1974

Human Rights in China

The U.S. Income Distribution: Trends and Issues

The International Monetary Fund

Buying American: The Berry and Kissell Amendments

Defense Primer: The Berry and Kissell Amendments

Presidential Authority to Address Tariff Barriers in Trade Agreements

Defense Primer: Department of Defense Civilian Employees

The Child Tax Credit: How It Works and Who Receives It

U.S. Restrictions on Relations with Burma

Overview of the Federal Procurement Process and Resources

U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC)

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC): How It Works and Who Receives It

Enactment of the National Landslide Preparedness Act (P.L. 116-323)

China’s Economy: Current Trends and Issues

National Special Security Events: Fact Sheet

The Social Security Administration’s Death Data: In Brief

U.S. Tariff Policy: Overview

Iran’s Foreign and Defense Policies

Aviation and Climate Change

Trade Remedies: Antidumping and Countervailing Duties

Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC): A Primer

Defense Primer: The United States Space Force

Bureau of Reclamation: FY2021 Appropriations

The Social Security Retirement Age

USMCA: Labor Provisions

Inauguration Security and Operations

Mexico: Background and U.S. Relations

The Child Support Enforcement (CSE) Program

Generalized System of Preferences (GSP): Overview and Issues for Congress

Defense Primer: Procurement

The Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) Program

Defense Primer: Military Pay Raise

Election Day: Frequently Asked Questions

COVID-19-Related Suspension of Nonimmigrant Entry


Child Support Enforcement: Program Basics

Generalized System of Preferences (GSP)

COVID-19: Presidential Order Deferring Individual Payroll Taxes

China’s 14th Five-Year Plan: A First Look

COVID-19: Employment Across Industries

The Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC): In Brief

Climate Change Risk Mitigation by U.S. Foreign Assistance Agencies

Water Resources Development Act of 2020

Issues in the Reauthorization of Amtrak

Defense Primer: Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering

Juvenile Justice Funding Tends

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: FY2021 Appropriations

Introduction to U.S. Economy: GDP and Economic Growth

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Invasive Species Efforts

Introduction to Financial Services: Consumer Finance

Introduction to Financial Services: The Regulatory Framework

Burma’s Political Prisoners and U.S. Policy

Foreign Direct Investment: Overview and Issues

Introduction to Financial Services: Insurance

The Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership Program

Supreme Court Considers Statute of Limitations for Military Rape Cases

Introduction to U.S. Economy: The Business Cycle and Growth

Introduction to Financial Services: Banking

An Overview of the HOME Investment Partnerships Program

Introduction to Financial Services: Systemic Risk

Introduction to Financial Services: The Federal Reserve

Introduction to Financial Services: Capital Markets

Russian Cyber Units

Exchange Rates and Currency Manipulation

Defense Primer: National Security Space Launch

Defense Primer: Intelligence Support to Military Operations

Defense Primer: Budgeting for National and Defense Intelligence

Defense Primer: National and Defense Intelligence

Defense Primer: Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security

Defense Primer: Ballistic Missile Defense

Real Wage Trends, 1979 to 2019

Introduction to U.S. Economy: Inflation

New Census Bureau Products Track COVID-19’s Effects

U.S.-Taiwan Trade Relations

COVID-19: China Medical Supply Chains and Broader Trade Issues

U.S.-India Trade Relations

Hong Kong: Key Issues in 2021

Ozone and Particulate Matter Air Standards: EPA Review

Defense Primer: United States Transportation Command

2020 Census Fieldwork Delayed by COVID-19

Defense Primer: The Military Departments

Inaugural Tickets: Past Practices and Considerations for 2021

Defense Primer: Defense Appropriations Process

SolarWinds Attack—No Easy Fix

U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement Negotiations

Labor Enforcement Issues in U.S. FTAs

Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Benefit

Worker Rights Provisions in Free Trade Agreements (FTAs)

Justice Department’s Role in Cyber Incident Response

SBA EIDL and Emergency EIDL Grants: Data by State

Pandemic-Related Statutory Provisions Expiring in 2020

Federal Research and Development (R&D) Funding: FY2021

Membership of the 116th Congress: A Profile

International Trade in Services

Defense Primer: Information Operations

Defense Primer: The Defense Logistics Agency

Cyber Supply Chain Risk Management: An Introduction

African American Members of the U.S. Congress: 1870-2020

Cybersecurity: A Primer

Columbia River Treaty Review

Trump Administration Tariff Actions: Frequently Asked Questions

Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974: Origin, Evolution, and Use

Defense Primer: Future Years Defense Program (FYDP)

Managed Trade and Quantitative Restrictions: Issues for Congress

Trade Promotion Authority (TPA)

Overview of the Global Humanitarian and Displacement Crisis

Methane Emissions: A Primer

Burkina Faso

Section 301 Investigations: Vietnam’s Timber Trade and Currency Practices

Vulnerable Youth: Background and Policies

U.S. Trade Debates: Select Disputes and Actions

National Park Service Appropriations: Ten-Year Trends

The U.S. Trade Deficit: An Overview

The Dollar and the U.S. Trade Deficit

A Brief Overview of Business Types and Their Tax Treatment

Defense Primer: Department of Defense Maintenance Depots

Defense Primer: Defense Support of Civil Authorities

How FEMA Public Assistance Works

U.S. Farm Programs: Eligibility and Payment Limits

Tax Incentives for Opportunity Zones

TikTok: Technology Overview and Issues

U.S. Nuclear Weapons Tests

Guide to Committee Activity Reports: Purpose, Rules, and Contents


Introduction to U.S. Economy: Fiscal Policy

Digital Trade

U.S. Trade Policy Functions: Who Does What?

Lifting the Earmark Moratorium: Frequently Asked Questions

Defense Primer: Regular Military Compensation

Defense Primer: Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC)

Eight Mechanisms to Enact Procedural Change in the U.S. Senate

The Unfolding Conflict in Ethiopia

The Federal Death Penalty

Introduction to U.S. Economy: Personal Income

Size of the U.S. House of Representatives

Medicaid Primer

Defense Primer: Defense Working Capital Funds

Introduction to U.S. Economy: Personal Saving

Defense Primer: Military Officers

Defense Primer: Military Enlisted Personnel

U.S.-Brazil Economic Relations

Women in the Middle East and North Africa: Issues for Congress

The United Nations Human Rights Council: Background and Policy Issues

Legal Issues in COVID-19 Vaccine Development and Deployment

Introduction to the Legislative Process in the U.S. Congress

Presidential Transitions: An Overview

Defense Primer: Military Installations Management

Presidential Transitions: Executive Orders

Hong Kong’s Legislative Council (Legco)

The Child Tax Credit

Defense Primer: Military Retirement

Agricultural Provisions of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement

USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program: Round One (CFAP-1)

Overview of Recent Anti-Lynching Proposals

Changes to Behavioral Health Treatment During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The Trump Administration’s Prosper Africa Initiative

TRICARE Cost-Sharing Changes in 2021

Burma’s 2020 Parliamentary Elections

U.S. Foreign Aid to Israel

Instructing Senate Conferees

Impact of the Recession on Medicaid

Office of Management and Budget (OMB): An Overview

Artificial Intelligence and National Security

Medicaid Financing and Expenditures

Overview of the Federal Tax System in 2020

Foreign Trade Remedy Investigations of U.S. Agricultural Products

The Federal Income Tax: How Do Marginal Income Tax Rates Work in 2020?

Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations

COVID-19 Pandemic’s Impact on Household Employment and Income

COVID-19: How Quickly Will Unemployment Recover?

Introduction to U.S. Economy: Unemployment

U.S. EPA FY2020 Appropriations

Child Soldiers Prevention Act: Security Assistance Restrictions

The “Regular Order”: A Perspective

Homelessness and COVID-19

The Federal Reserve’s Main Street Lending Program

FY2021 Refugee Ceiling and Allocations

The COVID-19 Health Care Provider Relief Fund

Economic Development Revolving Loan Funds (ED-RLFs)

Public Confidence in Elections

The Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act

Veterans’ Educational Assistance Programs and Benefits: A Primer

Guyana: An Overview

Heroes Act: Revenue Provisions

Colombia: Background and U.S. Relations

COVID-19: Consumer Loan Forbearance and Other Relief Options

U.S.-Brazil Trade Relations

The Electoral College: A 2020 Presidential Election Timeline

CARES Act Payroll Support to Air Carriers and Contractors

Bolivia’s October 2020 General Elections

Brunei Darussalam

The TRIO Programs: A Primer

The Impact of the Federal Income Tax Code on Poverty

The Tax Treatment and Economics of Net Operating Losses

Adoption Tax Benefits: An Overview

CDBG-CV Formula Allocation Methods

Protection of Federal Government Officials

Housing Issues in the 116th Congress

An Overview of Accreditation of Higher Education in the United States

State Minimum Wages: An Overview

U.N. Ban on Iran Arms Transfers and Sanctions Snapback

Immigration Parole

Heroes Act (H.R. 6800/H.R. 925): Selected Consumer Loan Provisions

National Park Service: FY2020 Appropriations

Policy Options for Multiemployer Defined Benefit Pension Plans

International Economic Policy Coordination at the G-7 and the G-20

Lame Duck Sessions of Congress, 1935-2018 (74th-115th Congresses)

Immigration Detainers: Background and Recent Legal Developments

Delivery of Economic Impact Payments (EIPs)

Lebanon’s Economic Crisis

CRS Seminars on Disruptive Technologies: Videos

The Good Neighbor Authority

Benefits for Service-Disabled Veterans

Agricultural Research: Background and Issues

State Veterans Homes

Daylight Saving Time (DST)

Community Development Block Grants and the CARES Act

The Federal Taxing Power: A Primer

Competition Among Video Streaming Services

Japanese Prime Minister Abe’s Resignation and the U.S.-Japan Alliance

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA): An Introduction


Military Medical Care: Mitigating Impacts From Medical Unit Deployments

Nuclear Cooperation with Other Countries: A Primer

COVID-19 and the U.S. Seafood Sector

The Civil Rights Act of 1964: An Overview

Nigeria: Current Issues and U.S. Policy

Methane and Other Air Pollution Issues in Natural Gas Systems

Marijuana and Restrictions on Immigration

South Africa: Current Issues, Economy, and U.S. Relations

The World Bank

Russian Private Military Companies (PMCs)

Intra-Afghan Talks Commence in Doha, Qatar

Patent Law: A Handbook for Congress

Immigration: Public Charge

Do Veterans Have Choices in How They Access Health Care?

U.S. Trade Policy: Background and Current Issues

Selected Privileges and Courtesies Extended to Former Members of Congress

The Schedule I Status of Marijuana

Staff Pay Levels for Selected Positions in House Member Offices, 2001-2019

Trade Remedies: Antidumping

North Macedonia: In Brief

Russia: Domestic Politics and Economy

Industrial Loan Companies (ILCs): Background and Policy Issues

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

Protecting Against Rogue Drones

Air Force F-15EX Fighter Program

Social Security: Raising or Eliminating the Taxable Earnings Base

The Global Compact on Migration (GCM) and U.S. Policy

Vulnerable Youth: Employment and Job Training Programs

Highway Bridge Conditions: Issues for Congress

2020 Wildfire Season: Brief Overview of FEMA Programs and Resources

Use of National Statuary Hall: Assignment and Historic Events

The GSEs’ Adverse Market Refinance Fee

The Future of Space Tourism

Alternative Data in Financial Services

Military Spouse Employment

A Brief Overview of FEMA’s Individual Assistance Program

Forest Service: FY2019 and FY2020 Appropriations

Health Care for Federal Prisoners

The U.S. Blood Supply and the COVID-19 Response: In Brief

The Individual Mandate for Health Insurance Coverage: In Brief

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA): A Legal Overview


Using Models in Energy Policymaking

The Armed Forces Retirement Home

Agricultural Conservation: A Guide to Programs

Afghanistan: Issues for Congress and Legislation 2017-2020

DOD Domestic School System: Background and Issues

Spain and Its Relations with the United States: In Brief

U.S. Agency for International Development: An Overview


Members’ Representational Allowance: History and Usage

Health Savings Accounts (HSAs)

Prospects for Enhanced U.S.-Saudi Nuclear Energy Cooperation

The Great American Outdoors Act, P.L. 116-152: Selected Provisions

Title IX’s Application to Transgender Athletes: Recent Developments

Concurrent Receipt of Military Retirement and VA Disability

“Made in China 2025” Industrial Policies: Issues for Congress

Forecasting Tropical Cyclones: Overview and Issues for Congress

PHMSA’s Pipeline Safety Reauthorization: Funding Issues

Long-Term Care Insurance: Overview

Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) and U.S. Trade Agreements

United States European Command: Overview and Key Issues

U.S. Military Presence in Poland

Tax Issues Relating to Charitable Contributions and Organizations


USDA’s ReConnect Broadband Pilot Program

Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA)

COVID-19: Resources for Tracking Federal Spending

House Conferees: Selection

Medicaid’s Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP)

Presidential Candidate and Nominating Convention Security

Mexico: Organized Crime and Drug Trafficking Organizations

Confederate Symbols: Relation to Federal Lands and Programs

Immigration Legislation and Issues in the 116th Congress

Armed Conflict in Syria: Overview and U.S. Response

The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA)

International Trade and E-commerce

EU Data Protection Rules and U.S. Implications

Military Pay: Key Questions and Answers

Iraq: Issues in the 116th Congress

State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP)

Saltonstall-Kennedy Act: Background and Issues

Juneteenth: Fact Sheet

Public Trust and Law Enforcement—A Discussion for Policymakers

The Charitable Deduction for Individuals

COVID-19: Measuring Unemployment

The International Emergency Economic Powers Act: Key Facts

VH-92 Presidential Helicopter

Proposed Extension of the Reclamation Water Settlements Fund


Food Safety and COVID-19

Taxation of Carried Interest

CARES Act Higher Education Provisions

Freshwater Harmful Algal Blooms: An Overview

Proposed Multiemployer Composite Plans: Background and Analysis

Cambodia: Background and U.S. Relations

COVID-19: Restrictions on Travelers at U.S. Land Borders

Brazil: Background and U.S. Relations

El Salvador: Background and U.S. Relations

Hydrogen in Electricity’s Future

Unauthorized Childhood Arrivals, DACA, and Related Legislation

DARPA’s Pandemic-Related Programs

Russian Armed Forces: Capabilities

District of Columbia Statehood and Voting Representation

EU-Japan FTA: Implications for U.S. Trade Policy

Libya: Conflict, Transition, and U.S. Policy

Federal Housing Policy Responses to COVID-19

Congress and Police Reform: Current Law and Recent Proposals

U.S.-South Korea Alliance: Issues for Congress

The North American Development Bank

Thailand: Background and U.S. Relations

Conflict at the China-India Frontier

COVID-19: Effect on Organ Donation and Transplantation

The Elder Justice Act: Background and Issues for Congress

Federal Reserve: Emergency Lending in Response to COVID-19

Argentina’s Economic Crisis and Default

Social Security: Taxation of Benefits

Social Security Benefit Taxation Highlights

COVID-19: Global Implications and Responses

Legal Issues Related to the COVID-19 Outbreak: An Overview

COVID-19: Potential Impacts on the Electric Power Sector

Congress, Civilian Control of the Military, and Nonpartisanship

Police Accountability Measures

State and Local Fiscal Conditions and Economic Shocks


Strategic Petroleum Reserve: Recent Developments

U.S. Periods of War and Dates of Recent Conflicts

HIPAA, Telehealth, and COVID-19

The Purple Heart: Background and Issues for Congress

COVID-19: U.S. Public Health Data and Reporting

WIFIA Program: Background and Recent Developments

A-76 Competitions in the Department of Defense

Spectrum Interference Issues: Ligado, the L-Band, and GPS

CFIUS: New Foreign Investment Review Regulations

COVID-19: Federal Travel Restrictions and Quarantine Measures

PJM Minimum Offer Price Rule Impact on Future Renewables

Medicaid Financing for the Territories

Treatment of COVID-19: Hydroxychloroquine and Chloroquine

F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Program

Time Is Time, but Money Is Money

The Federal Role in Groundwater Supply

Indian Water Rights Settlements

Data on Multiemployer Defined Benefit (DB) Pension Plans

The WTO Withdrawal Resolutions

Medicare Overview

Medicare Primer

Single-Employer Defined Benefit Pension Plans: Funding Relief and Modifications to Funding Rules

To protect the interests of participants and beneficiaries in pension plans, Congress enacted the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA; P.L. 93-406). ERISA specified funding rules for single-employer defined benefit (DB) pension plans, among other provisions. Single-employer DB pension plans are sponsored by one employer for the benefit of its employees. In DB pension plans, participants typically receive regular monthly benefit payments in retirement (which some refer to as a “traditional” pension). ERISA also authorized the creation of the Pension Benefit Guaranty...

Individual Tax Provisions (“Tax Extenders”) Expiring in 2020: In Brief

Six temporary individual income tax provisions were extended or reinstated by the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020 (P.L. 116-94). In the past, Congress has regularly acted to extend expired or expiring temporary tax provisions. These provisions are often referred to as “tax extenders.” Of the six provisions that were extended through 2020, three had expired in 2017 and were extended retroactively. They are the tax exclusion for canceled mortgage debt, the mortgage insurance premium deduction, and the above-the-line deduction for qualified tuition and related expenses. Two of...

COVID-19 and Federal Employment Protections for Work Refusals

U.S. Assistance to Sub-Saharan Africa: An Overview

Overview. Congress authorizes, appropriates, and oversees U.S. assistance to sub-Saharan Africa (“Africa”), which received over a quarter of U.S. aid obligated in FY2018. Annual State Department- and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)-administered assistance to Africa increased more than five-fold over the past two decades, primarily due to sizable increases in global health spending and more incremental growth in economic and security assistance. State Department and USAID-administered assistance allocated to African countries from FY2019 appropriations totaled roughly $7.1...

EPA Reconsiders Benefits of Mercury and Air Toxics Limits

Suspension of the Rules: House Practice in the 115th Congress (2017-2018)

Suspension of the rules is the most commonly used procedure to call up measures on the floor of the House of Representatives. As the name suggests, the procedure allows the House to suspend its standing and statutory rules in order to consider broadly supported legislation in an expedited manner. More specifically, the House temporarily sets aside its rules that govern the raising and consideration of measures and assumes a new set of constraints particular to the suspension procedure.

The suspension of the rules procedure has several parliamentary advantages: (1) it allows non-privileged...

COVID-19: Summary of the Direct Payments Proposed in the HEROES Act (H.R. 6800)

The Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act (HEROES Act; H.R. 6800), as passed by the House on May 15, 2020, proposes new direct payments to individuals, which the bill text refers to as “additional recovery rebates to individuals.” Direct payments were included in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act; P.L. 116-136), which was signed into law on March 27, 2020. This Insight provides a brief overview of the additional direct payments included in the HEROES Act. (The HEROES Act would also modify the direct payments in the CARES Act. These...

How Would the HEROES Act (H.R. 6800) Modify the Direct Payments Enacted in the CARES Act (P.L. 116-136)?

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act; P.L. 116-136), signed into law on March 27, 2020, included direct payments to individuals—referred to in the law as “2020 recovery rebates.” The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) refers to the payments issued in 2020 as economic impact payments (EIPs), whereas some media reports call them “stimulus payments.” The recovery rebates are tax credits administered by the IRS. For more information on these payments, see CRS Insight IN11282, COVID-19 and Direct Payments to Individuals: Summary of the 2020 Recovery Rebates/Economic...

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic: CRS Experts

On December 31, 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) was informed of a cluster of pneumonia cases in Wuhan, China. Illnesses have since been linked to a new strain of coronavirus, designated Coronavirus disease 2019, or COVID-19. The disease has spread to many other countries, including the United States. The situation is rapidly changing, and both WHO and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) post frequent updates. CRS products on the outbreak are available under the “Coronavirus Resources” banner at

Condition of Highway Bridges Continues to Improve

A construction-industry group recently estimated that more than one-third of all U.S. highway bridges need major repairs or replacement, construction work that could cost federal, state, and local governments about $164 billion. When compared to total bridge capital spending of about $17 billion per year, of which roughly $7 billion is federal support, some might consider this bridge investment “backlog” to be a significant budgetary challenge. Others say the situation is probably not as dire as this analysis suggests. The data used in that estimate, published every year by the Federal...

Foreign Officials Publicly Designated by the U.S. Department of State on Corruption or Human Rights Grounds: A Chronology

Congress includes measures in annual appropriations legislation requiring the Secretary of State to bar certain foreign corrupt officials (kleptocrats) and human rights violators and their immediate family members from entry into the United States. Following a brief introduction, this CRS report provides a chronological list of such publicly designated individuals under Section 7031(c) of annual appropriations for the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs (SFOPS). A complete list of public designations pursuant to Section 7031(c) may be relevant as Congress...

Judiciary Appropriations, FY2020

Funds for the judicial branch are included annually in the Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) appropriations bill. The bill provides funding for the U.S. Supreme Court; the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit; the U.S. Court of International Trade; U.S. courts of appeals and district courts; the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts; the Federal Judicial Center; the U.S. Sentencing Commission; federal defender organizations that provide legal representation to defendants financially unable to retain counsel in federal criminal proceedings; security and protective...

Child Support Enforcement-Led Employment Services for Noncustodial Parents: In Brief

The Child Support Enforcement (CSE) program is a federal-state partnership that seeks to ensure child support is a regular source of income for families. The program transfers financial support from a noncustodial parent (NCP) to a child’s primary caretaker (usually a custodial parent). Nearly two-thirds of participating custodial families report having incomes below 200% of the federal poverty threshold. The CSE program collects about two-thirds of the current support that is due each year, with the remainder that is unpaid becoming arrears (i.e., past-due support).

Many NCPs who do not...

The 2020 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS): COVID-19 Impacts

Ongoing COVID-19 mitigation measures may impact the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS)—a mandate requiring U.S. transportation fuel to contain renewable fuel. Since the beginning of the pandemic, transportation fuel demand has dropped significantly, compared to January through early March 2020 and to projections made when the 2020 volume requirements were finalized. Significant changes in fuel demand and other effects of the pandemic could affect both the implementation of the RFS and the impacts of compliance with the 2020 standard, particularly given the present-day uncertainties with...

Bribery, Kickbacks, and Self-Dealing: An Overview of Honest Services Fraud and Issues for Congress

As the trials of state legislators Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos illustrate, corruption among high-profile public officials continues to be a concern in the United States. Likewise, recent examples abound of powerful executives and others in roles of authority abusing positions of trust for personal gain. Faced with this reality, Congress has shown consistent interest in policing public- and private-sector corruption, enacting a number of criminal provisions aimed at holding corrupt officials accountable for their actions under federal law. However, one of federal prosecutors’ most potent...

Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) Appropriations for FY2020: In Brief

The respective House and Senate Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) appropriations subcommittees are charged with providing annual appropriations for the Department of Transportation (DOT), the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and certain related agencies. This report describes action on FY2020 annual appropriations for THUD, including detailed tables for each major agency, and including the effect of the CARES supplemental appropriations act, signed into law on March 27, 2020, on DOT and HUD budget authority.

FY2020 Defense Appropriations Act: P.L. 116-93 (H.R. 2968, S. 2474, H.R. 1158)

The FY2020 Defense Appropriations Act, enacted as Division A of H.R. 1158, the Consolidated Appropriations Act for FY2020, provides a total of $687.8 billion in discretionary budget authority, all to fund activities of the Department of Defense (DOD), except for $1.1 billion for certain activities of the intelligence community. As enacted, the bill provides 99.6% of the funding requested by President Trump requested for programs falling within the scope of this bill.

FY2020 RequestHouse-passed H.R. 2968Senate Committee-Reported S. 2474Enacted P.L. 116-93 Division A Base Budget$526.6...

COVID-19 Alternate Care Sites (ACSs): Role and Activities of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) provides engineering services and capabilities in support of national interests. As part of its overall mission, USACE prepares for and responds to national emergencies in support of the Department of Defense and other federal agencies and efforts. In response to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic emergency, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) had assigned USACE missions totaling $1.8 billion as of mid-May 2020, which have led to USACE

assessing over 1,000 sites for potential use as alternate care sites (ACSs, also called...

COVID-19: Defense Production Act (DPA) Developments and Issues for Congress

The White House is employing the Defense Production Act of 1950 (DPA) in response to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic to facilitate the production and availability of essential goods, supplies, and services. This Insight considers recent DPA actions and associated policy considerations for Congress. It is a companion to CRS Insights IN11337, IN11280, and IN11231. See CRS Report R43767 for a more in-depth discussion of DPA history and authorities.

New DPA Actions in Response to COVID-19

Since April 15, eight DPA actions have been made public:

According to Federal...

Novel Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19): Q&A on Global Implications and Responses

In December 2019, hospitals in the city of Wuhan in China’s Hubei Province began seeing cases of pneumonia of unknown origin. Chinese health authorities ultimately connected the condition, later named coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), to a previously unidentified strain of coronavirus. The disease has spread to almost every country in the world, including the United States. WHO declared the outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on January 30, 2020; raised its global risk assessment to “Very High” on February 28; and labeled the outbreak a “pandemic” on March 11....

Congressionally Mandated Reports: Overview and Considerations for Congress

Congress frequently requires the President, departments, agencies, and other entities of the federal government to transmit reports, notifications, studies, and other information on a specified timeline. Reporting requirements may direct agency officials to notify Congress or its committees of forthcoming actions or decisions, describe actions taken on a particular matter, establish a plan to accomplish a specified goal, or study a certain problem or concern.

Reporting requirements may be designed to serve a range of purposes that facilitate congressional oversight of the executive branch...

Office of the Attending Physician, U.S. Congress: Background Information and Response to Public Health Emergencies

Establishment and History

The Office of the Attending Physician (OAP) was established in 1928, after the House agreed to a resolution on December 5, 1928, requesting the Secretary of the Navy detail a medical officer to the House (H.Res. 253, 70th Congress).

On April 7, 1930, the Senate agreed to a concurrent resolution (S.Con.Res. 14, 71st Congress) extending the services of the Attending Physician to both chambers. Although the House never considered the concurrent resolution, the OAP began serving both the House and the Senate at that time.

Since the initial appointment in 1928, the...

Tax Cuts and Economic Stimulus: How Effective Are the Alternatives?

The economic effects of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has led Congress to enact general fiscal stimulus in the form of tax cuts and spending increases. Further stimulus may be considered. This report discusses tax cuts enacted during the Great Recession, as well as those recently enacted and those under consideration.

In response to the Great Recession several types of tax cuts were debated as possible fiscal stimulus—with fiscal stimulus legislation enacted in February 2008 (P.L. 110-185) and a much larger one in February 2009 (P.L. 111-5). Both bills included...

How Social Security Benefits Are Computed: In Brief

Social Security, the largest program in the federal budget (in terms of outlays), provides monthly cash benefits to retired or disabled workers and their family members as well as to the family members of deceased workers. In 2019, benefit outlays were approximately $1,048 billion, with roughly 64 million beneficiaries and 178 million workers in Social Security-covered employment. Under current law, Social Security’s revenues are projected to be insufficient to pay full scheduled benefits after 2035.

Monthly benefit amounts are determined by federal law. Social Security is of ongoing...

Teen Birth Trends: In Brief

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the federal government’s lead public health agency, has identified teen pregnancy as a major public health issue because of its high cost for families of teenage parents and society more broadly. The CDC highlights that the teen pregnancy rate has decreased steadily, dropping below CDC’s target goal of 30.3 per 1,000 females aged 15 to 17 by 2015; however, the CDC also raises the concern that the United States has one of the highest rates of teen births of all industrialized countries.

This report discusses trends in teen birth...

National Park Service Deferred Maintenance: Frequently Asked Questions

This report addresses frequently asked questions about the National Park Service’s (NPS’s) backlog of deferred maintenance—maintenance that was not performed as scheduled or as needed and was put off to a future time. NPS’s deferred maintenance, also known as the maintenance backlog, was estimated for FY2018 (the most recent year available) at $11.920 billion. More than half of the NPS backlog is in transportation-related assets. Other federal land management agencies also have maintenance backlogs, but NPS’s is the largest and has drawn the most congressional attention.

During the past...

Teen Pregnancy: Federal Prevention Programs

Congress has an interest in preventing pregnancy among teenagers because of the long-term consequences for the families of teen parents and society more generally. Since the 1980s, Congress has authorized—and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has administered—programs with a focus on teen pregnancy prevention. This report assists Congress in tracking developments in four teen pregnancy prevention programs that are currently funded.

Multiple HHS offices worked together to establish the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Evidence Review process following enactment of the FY2010...

Australia: Background and U.S. Relations

Domestic Public Health Response to COVID-19: Current Status

The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is affecting communities throughout the United States, with total case counts growing daily. More than 1.3 million cases, including more than 82,000 deaths, have been reported in the United States. Containment and mitigation efforts by federal, state, and local governments have been undertaken to “flatten the curve”—that is, to slow widespread transmission that could overwhelm the nation’s health care system. Currently, “social distancing” restrictions that have been in place for almost two months are being eased in some jurisdictions as...

Hazard Pay and the COVID-19 Pandemic: Issues and Options

A number of policymakers have expressed interest in providing essential workers at risk of exposure to COVID-19 with additional compensation, or hazard pay. The Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act (H.R. 6800), introduced on May 12, 2020, would create a fund for “pandemic premium pay” for essential workers. This Insight highlights some of the policy considerations should a hazard pay policy be pursued, as well as federal government options for supporting hazard pay.

What is Hazard Pay?

Hazard pay is a type of premium pay for individuals performing work...

COVID-19 and China: A Chronology of Events (December 2019-January 2020)

In Congress, multiple bills and resolutions have been introduced related to China’s handling of a novel coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, China, that expanded to become the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) global pandemic. This report provides a timeline of key developments in the early weeks of the pandemic, based on available public reporting. It also considers issues raised by the timeline, including the timeliness of China’s information sharing with the World Health Organization (WHO), gaps in early information China shared with the world, and episodes in which Chinese authorities...

The Impact of COVID-19-Related Forbearances on the Federal Mortgage Finance System

One of the major economic impacts of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has been loss of income, which has left many Americans unable to repay their financial obligations—including their mortgage payments. In response, regulators have encouraged financial institutions to work with customers to allow them to defer payments on mortgages through a process known as forbearance. Provisions in the CARES Act (P.L. 116-136) require mortgage servicers to provide several months of forbearance to borrowers (at the borrowers’ requests, after they demonstrate a COVID-19-related financial...

Attempt: An Abbreviated Overview of Federal Criminal Law

Attempt is the incomplete form of some other underlying offense. Unlike state law, federal law does not feature a general attempt statute. Instead, federal law outlaws the attempt to commit a number of federal underlying offenses on an individual basis. Occasionally, federal law treats attempt-like conduct as an underlying offense; outlawing possession of drugs with intent to traffic, for instance. One way or another, it is a federal crime to attempt to commit nearly all of the most frequently occurring federal offenses.

Attempt consists of two elements. One is the intent to commit the...

The Strategic Petroleum Reserve: Background, Authorities, and Considerations

Crude oil price volatility has consequences for the U.S. and global economy. The Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), the U.S. stockpile of petroleum, has played a role in U.S. energy policy for over 40 years. The need for a stockpile of petroleum to help protect against supply disruptions became apparent after the 1973-1974 Arab oil embargo, during which time the average price of imported crude oil tripled.

The oil embargo also fostered the establishment of the International Energy Agency (IEA), an intergovernmental organization, and the development of coordinated plans and measures among...

Federal Teen Pregnancy Prevention Programs

COVID-19: U.S. Economic Effects

This Insight discusses the current and projected effects of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic on the U.S. economy. For effects on the world economy, see CRS Report R46270, Global Economic Effects of COVID-19, coordinated by James K. Jackson.

The economic impacts of COVID-19 since March 2020 have been large and dramatic, with impact disparities between various sectors and regions. In the United States, fear of infection, social distancing, and various states’ stay-at-home orders prompted business closures and severe declines in U.S. demand for travel, accommodations,...

CDBG-DR Funding and Oversight: Puerto Rico

In March 2020, the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD’s) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) released a report of findings from its audit of the Puerto Rico Department of Housing’s (PRDOH; also known as Departamento de la Vivienda, or Vivienda) capacity to administer funds under the Community Development Block Grant program for disaster recovery (CDBG-DR). The audit assessed (1) PRDOH’s compliance with HUD regulations and requirements in administering CDBG-DR funds, and (2) the existence of financial and procurement policies and procedures consistent with federal...

COVID-19 and Public Water Service Continuity

The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has increased attention to several issues regarding the provision of public water services. These include long-standing water-rate affordability concerns, the importance of clean water to public health, and the financial sustainability of some public water systems (whether publicly or privately owned). The spread of COVID-19 has raised specific concerns regarding the continuity of residential water services needed to support hand-washing and other public health measures—particularly as more customers may become unable to pay water bills...

Attempt: An Overview of Federal Criminal Law

Attempt is the incomplete form of some other underlying offense. Unlike state law, federal law does not feature a general attempt statute. Instead, federal law outlaws the attempt to commit a number of federal underlying offenses on an individual basis. Occasionally, federal law treats attempt-like conduct as an underlying offense; outlawing possession of drugs with intent to traffic, for instance. One way or another, it is a federal crime to attempt to commit nearly all of the most frequently occurring federal offenses.

Attempt consists of two elements. One is the intent to commit the...

U.S. Postal Service Financial Condition and Title VI of the CARES Act

In its latest response to concerns about the financial condition of the United States Postal Service (USPS), Congress added a provision to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act; P.L. 116-136, Section 6001) expanding USPS’s authority to borrow from the Treasury. This comes at a time when USPS is delivering important information and products in connection with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, including economic impact payments, census mailings, mail-in election ballots, and vital medicines.

The CARES Act borrowing authority raises new questions about USPS’s fiscal...

Intellectual Property Rights and International Trade

This report provides background on intellectual property rights (IPR) and discusses the role of U.S. international trade policy in enhancing IPR protection and enforcement abroad. IPR are legal rights granted by governments to encourage innovation and creative output by ensuring that creators reap the benefits of their inventions or works. They may take forms such as patents, trade secrets, copyrights, trademarks, or geographical indications (GIs). Congress has constitutional responsibility for legislating and overseeing IPR and international trade policy. Responsibility for developing IPR...

COVID-19: The Employee Retention Tax Credit

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (P.L. 116-136) includes an employee retention payroll tax credit intended to help businesses retain employees during the Coronavirus disease 2019, or COVID-19, public health emergency. Employee retention remains a policy concern, as a number of economic sectors have announced layoffs resulting from the COVID-19 induced economic fallout. Unemployment insurance claims have surged following these widespread layoffs. This Insight summarizes the employee retention tax credit in the CARES Act, makes comparisons to previous employee...

CRS Products and Experts on North Korea

North Korea has posed one of the most persistent U.S. foreign policy challenges of the post-Cold War period. With recent advances in its nuclear and missile capabilities under leader Kim Jong-un, North Korea (officially the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, or DPRK) has become a grave security threat to the United States and its allies. U.S.-DPRK relations became particularly tense in 2016 and 2017, when North Korea conducted scores of missile tests and three nuclear weapons tests, prompting the United States to expand unilateral sanctions and to lead the United Nations to expand...

Business Interruption Insurance and COVID-19: Federal Legislative Initiatives

Many businesses across all sectors are experiencing disruption and incurring losses from the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. The pandemic has stirred a debate among insurers, policyholders, and other stakeholders about who will be responsible for the losses that companies face from widespread shutdowns. This Insight will focus on efforts at the federal level to address business interruption (BI) insurance coverage for COVID-related shutdown losses. Insurance is primarily regulated at the state level, and there are efforts in a number of states providing for coverage of BI...

COVID-19: Overview of FY2020 LHHS Supplemental Appropriations

The legislative response to the global pandemic of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has included the enactment of laws to provide authorities and supplemental funding to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the pandemic. This report focuses on supplemental FY2020 discretionary appropriations provided to programs and activities traditionally funded by the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies (LHHS) appropriations bill.

As of the date of this report, LHHS supplemental appropriations for COVID-19 response have been provided in four separate...

Funding and Financing Highways and Public Transportation

For many years, federal surface transportation programs were funded almost entirely from taxes on motor fuels deposited in the Highway Trust Fund. The tax rates, which are fixed in terms of cents per gallon, have not been increased at the federal level since 1993. Meanwhile, motor fuel consumption is projected to decline due to improved fuel efficiency, increased use of electric vehicles, and slow growth in vehicle miles traveled. In consequence, revenue flowing into the Highway Trust Fund has been insufficient to support the surface transportation program authorized by Congress since...

Business Interruption Insurance and COVID-19: State Legislative Initiatives

One of the most significant challenges currently facing businesses is the loss of revenue as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and subsequent stay-at-home orders. Businesses across all sectors are incurring losses, and those with business interruption insurance (BI) are submitting claims to their insurers. However, both individual insurance carriers and the industry as a whole have asserted that BI claims related to COVID-19 are not covered, either because there has been no physical damage to the property or because the policy expressly excludes coverage for viruses, or both....

Low Oil Prices May Trigger Certain Tax Benefits, but Not Others

Benchmark crude oil prices—such as U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI)—have steeply declined since January 2020. Oil market oversupply, the result of COVID-19 travel restrictions and increased global supply levels in March and April, has exerted downward pressure on prices. Although the duration of low oil prices is uncertain, price levels for the remainder of 2020 may largely be a function of demand recovery, supply adjustments, and return to a balanced market. Energy Information Administration (EIA) price forecasts, as of April 2020, indicate that WTI spot prices may average just over $29...

Community Bank Leverage Ratio (CBLR): Background and Analysis of Bank Data

Capital allows banks to withstand losses (to a point) without failing, and regulators require banks to hold certain minimum amounts. These requirements are generally expressed as ratios between balance sheet items, and banks (particularly small banks) indicate that reporting those ratios can be difficult. Capital ratios fall into one of two main types—simpler leverage ratios and more complex risk-weighted ratios. A leverage ratio treats all assets the same, whereas a risk-weighted ratio assigns assets a risk weight to account for the likelihood of losses.

In response to concerns that small...

COVID-19: Supply Chain Disruptions in the U.S. Fruit and Vegetable Industry: In Brief

In mid-March 2020, the foodservice industry, which accounts for a substantial share of the produce industry’s sales, was largely shut down as most states closed all but essential businesses in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency. This situation resulted in major supply chain disruptions for the U.S. produce industry.

COVID-19, U.S. Agriculture, and USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP)

As COVID-19 has spread throughout the United States, it has reduced domestic economic activity and disrupted domestic and international supply chains for goods and services, including food and agricultural products. These disruptions have produced an immediate and very strong demand shock on the U.S. food supply chain that has sent many commodity prices sharply lower.

The food supply chain refers to the path that raw agricultural commodities take from the farm where they are produced, through the food processing and distribution network to the consumer where they are used. Supply chain...

Military Funding for Border Barriers: Catalogue of Interagency Decisionmaking

The Department of Defense (DOD, or the Department) has contributed $6.1 billion to the construction of new and replacement barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border in support of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) by invoking a mixture of statutory and nonstatutory authorities. Congressional concerns surrounding the use of these authorities and the further possibility that DOD’s actions may jeopardize legislative control of appropriations has generated interest about the decisionmaking process that drove the Department’s funding decisions.

DOD has not generally made internal and...

U.S.-Iran Conflict and Implications for U.S. Policy

Since May 2019, U.S.-Iran tensions have heightened significantly, and evolved into conflict after U.S. military forces killed Qasem Soleimani, the commander of the Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force (IRGC-QF) and one of Iran’s most important military commanders, in a U.S. airstrike in Baghdad on January 3, 2020. The United States and Iran have appeared to be on the brink of additional hostilities since, as attacks by Iran-backed groups on bases in Iraq inhabited by U.S. forces have continued.

The background to the U.S.-Iran tensions are the 2018 Trump Administration...

Medicaid Recession-Related FMAP Increases

Medicaid is jointly financed by the federal government and the states. States incur Medicaid costs by making payments to service providers (e.g., for doctor visits) and performing administrative activities (e.g., making eligibility determinations), and the federal government reimburses states for a share of these costs. The federal government’s share of a state’s expenditures for most Medicaid services is called the federal medical assistance percentage (FMAP). The FMAP varies by state and is inversely related to each state’s per capita income. For FY2020, FMAP rates range from 50% (13...

Unauthorized Immigrants’ Eligibility for COVID-19 Relief Benefits: In Brief

This report discusses unauthorized immigrants’ (aliens’) eligibility for federal benefits generally and for COVID-19-related relief programs specifically. After a brief discussion of Title IV of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA, P.L. 104-193), this report explores unauthorized immigrants’ access to selected programs in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA; P.L. 116-127) and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act; P.L. 116-136), both passed in March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This...

The Mortgage Interest Deduction

Mortgage Servicing Rights and Selected Market Developments

After a single-family mortgage has been originated, a mortgage servicer receives a fee to perform various administrative tasks—collecting and remitting the principal and interest payments to the mortgage lender; managing the borrower’s escrow account; processing the loan title once paid in full; and administering loss mitigation (e.g., forbearance plans) or foreclosure resolution on behalf of the lender if the borrower falls behind or fails to make full payment. Just as a mortgage is an asset for a lender, the right to earn income for servicing a mortgage is an asset for the mortgage...

U.S. Foreign Assistance

Transportation Infrastructure Investment as Economic Stimulus: Lessons from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009

Congress is considering federal funding for infrastructure to revive an economy damaged by Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Congress previously provided infrastructure funding for economic stimulus in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA; P.L. 111-5). Enacted on February 17, 2009, ARRA was a response to the “Great Recession” that officially ran from December 2007 through June 2009. This report discusses the economic impact of the transportation infrastructure funding in ARRA.

ARRA provided $48.1 billion for programs administered by the U.S. Department of...

North Korea: A Chronology of Events from 2016 to 2020

This report provides a detailed chronology of events relevant to U.S. relations with North Korea from January 2016, when North Korea conducted its fourth nuclear test, through the end of March 2020. (For background, the chronology includes a number of milestone events before 2016.) That nuclear test launched a new period of concentrated attention on North Korea (officially the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, or DPRK). The Obama and Trump Administrations made denuclearization of North Korea one of their top foreign policy priorities, and Congress has devoted considerable attention to...

Forest Carbon Primer

The global carbon cycle is the process by which the element carbon moves between the air, land, ocean, and Earth’s crust. The movement of increasing amounts of carbon into the atmosphere, particularly as greenhouse gases, is the dominant contributor to the observed warming trend in global temperatures. Forests are a significant part of the global carbon cycle, because they contain the largest store of terrestrial (land-based) carbon and continuously transfer carbon between the terrestrial biosphere and the atmosphere. Consequently, forest carbon optimization and management strategies are...

Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA): Resources for Frequently Asked Questions

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA; P.L. 111-148, as amended) had numerous provisions affecting private health insurance and public health coverage programs. This report provides resources to help congressional staff respond to constituents’ frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the ACA. It lists selected resources regarding consumers, employers, and other stakeholders, with a focus on federal sources. It also lists Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports that summarize the ACA’s provisions.

The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has raised questions among...

Judiciary Budget Request, FY2021

Transportation Spending Under an Earmark Ban

In the 112th Congress (2011-2012), the House and Senate began observing a moratorium on earmarks. Earmarks—formally known as congressionally directed spending—directed a significant amount of federal transportation spending prior to the ban. This report discusses how federal highway, transit, rail, and aviation funding were distributed before and after the earmark ban, and how Members of Congress might influence the distribution with a ban in place.

House Rule XXI uses the term “congressional earmark” while Senate Rule XLIV uses the term “congressionally directed spending,” but they...

COVID-19: Role of the International Financial Institutions

The international financial institutions (IFIs), including the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, and regional and specialized multilateral development banks, are mobilizing unprecedented levels of financial resources to support countries responding to the health and economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

More than half of the IMF’s membership has requested IMF support, and the IMF has announced it is ready to tap its total lending capacity, about $1 trillion, to support governments responding to COVID-19.

The World Bank has committed to mobilizing $160 billion...

Health Insurance Options Following Loss of Employment

Older Americans Act: Nutrition Services Program

The Prior Practice of Proxy Voting in House Committee

In order to increase physical distancing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the House scheduled consideration of a resolution during the week of April 20, 2020, that would have temporarily authorized the use of “proxy” voting on the chamber floor. Speaker Nancy Pelosi subsequently indicated that consideration of the resolution was postponed pending an examination by a bipartisan task force of options to facilitate remote participation by Representatives in committee and floor business.

The recent focus on proxy voting has led to interest in the history of the practice in the House....

COVID-19 and the Indian Health Service

The Indian Health Service (IHS) within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is the lead federal agency charged with improving the health of American Indians and Alaska Natives. In FY2019, IHS provided health care to approximately 2.6 million eligible American Indians/Alaska Natives. Its total FY2020 annual appropriation was $6.2 billion. As of April 30, IHS has seen more than 3,000 positive tests for coronavirus among its service population. In particular, the Navajo Nation has experienced one of the largest outbreaks nationally.

IHS Is a Three-Tiered System with Resource...

Federal Response to COVID-19: Department of Veterans Affairs

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides a range of benefits to eligible veterans and their dependents. The department carries out its programs nationwide through three administrations and the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (BVA).

The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) is responsible for health care services and medical and prosthetic research programs.

The Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) is responsible for, among other things, providing disability compensation, pensions, and education assistance.

The National Cemetery Administration (NCA) is responsible for maintaining...

Muslim Holidays: Fact Sheet

Islam is one of the three major Abrahamic faiths, alongside Judaism and Christianity. Islam, considered by the Pew Research Center to be the world’s fastest growing religion, has approximately 1.8 billion followers worldwide, of whom some 3.35 million live in the United States. Muslims annually observe two major holidays: Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha. This fact sheet describes the two holidays’ significance and American Muslims’ observance of them, and addresses the ways the holidays have been recognized by elected officials. The fact sheet also briefly describes two other widely celebrated...

Memorial Day Speech Resources: Fact Sheet

Memorial Day is a day of reflection and remembrance of those who died while serving in the U.S. military. Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials and placing flags or wreaths. They may also participate in a Memorial Day parade or hold a family gathering, such as a barbeque. Memorial Day also unofficially marks the beginning of summer.

This guide is designed to assist congressional offices with work related to celebrating Memorial Day.

Noncitizens and Eligibility for the 2020 Recovery Rebates

Some policymakers have expressed concern that certain individuals, including some immigrants (referred to as noncitizens, foreign nationals, or aliens in law and throughout this Insight), are ineligible for direct payments under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act; P.L. 116-136). The statute refers to these payments as 2020 recovery rebates. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) refers to these payments issued in 2020 as Economic Impact Payments. For more detailed information on these payments, see CRS Insight IN11282, COVID-19 and Direct Payments to Individuals:...

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Larger Borrowers: Oversight Efforts and Options for Congress

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act; P.L. 116-136) created PPP loans to provide short-term, economic relief to

businesses eligible to participate in the SBA’s 7(a) loan guarantee program, and

any business (including self-employed individuals or independent contractors), 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, 501(c)(19) veteran’s organization, or tribal business not currently eligible that has not more than 500 employees or, if applicable, the SBA’s size standard for the industry in which it operates.

PPP loans can be used to cover payroll expenses and other...

SBA Disaster Loan Program: Frequently Asked Questions

This report responds to frequently asked questions about the Small Business Administration (SBA) Disaster Loan Program. The SBA Disaster Loan Program provides direct loans to help businesses, nonprofit organizations, homeowners, and renters repair or replace property damaged or destroyed in a federally declared disaster. The program is also designed to help small agricultural cooperatives recover from economic injury resulting from a disaster. SBA disaster loans include (1) Home and Personal Property Disaster Loans, (2) Business Physical Disaster Loans, and (3) Economic Injury Disaster...

Transfer of Defense Articles: Sale and Export of U.S.-Made Arms to Foreign Entities

The sale and export of U.S.-origin weapons to foreign countries (“defense articles and defense services,” officially) are governed by an extensive set of laws, regulations, policies, and procedures. Congress has authorized such sales under two laws:

The Foreign Assistance Act (FAA) of 1961, 22 U.S.C. §2151, et seq.

The Arms Export Control Act (AECA) of 1976, 22 U.S.C. §2751, et seq.

The FAA and AECA govern all transfers of U.S.-origin defense articles and services, whether they are commercial sales, government-to-government sales, or security assistance/security cooperation grants (or...

SBA EIDL and Emergency EIDL Grants for COVID-19

Congress increased eligibility for certain businesses and organizations for Small Business Administration (SBA) economic injury disaster loans (EIDL) and established an Emergency EIDL Grant program under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act; P.L. 116-136) to provide short-term, economic relief to certain small businesses and nonprofits affected by COVID-19. This Insight provides a brief overview of EIDL, including eligibility and loan terms. It also provides an overview of Emergency EIDL Grants, and describes how EIDL can be used in conjunction with Paycheck...

Veto Threats and Vetoes in the George W. Bush and Obama Administrations

The Framers checked congressional legislative power by providing the President the power to veto legislation and, in turn, checked the President’s veto power by providing Congress a means to override that veto. Over time, it has become clear that the presidential veto power, even if not formally exercised, provides the President some degree of influence over the legislative process. Most Presidents have exercised their veto power as a means to influence legislative outcomes. Of 45 Presidents, 37 have exercised their veto power.

This report begins with a brief discussion of the ways...

Federal Health Centers and COVID-19

Federal health centers are outpatient health facilities that are required to be located in Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) and are required to provide care to all residents of their service area regardless of their ability to pay. The health center program is administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), within the Department of Health and Human Services, and is authorized in Section 330 of the Public Health Service Act. The program helps to support more than 1,400 community-based health centers operating over 12,000 delivery sites across the country....

U.S. Funding to the World Health Organization (WHO)

On April 14, 2020, President Donald Trump announced that the United States would suspend funding to the World Health Organization (WHO), pending a 60- to 90-day review, because of WHO’s “role in severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus.” The United States, the largest government contributor to WHO, is currently assessed 22% of the organization’s core budget (an estimated $122.6 million for FY2020). The United States also provides voluntary funding to WHO, with amounts varying per year depending on U.S. priorities and global health needs. U.S. voluntary...

Temporary Deferment of Import Duty Payments

On April 18, 2020, President Donald J. Trump issued Executive Order 13916 to provide the Secretary of the Treasury temporary emergency authority under Section 318(a) of the Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1318(a), as amended) to extend deadlines for certain estimated payments of taxes, duties, and fees “for importers suffering significant financial hardship because of COVID-19.” Section 318(a) allows the President to authorize the Secretary of the Treasury to extend payment deadlines during a period of national emergency proclaimed pursuant to the National Emergencies Act.

Following the...

Foreign Assistance: An Introduction to U.S. Programs and Policy

Foreign assistance is the largest component of the international affairs budget and is viewed by many Members of Congress as an essential instrument of U.S. foreign policy. On the basis of national security, commercial, and humanitarian rationales, U.S. assistance flows through many federal agencies and supports myriad objectives. These objectives include promoting economic growth, reducing poverty, improving governance, expanding access to health care and education, promoting stability in conflict regions, countering terrorism, promoting human rights, strengthening allies, and curbing...

The Office of Technology Assessment: History, Authorities, Issues, and Options

Congress established the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) as a legislative branch agency by the Office of Technology Assessment Act of 1972 (P.L. 92-484). OTA was created to provide Congress with early indications of the probable beneficial and adverse impacts of technology applications. OTA’s work was to be used as a factor in Congress’ consideration of legislation, particularly with regard to activities for which the federal government might provide support for, or management or regulation of, technological applications.

The agency operated for more than two decades, producing...

COVID-19 Disrupts U.S. Meat Supply; Producer Prices Tumble

U.S. livestock and poultry producers entered 2020 with an optimistic outlook for prices and income. Then in mid-March the food service sector, which accounts for a substantial share of meat consumption, was largely shut down as most states closed all but essential businesses. A temporary surge in retail meat purchases offset some of the reduction in food service demand. However, in early April, the situation worsened for producers as COVID-19 outbreaks began spreading in meatpacking plants around the United States, disrupting meat processing and leading to some shortages of meat products...

U.S.-North Korea Relations

Selected Health Provisions in Title III of the CARES Act (P.L. 116-136)

The global pandemic of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is affecting communities around the world and throughout the United States, with the number of confirmed cases and fatalities growing daily. Containment and mitigation efforts by U.S. federal, state, and local governments have been undertaken to “flatten the curve”—that is, to slow the widespread transmission that could overwhelm the nation’s health care system.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act, P.L. 116-136) was enacted on March 27, 2020. It is the third comprehensive law enacted in 2020 to address...

The Renewable Electricity Production Tax Credit: In Brief

The renewable electricity production tax credit (PTC) is a per-kilowatt-hour (kWh) tax credit for electricity generated using qualified energy resources. The credit expires at the end of 2020, so that only projects that began construction before the end of 2020 qualify for tax credits. Since the PTC is available for the first 10 years of production at a qualified facility, PTCs will continue to be claimed after the PTC’s stated expiration date. Whether the PTC should be extended, modified, or allowed to expire as scheduled is an issue Congress may choose to consider.

Most recently, the...

President Trump Criticizes VOA Coverage of China’s COVID-19 Response

The President’s Criticism of VOA’s Coverage of China

On April 10, 2020, the White House included in its online “1600 Daily” summary of key news and events a statement entitled “Voice of America Spends Your Money to Speak for Authoritarian Regimes.” The statement referred to a Voice of America (VOA) story and two posts that, it asserted, “amplified Beijing’s propaganda” about Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). The statement criticized VOA for running an Associated Press article on its website on April 7, 2020, which referred to Wuhan’s lockdown as a “model” for other countries battling...

Prior Converted Cropland Under the Clean Water Act

Fintech: Overview of Innovative Financial Technology and Selected Policy Issues

Advances in technology allow for innovation in the ways businesses and individuals perform financial activities. The development of financial technology—commonly referred to as fintech—is the subject of great interest for the public and policymakers. Fintech innovations could potentially improve the efficiency of the financial system and financial outcomes for businesses and consumers. However, the new technology could pose certain risks, potentially leading to unanticipated financial losses or other harmful outcomes. Policymakers designed many of the financial laws and regulations...

Health Care-Related Expiring Provisions of the 116th Congress, Second Session

This report describes selected health care-related provisions that are scheduled to expire during the second session of the 116th Congress (i.e., during calendar year [CY] 2020). For purposes of this report, expiring provisions are defined as portions of law that are time-limited and will lapse once a statutory deadline is reached, absent further legislative action. The expiring provisions included in this report are those related to Medicare, Medicaid, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and private health insurance programs and activities. The report also includes...

The Pandemic Response Accountability Committee: Organization and Duties

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (P.L. 116-136) created a new federal entity, the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee (PRAC), to “conduct and support oversight” of the federal government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and promote transparency.

This Insight provides an introduction to the organization and duties of the PRAC.


Section 15010(b) of the CARES Act establishes the PRAC within the Council of Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE), the oversight and coordination body for the inspector general community. The...

Fintech: Overview of Financial Regulators and Recent Policy Approaches

New technologies in the financial services sector can create challenges for the various federal agencies responsible for financial regulation in the United States. As these regulators address the potential benefits and risks of innovation, policymakers have demonstrated significant interest in understanding the types of technologies that may benefit consumers and financial markets while identifying the risks that new financial services may present. As Congress considers the potential tradeoffs of financial technology or fintech, it can be useful to understand how the financial system...

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act—Tax Relief for Individuals and Businesses

Congress is considering a number of proposals that seek to mitigate the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. One such proposal, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (S. 3548), was introduced in the Senate on March 19, 2020. On March 22, 2020, an updated version of the CARES Act was circulated, as a proposed amendment to H.R. 748. A cloture vote on a motion to proceed, which was designed to allow consideration of the CARES Act, was rejected on March 22. A third version of the CARES Act was released on March 25, 2020. On March 25, the Senate voted 96-0 to pass...

The Federal Contraceptive Coverage Requirement: Past and Pending Legal Challenges

When Congress enacted the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010, it required employment-based health plans and health insurance issuers to cover certain preventive health services without cost sharing. Those services, because of agency guidelines and rules, would soon include contraception for women. The “contraceptive coverage requirement,” or “contraceptive mandate” as it came to be known, was heavily litigated in the years to follow, and exemptions from the requirement are currently the subject of a pending Supreme Court case.

The various legal challenges to the...

Transatlantic Relations: U.S. Interests and Key Issues

For the past 70 years, the United States has been instrumental in leading and promoting a strong U.S.-European partnership. Often termed the transatlantic relationship, this partnership has been grounded in the U.S.-led post-World War II order based on alliances with like-minded democratic countries and a shared U.S.-European commitment to free markets and an open international trading system. Transatlantic relations encompass the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the European Union (EU), close U.S. bilateral ties with most countries in Western and Central Europe, and a massive,...

Federal Capital Punishment: Recent Developments

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Lending Set Asides for Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs)

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act; P.L. 116-136) created the Small Business Administration’s (SBA’s) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). On April 16, 2020, the SBA reported that it had exhausted all funding provided by the CARES Act for the PPP.

On April 24, 2020, President Trump signed the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act (P.L. 116-139), which contains lending set asides for smaller lenders. These set asides appear to be motivated by media coverage claiming that some big banks benefited from issuing large volumes of PPP loans and...

Congressional Oversight Provisions in the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act

President Donald Trump signed the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act (P.L. 116-139) on April 24, 2020. The act provides supplemental appropriations for the Paycheck Protection Program, the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund to support health care providers and expand testing for COVID-19, and Small Business Administration disaster loans and grants.

This legislation is the fourth relief act addressing the COVID-19 pandemic. As was the case for the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act (P.L. 116-123), the Families First...

Forest Service Announces Timber Sale Contract Relief

On April 15, 2020, the Forest Service (FS) announced options for timber purchasers to extend the terms of their contract to harvest timber from the National Forest System (NFS). (Read the announcement here.) The FS, within the Department of Agriculture (USDA), sells timber to willing buyers in the private sector (timber purchasers) pursuant to specified contract terms. Although timber sales generally must be completed in a set amount of time, the FS may extend that time if it finds a “substantial overriding public interest” (referred to as a SOPI finding) in doing so. The SOPI finding...

Flood Risk Reduction from Natural and Nature-Based Features: Army Corps of Engineers Authorities

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is the primary federal agency involved in federal construction to help reduce community flood risk. Congressional direction on USACE flood risk reduction activities has evolved from primarily supporting levees, dams, and engineered dunes and beaches. Since 1974, Congress has required that USACE evaluate nonstructural alternatives, such as elevation of structures and acquisition of floodplain lands, during its planning of projects. Since the mid-2010s, Congress also has directed the consideration of natural and nature-based features (NNBFs). Examples...

Honduras: Background and U.S. Relations

Honduras, a Central American nation of 9.3 million people, has had close ties with the United States for many years. The country served as a base for U.S. operations designed to counter Soviet influence in Central America during the 1980s, and it continues to host a U.S. military presence and cooperate on various security concerns today. Trade and investment linkages are also long-standing and have grown stronger since the implementation of the Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) in 2006. Instability in Honduras—including a 2009 coup and...

Fourth COVID-19 Relief Package (P.L. 116-139): In Brief

On April 23, 2020, Congress passed its fourth measure including supplemental appropriations to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act (the act; P.L. 116-139) includes enhancements for the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL), and Emergency EIDL grants, and emergency supplemental appropriations for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Small Business Administration (SBA). The President signed the bill into law on April 24, 2020.

The Congressional...

The Internet of Things: CRS Experts

“Internet of Things” (IoT) refers to networks of objects that communicate with other objects and with computers through the Internet. “Things” may include virtually any object for which remote communication, data collection, or control might be useful, such as meters, vehicles, appliances, medical devices, electric grids, transportation infrastructure, manufacturing equipment, or building systems. Although the full extent and nature of the IoT’s impacts remain uncertain, economic analyses predict that it will contribute trillions of dollars to economic growth over the next decade. Sectors...

COVID-19: Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Supplemental Appropriations in the CARES Act

On March 27, 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law (P.L. 116-136). The CARES Act includes $3.5 billion in supplemental appropriations for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG). These funds are to be used to “prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus.”

The CCDBG Act (42 U.S.C. §§9858 et seq.) is the main federal law supporting child care programs for low-income working families. The CCDBG is administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). HHS allocates CCDBG funds to states, territories, and...

The Child Support Federal Tax Offset of CARES Act Economic Impact Payments

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act; P.L. 116-136, enacted March 27, 2020) includes direct payments to individuals in 2020—referred to by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as “economic impact payments” ($1,200 per adult/$2,400 per couple filing a joint return; $500 for dependent children). These payments are structured as tax credits automatically advanced to households that meet certain criteria. Receiving a recovery rebate in 2020 will not affect a taxpayer’s 2020 income tax liability or tax refund, and taxpayers will generally not need to repay the rebate....

Older Children, Adult Dependents, and Eligibility for the 2020 Recovery Rebates

Some policymakers have expressed concern that certain individuals including older children and adult dependents are not eligible for direct payments enacted as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act; P.L. 116-136). The statute refers to these payments as 2020 recovery rebates. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) refers to these payments issued in 2020 as economic impact payments. Receiving a recovery rebate in 2020 will not affect a taxpayer’s 2020 income tax liability or tax refund, and taxpayers will generally not need to repay the rebate.

There are...

Federal Prisoners and COVID-19: Background and Authorities to Grant Release

There is concern that coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) could quickly spread among federal prisoners and prison staff because of the nature of the prison environment. Prisons are places where hundreds of prisoners and staff are living and working in close proximity to each other and where they are forced to have regular contact. Prisons are generally not conducive to social distancing. Also, prison infirmaries typically do not have the resources available to most hospitals, such as isolation beds, that would help prevent the spread of the disease. There are also concerns that if prison...

COVID-19: Financial Relief and Assistance Resources for Consumers

This CRS Insight presents links to websites of selected federal agencies and other organizations potentially relevant to consumers affected by the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. These links provide information on mortgage and other consumer payment relief, credit score protection, and consumer-targeted frauds and scams.

For analysis of consumer-related financial concerns about COVID-19, see CRS Insight IN11244, COVID-19: The Financial Industry and Consumers Struggling to Pay Bills, by Cheryl R. Cooper. For a list of all CRS products related to COVID-19, see the CRS COVID-19...

COVID-19 Testing: Key Issues

Mail Voting and COVID-19: Developments and Potential Challenges

Most voters reported voting in person in 2018, but the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has complicated in-person voting for certain subsequent elections in 2020. Health risks associated with close contact have prompted concerns about some of the standard interactions involved in preparing for and conducting in-person voting.

States have taken various steps to address such concerns for some of their 2020 elections, including postponing election dates, offering curbside voting, and relocating polling places. One common response has been to expand mail voting, in which voters receive ballots...

Agricultural Disaster Assistance

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) offers several programs to help farmers recover financially from natural disasters, including drought and floods. All the programs have permanent authorization, and one requires a federal disaster designation (the emergency loan program). Most programs receive mandatory funding amounts that are “such sums as necessary” and are not subject to annual discretionary appropriations.

The federal crop insurance program offers subsidized policies designed to protect crop producers from risks associated with adverse weather, as well as weather-related plant...

Interaction of International Tax Provisions with Business Provisions in the CARES Act

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (P.L. 116-136) included two general tax benefits for business: net operating losses (NOLs) and interest deductions, which reduce taxable income and tax liability. These provisions may interact with existing international tax provisions enacted in the 2017 tax revision, popularly known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, or TCJA (P.L. 115-97). The TCJA also decreased tax rates, including reducing the corporate rate from 35% to 21%.

International Provisions in the TCJA

In transitioning from the prior international tax regime that...

Marine Debris: NOAA’s Role

COVID-19 and State and Local Fiscal Conditions: Select Resources on Current Status, Impacts, and Federal Relief

The coronavirus (COVID-19) has caused a sudden decline in economic output and surge in unemployment, and it has significantly altered the fiscal outlook for state and local governments. State and local governments use taxes and receipts, debt issuances, and intergovernmental transfers to support spending programs. And, unlike the federal government, states and local governments are generally required to balance their operating budgets every one or two years. Even before the pandemic, a 2019 Government Accountability Office report on state and local governments’ fiscal outlook suggested...

Graduation: Fact Sheet

Graduation and commencement ceremonies at U.S. academic institutions are often held in the months of May and June. This guide is designed to assist congressional offices with work related to graduation celebrations. It contains a brief history of the ceremonial tradition and the attire worn, sample speeches by government officials, presidential commencement addresses, and statistical resources on educational attainment and graduation rates from authoritative government sources.

Stafford Act Declarations for COVID-19 FAQ

On March 13, 2020, President Donald J. Trump declared an emergency under Section 501(b) of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (Stafford Act; 42 U.S.C. §§5121 et seq.) in response to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The declaration authorized assistance to all U.S. states, territories, tribes, and the District of Columbia. Specifically, the Stafford Act emergency declaration authorized one form of Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) assistance: Public Assistance emergency protective measures (as authorized under Stafford Act Section 502)....

Crude Oil Futures Prices Turn Negative

What Happened?

On April 20, 2020, the futures contract price for the immediate month (May) of West Texas Intermediate (WTI), the U.S. benchmark crude, went negative (see Figure 1). The May futures contract price fell $55.90 during the day, to close at negative $37.62 per barrel. The futures price is a contract, usually monthly, for delivery of a certain amount of crude oil, on a specified date in the future, and at a particular location (Cushing, OK for WTI). WTI crude oil futures contracts are traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX). According to data from the U.S. Energy...

Reauthorization of Federal Highway Programs

Federal highway construction and safety programs are currently authorized through September 30, 2020, under the five-year Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act; P.L. 114-94). For the 1,027,849-mile system of federal-aid highways, the FAST Act provided an average of $45 billion annually. Although there are exceptions, federally funded projects are generally limited to this system that includes roughly 25% of all U.S. public road mileage. Of these funds, nearly 93% are distributed to the states via formula. The states have nearly complete control over the use of these funds,...

Air Force KC-46A Pegasus Tanker Aircraft Program

On February 24, 2011, the Department of Defense (DOD) announced the Boeing Company as the winner of a competition to build 179 new KC-46A aerial refueling tankers for the Air Force, a contract valued at roughly $35 billion. Prior to the announcement, the program had been known as KC-X. The first four KC-46s were delivered in January 2019.

The KC-46A acquisition program is a subject of congressional interest because of the dollar value of the contract, the number of jobs it would create, the importance of tanker aircraft to U.S. military operations, and because previous attempts to acquire...

The CARES Act and Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs): Options for Certain Individuals

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act; P.L. 116-136) includes a provision that suspends Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) from certain retirement accounts for 2020. Some individuals may have already taken this distribution prior to the enactment of the CARES Act; this Insight discusses an option that might be available to them.

Required Minimum Distributions

RMDs are annual withdrawals that individuals with certain retirement accounts may be required to make under specified conditions, such as after (1) reaching a certain age or (2) inheriting a retirement...

The Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act: Background and Issues

Under federal law, state and local governments receive payments through various programs due to the presence of federally owned land within their jurisdictions. Some of these payment programs are based on the revenue generated from specific land uses and activities. For example, Congress has authorized payments to the counties containing national forests—managed by the Forest Service—based on the revenue generated from those lands. In addition, Congress has authorized the 18 counties in western Oregon containing the Oregon and California (O&C) lands and Coos Bay Wagon Road (CBWR)...

CARES Act Assistance for Employers and Employees—The Paycheck Protection Program, Employee Retention Tax Credit, and Unemployment Insurance Benefits: Assessment of Alternatives (Part 2)

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (P.L. 116-136) includes numerous provisions to assist employers and employees during the COVID-19 economic downturn. This Insight compares (1) the Small Business Administration’s (SBA’s) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP); (2) the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC); and (3) Unemployment Insurance (UI). Firms that receive a PPP loan cannot also claim the ERTC. Additionally, when employees are retained due to a firm’s receiving a PPP loan or claiming an ERTC, employees are generally ineligible for UI during the period of...

Status of Latin America’s Anti-corruption Fight amid Health and Political Challenges


After sweeping across the region, anti-corruption activism in Latin America appears to have stalled. Populist leaders in Brazil and Mexico campaigned on fighting public corruption during their 2018 elections. However, after more than a year in office, both presidents have demonstrated little progress on significant corruption prosecutions or substantial governmental reform. Elsewhere, in 2019 and early 2020, governments in Central America shut down notable anti-corruption institutions that were approved by wide majorities of their citizens and long supported by U.S. policy and...

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers: Annual Appropriations Process and Issues for Congress

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is an agency within the Department of Defense with both military and civil works responsibilities. The agency’s civil works activities consist largely of the planning, construction, and operation of water resource projects to maintain navigable channels, reduce the risk of flood and storm damage, and restore aquatic ecosystems. Congress directs USACE’s civil works activities through authorization legislation, annual and supplemental appropriations, and oversight.

Unlike federal funding for highways and municipal water infrastructure, the majority...

CARES Act Assistance for Employers and Employees—The Paycheck Protection Program, Employee Retention Tax Credit, and Unemployment Insurance Benefits: Overview (Part 1)

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (P.L. 116-136) includes numerous provisions to assist employers and employees during the COVID-19 economic downturn. This Insight compares (1) SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program; (2) the employee retention tax credit; and (3) Unemployment Insurance. A companion Insight, CRS Insight IN11329, CARES Act Assistance for Employers and Employees—The Paycheck Protection Program, Employee Retention Tax Credit, and Unemployment Insurance Benefits: Assessment of Alternatives (Part 2), coordinated by Molly F. Sherlock, highlights factors...

Presidential Appointments to Full-Time Positions on Regulatory and Other Collegial Boards and Commissions, 115th Congress

The President makes appointments to certain positions within the federal government, either using authorities granted to the President alone or with the advice and consent of the Senate. There are some 151 full-time leadership positions on 34 federal regulatory and other collegial boards and commissions for which the Senate provides advice and consent. This report identifies all nominations submitted to the Senate for full-time positions on these 34 boards and commissions during the 115th Congress.

Information for each board and commission is presented in profiles and tables. The profiles...

U.S. Trade: Recent Trends and Developments

Bank and Credit Union Regulators’ Response to COVID-19

Once it became clear that the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak would have serious financial ramifications, the federal agencies that regulate banks and credit unions—the Federal Reserve, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) (collectively referred to as the bank regulators), and the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA)—responded using existing authorities in two broad ways:

taking measures to encourage banks to work with customers affected by COVID-19; and


Federal Jury Trials and COVID-19

This Insight provides information and analysis related to federal jury trials and how such trials have been impacted by Coronavirus disease 2019, or COVID-19. Given the rapidly changing situation surrounding COVID-19, the information provided in this Insight may be superseded by new information that differs from what is described in the text below. If there are any questions regarding whether such changes have occurred, congressional staff may contact the author of this Insight.


The Jury Selection and Service Act of 1968 specifies the qualifications a person must meet in order...

Private Flood Insurance and the National Flood Insurance Program

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is the main source of primary flood insurance coverage in the United States, collecting approximately $4.6 billion in premiums, fees, and surcharges for over five million flood insurance policies. This is in contrast to the majority of other property and casualty risks, such as damage from fire or accidents, which are covered by a broad array of private insurance companies. One of the primary reasons behind the creation of the NFIP in 1968 was the withdrawal by private insurers from providing flood insurance coverage, leaving flood victims...

The Hatch Act: A Primer

Bank Exposure to COVID-19 Risks: Business Loans

The COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic has caused financial hardship across the country. If COVID-19 causes borrowers to miss loan payments, it could have negative consequences for banks. This Insight examines the exposure banks have to business loan repayments, such as commercial and industrial (C&I) loans and commercial real estate (CRE) loans. For exposure to household debt, such as mortgages and consumer loans, see CRS Insight IN11336, Bank Exposure to COVID-19 Risks: Mortgages and Consumer Loans, by David W. Perkins and Raj Gnanarajah.

The main business of a bank is to make loans and buy...

COVID-19 and Direct Payments to Individuals: Summary of the 2020 Recovery Rebates/Economic Impact Payments in the CARES Act (P.L. 116-136)

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act; P.L. 116-136), which was signed into law by President Trump on March 27, 2020, includes direct payments to individuals—referred to in the law as “2020 recovery rebates.” The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) refers to the payments issued in 2020 as economic impact payments, whereas some media reports call them “stimulus payments.” This Insight provides a brief overview of these direct payments.

The 2020 recovery rebates equal $1,200 per eligible individual ($2,400 for married taxpayers filing a joint tax return) and $500 per...

FCC Draft Rule Seeks to Limit Space Debris

On April 2, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) published notice of a proposed rule intended to reduce the risk that active satellites will be damaged by space debris. The proposed rule, which is scheduled for an FCC vote on April 23, has been sharply criticized by some aerospace and telecommunications groups, and leaders of a House committee have asked that it be delayed.

The FCC licenses U.S. commercial communications satellites and the radio frequencies needed to control them. In 2004, it issued an order directing satellite operators applying for FCC licenses to submit plans...

The Federal Judiciary and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”)

On March 27, 2020, the President signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act or “the Act”) to address the nationwide impact of Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The portions of the CARES Act directed at the federal courts seek to support the federal judiciary in two key ways. First, the Act expands courts’ ability to conduct criminal proceedings by video or audio conference. Second, the Act provides funding for the federal judiciary to respond to the pandemic.

Video and Audio Conferencing

Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 53 (“Rule 53”) constrains federal...

Low Oil Prices: Prospects for Global Oil Market Balance

Reduced travel, slowing economic activity, and petroleum-product demand suppression related to the COVID-19 outbreak, combined with announced plans to increase crude oil supplies, created expectations of an imbalanced and significantly oversupplied near-term petroleum market. Oversupply expectations have contributed to oil prices declining nearly 60% since January. Some regional oil prices have been less than $10 per barrel. While low oil prices are generally positive for consumers, current price levels are causing financial stress for the U.S. oil sector and several policy options could...

COVID-19 and Short-Run Federal Deficits

The COVID-19 outbreak and ensuing economic shock may have major effects on future federal budget deficits (the amounts by which annual outlays exceed annual revenues). The latest federal budget baselines from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) use economic forecasts produced before the COVID-19 outbreak; baselines with updated forecasts would typically not be expected for several months, though agencies could decide to provide updates sooner. This Insight briefly discusses the effects that recent economic and legislative developments may have on...

Health Care Provisions in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, P.L. 116-127

The global pandemic of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is affecting communities around the world and throughout the United States, with case counts growing daily. Containment and mitigation efforts by federal, state, and local governments have been undertaken to “flatten the curve”—that is, to slow widespread transmission that could overwhelm the nation’s health care system.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA, P.L. 116-127) was enacted on March 18, 2020. It is the second of three comprehensive laws enacted in March specifically to support the response to the pandemic....

Department of Health and Human Services: FY2021 Budget Request

This report provides information about the FY2021 budget request for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Historically, HHS has been one of the larger federal departments in terms of budgetary resources. Estimates by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) indicate that HHS has accounted for at least 20% of all federal outlays in each year since FY1995. Most recently, HHS is estimated to have accounted for 27% of all federal outlays in FY2019. (FY2019 funding levels are generally considered final, whereas some FY2020 funding levels remain estimates.)

The FY2021...

Congressional Oversight Provisions in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (P.L. 116-136)

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (P.L. 116-136) includes a variety of oversight provisions designed to increase the information available to Congress regarding the federal government’s implementation of the CARES Act and response to the COVID-19 pandemic more generally. Specifically, the CARES Act: establishes a Congressional Oversight Commission, establishes a Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery, establishes a Pandemic Response Accountability Committee made up of certain agencies’ inspectors general, provides additional financial resources for...

Defense Primer: A Guide for New Members

CRS has developed a series of short primers to give Members of Congress an overview of key aspects of the Department of Defense and how Congress exercises authority over it. A consolidated list of these primers is contained in this report, along with links to each document

Defense primer defense primer Defense primer defense primer defense primer defense primer Defense primer defense primer Defense primer defense primer defense primer defense primer Defense primer defense primer Defense primer defense primer defense primer defense primer Defense primer defense primer Defense primer defense...

COVID-19: Selected Capital Markets Segments Supported by Federal Government Liquidity Interventions

The spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) induced heavy capital markets selloffs in March 2020. In response, the Federal Reserve (Fed)—sometimes with support from the Treasury Department—has established several emergency lending facilities to provide liquidity to key capital markets segments. As of the publication of this Insight, some markets that have announced Fed liquidity support appear to have begun to stabilize. This Insight discusses the changing capital markets conditions (Figure 1) using as examples, corporate bonds, money market mutual funds (MMFs), and municipal bonds....

U.S. Military Electronic Warfare Program Funding: Background and Issues for Congress

Congress, in the FY2019 National Defense Authorization Act, and the Department of Defense (DOD) has identified electronic warfare (EW) as a critical capability supporting military operations to fulfil the current National Defense Strategy. Collectively, DOD considers procurement appropriations and research, development, test and evaluation (RDT&E) appropriations as part of its investment accounts. Using programs identified by the EW Executive Commission (EW EXCOM), this report traces funding for three of the military services (Air Force, Army, and Navy) along with several defense agencies...

SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loans and Self-Employed Individuals

To provide short-term, economic relief to certain small businesses and nonprofits, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act; P.L. 116-136) created the Small Business Administration’s (SBA’s) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

On April 14, 2020, SBA issued an Interim Final Rule (IFR) detailing how the PPP will be applied in the case of self-employed individuals (e.g., sole proprietors and partnerships, with and without employees, and independent contractors). The IFR supplements SBA’s previously issued PPP rules and guidance that have been coordinated with the...

Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Actions to Mitigate the Impact of COVID-19

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has broad regulatory authority over significant parts of the securities industry, including stock exchanges, mutual funds, investment advisers, bonds, publicly traded companies, and brokerage firms. The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has affected various areas within the SEC’s regulatory ambit. This Insight highlights selected tools that the agency has used to help mitigate those impacts.

Disclosure Relief

A foundational goal of federal securities laws is protecting investors, an objective significantly addressed through required periodic...

House Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress: Structure and Procedures

On January 4, 2019, the House established the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress by adopting Title II of H.Res. 6, the House rules package for the 116th Congress (2019-2020), on a 418-12 vote. The purpose of the select committee as stated in its authorizing resolution is “to investigate, study, make findings, hold public hearings, and develop recommendations on modernizing Congress.”

Twelve Members, six from each party, have been selected by their leadership to serve on the select committee during its year-long investigation. The committee’s authorizing resolution requires...

The Defense Production Act (DPA) and the COVID-19 Pandemic: Recent Developments and Policy Considerations

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Administration invoked the Defense Production Act of 1950 (DPA) on multiple occasions to facilitate the manufacture and distribution of medical equipment and supplies. The full extent of DPA implementation is unclear—to date, there have been six public announcements describing official DPA implementation actions.

This Insight describes recent DPA actions and reported implementation with regard to the COVID-19 pandemic, and discusses policy considerations for Congress. It is intended as a companion to CRS Insights IN11280 and IN11231. See CRS Report...

The National Cemetery Administration and Department of Defense Response to COVID-19 Regarding Funerals and Military Honors


The National Cemetery Administration (NCA), part of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), is responsible for providing interment benefits to eligible veterans and dependents and for administering America’s national veterans’ cemeteries. Veteran benefits for interment in a national cemetery include the gravesite and grave liner, opening and closing of the grave, government headstone or marker, U.S. burial flag, Presidential Memorial Certificate, and the perpetual care of the gravesite. These benefits are provided at no cost to the family.

NCA operates 142 national cemeteries...

COVID-19’s Effect on Interior Immigration Enforcement and Detention

In response to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, immigration authorities have altered interior immigration enforcement activities including arrests, detention, and immigration court proceedings. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) claims these efforts “have facilitated a speedy, whole-of-government response in confronting COVID-19, keeping Americans safe, and helping detect and slow the spread of the virus.” This Insight considers how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted interior immigration enforcement.


DHS’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and...

Mortgage Provisions in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act

The COVID-19 pandemic has had wide-ranging impacts. With many households experiencing income disruptions, some may have difficulty making their mortgage or rent payments on their homes. An inability of tenants to pay rent can, in turn, impact the ability of landlords to remain current on any mortgage on the rental property.

On March 27, 2020, the President signed the CARES Act (P.L. 116-136) into law. Among many other provisions, it includes some intended to provide temporary relief for certain affected mortgage borrowers:

Section 4022 provides for forbearance and a foreclosure moratorium...

Bank Exposure to COVID-19 Risks: Mortgages and Consumer Loans

The COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic has caused financial hardship across the country. If COVID-19 causes borrowers to miss payments, it could have negative consequences for banks. This Insight examines the exposure banks have to household repayments, such as mortgages, credit cards, auto loans, and other consumer debt.

The main business of a bank is to make loans and buy securities using funding it raises by taking deposits. A bank earns money largely through borrowers making payment on those loans and securities issuers making payment on securities, along with charging fees for certain...

The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS): An Overview

The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) requires U.S. transportation fuel to contain a minimum volume of renewable fuel. The RFS—established by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (P.L. 109-58; EPAct05) and expanded in 2007 by the Energy Independence and Security Act (P.L. 110-140; EISA)—began with 4 billion gallons of renewable fuel in 2006 and is scheduled to ascend to 36 billion gallons in 2022. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has statutory authority to determine the volume amounts after 2022.

The total renewable fuel statutory target consists of both conventional biofuel and advanced...

Nuclear Waste Storage Sites in the United States

COVID-19: Commercial Paper Market Strains and Federal Government Support

What Is Commercial Paper and Why Is It Important?

As COVID-19 spread rapidly in the United States, fears of its economic effects led to strains in the commercial paper (CP) market, one of the main funding sources for many firms and for providers of credit to individuals. Commercial paper is short-term debt issued primarily by corporations and generally is unsecured. The CP market is an important source of short-term credit for a range of financial and nonfinancial businesses, who may rely on it as an alternative to bank loans—for example, in making payroll or for other short-term funding...

Federal Reserve: Monetary Policy Actions in Response to COVID-19

The Federal Reserve (Fed) has taken a number of steps to promote economic and financial stability in response to the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19). This Insight covers actions related to monetary policy—actions intended to lower interest rates or increase overall liquidity. Due to the severity of economic disruption, actions that increase overall liquidity have not been sufficient to maintain financial stability, and the Fed has also directly lent to firms and purchased private securities. Direct Fed lending and other financial assistance in response to COVID-19 is covered in CRS Insight...

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Funding in the CARES Act (P.L. 116-136)

Enacted March 27, 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (P.L. 116-136) provides supplemental appropriations for the Department of the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies, which includes the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Title VII in Division B provides a total of $7.23 million within four of EPA’s 10 appropriations accounts to “prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus, domestically or internationally.” The appropriation supplements EPA’s total FY2020 enacted appropriations of $9.36 billion included in the Further Consolidated...

Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery: Responsibilities, Authority, and Appointment

The Coronavirus Aid, Recovery, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was enacted on March 27, 2020 (P.L. 116-136). The CARES Act provides over $2 trillion in relief to individuals; businesses; state, local, and tribal government; federal agencies; and industry sectors impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition to these relief programs, Congress included a variety of provisions to facilitate transparency and oversight in the implementation of the CARES Act. Among these actions was the creation of a Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery (SIGPR). The SIGPR is similar in purpose and...

COVID-19 and U.S. Iran Policy


The spread in Iran of COVID-19 (the disease caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2) has raised questions about the possible effects of U.S. policy on the capacity of Iran to cope with the outbreak. Since May 2018, when the Trump Administration withdrew the United States from the 2015 multilateral Iran nuclear agreement (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, JCPOA), the Administration has reimposed all U.S. sanctions that were in place prior to that agreement and added further sanctions. The U.S. sanctions target virtually every economic sector in Iran, but at least technically exempt...

Domestic Violence in the Context of COVID-19

Domestic violence (DV), also referred to as intimate partner violence, affects approximately one-third of women and men over their lifetimes in the United States. Empirical research and anecdotal information from organizations that serve DV victims indicate that disasters and emergencies can heighten the frequency and severity of abuse. This Insight provides background about DV in the context of COVID-19 and the current federal response to supporting victims, primarily through the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA), Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), and Victims of Crime...

Pandemic Weakening Milk Prices; Industry Calls for Policy Action

Milk price prospects for U.S. dairy producers in 2020 have weakened as the U.S. economy deteriorates under the expanding Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. The year began with a positive outlook for the dairy industry that included higher milk prices and increased income for dairy producers in 2020, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The dairy industry has gone through several years of relatively low milk prices, leading some dairy farms to exit the industry and two large dairy processors to file for bankruptcy. In 2019, according to USDA, the number of licensed...

Effects of COVID-19 on the Federal Research and Development Enterprise

The federal research and development (R&D) enterprise is a large and complex system that includes government facilities and employees as well as federally funded work in industry, academia, and the nonprofit sector. The nation’s response to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is affecting the federal R&D enterprise, and the federal government and others are trying to address those effects. A number of congressional and other policy issues may arise as the situation develops.

Implementation of social distancing guidelines had led many laboratories and R&D projects to close....

Federal Telework During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Cybersecurity Issues in Brief

The novel coronavirus outbreak and subsequent pandemic has led government and industry to take significant actions in order to protect their workers and the population. One of those actions is encouraging the use of social distancing to stymie infections (e.g., being six feet apart from another person). One way individuals are accomplishing that order is through working outside the office. [To Suppress] Search Terms: Telework Remote work Cybersecurity Federal Information Security Modernization Act FISMA Virtual Private Network VPN SPAM Phishing Malware Cybersecurity and Infrastructure...

Timber Harvesting on Federal Lands

Congress has granted some federal land management agencies the authority to sell timber from federal lands. Two agencies, the Forest Service (FS) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), conduct timber sales as an authorized use. Together, the FS and the BLM manage 76% of federal forest area. FS manages 144.9 million acres, while BLM manages 37.6 million acres. The other major federal land management agencies, the National Park Service (NPS) and the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), rarely conduct timber sales.

Lands managed by the FS, the National Forest System (NFS), are managed under a...

Treasury’s Exchange Stabilization Fund and COVID-19

U.S. Travel and Tourism and COVID-19

With the spread of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, many flights have been canceled, widespread travel bans have been put in place, and more quarantine and stay-at-home orders are in effect. This has sharply reduced domestic and international travel, prompting businesses across the U.S. travel sectors to ask the U.S. government for financial assistance. For Congress, this raises questions about the likely economic effects of COVID-19 on travel and tourism and the level of support warranted for some industry segments that may quickly recover once the pandemic subsides and...

Federal Communications Commission: Progress Protecting Consumers from Illegal Robocalls

The number of robocalls continues to grow in the United States, and the figures tend to fluctuate based on the introduction of new government and industry attempts to stop them and robocallers’ changing tactics to thwart those attempts (see Figure). In 2019, U.S. consumers received 58.5 billion robocalls, an increase of 22% from the 47.8 billion received in 2018, according to the YouMail Robocall Index. In 2016, the full first year the Robocall Index was tabulated, that figure was 29.1 billion calls—half the number of calls in 2019. Further, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)...

COVID-19: The Drug Enforcement Administration’s Regulatory Role

The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has caused strain on many health care and medical facilities around the country, and some doctors and pharmacists have altered conventional practice to accommodate the needs of patients during this public health emergency. Changed practices include maintaining increased supplies of Schedule II controlled substances needed for intubation at hospitals and increasing the use of telemedicine as an alternative to in-person patient visits with a provider. Such changes require the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to make exceptions to...

Cryptocurrency: The Economics of Money and Selected Policy Issues

Cryptocurrencies are digital money in electronic payment systems that generally do not require government backing or the involvement of an intermediary, such as a bank. Instead, users of the system validate payments using certain protocols. Since the 2008 invention of the first cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, cryptocurrencies have proliferated. In recent years, they experienced a rapid increase and subsequent decrease in value. One estimate found that, as of March 2020, there were more than 5,100 different cryptocurrencies worth about $231 billion. Given this rapid growth and volatility,...

Unemployment Insurance Provisions in the CARES Act

Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs: FY2020 Budget and Appropriations

Each year, Congress considers 12 distinct appropriations measures, including one for the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs (SFOPS), which includes funding for U.S. diplomatic activities, cultural exchanges, development and security assistance, and U.S. participation in multilateral organizations, among other international activities. On March 11, 2019, the Trump Administration submitted to Congress its SFOPS budget proposal for FY2020, which totaled $42.72 billion in discretionary funds ($42.88 billion when $158.9 million in mandatory retirement funds are...

CARES Act Eviction Moratorium

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted business operations nationwide, leading to dramatic job losses that threaten the ability of many to meet their financial obligations, including housing rental payments. To aid individuals and businesses harmed by the pandemic, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (P.L. 116-136).

Section 4024 of the CARES Act provides a temporary moratorium on eviction filings as well as other protections for tenants in certain rental properties with federal assistance or federally related financing. These protections are designed...

Fishery Disaster Assistance

The Secretary of Commerce is authorized to provide disaster assistance to the fishing industry when fish populations decline or other disruptions cause economic losses. The criteria for determining whether a commercial fishery failure or fishery resource disaster has occurred are provided in Section 308(b) and Section 308(d) of the Interjurisdictional Fisheries Act (IFA; 16 U.S.C. §4107), and in Sections 312(a) and 315 of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA; 16 U.S.C §1861(a) and §1864).

The governor of a state, the Secretary of Commerce, or a representative...

Bureau of Reclamation Rural Water Projects

Congress has authorized projects and programs through various federal agencies to address water supply needs. Since 1980, Congress has authorized the Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation), among other agencies, to develop municipal and industrial (M&I) water supply projects in rural areas and on tribal lands. Congress has authorized these projects, known as rural water supply projects, for several locations throughout the West.

From 1980 through 2009, Congress authorized Reclamation to undertake the design and construction, and sometimes the operations and maintenance (O&M), of specific...

COVID-19: Support for Mortgage Lenders and Servicers

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has affected the economy in numerous ways. Many states have issued some variation of a lockdown, restricting when citizens can leave their home and limiting business operations to critical services, such as groceries or pharmacies. Many businesses have closed operations, while others have reduced their workforce considerably. As a result, jobless claims have increased since the outbreak, leaving many consumers struggling to meet their financial obligations. One of the most significant financial obligations consumers are struggling to meet is their...

Funding for HUD in the CARES Act

Division B of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act; P.L. 116-136) provided $12.4 billion in additional FY2020 funding for several Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) programs and activities. The funds are generally for one of three broad purposes: to provide additional resources to meet emerging needs, to support existing rental assistance programs, or to provide additional administrative capacity and oversight. Three-quarters of the funding can be considered new resources to meet emerging needs, with most of the remaining funding supporting...

The Federal Role in Historic Preservation: An Overview

During the 20th century, Congress passed several laws that established a framework for federal historic preservation activities. The most comprehensive of these statutes is the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (NHPA; P.L. 89-665). NHPA created a grant program for state historic preservation, established the federal National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) and the procedures by which historic properties are placed on the Register, funded the National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP), established the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP), and designated a...

Business Deductions for Entertainment and Meals

Congress has passed several laws in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including, most recently, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (P.L. 116-136), which—among its many purposes—provides tax relief to individuals and businesses. Several of the CARES Act’s business tax relief provisions were accomplished by temporarily rolling back restrictions on net operating losses and interest deductions that were enacted as part of P.L. 115-97 (sometimes referred to as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act or TCJA). As Congress continues to assess the need for further responses, it may...

Federal Prize Competitions

Prize competitions are a tool for incentivizing the achievement of scientific and technological innovation by offering monetary and nonmonetary benefits (e.g., recognition) to competition participants. Prize competitions have a long history of use in both the public and private sectors, but have gained popularity in recent years. Experts view federal prize competitions as an alternative policy instrument for spurring innovation, not a substitute for more traditional methods of federal support for research and innovation such as competitive research grants and procurement contracts.

The use...

State Broadband Initiatives: Selected State and Local Approaches as Potential Models for Federal Initiatives to Address the Digital Divide

Access to high-speed internet, known as broadband, is becoming increasingly essential to daily life as more applications and activities move online. This has become particularly apparent during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, as employers in some sectors transitioned their workers from on-site work to telework and schools migrated their students from classrooms to distance learning. These shifts may seem clear-cut, but many areas of the United States—particularly rural areas—have either limited or no access to broadband infrastructure. Additionally there are citizens in areas with...

Are Start-ups Eligible for the SBA’s New Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loans?

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act; P.L. 116-136), among other provisions, created the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Under the PPP, a lender may provide “covered loans” to assist small businesses (defined as either businesses that have 500 or fewer employees or that meet the general size standards under the Small Business Act), small 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, and small 501(c)(19) veterans organizations that have been adversely affected by COVID-19. These covered loans—also known as PPP loans—have

a 100% Small Business Administration (SBA) loan...

GSA’s Federal Supply Schedule: Programs for State and Local Governments

Under certain circumstances, state and local governments may use the Federal Supply Schedule (FSS), established and maintained by the General Services Administration (GSA), to purchase goods or services. One such circumstance is the declaration of a public health emergency by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, which occurred on January 31, 2020, regarding COVID-19. The four supply-schedule-related purchasing programs available to state and local governments are the Cooperative Purchasing Program, the Disaster Purchasing Program, the Public Health Emergencies Program, and the 1122...

Federal Traffic Safety Programs: In Brief

In 2018 over 36,000 people died in motor vehicle crashes, and over 3 million were injured. The estimated cost of motor vehicle crashes is over $800 billion annually. The number of deaths and the fatality rate declined from 2007-2014, but have risen since then. The federal government promotes highway safety in several ways. Opportunities exist for federal initiatives that would improve highway safety.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, FMCSA, NHTSA, motorcoach, highway safety, traffic safety, seat belts, motorcycles, helmets, vehicle...

Bureau of Reclamation: History, Authorities, and Issues for Congress

The Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation), an agency within the Department of the Interior (DOI), is responsible for the management and development of many of the large federal dams and water diversion structures in the 17 conterminous states west of the Mississippi River. Reclamation is the country’s largest wholesaler of water and the country’s second-largest producer of hydropower (behind the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers). Reclamation facilities store up to 140 million acre-feet of water, which serves more than 10 million acres of farmland and 31 million municipal and industrial...

COVID-19 and Stock Market Stress

Induced by the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the longest U.S. stock market bull run of 11 years ended in mid-March, the quickest drawdown on record (Figure 1). The market subsequently rebounded, responding to the $2 trillion coronavirus relief package (P.L. 116-136). The swing of stock prices has created unprecedented volatility, a risk metric that measures the degree of price dispersion. This Insight explains the function of the U.S. stock market, the different ways to view stock pricing, and how certain pandemic-induced conditions could affect policymaking. The Securities...

Multiemployer Defined Benefit (DB) Pension Plans: A Primer

Multiemployer defined benefit (DB) pension plans are private-sector pensions sponsored by more than one employer and maintained as part of a collective bargaining agreement. In 2017, about 3% of all DB pension plans, covering 29% of all DB pension plan participants, were multiemployer plans. Nearly all of the remaining DB pension plans were maintained by a single employer. A few DB pension plans were maintained by more than one employer but were not maintained under a collective bargaining agreement. In DB pension plans, participants receive a monthly benefit in retirement that is based on...

Direct Federal Support of Individuals Pursuing Training and Education in Non-degree Programs

Recent Administrations and Congress have demonstrated bipartisan support for increasing federal assistance to individuals pursuing training and education in postsecondary non-degree programs, sometimes referred to as short-term programs. Non-degree programs are postsecondary training and education programs that are most often shorter in duration than a bachelor’s or associate’s degree program. They generally provide work-based learning or educational instruction to individuals who are beyond the typical age for secondary education to prepare them for a particular occupation. Examples of...

COVID-19: The Basics of Domestic Defense Response

As the COVID-19 pandemic has unfolded, Congress has considered how the Department of Defense (DOD) might support the U.S. government’s domestic response. Below are the funding, authorities, and descriptions of potential ways DOD might further contribute. Links in this product connect to more detailed information on the highlighted subjects.

President Donald J. Trump declared a U.S. national emergency on March 13, 2020. On Friday, March 20, the Federal Emergency Management Agency assumed the lead agency role in the Coronavirus Task Force under the National Response Framework (NRF) for...

The National Consortium of Telehealth Resource Centers: COVID-19 Assistance

On January 31, 2020, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) declared Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) a Public Health Emergency (PHE). During this public health emergency, the Secretary of HHS has taken action to encourage the use of telehealth. Telehealth generally refers to a health care provider’s use of information and communication technology in the delivery of clinical and nonclinical health care services. The use of telehealth during public health emergencies can assist health care professionals with, for example, reserving in-person care for patients...

Federal Conspiracy Law: A Brief Overview

Zacarias Moussaoui, members of the Colombian drug cartels, members of organized crime, and some of the former Enron executives have at least one thing in common: they all have federal conspiracy convictions. The essence of conspiracy is an agreement of two or more persons to engage in some form of prohibited conduct. The crime is complete upon agreement, although some statutes require prosecutors to show that at least one of the conspirators has taken some concrete step or committed some overt act in furtherance of the scheme. There are dozens of federal conspiracy statutes. One, 18 U.S.C....

Federal Conspiracy Law: An Abbreviated Overview

Zacarias Moussaoui, members of the Colombian drug cartels, members of organized crime, and some of the former Enron executives have at least one thing in common: they all have federal conspiracy convictions. The essence of conspiracy is an agreement of two or more persons to engage in some form of prohibited conduct. The crime is complete upon agreement, although some statutes require prosecutors to show that at least one of the conspirators has taken some concrete step or committed some overt act in furtherance of the scheme. There are dozens of federal conspiracy statutes. One, 18 U.S.C....

U.S. Gasoline Prices: No Driving, No Benefits to Consumers

Prices Plummet

The collapse of crude oil prices is having consequences throughout the U.S. and global economies. For consumers, the effects of the price decline are felt nowhere more than in the price of gasoline. Gasoline is made from crude oil through the refining process, and the current decline in crude oil prices are a significant factor to the decrease in gasoline prices (Figure 1). There are four main components to retail gasoline prices according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA): 51% comes from crude oil prices, 20% from taxes, 18% from marketing and distribution...

COVID-19: Defense Support of Civil Authorities

The U.S. military has a long history of providing support to civil authorities, particularly in response to disasters or emergencies (examples include responding to yellow fever epidemics in 1873 and 1878). The Department of Defense (DOD) defines defense support of civil authorities as “Support provided by U.S. Federal military forces, DOD civilians, DOD contract personnel, DOD Component assets, and National Guard forces (when the Secretary of Defense, in coordination with the Governors of the affected States, elects and requests to use those forces in Title 32, U.S.C., status) in response...

Title IV Provisions of the CARES Act (P.L. 116-136)

Economic conditions have deteriorated rapidly in the past few weeks, as the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has caused many businesses and public institutions to limit or close their operations, increasing financial hardship for many Americans due to layoffs or time off of work due to illness. COVID-19’s effect on the airline industry has been one of many areas of interest for Congress.

On March 27, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law as P.L. 116-136. The act contains a number of provisions aimed broadly at stabilizing the economy...

The Crime Victims Fund: Federal Support for Victims of Crime

In 1984, the Crime Victims Fund (CVF, or the Fund) was established by the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA, P.L. 98-473) to provide funding for state victim compensation and assistance programs. Since 1984, VOCA has been amended several times to support additional victim-related activities including (1) discretionary grants for private organizations, (2) the Federal Victim Notification System, (3) funding for victim assistance staff within the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Executive Office of U.S. Attorneys, (4) funding for the Children’s Justice Act Program, (5) assistance and...

U.S. Indictment of Top Venezuelan Officials

On March 26, 2020, Attorney General William Barr announced the indictment of Venezuela’s leader, Nicolás Maduro (whom the United States does not recognize as Venezuela’s legitimate president), and other current and former high-ranking Venezuelan officials. As charged, Maduro allegedly participated in the Cartel of the Suns drug trafficking organization in conspiracy with the Colombian terrorist organization, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), to produce and traffic illicit drugs to the United States.

Maduro’s indictment marks an escalation in U.S. efforts since January...

COVID-19 Congressional Oversight Commission (COC)

On March 27, 2020, President Donald Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) into law (P.L. 116-136). Section 4020 of Title IV, Subtitle A, the Coronavirus Economic Stabilization Act of 2020, established a five-member Congressional Oversight Commission (COC) as one of several oversight mechanisms. The COC is to “conduct oversight of the implementation of this subtitle by the Department of the Treasury and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System,” report to Congress on the Treasury Secretary’s and the Federal Reserve Board of Governors’...

The CARES Act (P.L. 116-136) Section 4008: FDIC Bank Debt Guarantee Authority

Section 4008 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES; P.L. 116-136) authorizes the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) to guarantee certain deposits that are not eligible for regular FDIC deposit insurance due to the existing $250,000 per account insurance limit. This broadens FDIC authority from Section 1105 of P.L. 111-203 (Dodd-Frank Act) to establish a program that would guarantee bank debt in the event of a financial liquidity crisis. Section 4008 also preemptively grants the requisite congressional approval for any such program needed to respond to...

The Economic Development Administration and the CARES Act (P.L. 116-136)

States and communities will be able to apply for funding from the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration (EDA) to plan and implement economic recovery strategies in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act; P.L. 116-136) includes $1.5 billion for EDA to administer grants through its established Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) program. For years the EAA has been used to address ongoing economic restructuring needs. In FY2018 and FY2019, Congress used the EAA to fund economic recovery and resiliency...

American Battlefield Protection Program

Support for Homeless Youth in the Context of COVID-19: A Brief Overview

The federal government provides targeted support for homeless teens and young adults primarily through the Runaway and Homeless Youth (RHY) program, administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). As part of the federal response to COVID-19, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act, P.L. 116-136) includes provisions relevant to the RHY program. The CARES Act also includes provisions for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD’s) Youth Homelessness Demonstration Grant and for Department of Education (ED) supports for...

“Technical Corrections” to Tax Reform

For some in Congress, “technical corrections” to the 2017 tax revision (commonly known as the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” or TCJA; P.L. 115-97) have been a legislative priority. It is not always clear, however, what is strictly a “technical correction.” This Insight highlights provisions that have been widely discussed as “technical corrections” to the 2017 tax revision, starting with provisions in former Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady’s 2019 “technical corrections” discussion draft. It then highlights other “fixes” to the 2017 tax revision that might be considered, even if...

DHS Budget Request Analysis: FY2021

On February 10, 2020, the Donald J. Trump Administration released their budget request for FY2021, including a $75.84 billion budget request for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

DHS is the third largest agency in the federal government in terms of personnel. The appropriations bill that funds it—providing $70 billion in FY2020—is the seventh largest of the twelve annual funding measures developed by the appropriations committees, and is the only appropriations bill that funds a single agency in its entirety and nothing else.

This report provides an overview of the FY2021 budget...

Low Oil Prices and U.S. Oil Producers: Policy Considerations

Global oil prices have declined nearly 60% since January 2020 (see Figure 1). Following a brief period of geopolitically-driven upward price pressure resulting from events in Iraq and Libya, world oil supply/demand balances were projected to be oversupplied by the second quarter of 2020. Reduced travel and other economic impacts related to the evolving COVID-19 outbreak are suppressing near-term oil demand. Oversupply expectations were amplified when the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and a group of non-OPEC countries (OPEC+), including Russia, failed to agree on...

Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act: CRS Experts

The following two tables provide points of contact for CRS’s congressional clients with specific questions regarding the particular authorities and appropriations in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act; P.L. 116-136). This report is intended as a companion to other CRS products on the COVID-19 response efforts, many of which can be found on the CRS Coronavirus Disease 2019 resource page.

Separate tables are provided for each division of the CARES Act: Division A, which includes significant expansions in small business lending, unemployment insurance, tax...

Senior Nutrition Programs’ Response to COVID-19

Many older adults rely on federally funded programs that provide nutrition and other supportive services in order to live independently in their communities. Amidst the ongoing Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, older adults as well as those with certain chronic conditions are at higher risk for severe illness if infected with the virus. Guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that older adults stay home, among other precautions. Some state and local officials have issued more stringent guidance that older adults self-isolate at home or...

USDA Domestic Food Assistance Programs’ Response to COVID-19: P.L. 116-127, P.L. 116-136, and Related Efforts

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) programs are often part of emergency response efforts, providing program flexibilities, foods for distribution, and benefits for redemption. Emergencies generate different FNS responses, which can vary with states’ requests. During the COVID-19 pandemic, access to food—particularly in light of school closures—has been a concern for many. Some also view the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) as a force for economic stimulus. This Insight discusses related provisions of the second and third COVID-19...

COVID-19: The Financial Industry and Consumers Struggling to Pay Bills

A growing number of cases of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) have been identified in the United States, significantly impacting many communities. For background on the coronavirus, see CRS In Focus IF11421, COVID-19: Global Implications and Responses, by Sara M. Tharakan et al. While this situation is evolving rapidly, the economic impact may be large due to illnesses, quarantines, and other business disruptions.

Consequently, many Americans may lose income and face financial hardship due to the coronavirus outbreak. This Insight focuses on regulatory and policy responses relating to...

Business Interruption Insurance and COVID-19

The economic disruption from the COVID-19 pandemic has led businesses and policymakers to ask whether insurance should cover associated losses. The loss of income from mandatory or voluntary closures, supply chain disruptions, and reduced demand due to social distancing measures may induce businesses of all sizes to seek compensation from insurers.

Commercial Property Insurance

Most businesses carry commercial property insurance, including coverage for damage to their building and contents due to a covered cause, such as a fire or windstorm. Such insurance may also cover loss of income...

Federal Reserve: Recent Actions in Response to COVID-19

Coronavirus (COVID-19) has created significant economic disruption. In response, the Federal Reserve (Fed) has taken a number of steps to promote economic and financial stability involving the Fed’s monetary policy and “lender of last resort” roles. Some of these actions are intended to stimulate economic activity by reducing interest rates and others are intended to provide liquidity to financial markets so that firms have access to needed funding.

Actions to Lower Interest Rates

Federal Funds Rate

Traditionally, the Fed conducts monetary policy by changing the federal funds rate, the...

COVID-19 and the Defense Industrial Base: DOD Response and Legislative Considerations

The Department of Defense (DOD) relies on a defense industrial base (DIB) for the products and services that enable DOD’s warfighting capabilities. The DIB includes private-sector commercial companies ranging in size from small businesses to some of the world’s largest enterprises—all of which have been impacted by the economic pressures associated with the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. For additional related resources, see the CRS COVID-19 homepage.

Critical Infrastructure and the DIB

The DIB is considered essential to U.S. national security, and to be part of U.S....

Public Transportation and Amtrak Funding in the CARES Act (P.L. 116-136)

On March 27, 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) Act (P.L. 116-136) was signed into law. Included in the act is a $25 billion appropriation from the general fund of the U.S. Treasury for public transportation agencies and another $1 billion for Amtrak. This emergency funding would support agencies in the midst of an unprecedented decline in ridership due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, the Washington Area Metropolitan Transit Authority has reported that in late March 2020 its rail ridership is down about 90% on a daily basis compared with equivalent...

The Courts and COVID-19

Federal Reserve: Emergency Lending

The 2007-2009 financial crisis led the Federal Reserve (Fed) to revive an obscure provision found in Section 13(3) of the Federal Reserve Act (12 U.S.C. 344) to extend credit to nonbank financial firms for the first time since the 1930s. Section 13(3) provides the Fed with greater flexibility than its normal lending authority. Using this authority, the Fed created six broadly based facilities (of which only five were used) to provide liquidity to “primary dealers” (certain large investment firms) and to revive demand for commercial paper and asset-backed securities. More controversially,...

COVID-19: Response of the Oil and Gas Pipelines Sector

Earth Day: Fact Sheet

Earth Day is an annual event to raise awareness about environmental issues. It was first held on April 22, 1970, and marks its 50th anniversary in 2020. This fact sheet assists congressional offices with work related to Earth Day. It contains historical information, links to legislation, sample speeches and remarks from the Congressional Record, presidential proclamations and statements, and web resources.

Fostering Behavior Change During Disease Outbreaks: Insights from Ebola Response in Africa

The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted governments worldwide to seek to change behaviors on a mass scale to stem new infections. (Click here for CRS resources on COVID-19.) The challenges and successes of analogous efforts during the two largest Ebola outbreaks to date—in West Africa (2014-2016), and in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), starting in 2018 and now seemingly waning—may offer lessons for current efforts to contain COVID-19, even though the two viruses differ in significant ways.

Dubbed by some a “disease of social intimacy,” Ebola is transmitted through direct contact...

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Processing Changes Due to COVID-19: In Brief

As federal agencies adjust their operations in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, activities related to the processing and release of government information are also changing. Agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation within the Department of Justice, the U.S. Postal Service, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention within the Department of Health and Human Services, among others, have announced changes to their processing of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests due to the pandemic.

Government information requests through FOIA may be impacted by COVID-19 in two...

Disrupted Federal Elections: Policy Issues for Congress

Demographic and Social Characteristics of Persons in Poverty: 2018

This report provides a snapshot of the characteristics of the poor in the United States in 2018. It shows that people from families whose income falls below the federal poverty thresholds represent a diverse subset of the overall population.

There were 38.1 million people living below the federal poverty level in 2018, representing 11.8% of the total population.

Nearly half (45.3%) of all people in poverty lived in deep poverty (with income below 50% of the poverty threshold).

The largest share of people in poverty were non-Hispanic white (41.2%) but the majority were not. Almost all...

COVID-19 and Regulation of Public Drinking Water

During infectious disease outbreaks, questions regarding public water supplies may emerge, as a safe and adequate water supply is a key component to protecting public health. As the United States and other countries respond to the outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), questions may arise regarding the potential for the COVID-19 virus to be present in public water supplies.

The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that the COVID-19 virus has not been detected in drinking water. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced that “Americans can...

Voting and Quorum Procedures in the House of Representatives

The Constitution requires that a quorum, defined as a majority of the House, be present on the floor when the House transacts business. The House, however, always presumes that a quorum is present unless and until its absence is demonstrated conclusively. The rules of the House strictly limit the occasions on which a Representative may make a point of order that a quorum is not present. In current practice, Members usually make such a point of order only when a vote is taking place. If a majority of the Members fails to respond to a quorum call or participate in an electronically recorded...

COVID-19: State and Local Shut-Down Orders and Exemptions for Critical Infrastructure

Since the onset of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic in the United States, public officials have issued numerous emergency directives closing non-essential businesses and facilities and instructing non-essential workers to stay home. However, these directives have generally included exemptions for essential businesses and other facilities if they are part of a critical infrastructure sector or provide essential services.

Some business leaders have invoked federal authorities and guidelines when contesting state or local orders that would affect their operations....

Voting and Quorum Procedures in the Senate

The Constitution states that “a Majority of each [House] shall constitute a quorum to do business.” The Senate presumes that it is complying with this requirement and that a quorum is always present unless and until the absence of a quorum is suggested or demonstrated. This presumption allows the Senate to conduct its business on the floor with fewer than 51 Senators present until a Senator “suggests the absence of a quorum.”

Except when the Senate has invoked cloture, the presiding officer may not count to determine if a quorum is present. When the absence of a quorum is suggested,...

Forest Service Assistance Programs

Congress has established several forestry assistance programs within the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to support the management of state and private forests. These programs are under the jurisdiction of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees, which often examine them in the periodic legislation to reauthorize agricultural programs, commonly known as farm bills. For example, in the 2018 farm bill (Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018; P.L. 115-334), Congress reauthorized and modified existing programs and established some new forestry assistance programs.

Forestry assistance...

COVID-19 and Direct Payments to Individuals: Estimated Impact of Recovery Rebates in H.R. 748 on Family Incomes

H.R. 748 (CARES Act), as passed by the Senate on March 25, 2020, includes many provisions designed to provide emergency relief to the economy in response to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. One such provision of H.R. 748 is the “2020 recovery rebate,” a direct payment made to individuals. Similar “recovery rebates” were sent to individuals in response to the 2001 and 2008 recessions. Several Members of Congress have recently proposed varying forms of direct payment, and two earlier versions of the CARES Act (S. 3548 and a draft circulated on March 22, 2020) also included a direct...

The Employment-Based Immigration Backlog

Currently in the United States, almost 1 million lawfully present foreign workers and their family members have been approved for, and are waiting to receive, lawful permanent resident (LPR) status (a green card). This employment-based backlog is projected to double by FY2030. It exists because the number of foreign workers whom U.S. employers sponsor for green cards each year exceeds the annual statutory green card allocation. In addition to this numerical limit, a statutory 7% per-country ceiling prevents the monopolization of employment-based green cards by a few countries.


Agriculture and Related Agencies: FY2020 Appropriations

The Agriculture appropriations bill funds the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) except for the U.S. Forest Service. It also funds the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and—in even-numbered fiscal years—the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).

Agriculture appropriations include both mandatory and discretionary spending. Discretionary amounts, though, are the primary focus during the bill’s development. The largest discretionary spending items are the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC); agricultural research; rural development; FDA;...

Data Flows, Online Privacy, and Trade Policy

“Cross-border data flows” refers to the movement or transfer of information between computer servers across national borders. Such data flows enable people to transmit information for online communication, track global supply chains, share research, provide cross-border services, and support technological innovation.

Ensuring open cross-border data flows has been an objective of Congress in recent trade agreements and in broader U.S. international trade policy. The free flow of personal data, however, has raised security and privacy concerns. U.S. trade policy has traditionally sought to...

COVID-19: Industrial Mobilization and Defense Production Act (DPA) Implementation

On March 18, President Trump issued Executive Order 13909, Prioritizing and Allocating Health and Medical Resources to Respond to the Spread of COVID–19, which announced the President’s invocation of the Defense Production Act of 1950 (DPA) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The administration has yet to publicly provide direction to the private sector under this authority.

This Insight considers possible future DPA implementation processes, industrial mobilization, and congressional considerations concerning the COVID-19 pandemic, and is a companion to CRS Insight IN11231. See CRS...

Concurrent Receipt of Military Retired Pay and Veteran Disability: Background and Issues for Congress

Concurrent receipt in the military context typically means simultaneously receiving two types of federal monetary benefits: military retired pay from the Department of Defense (DOD) and disability compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Prior to 2004, existing laws and regulations dictated that a military retiree could not receive two payments from federal agencies for the same purpose; military retired pay and VA disability compensation were considered to fall under that restriction. As a result, military retirees with physical disabilities recognized by the VA had...

Cloud Computing: Background, Status of Adoption by Federal Agencies, and Congressional Action

Cloud computing is a new name for an old concept: the delivery of computing services from a remote location, analogous to the way electricity, water, and other utilities are provided to most customers. Cloud computing services are delivered through a network, usually the internet. Utilities are also delivered through networks, whether the electric grid, water delivery systems, or other distribution infrastructure. In some ways, cloud computing is reminiscent of computing before the advent of the personal computer, where users shared the power of a central mainframe computer through video...

Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020 (P.L. 116-123): First Coronavirus Supplemental

In the early months of 2020, the federal government began to express concern over the global outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). COVID-19 is a viral respiratory illness caused by a novel coronavirus. By late January, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) had invoked certain authorities to direct existing funds to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak. The HHS Secretary declared COVID-19 to be a Public Health Emergency, effective January 27, 2020.

On February 24, 2020, the Trump Administration submitted an initial emergency supplemental...

COVID-19 and Corporate Debt Market Stress

U.S. companies are carrying record levels of debt to finance their operations and growth (Figure 1). Corporate debt largely consists of bonds and, to a lesser extent, leveraged loans, bank loans, and other liabilities. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is the primary regulator overseeing the debt capital markets. In recent years, financial authorities have become increasingly vocal about the buildup of the higher-risk portions of the corporate debt market. This Insight explains the market’s composition and risks in the context of the current coronavirus (COVID-19)-induced...

Comparison of the FY2020 and FY2021 Precision-Guided Munitions Procurement Requests

Precision-guided munitions (PGMs) have become an important capability for the Department of Defense (DOD). Recent operations, including counter-insurgency and counterterrorism missions, have demonstrated a high demand for all types of PGMs, which DOD defines as a “guided weapon intended to destroy a point target and minimize collateral damage.” Some analysts argue a high-intensity conflict would require large stockpiles of such weapons, in addition to the demand from operations in the Middle East. Then-Secretary of Defense James Mattis stated that PGMs are required to help rebuild...

The Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act: Division T—Revenue Provisions

A number of recently introduced legislative proposals seek to alleviate the adverse economic effects of the COVID-19 outbreak. One such proposal, the Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act (H.R. 6379), was introduced in the House on March 23, 2020. The proposal includes a number of provisions that would make changes to the tax system, including modifications that would

provide a one-time payment to households;

temporarily expand the earned income tax credit, child tax credit, and dependent care tax credit;

provide employer payroll tax credits for certain hospital expenses and...

Department of Veterans Affairs: Caregiver Support

The conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have presented a new challenge for the United States as servicemembers returned from combat with serious injuries that may have been fatal in previous conflicts. These servicemembers require ongoing personal care services, which are often provided by family members and loved ones. In recognition of this significant challenge, Congress enacted the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-163), which required the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to establish specific supports for caregivers of veterans.

The Veterans...

Congressional Oversight Provisions in P.L. 116-127, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act

President Donald Trump signed P.L. 116-127 (H.R. 6201), the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, on March 18, 2020. The act provides supplemental appropriations for nutrition assistance programs and public health services and authorizes the Internal Revenue Service to implement tax credits for paid emergency sick leave and expanded family medical leave that the act requires certain employers to provide. In addition, the law adjusts the unemployment insurance program to waive temporarily certain eligibility requirements and provide more federal financial support to the states.


Money Market Mutual Funds: A Financial Stability Case Study

Required Minimum Distributions from Retirement Accounts Under the Economic Stimulus Proposals Related to the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

On March 22, 2020, the Senate released an updated version of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act containing a provision for suspending the penalty for failure to make the required minimum distribution (RMD) from retirement accounts for 2020. A similar provision was included in a proposal in the House released on March 23, the Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act.

What Are Required Minimum Distributions?

Under current law, required minimum distributions must be withdrawn from individual retirement plans to avoid a 50% penalty on the required minimum...

FY2020 Defense Reprogrammings for Wall Funding: Backgrounder

On February 13, 2020, the Department of Defense (DOD) transferred $3.8 billion from defense procurement programs to the Army Operation and Maintenance account for use by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) for the construction of 31 additional barrier projects along the southern border of the United States. Table 1. Summary of FY2020 DOD Reprogramming Action to Support the Border Wall ($ in thousands) Base or OCO / Appropriation Amount Percentage

Base $2,202,000 57.48%

 Aircraft Procurement, Air Force

 Aircraft Procurement, Navy

Responding to the COVID-19 Outbreak with Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Authorities

In response to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, some in Congress have suggested using the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program as a vehicle for providing financial relief to states and communities. Congress has regularly instituted a special variant of CDBG for long-term disaster recovery, known as CDBG-Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR). This Insight considers the potential role of CDBG and CDBG-DR as economic development countermeasures to the coronavirus outbreak. For more information on the health and epidemiological aspects of COVID-19, see CRS products R46219 and...

COVID-19 and Direct Payments to Individuals: Summary of the 2020 Economic Assistance Payments in H.R. 6379, the Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act

The Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act (H.R. 6379), introduced in the House on Monday, March 23, 2020, proposes direct payments to individuals and families—referred to as “2020 economic assistance payments to individuals.” This Insight provides a brief overview of these proposed payments.

Generally, for individuals and families that filed an income tax return, the economic assistance payment would be an advanced refundable tax credit that they would automatically receive in 2020 as a direct deposit or check by mail. Most recipients of Social Security or Supplemental Security...

Emergency Funding for Public Transportation Agencies Due to COVID-19

Public Transportation Agency Budgets

The COVID-19 pandemic has reportedly resulted in a swift and large loss of public transportation ridership and fare revenue. Examples in the early days of the crisis include an 88% loss of ridership for New Jersey Transit, a 60% loss of subway ridership for New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority, a 60% loss for Denver’s Regional Transportation District, and a 90% loss for Bay Area Rapid Transit in San Francisco. Many transit agencies, including the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, have responded by cutting service, encouraging...

Judges Urge Congress to Revise What Can Be Patented

COVID-19 and Funding for Civil Aviation

The COVID-19 pandemic has created headwinds for the airline industry. Out of health concerns, customers were canceling international air travel to China and other affected countries in Asia as early as January 2020. Since then, travel restrictions imposed by governments around the world as well as suspension of nonessential travel by businesses and organizations have led to a sharp drop in air travel. These developments could also have significant implications for civil aviation programs.

The International Air Transport Association, an airline industry group, projected on March 17 that the...

COVID-19 and Direct Payments to Individuals: Summary of the 2020 Recovery Rebates in the CARES Act, as Circulated March 22

Legislative text of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, circulated on Sunday, March 22, 2020, proposes direct payments to individuals and families—“2020 recovery rebates.” This Insight provides a brief overview of the proposed 2020 recovery rebates included in the text circulated on March 22, which differ from those included in the legislation introduced on March 19.

The proposed 2020 recovery rebates equal $1,200 per person ($2,400 for married taxpayers filing a joint tax return) and $500 per child. These amounts would phase down for higher-income taxpayers....

Targeted Tax Relief for Industries Impacted by the Coronavirus: Selected Policy Issues

One of the policy options being considered to minimize the damage to the U.S. economy from the domestic spread of the coronavirus is tax relief targeted at industries that have experienced substantial drops in revenue. To date, growing numbers of cruise lines, airlines, hotels, restaurants, retailers, and energy producers seem to have been hit the hardest by the economic impact of the virus. Depending on what happens to the spread of the coronavirus within the United States in coming weeks, other industries could be similarly affected. The prospect of a prolonged domestic coronavirus...

COVID-19 and Stimulus Payments to Individuals: Potential Impacts of Direct Payments on Family Incomes

Several Members of Congress and the Trump Administration have proposed direct cash payments as part of a fiscal response to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Direct cash payments have previously been part of the federal government’s response to economic downturns, most recently in 2001 and 2008. In general, the purpose of direct payments is twofold: (1) they allow families to spend more, and through a multiplier effect help to stimulate the economy; and (2) they provide resources to help meet basic needs for those whose income has decreased due to COVID-19 infection or...

Department of Veterans Affairs’ Potential Role in Addressing the COVID-19 Outbreak

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides a range of benefits to eligible veterans and their dependents. The department carries out its programs nationwide through three administrations and the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (BVA). The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) is responsible for health care services and medical and prosthetic research programs. The Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) is responsible for, among other things, providing disability compensation, pensions, and education assistance. The National Cemetery Administration (NCA) is responsible for maintaining...

COVID-19 and Stimulus Payments to Individuals: Summary of the 2020 Recovery Rebates in the CARES Act (S. 3548)

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (S. 3548) proposes direct payments of up to $1,200 per person ($2,400 for married taxpayers filing a joint tax return) and $500 per child—“2020 recovery rebates.” Similar to the 2008 recovery rebates, these payments are structured as tax credits advanced to households that file an income tax return. Taxpayers that filed a 2018 income tax return would have this credit advanced to them in 2020, generally in the form of a direct deposit or check by mail. Thus, these taxpayers do not need to wait until 2020 tax returns are filed in...

Federal Research and Development (R&D) Funding: FY2020

President Trump’s budget request for FY2020 included approximately $134.1 billion for research and development (R&D). Several FY2019 appropriations bills had not been enacted at the time the President’s FY2020 budget was prepared; therefore, the President’s budget included the FY2018 actual funding levels, 2019 annualized continuing resolution (CR) levels, and the FY2020 request levels. On February 15, 2019, Congress enacted the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2019 (P.L. 116-6). This act included each of the remaining appropriations acts, completing the FY2019 appropriations process. The...

H.R. 6201: Paid Leave and Unemployment Insurance Responses to COVID-19

This Insight provides summary information on the paid leave and unemployment insurance (UI) provisions in the House-passed version of H.R. 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, including the technical corrections made by H.Res. 904. For a general discussion of current workplace leave policies and UI programs and benefits, including considerations related to COVID-19, see CRS Insight IN11233, Workplace Leave and Unemployment Insurance for Individuals Affected by COVID-19. For additional legislation introduced related to UI and COVID-19, see CRS Report R45478, Unemployment...

COVID-19 and Passenger Airline Travel

The COVID-19 global pandemic presents particular risks and challenges to commercial passenger airline travel. Taking a passenger flight involves numerous interpersonal interactions, transiting through often crowded airport terminals, and sitting in close proximity to others for extended periods, both onboard aircraft and at airport gates. These activities may increase the probability of exposure to infectious disease.

Curtailing infectious disease spread through airline travel is challenging, in part because the passenger airline system in the United States is highly concentrated around 30...

COVID-19 Economic Stimulus: Business Payroll Tax Cuts

The economic fallout from coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has accelerated rapidly. Policymakers continue to evaluate tax policy economic relief options. Payroll tax cuts for businesses are one option that would provide economic assistance to business activities.

Business Payroll Taxes

Payroll taxes are collected to finance certain entitlement programs, including Social Security, parts of Medicare, and Unemployment Compensation (UC). Social Security’s old age, survivors, and disability insurance (OASDI) payroll tax is paid by both employers and employees, and it finances the Social Security...

Policy Topics and Background Related to Mining on Federal Lands

The 116th Congress is considering multiple proposed changes to U.S. mineral policy. Currently certain types of mineral production on federal lands provide the federal government and some states and industries with sources of revenue, while other production does not generate similar revenue. Proposed changes to federal mineral policy could impact these revenue streams, industries, and states in a variety of ways.

The processes and requirements to mine on federal lands vary by mineral category, surface/subsurface management agencies, and estate ownership. Three main statutes create the three...

Federal Assistance to Troubled Industries: Selected Examples

Serious disruptions for certain industries caused by the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic have led to calls for federal government assistance to affected industries. Direct federal financial assistance to the private sector on a large scale is unusual, except for geographically narrow assistance following natural disasters. Nonetheless, assistance to business sectors affected by COVID-19 would not be the first occasion on which the federal government has aided troubled or financially distressed industries. Historically, aid—sometimes popularly referred to as “government bailouts”—has taken...

Presidential Declarations of Emergency for COVID-19: NEA and Stafford Act

This Insight provides an overview of the presidential declarations of emergency made under the National Emergencies Act (NEA; 50 U.S.C. §§1601 et seq.) and the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (Stafford Act; 42 U.S.C. §§5121 et seq.) in response to the novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19). Table 1 describes select differences between these types of declarations and their authorities. This Insight does not discuss other actions mentioned by the President, or federal agencies (other than the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)) that have been, or may be,...

COVID-19: Cybercrime Opportunities and Law Enforcement Response

Opportunistic criminals and other malicious actors exploit the internet and rapidly evolving technology to their advantage. Criminals can compromise financial assets; hacktivists can flood websites with traffic, effectively shutting them down; and spies can steal intellectual property and government secrets. And, they capitalize on ever changing world events. Federal officials have cautioned about scams relating to the outbreak of disease caused by a previously unidentified strain of coronavirus, designated Coronavirus Disease 2019, or COVID-19. They have noted that “[c]yber actors may...

Military Child Development Program: Background and Issues

The Department of Defense (DOD) operates the largest employer-sponsored child care program in the United States, serving approximately 200,000 children of uniformed servicemembers and DOD civilians, and employing over 23,000 child care workers, at an annual cost of over $1 billion. DOD’s child development program (CDP) includes accredited, installation-based, government-run, full-time pre-school and school-aged care in its Child Development Centers (CDCs), and subsidized care in Family Care Centers (FCCs). DOD also subsidizes care in private child care centers outside of military...

COVID-19 and Direct Payments to Individuals: Historical Precedents

Members of Congress and the Trump Administration have signaled their support for making direct payments to individuals to address the economic fallout from the COVID-19 outbreak. In current discussions, these payments are sometimes framed in terms of “universal basic income” or UBI proposals. In the past when these proposals were made—and sometimes enacted—they were framed in terms of providing economic stimulus.

Historical Precedents

There are historical precedents for such payments; most of these were done through the federal income tax code. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) sent...

COVID-19 and Direct Payments to Individuals: How Did the 2008 Recovery Rebates Work?

In response to concerns about an economic slowdown stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, policymakers have been considering a broad array of policy options. Some are targeted directly toward individuals and industries that may be most affected. Others would more broadly seek to stimulate the economy. Among this latter category of policies, some have proposed direct cash payments sent to virtually all U.S. households.

In 2008 Congress enacted direct cash payments—the 2008 recovery rebates—that were tax credits advanced to households that had filed an income tax return. A portion of these...

COVID-19 and Stimulus Payments to Individuals: How the 2009 Economic Recovery Payment Worked

In response to concerns about an economic slowdown due to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak, some lawmakers have expressed interest in providing direct cash payments to Americans. One option to provide such payments would be to establish a new advanced refundable tax credit, as was done in 2008 with “recovery rebates.” Although this option would disburse payments to the vast majority of Americans relatively quickly, it would not directly help those who do not file a federal income tax return. A 2017 study found that “nonfilers” were more likely to be seniors or recipients of...

Supreme Court Grants Stay in MPP Case

Overview of Initial Responses to COVID-19 by the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts and by Select Courts Within the Federal Judiciary

This CRS Insight provides information related to initial responses to Coronavirus disease 2019, or COVID-19, by the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts and select courts within the federal judiciary. Consequently, this Insight is not intended to provide a comprehensive overview of the policies and practices adopted by each federal court or judicial entity. Additionally, given the rapidly changing situation surrounding COVID-19, the information provided in this Insight may be superseded by new information from that which is described in the text below. If there are any questions regarding...

The Defense Production Act (DPA) and COVID-19: Key Authorities and Policy Considerations

As the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic evolves, the United States faces drug and medical supply scarcities due to disrupted supply chains and increased demand. In response, the President may exercise emergency authorities under the Defense Production Act of 1950 (DPA; 50 U.S.C. §§4501 et seq.) to address supply shortages and economic development impacts. During a press conference on March 18, 2020, the President indicated that he would invoke the DPA to address domestic essential goods and materials shortages caused by the pandemic. This Insight considers the various DPA authorities that...

The Palestinians and Amendments to the Anti-Terrorism Act: U.S. Aid and Personal Jurisdiction

Two recent amendments to the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA, 18 U.S.C. §§ 2331 et seq.) have significant implications for U.S. aid to the Palestinians and U.S. courts’ ability to exercise jurisdiction over Palestinian entities. They are the Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act of 2018 (ATCA, P.L. 115-253) and the Promoting Security and Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act of 2019 (PSJVTA, § 903 of the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020, P.L. 116-94).

Congress passed ATCA after a U.S. federal lawsuit (known in various incarnations as Waldman v. PLO and Sokolow v. PLO) against the...

The Hours of Service (HOS) Rule for Commercial Truck Drivers and the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) Mandate

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, on March 13, 2020, the Department of Transportation (DOT) issued a national emergency declaration to exempt from the Hours of Service (HOS) rule through April 12, 2020, commercial drivers providing direct assistance in support of relief efforts related to the virus. This includes transport of certain supplies and equipment, as well as personnel. Drivers are still required to have at least 10 consecutive hours off duty (eight hours if transporting passengers) before returning to duty.

It has been estimated that up to 20% of bus and large truck crashes...

SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans for COVID-19

The current COVID-19 pandemic may have significant economic implications for businesses and nonprofit organizations, including negative impacts on imports, global supply chains, and tourism. Furthermore, if COVID-19 becomes increasingly widespread or prolonged it may slow global growth, and some businesses may be forced to furlough or lay off workers. One potential form of assistance to small businesses is Small Business Administration (SBA) economic injury disaster loans (EIDLs).

EIDL Overview

EIDLs provide eligible small businesses and nonprofit organizations up to $2 million to help...

What If the Philippines Ends the Visiting Forces Agreement?

On February 10, 2020, the Government of the Philippines submitted to the U.S. Embassy in Manila a “notice of termination” of the Philippines-U.S. Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA). The VFA governs the legal status of U.S. military forces operating in the Philippines and establishes rules by which U.S. troops, vessels and aircraft may enter the country. The notification started a 180-day review period; the agreement itself will expire at the end of that time. The VFA has been in effect since 1999, eight years after the Philippines rejected a treaty that would have extended the U.S. lease of...

Tax Credit for Paid Sick and Family Leave in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201) (Updated)

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201) includes an employer tax credit for the paid sick and family leave required as part of this legislation. This tax credit is intended to cover the cost to businesses of providing paid leave to address the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. This Insight provides an overview of the tax credits, including the corrections included in H.Res. 904, as passed by the House on March 16, 2020.

Tax Credits for Paid Leave

The employer payroll tax credit is for wages paid to fulfill the new leave requirements. The Emergency Paid Sick Leave...

COVID-19 and Direct Payments to Individuals: Considerations on Using Advanced Refundable Credits as Economic Stimulus

In response to concerns about an economic slowdown stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, policymakers have been considering a broad array of policy options. Some are targeted directly toward the individuals and industries that may be most affected. Others would more broadly seek to stimulate the economy. Among this latter category of policies, some have suggested a payroll tax cut, while others have proposed direct cash payments—“recovery rebates”—to virtually all households. One mechanism to provide cash payments relatively quickly is to create a new refundable tax credit and then advance...

The Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) Program: An Overview

The Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT; 31 U.S.C. §§6901-6907) program provides compensation for certain tax-exempt federal lands, known as entitlement lands. PILT payments are made annually to units of general local government—typically counties—that contain entitlement lands. PILT was first enacted in 1976 () and later recodified in 1982 (P.L. 97-258). PILT is administered by the Office of the Secretary in the Department of the Interior (DOI), which is responsible for the calculation and disbursement of payments. PILT has most commonly been funded through annual discretionary...

COVID-19: Potential Role of Net Operating Loss (NOL) Carrybacks in Addressing the Economic Effects

A number of industries may suffer losses in 2020 as a result of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak. The travel and tourism industry, and restaurant industry, appear particularly susceptible at the moment due to an uptick in canceled reservations and a reduction in bookings. Other industries are likely to be impacted as well by a drop-off in consumer spending and a resulting reduction in profits, with the impacts likely increasing if COVID-19 continues to spread.

Before 2018, businesses with losses could “carry back” net operating losses (NOL) and use them to receive a refund...

Department of Education Support for School Safety Initiatives

Workplace Leave and Unemployment Insurance for Individuals Affected by COVID-19

This Insight provides a brief overview of the current availability of job-connected assistance to individuals, which may be relevant to the outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Specifically, this product discusses workplace leave, paid and unpaid, that may be available to workers affected by the virus, as well as unemployment insurance (UI) benefits. It also discusses policy options to amend or expand existing UI programs to be more responsive to the effects of COVID-19.

Workplace Leave

Workers affected by COVID-19 may seek to use paid or unpaid workplace leave for their own...

Consideration of Privileged Nominations in the Senate

Privileged nominations are a subset of presidentially appointed and Senate-confirmed positions that are eligible for consideration under procedures established by S.Res. 116 (112th Congress, 2011-2012). The vast majority of the 285 nominations designated as privileged are part-time positions to various boards and commissions, though some full-time positions are privileged as well (e.g., chief financial officers and certain assistant secretaries in Cabinet-level agencies). The procedures for privileged nominations may reduce the workload of committees of jurisdiction in processing these...

COVID-19 and the Cruise Ship Industry

The cruise ship industry has been heavily impacted by coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Major cruise lines have canceled trips from U.S. ports over the next month. In recent weeks, several cruise ships have been quarantined offshore and U.S government health officials have advised against cruise ship travel for the time being. These events have raised questions about government oversight over the cruise industry, the potential economic harm the coronavirus could have on the industry, and whether the industry is largely America- or foreign-based.

Employment in the Cruise Ship...

Tunisia: In Brief

As of March 15, 2020, Tunisia had initiated travel restrictions and other emergency measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, having reported at least 20 confirmed domestic cases.

Tunisia remains the sole country to have made a durable transition to democracy as a result of the 2011 “Arab Spring.” An elected assembly adopted a new constitution in 2014 and Tunisians have since held two competitive national elections—most recently in late 2019—resulting in peaceful transfers of power. Tunisia has also taken steps toward empowering local-level government, with landmark local elections...

Power Generation and Electric Reliability in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Two and a half years after Hurricanes Irma and Maria damaged 80% to 90% of the power transmission and distribution systems across the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI), financial and infrastructure issues continue to challenge the U.S. Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority (WAPA). A combination of infrastructure needs and cash flow challenges has impacted electricity rates. As of February 1, 2020, electricity rates were approximately $0.40 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) for residential customers (for the first 250 kWh) and approximately $0.47/kWh for commercial customers. In 2017, prior to the...

Sunshine Week: Selected Issues for Congress

Coinciding with former President James Madison’s birthday, Sunshine Week recognizes the importance of transparency in government operations, and the work of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA; 5 U.S.C. §552) professionals across the federal government. Considered a defender of open government, Madison wrote, “A popular Government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or, perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; And the people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power, which knowledge...

COVID-19 and Broadband: Potential Implications for the Digital Divide

According to the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) 2019 Broadband Deployment Report, approximately 21.3 million Americans lack a broadband connection speed of at least 25 megabits per second (Mbps) download/3 Mbps upload, which is the FCC’s benchmark for high-speed broadband. In the midst of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, federal, local, and state governments, in addition to large and small businesses, are considering remote working or distance learning options to help abate the spread of the virus. As these decisions are made, some portion of the population will likely have...

Business Tax Provisions Expiring in 2020, 2021, and 2022 (“Tax Extenders”)

Thirteen temporary business tax provisions are scheduled to expire at the end of 2020. Four other temporary business tax provisions are scheduled to expire in 2021 or 2022. In the past, Congress has regularly acted to extend expired or expiring temporary tax provisions. Collectively, these temporary tax provisions are often referred to as “tax extenders.”

This report briefly summarizes and discusses the economic impact of the 17 business-related tax provisions that are scheduled to expire in 2020, 2021, or 2022. The provisions discussed in this report are listed below, grouped by type and...

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Poses Challenges for the U.S. Blood Supply

The current Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak may pose significant challenges for the United States’ blood supply. Mitigation strategies to prevent the spread of COVID-19, such as closures of schools and workplaces, have led to blood drive cancellations, resulting in a critical blood supply shortage in the Pacific Northwest (specifically, western Washington and Oregon). School closures, event cancellations, and other mitigation strategies in other areas of the country may provide challenges for maintaining a sufficient blood supply. The management and distribution of the U.S....

The Stafford Act Emergency Declaration for COVID-19

This Insight provides an overview of emergency declarations under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (hereinafter the Stafford Act, P.L. 93-288, as amended; 42 U.S.C. §§5121 et seq.). It describes the forms of assistance authorized pursuant to President Donald J. Trump’s March 13, 2020 emergency declaration under the Stafford Act in all U.S. states and territories in response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

Stafford Act Emergency Declaration for COVID-19

The President’s emergency declaration, pursuant to Stafford Act Section 501(b),...

Trade-Related Agencies: FY2020 Appropriations, Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS)

This report provides an overview of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 budget request and appropriations for the International Trade Administration (ITA), the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC), and the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR). These three trade-related agencies are funded through the annual Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) appropriations. This report also provides a review of these trade agencies' programs.

The Administration's FY2020 Budget Request

The President submitted his budget request to Congress on March 11, 2019. For FY2020,...

The Abandoned Mine Reclamation Fund: Reauthorization Issues in the 116th Congress

Coal mining and production in the United States during the 20th century contributed to the nation meeting its energy requirements and left a legacy of unreclaimed lands. Title IV of the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (SMCRA, P.L. 95-87) established the Abandoned Mine Reclamation Fund. The Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) administers grants from the Abandoned Mine Reclamation Fund to eligible states and tribes to reclaim affected lands and waters resulting from coal mining sites abandoned or otherwise left unreclaimed prior to the enactment of...

Oversight Provisions in H.R. 6074, the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act

President Donald Trump signed H.R. 6074, the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, on March 6, 2020. It provides a total of $8.3 billion in supplemental funding to support the response of the United States to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Prior to the passage of H.R. 6074, Congress had already begun to oversee the federal government’s response to COVID-19 with committee hearings in both the House and the Senate. Other committees are planning additional hearings in the coming weeks, and the Trump Administration has also been providing regular...

Telehealth and Telemedicine: Frequently Asked Questions

The use of information and communication technology (ICT) in the health care industry is an emergent issue for Congress. The health care industry is using telehealth and telemedicine in two major ways: (1) to supplement in-person care for underserved populations who experience barriers to in-person care and (2) to supplant in-person care for patients who like the convenience of using technology to access their health care services.

This report provides responses to frequently asked questions about telehealth and telemedicine. This report serves as a quick reference to provide easy access...

Election Security: Federal Funding for Securing Election Systems

Congressional Staff: CRS Products on Size, Pay, Job Tenure, and Duties

The manner in which staff are integrated and utilized within an organization may reflect the missions and priorities of that organization. In Congress, staff work for Members of Congress in personal, committee, and leadership offices, and are involved with every facet of congressional activity. Activities might include supporting a Member’s representational, legislative, leadership, or administrative responsibilities as they arise in those settings.

House and Senate staff activities may be of particular interest as one Congress comes to a close, and another Congress integrates new Members...

Tax Cuts as Fiscal Stimulus: Comparing a Payroll Tax Cut to a One-Time Tax Rebate

The Trump Administration and certain Members of Congress have expressed interest in a temporary payroll tax reduction as a fiscal stimulus response to economic concerns resulting from the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Other lawmakers have emphasized that, with respect to tax-relief proposals, “everything’s on the table.” This sentiment reflects potential uncertainty in both the current economic outlook and what tax policy options might be most effective as the coronavirus outbreak evolves. An alternative to a temporary payroll tax reduction that might be considered, and has been...

Advance Appropriations for the Indian Health Service: Issues and Options for Congress

The Indian Health Service (IHS) within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is the lead federal agency charged with improving the health of American Indians and Alaska Natives. In FY2019, IHS provided health care to approximately 2.6 million eligible American Indians/Alaska Natives through a system of programs and facilities located on or near Indian reservations, and through contractors in certain urban areas.

Current IHS Funding: Continuing Resolutions and Shutdowns

IHS is the only major federal provider of health care that is solely funded through regular appropriations on...

COVID-19: Potential Economic Effects

This Insight discusses the potential economic effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) on the U.S. economy. For background on the coronavirus, see CRS In Focus IF11421, COVID-19: Global Implications and Responses, by Sara M. Tharakan et al.

Channels Through Which the Virus Could Affect the Economy

Although the COVID-19 outbreak presently is most widespread abroad, it will directly affect foreign demand for U.S. exports of goods and services. As discussed in this CRS In Focus, the coronavirus could also disrupt U.S. companies’ international supply chains. If COVID-19 becomes widespread in the...

FY2019 State Grants Under Title I-A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), most recently comprehensively amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA; P.L. 114-95), is the primary source of federal aid to K-12 education. The Title I-A program is the largest grant program authorized under the ESEA and was funded at $15.9 billion for FY2019. It is designed to provide supplementary educational and related services to low-achieving and other students attending elementary and secondary schools with relatively high concentrations of students from low-income families.

Under current law, the U.S. Department of...

Who Regulates Whom? An Overview of the U.S. Financial Regulatory Framework

The financial regulatory system has been described as fragmented, with multiple overlapping regulators and a dual state-federal regulatory system. The system evolved piecemeal, punctuated by major changes in response to various historical financial crises. The most recent financial crisis also resulted in changes to the regulatory system through the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in 2010 (Dodd-Frank Act; P.L. 111-203) and the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA; P.L. 110-289). To address the fragmented nature of the system, the Dodd-Frank Act created...

Red Army Equifax Hackers Indicted

North Korea: Legislative Basis for U.S. Economic Sanctions

U.S. economic sanctions imposed on North Korea are instigated by that country’s activities related to weapons proliferation, especially its tests since 2006 of nuclear weapons and missile technology; regional disruptions; terrorism; narcotics trafficking; undemocratic governance; and illicit activities in international markets, including money laundering, counterfeiting of goods and currency, and bulk cash smuggling. The sanctions have the following consequences for U.S.-North Korea relations:

Trade is limited to food, medicine, and other humanitarian-related goods, all of which require a...

The SALT Cap: Overview and Analysis

Taxpayers who elect to itemize their deductions may reduce their federal income tax liability by claiming a deduction for certain state and local taxes paid, often called the “SALT deduction.” The 2017 tax revision (commonly referred to as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, TCJA; P.L. 115-97) made a number of changes to the SALT deduction. Most notably, the TCJA established a limit, or “SALT cap,” on the amounts claimed as SALT deductions for tax years 2018 through 2025. The SALT cap is $10,000 for single taxpayers and married couples filing jointly and $5,000 for married taxpayers filing...

Payroll Tax Cuts as an Economic Stimulus Response to Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)

The current coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak has increased concerns that the U.S. economy could be affected as part of a global economic downturn. A range of fiscal and monetary policy tools have been used to address prior times of economic weakness. One option for fiscal stimulus is a temporary payroll tax cut for employees. This option was used to address economic weakness in 2011 and 2012. On March 2, 2020, President Trump and others expressed interest in a one-year payroll tax cut to help bolster the economy.

What Are Payroll Taxes?

Payroll taxes are collected to finance certain...

Haiti’s Political and Economic Conditions

Since the fall of the Duvalier dictatorship in 1986, Haiti has struggled to overcome its centuries-long legacy of authoritarianism, disrespect for human rights, underdevelopment, and extreme poverty. Widespread corruption remains an impediment to changing that legacy. Haiti made significant progress in improving governance prior to the 2010 earthquake, but recovery since then has been slow. Democratic institutions remain weak and stability fragile. Poverty remains massive and deep, and economic disparity is wide. Due to its proximity to the United States and its chronically unstable...

Senate Floor Privileges: History and Current Practice

Senate Standing Rule XXIII, Privilege of the Floor, designates those afforded access to the Senate floor while the Senate is in session. In addition to sitting Senators, the rule lists several eligible positions, including certain current and former congressional, executive, and judicial officials; state and territorial governors; the mayor of the District of Columbia; members of foreign national legislatures; the nation’s highest ranking military leaders; and, under specified circumstances, congressional staff members assisting Senators on the floor.

Over its history, the Senate has...

Pakistan’s Domestic Political Setting

Health Care for Veterans: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), operates one of the nation’s largest integrated health care delivery systems. The VHA estimates that in FY2020 it would provide care to about 6.33 million unique veteran patients. In the same year, VHA estimates that it would employ a staff of about 347,000 full-time equivalent employees at approximately, 1,456 VA sites of care, with an appropriation of approximately $80.6 billion. VA health care is a discretionary program; therefore, the provision of health care is dependent on available appropriations....

Suspension of the Rules in the House: Principal Features

Suspension of the rules is a procedure that the House of Representatives often uses on the floor to act expeditiously on legislation. This procedure is governed primarily by clause 1 of House Rule XV. When a bill or some other matter is considered “under suspension,” floor debate is limited, all floor amendments are prohibited, and a two-thirds vote is required for final passage.

Committee Jurisdiction and Referral in the House

When legislation is introduced in the House or received from the Senate, it is referred to one or more committees primarily on the basis of the jurisdictional statements contained in clause 1 of House Rule X. These statements define the policy subjects on which each standing committee may exercise jurisdiction on behalf of the chamber. The statements themselves tend to address broad policy areas rather than specific departments, agencies, or programs of the federal government. Because committee jurisdiction often is expressed in general policy terms, it is possible for more than one...

Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA): Maternal Health Programs

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is one of the federal agencies charged with addressing U.S. maternal health outcomes. HRSA’s Improving Maternal Health in America initiative aims to address U.S. maternal health issues by, among other approaches, improving maternal health data, increasing maternal health research, and prioritizing quality improvement in maternal health care services.

The FY2019 appropriations report language for the Department of Defense and Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education...

International Food Assistance: FY2020 Appropriations

U.S. international food assistance programs provide food, or the means to purchase food, to people around the world at risk of hunger. Congress funds these programs through two appropriations bills: the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act—also known as the Agriculture appropriations bill—and the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs (SFOPS) Appropriations Act. The Agriculture appropriations bill funds the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) except for the Forest Service. The SFOPS appropriations...


Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP): History and Overview

Congress established the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) through the National Science and Technology Policy, Organization, and Priorities Act of 1976 (P.L. 94-282). The act states, “The primary function of the OSTP Director is to provide, within the Executive Office of the President [EOP], advice on the scientific, engineering, and technological aspects of issues that require attention at the highest level of Government.” Further, “The Office shall serve as a source of scientific and technological analysis and judgment for the President with respect to major policies, plans,...

International Trade: Rules of Origin

Rules of origin (ROO) are laws, regulations, and procedures used to determine the country of origin of an imported product. They are a significant part of international trade policy because ROO are needed to properly assess tariffs, enforce trade remedies (such as antidumping and countervailing duties) or quantitative restrictions (tariff quotas), and statistical purposes. Other commercial trade policies are also linked with country of origin determinations, such as labeling and government procurement regulations. Given Congress’ authority to regulate foreign commerce, it may consider how...

U.S. Farm Income Outlook: February 2020 Forecast

This report uses the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) farm income projections (as of February 5, 2020) to describe the U.S. farm economic outlook for 2020. Two major indicators of U.S. farm well-being are net farm income and net cash income. Net farm income represents an accrual of the value of all goods and serviced produced on the farm during the year—similar in concept to gross domestic product. In contrast, net cash income uses a cash flow concept to measure farm well-being: Only cash transactions for the year are included. Thus, crop production is recorded as net farm income...

Appropriations: CRS Experts

Because the Constitution gives Congress the power over spending of federal tax dollars, nearly every federal agency is influenced by the House and Senate appropriations committees. The congressional budget process is a complex series of legislative activities that includes budget resolutions, reconciliation to set tax levels and mandatory spending, and the annual approval of the 12 appropriations bills. In addition to these annual bills, appropriations committees regularly consider supplemental and emergency spending packages, as well as continuing resolutions (CRs) when final approval of...

The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS): Frequently Asked Questions About Small Refinery Exemptions (SREs)

In the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (P.L. 109-58; EPAct05), Congress required the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to implement the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS)—a mandate that requires U.S. transportation fuel to contain a minimum volume of renewable fuel. Since expansion of the RFS in 2007 under the Energy Independence and Security Act (P.L. 110-140; EISA), Congress has had interest in the RFS for various reasons (e.g., limited cellulosic biofuel production, EPA’s use of programmatic waiver authority, and RFS compliance costs). Over the last several months, Congress has expressed...

The Defense Production Act of 1950: History, Authorities, and Considerations for Congress

The Defense Production Act (DPA) of 1950 (P.L. 81-774, 50 U.S.C. §§4501 et seq.), as amended, confers upon the President a broad set of authorities to influence domestic industry in the interest of national defense. The authorities can be used across the federal government to shape the domestic industrial base so that, when called upon, it is capable of providing essential materials and goods needed for the national defense.

Though initially passed in response to the Korean War, the DPA is historically ba