Science and Technology Policy

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The National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP): Issues in Brief

Portions of all 50 states and the District of Columbia are vulnerable to earthquake hazards, although risks vary greatly across the country and within individual states. Alaska is the most earthquake-prone state, experiencing a magnitude 7 earthquake almost every year and a magnitude 8 earthquake every 13 years, on average, since 1900. On December 1, 2018, a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck north of Anchorage at 8:29 AM local time, causing extensive damage.

Under the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP), four federal agencies have responsibility for long-term earthquake...

Cybersecurity: Critical Infrastructure Authoritative Reports and Resources

Critical infrastructure is defined in the USA PATRIOT Act (P.L. 107-56, §1016(e)) as “systems and assets, physical or virtual, so vital to the United States that the incapacity or destruction of such systems and assets would have a debilitating impact on security, national economic security, national public health and safety, or any combination of those matters.”

Presidential Decision Directive 63, or PDD-63, identified activities whose critical infrastructures should be protected: information and communications; banking and finance; water supply; aviation, highways, mass transit,...

Commercial Space: Federal Regulation, Oversight, and Utilization

U.S. companies have always been involved in spaceflight as contractors to government agencies. Increasingly, though, space is becoming commercial. A majority of U.S. satellites are now commercially owned, providing commercial services, and launched by commercial launch providers. Congressional and public interest in space is also becoming more focused on commercial activities, such as companies developing reusable rockets or collecting business data with fleets of small Earth-imaging satellites. This report addresses two distinct but closely related topics: how the federal government...

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 based on the War Powers Acts of World War II. Gradually, Congress has expanded the term...

U.S. Ground Forces Robotics and Autonomous Systems (RAS) and Artificial Intelligence (AI): Considerations for Congress

The nexus of robotics and autonomous systems (RAS) and artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to change the nature of warfare. RAS offers the possibility of a wide range of platforms—not just weapon systems—that can perform “dull, dangerous, and dirty” tasks—potentially reducing the risks to soldiers and Marines and possibly resulting in a generation of less expensive ground systems. Other nations, notably peer competitors Russia and China, are aggressively pursuing RAS and AI for a variety of military uses, raising considerations about the U.S. military’s response—to include...

Quantum Information Science: Applications, Global Research and Development, and Policy Considerations

Quantum information science (QIS) combines elements of mathematics, computer science, engineering, and physical sciences, and has the potential to provide capabilities far beyond what is possible with the most advanced technologies available today. Although much of the press coverage of QIS has been devoted to quantum computing, there is more to QIS. Many experts divide QIS technologies into three application areas: Sensing and metrology, Communications, and Computing and simulation. The government’s interest in QIS dates back at least to the mid-1990s, when the National Institute of...

The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP): Background and Funding

The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) is a federal food distribution program that supports food banks, food pantries, soup kitchens, and other emergency feeding organizations serving low-income Americans. Federal assistance takes the form of federally purchased commodities—including fruits, vegetables, meats, and grains—and funding for administrative costs. Food aid and funds are distributed to states using a statutory formula that takes into account poverty and unemployment rates. TEFAP is administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service...

The National Institute of Standards and Technology: An Appropriations Overview

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), a laboratory of the Department of Commerce, is mandated to provide technical services to facilitate the competitiveness of U.S. industry. NIST is directed to offer support to the private sector for the development of precompetitive generic technologies and the diffusion of government-developed innovation to users in all segments of the American economy. Laboratory research is to provide measurement, calibration, and quality assurance techniques that underpin U.S. commerce, technological progress, improved product reliability,...

Supersonic Passenger Flights

It has been over 40 years since British Airways’ first Concorde passenger flight took off in 1976. So far the Concorde is the only commercial supersonic passenger aircraft to travel at more than twice the speed of sound. It was a technological accomplishment but not a commercial success. In 2003, all Concorde aircraft were taken out of service.

Recent years have seen a revival of interest in supersonic aircraft. Several startup companies are developing new supersonic commercial and business jets, hoping technological advances in materials, design, and engine efficiency will make it...

Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency: Overview and Issues for Congress

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), established in 1958, is an agency within the Department of Defense (DOD) responsible for catalyzing the development of technologies that maintain and advance the capabilities and technical superiority of the U.S. military.

DARPA-funded research has made important science and technology contributions that have led to the development of both military and commercial technologies, such as precision guided missiles, stealth, the internet, and personal electronics. DARPA has a culture of risk-taking and tolerance for failure that has led...

The Global Research and Development Landscape and Implications for the Department of Defense

For more than 70 years, the technological superiority of the United States military has offset the size and geographic advantages of potential adversaries. The Department of Defense (DOD), due in large part to the magnitude of its investments in research and development (R&D), has driven the global R&D and technology landscape. However, DOD and the federal government more broadly are no longer overriding funders of R&D, and this shift in support for R&D has substantial implications for how DOD obtains advanced technology and maintains the battlefield overmatch that technology has...

Tribal Broadband: Status of Deployment and Federal Funding Programs

Tribal areas and communities continue to lag behind other areas and segments of American society with respect to broadband and telecommunications services. High poverty rates and low income levels in tribal lands—along with the fact that many tribal communities are located in remote rural areas (often with rugged terrain)—are major factors that may explain why tribal areas have comparatively poor levels of broadband access, and why providers may lack an economic incentive to serve those areas.

Until recently, data on tribal broadband deployment had been scarce. However, the Federal...

Internships, Fellowships, and Other Work Experience Opportunities in the Federal Government

While there are many opportunities in the federal government for internships, fellowships, and other work experience, there is no comprehensive source to assist in locating these opportunities. This report describes internet resources for prominent and popular opportunities for internship, fellowship, and work experience programs within the federal government. The report is intended as a selective guide for students of all levels: high school, undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate. It provides information on legislative, executive, and judicial branch opportunities and links to several...

Changes in the Arctic: Background and Issues for Congress

The diminishment of Arctic sea ice has led to increased human activities in the Arctic, and has heightened interest in, and concerns about, the region’s future. The United States, by virtue of Alaska, is an Arctic country and has substantial interests in the region.

Record low extents of Arctic sea ice over the past decade have focused scientific and policy attention on links to global climate change and projected ice-free seasons in the Arctic within decades. These changes have potential consequences for weather in the United States, access to mineral and biological resources in the...

Broadband Loan and Grant Programs in the USDA’s Rural Utilities Service

Given the large potential impact broadband access may have on the economic development of rural America, concern has been raised over a “digital divide” between rural and urban or suburban areas with respect to broadband deployment. While there are many examples of rural communities with state-of-the-art telecommunications facilities, recent surveys and studies have indicated that, in general, rural areas tend to lag behind urban and suburban areas in broadband deployment.

According to the FCC’s 2018 Broadband Deployment Report, 30.7% of Americans in rural areas and 35.4% of Americans in...

Broadband Internet Access and the Digital Divide: Federal Assistance Programs

The “digital divide” is a term that has been used to characterize a gap between “information haves and have-nots,” or in other words, between those Americans who use or have access to telecommunications and information technologies and those who do not. One important subset of the digital divide debate concerns high-speed internet access and advanced telecommunications services, also known as broadband. Broadband is provided by a series of technologies (e.g., cable, telephone wire, fiber, satellite, mobile and fixed wireless) that give users the ability to send and receive data at volumes...

Federal Research and Development (R&D) Funding: FY2019

President Trump’s budget request for FY2019 includes approximately $131.0 billion for research and development (R&D), of which $118.056 billion is included in the President’s budget and an estimated additional $12.9 billion in nondefense discretionary R&D is requested as part of an addendum to the President’s budget. The additional funding requested in the addendum followed enactment of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (P.L. 115-123), which raised defense and nondefense discretionary spending caps for FY2018 and FY2019. In April 2018, the Administration issued amendments to the...

Public Health and Emergency Management: CRS Experts

The following table provides names and contact information for CRS experts on policy concerns relating to public health and emergency management. Policy areas identified include public health and medical system preparedness and response; mental and behavioral health; food safety and food defense; health care financing in disaster response; Stafford Act assistance and the role of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA); Department of Defense (DOD) incident response and civil support; global health and international preparedness; selected legal issues in preparedness and response;...

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...

Freshwater Harmful Algal Blooms: Causes, Challenges, and Policy Considerations

Scientific research indicates that in recent years, the frequency and geographic distribution of harmful algal blooms (HABs) have been increasing nationally and globally. Because the impacts of HABs can be severe and widespread—often with interstate implications—these issues have been a perennial interest for Congress. While algal communities are natural components of healthy aquatic ecosystems, under certain conditions (e.g., increased temperatures and nutrient concentrations), algae may grow excessively, or “bloom,” and produce toxins that can harm human health, animals, aquatic...

The Manufacturing Extension Partnership Program

The Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) program is a national network of centers established by the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act (P.L. 100-418). MEP centers provide custom services to small and medium-sized manufacturers (SMMs) to improve production processes, upgrade technological capabilities, and facilitate product innovation. Operating under the auspices of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the MEP system includes centers in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.

NIST provides funding to support MEP center operations, with matching funds...

Assistance to Firefighters Program: Distribution of Fire Grant Funding

The Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program, also known as fire grants or the FIRE Act grant program, was established by Title XVII of the FY2001 National Defense Authorization Act (P.L. 106-398). Currently administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the program provides federal grants directly to local fire departments and unaffiliated Emergency Medical Services (EMS) organizations to help address a variety of equipment, training, and other firefighter-related and EMS needs. A related program is the Staffing for Adequate...

United States Fire Administration: An Overview

The United States Fire Administration (USFA)—which includes the National Fire Academy (NFA)—is currently housed within the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The objective of the USFA is to significantly reduce the nation’s loss of life from fire, while also achieving a reduction in property loss and nonfatal injury due to fire.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018 (P.L. 115-141) provided $44.4 million for USFA. This total included $1.5 million for the National Emergency Training Center. For FY2019, the Administration requested...

Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response: The SAFER Grant Program

In response to concerns over the adequacy of firefighter staffing, the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Act, known as the SAFER Act, was enacted by the 108th Congress as Section 1057 of the FY2004 National Defense Authorization Act (P.L. 108-136). The SAFER Act authorizes grants to career, volunteer, and combination local fire departments for the purpose of increasing the number of firefighters to help communities meet industry-minimum standards and attain 24-hour staffing to provide adequate protection from fire and fire-related hazards. Also authorized are grants to...

China-U.S. Trade Issues

U.S.-China economic ties have expanded substantially since China began reforming its economy and liberalizing its trade regime in the late 1970s. Total U.S.-China merchandise trade rose from $2 billion in 1979 (when China’s economic reforms began) to $636 billion in 2017. China is currently the United States’ largest merchandise trading partner, its third-largest export market, and its biggest source of imports. In 2015, sales by U.S. foreign affiliates in China totaled $482 billion. Many U.S. firms view participation in China’s market as critical to their global competitiveness. U.S....

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...

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS)

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) is an interagency body comprised of nine Cabinet members, two ex officio members, and other members as appointed by the President, that assists the President in overseeing the national security aspects of foreign direct investment in the U.S. economy. While the group often operated in relative obscurity, the perceived change in the nation’s national security and economic concerns following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the proposed acquisition of commercial operations at six U.S. ports by Dubai Ports World in...

Defense Acquisitions: How and Where DOD Spends Its Contracting Dollars

The Department of Defense (DOD) has long relied on contractors to provide the U.S. military with a wide range of goods and services, including weapons, vehicles, food, uniforms, and operational support. Without contractor support, the United States would be currently unable to arm and field an effective fighting force. Costs and trends associated with contractor support provides Congress more information upon which to make budget decisions and weigh the relative costs and benefits of different military operations—including contingency operations and maintaining bases around the...

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

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Global Research and Development Expenditures: Fact Sheet

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Department of Defense Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation (RDT&E): Appropriations Structure

The Department of Defense (DOD) conducts research, development, testing, and evaluation (RDT&E) in support of its mission requirements. The work funded by these appropriations plays a central role in the nation’s security and an important role in U.S. global leadership in science and technology. DOD alone accounts for nearly 40% of all federal R&D appropriations ($49.2 billion of $125.3 billion, or 39.3%, in FY2017).

In its annual congressional budget requests, DOD presents its RDT&E requests by organization and by its own unique taxonomy aligned to the character of the work to be...

Overview of FY2019 Appropriations for Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS)

This report describes actions taken by the Trump Administration and Congress to provide FY2019 funding for Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) accounts. It also provides an overview of enacted FY2018 funding for agencies and bureaus funded as part of annual CJS appropriations acts.

For FY2018, Congress and the President provided a total of $72.119 billion in funding for CJS. This included $70.921 billion in regular funding provided in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018 (P.L. 115-141) and $1.198 billion in emergency-designated funding provided in the Further...

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education: An Overview

The term STEM education refers to teaching and learning in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. It typically includes educational activities across all grade levels—from pre-school to post-doctorate—in both formal (e.g., classrooms) and informal (e.g., afterschool programs) settings. Federal policymakers have an active and enduring interest in STEM education, and the topic is frequently raised in federal science, education, workforce, national security, and immigration policy debates.

Various attempts to assess the federal STEM education effort have produced...

Education Policy: Resources for Congressional Staff

Education; elementary education; elementary and secondary education; higher education; postsecondary education; Department of Education; education budget; education appropriations; education resources; education statistics; federal education policy; Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions; House Committee on Education and the Workforce; education spending; early childhood education; Head Start; IDEA; Individuals with Disabilities Education; Preschool Development Grants; student financial assistance; higher education tax benefits; GI Bill; federal support for institutions...

Vehicle Fuel Economy and Greenhouse Gas Standards: Frequently Asked Questions

The Trump Administration announced on April 2, 2018, its intent to revise through rulemaking the federal standards that regulate fuel economy and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from new passenger cars and light trucks. These standards include the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards promulgated by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Light-Duty Vehicle GHG emissions standards promulgated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). They are known collectively—along with California’s Advanced Clean Car...

Science and Technology Issues in the 115th Congress

Science and technology (S&T) have a pervasive influence over a wide range of issues confronting the nation. Public and private research and development spur scientific and technological advancement. Such advances can drive economic growth, help address national priorities, and improve health and quality of life. The constantly changing nature and ubiquity of science and technology frequently create public policy issues of congressional interest.

The federal government supports scientific and technological advancement directly by funding and performing research and development and...

NASA Appropriations and Authorizations: A Fact Sheet

National Aeronautics and Space Administration NASA budget appropriations authorization reauthorization funding FY2018 FY2019 NASA congressional budget justification NASA budget request NASA operating plan Commerce-Justice-Science CJS appropriations P.L. 115-31 P.L. 115-141 NASA Authorization Act of 2018 (H.R. 5503)

Defining Broadband: Minimum Threshold Speeds and Broadband Policy

Broadband—whether delivered via fiber, cable modem, copper wire, satellite, or mobile wireless—is increasingly the technology underlying telecommunications services such as voice, video, and data. Since the initial deployment of high-speed internet in the late 1990s, broadband technologies have been deployed throughout the United States primarily by the private sector. These providers include telephone, cable, wireless, and satellite companies as well as other entities that provide commercial telecommunications services to residential, business, and institutional customers.

How broadband...

Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy: CRS Experts

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cience, technology, and innovation (STI) play important roles in the nation’s economic and military strength, public health and safety, and the quality of our lives. Individuals, companies, governments, universities, and other organizations fund, conduct, disseminate, and acquire science and technology for a myriad of purposes. Among the purposes: providing for the national defense and homeland security; improving manufacturing processes and enabling the manufacture of new products; developing new materials; advancing computing and communications tools; preventing and treating disease,...

Overview of FY2018 Appropriations for Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS)

This report describes actions taken by the Administration and Congress to provide FY2018 appropriations for the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) accounts. It also provides an overview of FY2017 appropriations for agencies and bureaus funded as part of annual CJS appropriations.

Division B of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017 (P.L. 115-31) provided a total of $66.360 billion (which includes $109 million in emergency-designated funding) for CJS. Under the act, the Department of Commerce received $9.237 billion, the Department of Justice received $28.962 billion,...

U.S. Foreign Aid to Israel

This report provides an overview of U.S. foreign assistance to Israel. It includes a review of past aid programs, data on annual assistance, and analysis of current issues. For general information on Israel, see CRS Report RL33476, Israel: Background and U.S. Relations, by Jim Zanotti.

Israel is the largest cumulative recipient of U.S. foreign assistance since World War II. To date, the United States has provided Israel $134.7 billion (current, or noninflation-adjusted, dollars) in bilateral assistance and missile defense funding. Almost all U.S. bilateral aid to Israel is in the form of...

Cybersecurity: Selected Issues for the 115th Congress

Cybersecurity has been gaining attention as a national issue for the past decade. During this time, the country has witnessed cyber incidents affecting both public and private sector systems and data. These incidents have included attacks in which data was stolen, altered, or access to it was disrupted or denied. The frequency of these attacks, and their effects on the U.S. economy, national security, and people’s lives have driven cybersecurity issues to the forefront of congressional policy conversations. This report provides an overview of selected cybersecurity concepts and a...

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

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EPA’s Proposal to Repeal the Clean Power Plan: Benefits and Costs

In 2015, when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) promulgated the Clean Power Plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from fossil-fueled electric power plants, it concluded that the benefits of reducing emissions would outweigh the costs by a substantial margin under the scenarios analyzed. EPA estimated benefits ranging from $31 billion to $54 billion in 2030 and costs ranging from $5.1 billion to $8.4 billion in 2030, when the rule would be fully implemented.

In proposing to repeal the rule in October 2017, EPA revised the estimates of both its benefits and costs, finding in...

Defense Science and Technology Funding

Defense science and technology (Defense S&T) is a term that describes a subset of Department of Defense (DOD) research, development, testing, and evaluation (RDT&E) activities. The Defense S&T budget is the aggregate of funding provided for the three earliest stages of DOD RDT&E: basic research, applied research, and advanced technology development. Defense S&T is of particular interest to Congress due to its perceived value in supporting technological advantage and its importance to key private sector and academic stakeholders.

Advocates of strong and sustained Defense S&T funding assert...

Federal Research and Development Funding: FY2018

President Trump’s budget request for FY2018 includes $117.697 billion for research and development (R&D). This represents a $30.605 billion (20.6%) decrease from the FY2016 actual level of $148.302 billion (FY2017 enacted levels were not available at the time of publication). Adjusted for inflation, the President’s FY2018 R&D request represents a constant dollar decrease of 23.6% from the FY2016 actual level.

However, in 2016 the Office of Management and Budget changed the definition used for “development” to “experimental development.” This new definition was used in calculating R&D in...

EPA’s Clean Power Plan for Existing Power Plants: Frequently Asked Questions

On October 10, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed to repeal the Clean Power Plan (CPP), the Obama Administration rule that would limit carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from existing fossil-fuel-fired power plants. The action came in response to Executive Order 13783, in which President Trump directed federal agencies to review existing regulations and policies that potentially burden the development or use of domestically produced energy resources. Among the E.O.’s specific directives was that EPA review the CPP, which was one of the Obama Administration’s most...

The National Science Foundation: FY2018 Appropriations and Funding History

The National Science Foundation (NSF) supports basic research and education in the non-medical sciences and engineering. NSF is a major source of federal support for U.S. university research, especially in certain fields such as computer science. It is also responsible for significant shares of the federal science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education program portfolio and federal STEM student aid and support.

Overall, the Trump Administration is seeking $6.653 billion for NSF in FY2018, an $819 million decrease (-11%) from the FY2017 enacted level of $7.472 billion....

Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDCs): Background and Issues for Congress

The federal government supports research and development (R&D) that is conducted by a wide variety of performers, including federally owned and operated laboratories, universities, private companies, and other research institutions. A special class of research institutions referred to as federally funded research and development centers, or FFRDCs, are owned by the federal government, but operated by contractors, including universities, other non-profit organizations, and industrial firms. FFRDCs are intended to provide federal agencies with R&D capabilities that cannot be effectively met...

Funding Gaps and Government Shutdowns: CRS Experts

Contacting CRS Subject Matter Experts

In the event of a funding gap, the potential impacts of a government shutdown would depend on a program’s or agency’s specific circumstances and, furthermore, how relevant law is interpreted. Table 1 provides names and contact information for CRS subject matter experts on policy concerns and legal issues relating to funding gaps and the processes and effects that may be associated with a government shutdown. Policy areas that are identified in Table 1 include

agencies and programs funded by specific regular appropriations bills;

cross-cutting shutdown...

Presidential Appointments to Full-Time Positions in Independent and Other Agencies During the 114th Congress

The President makes appointments to positions within the federal government, either using the authorities granted by law to the President alone or with the advice and consent of the Senate. This report identifies all nominations during the 114th Congress that were submitted to the Senate for full-time positions in 40 organizations in the executive branch (27 independent agencies, 6 agencies in the Executive Office of the President [EOP], and 7 multilateral organizations) and 4 agencies in the legislative branch. It excludes appointments to executive departments and to regulatory and other...

Cybersecurity: Cybercrime and National Security Authoritative Reports and Resources

As online attacks grow in volume and sophistication, the United States is expanding its cybersecurity efforts. Cybercriminals continue to develop new ways to ensnare victims, whereas nation-state hackers compromise companies, government agencies, and businesses to create espionage networks and steal information. Threats come from both criminals and hostile countries, especially China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea.

Much is written on this topic, and this CRS report directs the reader to authoritative sources that address many of the most prominent issues. The annotated descriptions of...

Cybersecurity: Federal Government Authoritative Reports and Resources

This report serves as a starting point for congressional staff assigned to cover cybersecurity issues related to federal and military government activities. Much is written by and about the federal government’s efforts to address cybersecurity policy challenges, and this CRS report directs the reader to authoritative sources that address many of the most prominent issues. The annotated descriptions of these sources are listed in reverse chronological order with an emphasis on material published in the past several years. This report includes resources and studies from government agencies...

The U.S. Science and Engineering Workforce: Recent, Current, and Projected Employment, Wages, and Unemployment

The adequacy of the U.S. science and engineering workforce has been an ongoing concern of Congress for more than 60 years. Scientists and engineers are widely believed to be essential to U.S. technological leadership, innovation, manufacturing, and services, and thus vital to U.S. economic strength, national defense, and other societal needs. Congress has enacted many programs to support the education and development of scientists and engineers. Congress has also undertaken broad efforts to improve science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) skills to prepare a greater number of...

DHS Appropriations FY2017: Protection, Preparedness, Response, and Recovery

This report is part of a suite of reports that address appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for FY2017. It specifically discusses appropriations for the components of DHS included in the third title of the homeland security appropriations bill—the National Protection and Programs Directorate, the Office of Health Affairs, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Collectively, Congress has labeled these components in recent years as “Protection, Preparedness, Response, and Recovery.”

The report provides an overview of the Obama Administration’s FY2017 request for...

Supreme Court October Term 2016: A Review of Select Major Rulings

The Supreme Court term that began on October 3, 2016, was notably different from recent terms at the High Court. It was the first term (1) in thirty years to begin without Justice Antonin Scalia on the Court; (2) since 1987 to commence with a Court made up of fewer than nine active Justices; and (3) since 2010 in which a new member (Justice Neil Gorsuch) joined the High Court. Court observers have suggested that the lack of a fully staffed Supreme Court for the bulk of the last term likely had an impact on the Court’s work both with regard to the volume of cases that the Court heard and...

Patentable Subject Matter Reform

The term “patentable subject matter” refers to the requirement of Section 101 of the Patent Act of 1952 that an invention must consist of a “process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter” in order to be patented. The Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA) of 2011, P.L. 112-29, additionally stipulated that “no patent may issue on a claim directed to or encompassing a human organism.” The AIA also limited the availability of patents claiming tax avoidance strategies.

The courts and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) have generally construed the language of Section 101...

Recess Appointments Made by President Barack Obama

Under the Constitution, the President and the Senate share the power to make appointments to high-level politically appointed positions in the federal government. The Constitution also empowers the President unilaterally to make a temporary appointment to such a position if it is vacant and the Senate is in recess. Such an appointment, termed a recess appointment, expires at the end of the following session of the Senate. This report identifies recess appointments by President Barack Obama. The report discusses these appointments in the context of recess appointment authorities and...

Domestic Terrorism: An Overview

The emphasis of counterterrorism policy in the United States since Al Qaeda’s attacks of September 11, 2001 (9/11) has been on jihadist terrorism. However, in the last decade, domestic terrorists—people who commit crimes within the homeland and draw inspiration from U.S.-based extremist ideologies and movements—have killed American citizens and damaged property across the country. Not all of these criminals have been prosecuted under federal terrorism statutes, which does not imply that domestic terrorists are taken any less seriously than other terrorists.

The Department of Justice (DOJ)...

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,...

Inter Partes Review of Patents: Innovation Issues

The Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA) of 2011 introduced inter partes review proceedings (IPRs) into the patent system. IPRs allow the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to revisit—and possibly cancel—a patent the agency had previously allowed. Under these proceedings, any individual may petition the USPTO to assert that a granted patent is invalid in view of earlier patents or printed publications. A petitioner must demonstrate that there is a “reasonable likelihood” that he would prevail for the IPR to begin. Should the USPTO’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) grant the...

Gulf Coast Restoration: RESTORE Act and Related Efforts

The Gulf of Mexico coastal environment (Gulf Coast) stretches over approximately 600,000 square miles across five U.S. states: Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. It is home to more than 22 million people and more than 15,000 species of sea life. Efforts are ongoing to restore this environment, which has been damaged by specific events such as the Deepwater Horizon spill and hurricanes as well as by disturbances to wetlands and water quality from human alterations and other impacts. The issue for Congress is the implementation, funding, and performance of congressionally...

The Federal Networking and Information Technology Research and Development Program: Background, Funding, and Activities

In the early 1990s, Congress recognized that several federal agencies had ongoing high-performance computing programs, but no central coordinating body existed to ensure long-term coordination and planning. To provide such a framework, Congress passed the High-Performance Computing and Communications Program Act of 1991 (P.L. 102-194) to enhance the effectiveness of the various programs. In conjunction with the passage of the act, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) released Grand Challenges: High-Performance Computing and Communications. That document outlined a...

Federal Research and Development Funding: FY2017

President Obama’s budget request for FY2017 included $152.333 billion for research and development (R&D), an increase of $6.195 billion (4.2%) over the estimated FY2016 enacted R&D funding level of $146.138 billion.

Funding for R&D is concentrated in a few departments and agencies. Under President Obama’s FY2017 budget request, seven federal agencies would have received 95.6% of total federal R&D funding, with the Department of Defense (47.8%) and the Department of Health and Human Services (21.5%) accounting for nearly 70% of all federal R&D funding.

In dollars, the largest increases in...

Overview of FY2017 Appropriations for Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS)

This report describes actions taken by the Administration and Congress to provide FY2017 appropriations for the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) accounts. It also provides an overview of FY2016 appropriations for agencies and bureaus funded as part of annual CJS appropriations.

Division B of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016 (P.L. 114-113), provided $66.000 billion for CJS, which included $9.246 billion for the Department of Commerce, $29.090 billion for the Department of Justice (DOJ), $26.754 billion for the science agencies, and $910 million for the related...

Selected Federal Water Activities: Agencies, Authorities, and Congressional Committees

Congress addresses numerous issues related to the nation’s water resources annually, and over time it has enacted hundreds of water-related federal laws. These laws—many of which are independent statutes—have been enacted at different points in the nation’s history and during various economic climates. They were developed by multiple congressional committees with varying jurisdictions. Such committees are involved in legislating, funding, and overseeing the water-related activities of numerous federal agencies. These activities include responding to natural disasters such as droughts and...

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA): An Overview of Programs and Funding

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), an agency of the Department of Commerce, is the executive branch’s principal advisory office on domestic and international telecommunications and information policies. Its statutory mission includes providing greater access for all Americans to telecommunications services; supporting U.S. efforts to open foreign markets; advising the President on international telecommunications negotiations; and funding research for new technologies and their applications. It is also responsible for managing spectrum use by federal...

The National Science Foundation: FY2017 Appropriations and Funding History

The National Science Foundation (NSF) supports both basic research and education in the non-medical sciences and engineering. NSF is a major source of federal support for U.S. university research, especially in certain fields such as mathematics and computer science. It is also responsible for significant shares of the federal science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education program portfolio and federal STEM student aid and support.

Overall, the Obama Administration sought $7.964 billion for NSF in FY2017, a $501 million (6.7%) increase over the FY2016 estimate of $7.463...

Selected Homeland Security Issues in the 115th Congress

In 2001, in the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11th, “homeland security” went from being a concept discussed among a relatively small cadre of policymakers and strategic thinkers to a broadly discussed issue among policymakers, including those in Congress. Debates over how to implement coordinated homeland security policy led to the passage of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (P.L. 107-296) and the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Evolution of America’s response to terrorist threats has continued under the leadership of different Administrations,...

The Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act of 2017: Congressional Direction to NOAA in P.L. 115-25

Congress provides direction on a broad range of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA’s) weather-related activities in Titles I through IV of P.L. 115-25, the Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act of 2017, signed into law on April 18, 2017. The legislation aims to improve NOAA’s weather forecasts and warnings, both for the protection of lives and property and for the enhancement of the national economy. The act also covers topics such as future weather satellite data needs, gaps in the Next Generation Weather Radar (NEXRAD) coverage, and improvements in the...

Zika Virus: CRS Experts

In late 2015, health officials in Brazil recognized a marked increase in the number of infants born with microcephaly (from Greek, meaning “small head”), a birth defect that may accompany significant, permanent brain damage. Although not conclusive, the increase in microcephaly is suspected to be related to the emergence of Zika virus infections in Brazil early in 2015.

Zika virus is related to the viruses that cause yellow fever, dengue, West Nile, and Japanese encephalitis viruses. Historically Zika virus was found in Africa. Since 2007, Zika transmission has also occurred in Southeast...

Presidential Appointee Positions Requiring Senate Confirmation and Committees Handling Nominations

As part of the process of making an appointment to an advice and consent position, the President submits a nomination to the Senate. Most nominations are referred to the appropriate Senate committee or committees on the day they are received. Such referrals are guided by Senate Rule XXV, which establishes the subject matter under the purview of each committee and directs that “all proposed legislation, messages, petitions, memorials, and other matters relating primarily to [those] subjects” be referred to that committee. Precedents set by prior referrals, standing orders, and unanimous...

Advanced Gene Editing: CRISPR-Cas9

Scientists have long sought the ability to control and modify DNA—the code of life. A new gene editing technology known as CRISPR-Cas9 offers the potential for substantial improvement over previous technologies in that it is simple to use and inexpensive and has a relatively high degree of precision and efficiency. These characteristics have led many in the scientific and business communities to assert that CRISPR-Cas9 will lead to groundbreaking advances in many fields, including agriculture, energy, ecosystem conservation, and the investigation, prevention, and treatment of...

The National Security Council: Background and Issues for Congress

On April 4, 2017, the Trump Administration issued National Security Presidential Memorandum (NSPM)-4: Organization of the National Security Council, the Homeland Security Council, and Subcommittees. NSPM-4 details how the executive branch intends to manage and coordinate national and homeland security issues among relevant departments and agencies. This NSPM augments an earlier articulation from the Trump Administration regarding the management of national security matters, as expressed in NSPM-2, which was issued on January 28, 2017.

This report offers a brief historical overview of the...

U.S. Physical Infrastructure: CRS Experts

A nation’s physical infrastructure (for example, its transportation, water, energy, and communications systems and structures) serves as arteries for its economic and societal activity. The infrastructure of the United States was considered to be among the finest in the world, as post-World War II growth saw large amounts of investment in much of that infrastructure. Since all infrastructure structures and equipment have a finite useful life, some would say that functionality of U.S. infrastructure has declined over time.

Estimates of cost to meet the needs of the infrastructure sectors...

Municipal Broadband: Background and Policy Debate

Since the late 1990s, broadband Internet service has been deployed in the United States, primarily by private sector providers. While broadband deployment has been rapid and robust overall, there remain communities that are dissatisfied with their broadband service. Some of these communities have turned to public entities as possible broadband providers, with the expectation that municipal broadband networks (also referred to as “community broadband”) can deliver superior levels of speed, performance, and/or affordability than what is currently offered by private providers. Public entities...

Federally Funded Academic Research Requirements: Background and Issues in Brief

For decades, the federal government and academic research institutions have been partners in supporting American innovation, competitiveness, and economic growth. The federal government is the largest source of academic research and development (R&D) funding in the United States, providing funds through more than two dozen federal agencies, with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) providing the largest portions of federal R&D funding to U.S. colleges and universities.

As part of oversight of federal funding for academic research, Congress and...

Appropriations Subcommittee Structure: History of Changes from 1920 to 2017

This report details the evolution of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees’ subcommittee structure from the 1920s to the present. In 1920, the House adopted a change in its rules to consolidate jurisdiction over all appropriations in the Appropriations Committee. After the enactment of the Budget and Accounting Act of 1921, the House reorganized its Appropriations Committee by establishing for the first time a set of subcommittees to consider appropriations bills based on the administrative organization of the executive branch. The Senate followed suit in 1922, and the two...

Cars, Trucks, Aircraft, and EPA Climate Regulations

This report discusses EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as it pertains to mobile sources, including cars, trucks, aircraft, ships, locomotives, nonroad vehicles and engines, and their fuels. The Supreme Court held in 2007 that the Clean Air Act (CAA) authorizes the agency to address GHG emissions. The key to using this CAA authority was for the EPA Administrator to find that GHG emissions endanger public health or welfare, a step taken in December 2009.

Under the Trump Administration, it is unclear whether this authority will be put to further use. Other questions...

The National Network for Manufacturing Innovation

Congress maintains a strong interest in the health of U.S. manufacturing due to its central role in the U.S. economy and national defense. In 2012, in his FY2013 budget, President Obama proposed the creation of a National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) to help accelerate innovation by investing in industrially relevant manufacturing technologies with broad applications, and to support manufacturing technology commercialization by bridging the gap between the laboratory and the market. The proposal included a request for $1 billion in mandatory funding for the National...

The First Responder Network (FirstNet) and Next-Generation Communications for Public Safety: Issues for Congress

Congress included provisions in the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (P.L. 112-96) for planning, building, and managing a new, nationwide, broadband network for public safety communications, by creating the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet). The act allocated 10 MHz of additional radio frequency spectrum to accommodate the new network and required that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) assign a license to FirstNet, comprising the newly designated frequencies plus 10 MHz previously assigned to states by the FCC for public safety use. In addition, the...

Invasive Species: Major Laws and the Role of Selected Federal Agencies

An “invasive” species (alternatively known as an alien, exotic, injurious, introduced or naturalized, non-native, nonindigenous, nuisance, or noxious species) refers to an animal or plant that is introduced into an environment where it is not native. The introduction of invasive species to the United States—whether deliberate or unintentional—from around the globe can pose a significant threat to native animal and plant communities, and may result in extinctions of native animals and plants, species disruptions as native and non-native species compete for limited resources, reduced...

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Appropriations Process: A Brief Explanation

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) examines and approves applications for patents on claimed inventions and administers the registration of trademarks. It also assists other federal departments and agencies protect American intellectual property in the international marketplace. The USPTO is funded by user fees paid by customers that are designated as “offsetting collections” and subject to spending limits established by the Committee on Appropriations.

Until recently, appropriation measures limited USPTO use of all fees accumulated within a fiscal year. Critics of this approach...

Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR): Background and Selected Issues

The Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR)—originally named the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR)—was established at the National Science Foundation (NSF) in 1978 to address congressional concerns about an “undue concentration” of federal research and development (R&D) funding in certain states. The program is designed to help institutions in eligible states build infrastructure, research capabilities, and training and human resource capacities to enable them to compete more successfully for open federal R&D funding awards. Eligibility...

Overview of Further Continuing Appropriations for FY2017 (H.R. 2028)

This report is an analysis of the provisions in H.R. 2028, which provides further continuing appropriations for FY2017 through April 28, 2017. The measure also included appropriations for the remainder of the fiscal year for Overseas Contingency Operations in the Security Assistance Appropriations Act (Division B). On December 10, 2016, the President signed H.R. 2028 into law (P.L. 114-254).

Division A of H.R. 2028 was termed a “continuing resolution” (CR) because it provided temporary authority for federal agencies and programs to continue spending in FY2017 in the same manner as a...

The 21st Century Cures Act (Division A of P.L. 114-255)

The 21st Century Cures Act (P.L. 114-255) was signed into law on December 13, 2016, by President Barack Obama. On November 30, 2016, the House passed the House amendment to the Senate amendment to H.R. 34, the 21st Century Cures Act, on a vote of 392 to 26. The bill was then sent to the Senate where it was considered and passed, with only minor technical modification, on December 7, 2016, on a vote of 94 to 5. The law consists of three divisions: Division A—21st Century Cures Act; Division B—Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis; and Division C—Increasing Choice, Access, and Quality...

NASA: FY2017 Budget and Appropriations

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) was created in 1958 by the National Aeronautics and Space Act (P.L. 85-568) to conduct civilian space and aeronautics activities. It has four mission directorates. The Science Mission Directorate manages robotic science missions, such as the Hubble Space Telescope, the Mars rover Curiosity, and satellites for Earth science research. The Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate conducts research and development on aircraft and aviation systems. The Space Technology Mission Directorate develops technologies for use in future space...

DHS Appropriations FY2017: Research and Development, Training, and Services

This report is part of a suite of reports that discuss appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for FY2017. It specifically discusses appropriations for the components of DHS included in the fourth title of the homeland security appropriations bill—in past years, this has comprised U.S. Citizenship and Naturalization Services, the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, the Science and Technology Directorate, and the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO). In FY2017, the Administration proposed moving the Domestic Nuclear Detection office into a new Chemical,...

The National Space Council

According to press reports, the Trump Administration may reestablish the National Space Council, a coordinating body in the Executive Office of the President that was last active in 1993. The National Space Council was established in 1989 “to provide a coordinated process for developing a national space policy and strategy and for monitoring its implementation.” It was chaired by the Vice President and included the Secretaries of State, Treasury, Defense, Commerce, and Transportation, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, the President’s Chief of Staff, the Assistant to the...

Creating a Federal Advisory Committee in the Executive Branch

Federal advisory committees provide a formal forum for members of the public to provide advice and recommendations to the federal government on issues ranging from how to support trade goals of small and minority-owned businesses to which drugs best treat arthritis pain. Many of the roughly 1,000 federal advisory committees that operate at any given time are required to operate pursuant to the open meetings, records access, and reporting requirements of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA).

Advisory committees are established for a number of reasons. These reasons often include...

Internet Governance and the Domain Name System: Issues for Congress

The Internet is often described as a “network of networks” because it is not a single physical entity, but hundreds of thousands of interconnected networks linking hundreds of millions of computers around the world. As such, the Internet is international, decentralized, and comprised of networks and infrastructure largely owned and operated by private sector entities. As the Internet grows and becomes more pervasive in all aspects of modern society, the question of how it should be governed becomes more pressing.

Currently, an important aspect of the Internet is governed by a private...

Framing Spectrum Policy: Legislative Initiatives

As innovation advances wireless communications from the business of providing mobile broadband to consumers into new businesses built around the Internet of Things, the need to revisit spectrum policy may gain in legislative importance. Many policy decisions since the 1990s that deal with spectrum assignment and allocation have focused on assuring the “highest and best use” for spectrum rights by assigning them through competitive auctions. To facilitate the transfer of federal spectrum to commercial wireless services, Congress, in 2004, created the Spectrum Relocation Fund to reimburse...

Zika Response Funding: Request and Congressional Action

The second session of the 114th Congress has considered whether and how to provide funds to control the spread of the Zika virus throughout the Americas. Zika infection, which is primarily spread by Aedes mosquitoes and sexual contact, has been linked to birth defects and other health concerns. Local transmission of the virus has occurred in Puerto Rico, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Florida.

On February 22, 2016, the Obama Administration requested more than $1.89 billion in supplemental funding for the Zika response, all of which it asked to be designated as an emergency...

Nanotechnology: A Policy Primer

Nanoscale science, engineering, and technology—commonly referred to collectively as “nanotechnology”—is believed by many to offer extraordinary economic and societal benefits. Congress has demonstrated continuing support for nanotechnology and has directed its attention particularly to three topics that may affect the realization of this hoped for potential: federal research and development (R&D) in nanotechnology; U.S. competitiveness in the field; and environmental, health, and safety (EHS) concerns. This report provides an overview of these topics and two others: nanomanufacturing and...

The Future of Internet Governance: Should the United States Relinquish Its Authority over ICANN?

Currently, the U.S. government retains limited authority over the Internet’s domain name system, primarily through the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions contract between the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). By virtue of the IANA functions contract, the NTIA exerts a legacy authority and stewardship over ICANN, and arguably has more influence over ICANN and the domain name system (DNS) than other national governments. Currently the IANA functions contract with NTIA...

China: Economic Sanctions

United States-China relations, since 1969, when the process of normalization began under President Richard M. Nixon, have advanced to a point that relatively few restrictions affecting trade remain. This report summarizes the United States’ economic sanctions on China. The United States, in its relationship with China, limits U.S. foreign assistance and State Department programs; limits U.S. support for China’s requests for funding in the international banks; prohibits the exportation of defense articles and defense services to China; prohibits the importation of munitions and ammunition...

Temporary Professional, Managerial, and Skilled Foreign Workers: Policy and Trends

Temporary visas for professional, managerial, and skilled foreign workers have become an important gateway for high-skilled immigration to the United States. Over the past two decades, the number of visas issued for temporary employment-based admission has more than doubled from just over 400,000 in FY1994 to over 1 million in FY2015. While these visa numbers include some unskilled and low-skilled workers as well as accompanying family members, the visas for managerial, skilled, and professional workers dominate the trends.

Since 1952, the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) has...

Role of the National Weather Service and Selected Legislation in the 114th Congress

The mission of the National Weather Service (NWS) is to provide weather forecasts and warnings for the protection of life and property. Apart from the budget for procuring weather satellites, NWS received the most funding (about $1.1 billion) of any office or program within the FY2016 budget for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The largest fraction of the NWS budget has been devoted to local forecasts and warnings, suggesting that short-term weather prediction and warning is a high priority for NWS and for NOAA, in accord with NOAA’s statutory authority....

U.S. Semiconductor Manufacturing: Industry Trends, Global Competition, Federal Policy

Invented and pioneered in the United States shortly after World War II, semiconductors are the enabling technology of the information age. Because of semiconductors new industries have emerged and existing ones, such as aerospace and automotive, have been transformed. Semiconductors have contributed in powerful and unique ways to nearly all fields of science and engineering, and semiconductors’ economic and military importance has made the industry’s health a focus of congressional interest for nearly 70 years. In July 2015, Congress formed the Semiconductor Caucus, a group that seeks to...

Senate Medical Innovation Bills: Overview and Comparison with the 21st Century Cures Act (H.R. 6)

Both the House and the Senate are considering legislation to support medical innovation, primarily through reforms to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and changes to the drug, biologic, and device approval pathways at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). On February 3, 2015 Senators Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray, chairman and ranking Member of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, announced the start of a bipartisan initiative to “examine the process for getting safe treatments, devices and cures to patients and the roles of the [FDA] and the [NIH] in that...

DHS Appropriations FY2016: Protection, Preparedness, Response, and Recovery

This report is part of a suite of reports that discuss appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for FY2016. It specifically discusses appropriations for the components of DHS included in the third title of the homeland security appropriations bill—the National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD), the Office of Health Affairs (OHA), and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Collectively, Congress has labeled these components in the appropriations act in recent years as “Protection, Preparedness, Response, and Recovery.”

The report provides an overview of...

Proposed Amendments to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) in the 114th Congress: H.R. 2576 Compared with the Senate Substitute Amendment

This report compares H.R. 2576, the TSCA Modernization Act of 2015, as passed by the House on June 23, 2015, and the Senate’s substitute amendment (S.Amdt. 2932) to H.R. 2576, the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, as passed by the Senate on December 17, 2015. The Senate amendment is based, in part, on S. 697, as reported by the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works on April 28, 2015.

The House bill and the Senate amendment would amend Title I of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Enacted in 1976, TSCA is the primary federal law that authorizes...

DHS Appropriations FY2016: Research and Development, Training, and Services

This report is part of a suite of reports that discuss appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for FY2016. It specifically discusses appropriations for the components of DHS included in the fourth title of the homeland security appropriations bill—U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC), the Science and Technology Directorate (S&T), and the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO). Collectively, Congress has labeled these components in appropriations acts in recent years as “Research and Development,...

The Chinese Military: Overview and Issues for Congress

China is building a modern and regionally powerful military with a limited but growing capability for conducting operations away from China’s immediate periphery. The question of how the United States should respond to China’s military modernization effort is a central issue in U.S. defense planning and foreign policy. Congress’s decisions on this issue could affect U.S. defense strategy, budgets, plans, and programs, and the U.S. defense industrial base.

China has engaged in a sustained and broad effort over more than 25 years to transform its military, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA),...

Congressional Liaison Offices of Selected Federal Agencies

This report is a list of about 200 congressional liaison offices, intended to help congressional offices in placing telephone calls and addressing correspondence to government agencies. In each case, the information was supplied by the agency itself and is current as of the date of publication. Entries are arranged alphabetically in four sections: legislative branch; judicial branch; executive branch; and agencies, boards, and commissions.

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...

Nutrients in Agricultural Production: A Water Quality Overview

Nutrients are elements essential to plant and animal growth. In agricultural production, the focus generally rests on the three primary macronutrients––nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K)—because of their relative abundance in plants. As crops grow and are harvested, they gradually remove the existing nutrients from the soil and over time will require additional nutrients to maintain or increase crop yield. When nutrients are added in excess of the plants’ ability to utilize them, there is an increased risk that the nutrients will enter the surrounding environment (water or...

Federal Research and Development Funding: FY2016

President Obama’s budget request for FY2016 included $145.694 billion for research and development (R&D), an increase of $7.625 billion (5.5%) over the estimated FY2015 R&D funding level of $138.069 billion. The request represented the President’s R&D priorities.

Funding for R&D is concentrated in a few departments and agencies. Under President Obama’s FY2016 budget request, seven federal agencies would have received 95.6% of total federal R&D funding, with the Department of Defense (DOD, 49.5%) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS, 21.3%) accounting for more than 70% of...

Biopower: Background and Federal Support

Biopower—a form of renewable energy—is the generation of electric power from biomass feedstocks. In 2014, Biopower comprised about 1.6% of total U.S. electricity generation and accounted for close to 12% of U.S. renewable electricity generation. Its advantages include a potential for baseload power production, greenhouse gas emission reduction, and use of renewable biomass feedstock, among other things. Its disadvantages include uncertain sustainable feedstock supply and infrastructure concerns, among other things.

Recent developments have prompted renewed interest in biopower. For...

Cybersecurity: CRS Experts

Concerns about information-system security and other aspects of cybersecurity are long-standing. The frequency, impact, and sophistication of cyberattacks and the growth of cybercrime and cyberespionage have added urgency to the concerns. Consensus has been growing that the policy framework for cybersecurity take into account the diversity and continuing evolution of the technology and threats—from spam to botnets to hacktivism, cyberterrorism, and cyberwar—and the increasing role of the Internet in the U.S. economy and the lives of citizens. Among the issues the 114th Congress is expected...

Is Broadband Deployment Reasonable and Timely?

This report briefly discusses the state of broadband Internet in America as determined by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in its latest Broadband Progress Report.

Overview of FY2016 Appropriations for Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS)

This report tracks and describes actions taken by the Administration and Congress to provide FY2016 appropriations for the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) accounts. It also provides an overview of FY2015 appropriations for agencies and bureaus funded as part of the annual appropriation for CJS.

The Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015 (P.L. 113-235) provided a total of $61.753 billion for the agencies and bureaus funded by the annual CJS appropriations act, including $8.467 billion for the Department of Commerce, $27.030 billion for the...

Efforts to Reauthorize the America COMPETES Act: In Brief

America COMPETES Act. P.L. 110-69. America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science Act. America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010. P.L. 111-358. National Science Foundation. National Institute of Standards and Technology. Department of Energy. Office of Science. NSF. NIST. DOE. Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education. STEM education. STEM workforce. Scientists. Engineers. Innovation. Competitiveness. Commercialization. Technology Transfer.

America COMPETES Act. P.L. 110-69. America Creating Opportunities to...

Gun Control: CRS Experts

The following table provides names and contact information for CRS experts on policy and legal issues related to gun control. In the wake of mass shootings and other firearms-related violence, several gun control issues are often raised. They include improving and expanding background checks, further regulating certain semiautomatic firearms (“assault weapons” or “military-style” firearms) that accept detachable ammunition feeding devices (“magazines”), combating illegal gun trafficking, interstate concealed carry of handguns, and enacting or repealing appropriations limitations related...

Genetically Engineered Salmon

On November 19, 2015, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved AquaBounty Technologies’ application to produce AquAdvantage Salmon, a genetically engineered (GE) Atlantic salmon, for human consumption. This is the first GE animal that has been approved for human consumption in the United States. FDA also has proposed voluntary guidelines for using labels that indicate whether food products are derived from GE salmon.

Genetic engineering techniques are used by scientists to insert genetic material from one organism into the genome of another organism. Genetically engineered salmon...

The National Nanotechnology Initiative: Overview, Reauthorization, and Appropriations Issues

Nanotechnology—a term encompassing the science, engineering, and applications of submicron materials—involves the harnessing of unique physical, chemical, and biological properties of nanoscale substances in fundamentally new and useful ways. The economic and societal promise of nanotechnology has led to investments by governments and companies around the world. In 2000, the United States launched the world’s first national nanotechnology program. From FY2001 through FY2015, the federal government invested approximately $20.9 billion in nanoscale science, engineering, and technology...

The Internet of Things: Frequently Asked Questions

“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 vehicles, appliances, medical devices, electric grids, transportation infrastructure, manufacturing equipment, or building systems.

In other words, the IoT potentially includes huge numbers and kinds of interconnected objects. It is often considered the next major stage in the evolution of cyberspace. Some observers believe it might...

Overview of the FY2016 Continuing Resolution (H.R. 719)

The purpose of this report is to provide an analysis of the FY2016 continuing appropriations in H.R. 719. None of the FY2016 regular appropriations bills were enacted by the start of the fiscal year (October 1, 2015). On September 30, 2015, H.R. 719, a continuing resolution (CR) for FY2016, was signed into law by the President (P.L. 114-53).

The CR for FY2016 covers all 12 regular appropriations bills by providing continuing budget authority for projects and activities funded in FY2015 by that fiscal year’s regular appropriations acts, with some exceptions. It includes both budget...

An Analysis of Efforts to Double Federal Funding for Physical Sciences and Engineering Research

Federal funding of physical sciences and engineering (PS&E) research has played a substantial role in U.S. economic growth and job creation by creating the underlying knowledge that supports technological innovation. Some Members of Congress and leaders in industry and academia have expressed concern that recent public investments in these disciplines have been inadequate in light of the emergence of new global competitors and the science and technology-focused investments of other nations. A 2005 National Academies report, Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America...

The National Science Foundation: Background and Selected Policy Issues

The National Science Foundation (NSF) supports both basic research and education in the non-medical sciences and engineering. Congress established the foundation in 1950 and directed it to “promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense; and for other purposes.” The NSF is a major source of federal support for U.S. university research, especially in certain fields such as mathematics and computer science. It is also responsible for significant shares of the federal science, technology, engineering, and mathematics...

The National Science Foundation: FY2016 Budget Request and Funding History

Congressional Research Service 7-5700 www.crs.gov R44170 Summary The National Science Foundation (NSF) supports both basic research and education in the non-medical sciences and engineering. Congress established the foundation in 1950 and directed it to “promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense; and for other purposes.” The NSF is a major source of federal support for U.S. university research, especially in certain fields such as mathematics and computer science. It is also responsible for significant shares of...

Financial Services and General Government (FSGG): FY2015 Appropriations

Congressional Research Service 7-5700 www.crs.gov R44172 Summary The Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) appropriations bill includes funding for the Department of the Treasury, the Executive Office of the President (EOP), the judiciary, the District of Columbia, and more than two dozen independent agencies. In its current form, it has existed since the 2007 reorganization of the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations. The House and Senate FSGG bills fund nearly the same agencies, with the exception of the Commodities and Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), which is...

H.R. 6: The 21st Century Cures Act

On July 10, 2015, the House passed H.R. 6, the 21st Century Cures Act, on a vote of 344 to 77. Eight amendments were offered; five were approved by voice vote, two failed by recorded vote, and one was withdrawn. The House Energy and Commerce Committee, on May 21, 2015, unanimously ordered to be reported H.R. 6 and the House Committee on Rules published a committee print of the bill on July 2, 2015. On July 7, 2015, H.R. 6 was reported by the Committee on Energy and Commerce (H.Rept. 114-190), and the House Committee on Ways and Means was discharged from further consideration of the bill....

Agricultural Biotechnology: Background, Regulation, and Policy Issues

Biotechnology refers primarily to the use of recombinant DNA techniques to genetically modify or bioengineer plants and animals. Most crops developed through recombinant DNA technology have been engineered to be tolerant of various herbicides or to be pest resistant through having a pesticide genetically engineered into the plant organism. U.S. soybean, cotton, and corn farmers have rapidly adopted genetically engineered (GE) varieties of these crops since their commercialization in the mid-1990s. Over the past 15 years, GE varieties in the United States have increased from 3.6 million...

The America COMPETES Acts: An Overview

Scientific and technological advancement played a central role in ensuring U.S. prosperity and power in the 20th century. From the first flight of the Wright brothers in 1903 to the creation of Google in the 1990s, U.S. scientific and technological innovations have reshaped the global economy and provided both economic mobility and national security for generations of Americans.

Whether the United States will maintain its preeminence over the course of the 21st century is an open question. Some observers assert that U.S. leadership is at risk. They argue that the United States...

Presidential Appointments to Full-Time Positions in Independent and Other Agencies During the 113th Congress

The President makes appointments to positions within the federal government, either using the authorities granted by law to the President alone or with the advice and consent of the Senate. This report identifies all nominations that were submitted to the Senate for full-time positions in 40 organizations in the executive branch (27 independent agencies, 6 agencies in the Executive Office of the President [EOP], and 7 multilateral organizations) and 4 agencies in the legislative branch. It excludes appointments to executive departments and to regulatory and other boards and commissions,...

Cybersecurity: Authoritative Reports and Resources, by Topic

Department of Homeland Security: FY2015 Appropriations

This report analyzes the FY2015 appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). While this report makes note of many budgetary resources provided to DHS, its primary focus is on funding approved by Congress through the appropriations process.

The Administration requested $38.332 billion in adjusted net discretionary budget authority for DHS for FY2015, as part of an overall budget of $60.919 billion (including fees, trust funds, and other funding that is not appropriated or does not score against the budget caps). The request amounted to a $0.938 billion, or 2.4%, decrease...

Selected Issues in Homeland Security Policy for the 114th Congress

In 2001, in the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11th, “homeland security” went from being a concept discussed among a relatively small cadre of policymakers and strategic thinkers to a broadly discussed issue in Congress. Debates over how to implement coordinated homeland security policy led to the passage of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (P.L. 107-296) and the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Evolution of America’s response to terrorist threats has continued under the leadership of different Administrations, Congresses, and in a shifting...

Deployable Federal Assets Supporting Domestic Disaster Response Operations: Summary and Considerations for Congress

For most disasters across the nation, the affected local, state, or tribal governments have sufficient capabilities to respond to the incident. However, for disasters with consequences that require unique capabilities or that overwhelm the existing capabilities of a respective state or tribal government, Congress has authorized and appropriated a suite of deployable federal assets to support domestic disaster response operations. This report reviews several key concepts about these federal assets, and highlights possible issues Congress may consider when evaluating their authorization and...

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy: Issues for the 114th Congress

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,...

Invasive Species: Control Options and Issues for Congress

For the first few centuries after the arrival of Europeans in North America, plants and animals of many species were sent between the two land masses. The transfer of non-natives consisted not only of intentional westbound species ranging from pigs to dandelions but also of intentional eastbound species such as grey squirrels and tomatoes. And for those centuries, the remaining non-native species crossing the Atlantic, uninvited and often unwelcome, were ignored if they were noticed at all. They were joined by various species arriving deliberately or accidentally from Asia and Africa. The...

Locate an Agency or Program Within Appropriations Bills

This report provides an alphabetical listing of federal agencies and programs, and it is an aid to identify the major source of their appropriated funding. A listing of House and Senate Appropriations subcommittees is provided. Finding an agency.

Science and Technology Issues in the 114th Congress

Science and technology (S&T) have a pervasive influence over a wide range of issues confronting the nation. Public and private research and development spur scientific and technological advancement. Such advances can drive economic growth, help address national priorities, and improve health and quality of life. The constantly changing nature and ubiquity of science and technology frequently create public policy issues of congressional interest.

The federal government supports scientific and technological advancement directly by funding research and development and indirectly by creating...

Climate Change Adaptation by Federal Agencies: An Analysis of Plans and Issues for Congress

Though Congress has debated the significance of global climate change and what federal policies, if any, should address them, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) since 2013 has identified the changing climate as one of the 30 most significant risks facing the federal government. President Obama established adaptation as a prominent part of his Climate Action Plan in June 2013. The November 2013 Executive Order 13653, Preparing the United States for the Impacts of Climate Change, directed agencies to undertake vulnerability assessments and planning for adaptation. The Administration...

Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies: FY2015 Appropriations

This report tracks and describes actions taken by the Administration and Congress to provide FY2015 appropriations for the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) accounts. It also provides an overview of FY2014 appropriations for agencies and bureaus funded as a part of the annual appropriation for CJS.

The annual CJS appropriations act provides funding for the Departments of Commerce and Justice, the science agencies, and several related agencies. Appropriations for the Department of Commerce include funding for agencies such as the Census Bureau; the U.S. Patent and...

Bee Health: The Role of Pesticides

Over the past few decades there has been heightened concern about the plight of honey bees as well as other bee species. Given the importance of honey bees and other bee species to food production, many have expressed concern about whether a “pollinator crisis” has been occurring in recent decades. Although honey bee colony losses due to bee pests, parasites, pathogens, and disease are not uncommon, there is the perception that bee health has been declining more rapidly than in prior years, both in the United States and globally. This situation gained increased attention in 2006 as some...

Federal Research and Development Funding: FY2015

President Obama’s budget request for FY2015 included $135.352 billion for research and development (R&D), a $1.670 billion (1.2%) increase from the FY2014 level of $133.682 billion.

Funding for R&D is concentrated in a few departments and agencies. Under President Obama’s FY2015 budget request, seven federal agencies would have received 95.4% of total federal R&D funding, with the Department of Defense (DOD, 47.6%) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS, 23.0%) accounting for more than two-thirds of all federal R&D funding.

In addition to the FY2015 base budget request, the...

Common Questions About Federal Records and Related Agency Requirements

Federal departments and agencies create federal records in the course of their daily operations. Congress first enacted the Federal Records Act (FRA; 44 U.S.C. Chapters 21, 29, 31, and 33) in 1950. Congress deemed federal records worthy of preservation for their “informational value,” and also because they document “the transaction of public business” and the “organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, operations, or other activities of the Government.” The FRA requires executive branch departments and agencies to collect, retain, and preserve—or dispose of—these records....

Energy and Water Development: FY2015 Appropriations

The Energy and Water Development appropriations bill provides funding for civil works projects of the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), for the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation), and the Department of Energy (DOE), as well as the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and several other independent agencies.

President Obama’s FY2015 budget request for Energy and Water Development was released in March 2014. Including adjustments, the request totaled $34.26 billion, compared with a total of $34.13 billion appropriated for FY2014. The House approved the Energy and...

Bee Health: Background and Issues for Congress

Bees, both commercially managed honey bees and wild bees, play an important role in global food production. In the United States alone, the value of insect pollination to U.S. agricultural production is estimated at $16 billion annually, of which about three-fourths is attributable to honey bees. Worldwide, the contribution of bees and other insects to global crop production for human food is valued at about $190 billion. Given the importance of honey bees and other bee species to food production, many have expressed concern about whether a “pollinator crisis” has been occurring in recent...

Presidential Appointments to Full-Time Positions in Independent and Other Agencies During the 112th Congress

The President makes appointments to positions within the federal government, either using the authorities granted to the President alone or with the advice and consent of the Senate. This report identifies all nominations that were submitted to the Senate for full-time positions in 40 organizations in the executive branch (27 independent agencies, 6 agencies in the Executive Office of the President [EOP], and 7 multilateral organizations) and 4 agencies in the legislative branch. It excludes appointments to executive departments and to regulatory and other boards and commissions, which are...

The Network for Manufacturing Innovation

In December 2014, Congress passed the Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation Act of 2014 (RAMIA), as Title VII of Division B of the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015 (P.L. 113-235). President Obama signed the bill into law on December 16, 2014. RAMIA directs the Secretary of Commerce to establish a Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NMI) program within the Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The act comes about two years after President Obama first proposed the establishment of a National Network for...

FY2015 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies’ Appropriations: Fact Sheet

The annual Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) appropriations act provides funding for the Departments of Commerce and Justice, the science agencies, and several related agencies. Appropriations for the Department of Commerce include funding for agencies such as the Census Bureau; the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office; the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Appropriations for the Department of Justice provide funding for agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Bureau of Prisons; the...

NASA: Issues for Authorization, Appropriations, and Oversight in the 114th Congress

Spaceflight fascinates and inspires many Americans, but in a time of constrained federal budgets, it must compete with a multitude of other national priorities. As the 114th Congress conducts oversight and considers authorization and appropriations legislation for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), an overarching question will be how NASA should move forward within budget constraints.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-267) set a new direction for NASA’s human spaceflight programs. For access to low Earth orbit,...

Congressional Oversight Manual

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) developed the Congressional Oversight Manual over 30 years ago, following a three-day December 1978 Workshop on Congressional Oversight and Investigations. The workshop was organized by a group of House and Senate committee aides from both parties and CRS at the request of the bipartisan House leadership. The Manual was produced by CRS with the assistance of a number of House committee staffers. In subsequent years, CRS has sponsored and conducted various oversight seminars for House and Senate staff and updated the Manual as circumstances...

The 2013 Cybersecurity Executive Order: Overview and Considerations for Congress

The federal role in cybersecurity has been a topic of discussion and debate for over a decade. Despite significant legislative efforts in the 112th Congress on bills designed to improve the cybersecurity of U.S. critical infrastructure (CI), no legislation on that issue was enacted in that Congress. In an effort to address the issue in the absence of enacted legislation, the White House issued an executive order in February 2013. Citing repeated cyber-intrusions into critical infrastructure and growing cyberthreats, Executive Order 13636, Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity,...

Presidential Advisers’ Testimony Before Congressional Committees: An Overview

Since the beginning of the federal government, Presidents have called upon executive branch officials to provide them with advice regarding matters of policy and administration. While Cabinet members were among the first to play such a role, the creation of the Executive Office of the President (EOP) in 1939 and the various agencies located within that structure resulted in a large increase in the number and variety of presidential advisers. All senior staff members of the White House Office and the leaders of the various EOP agencies and instrumentalities could be said to serve as...

Federal Laws Relating to Cybersecurity: Overview of Major Issues, Current Laws, and Proposed Legislation

For more than a decade, various experts have expressed increasing concerns about cybersecurity, in light of the growing frequency, impact, and sophistication of attacks on information systems in the United States and abroad. Consensus has also been building that the current legislative framework for cybersecurity might need to be revised.

The complex federal role in cybersecurity involves both securing federal systems and assisting in protecting nonfederal systems. Under current law, all federal agencies have cybersecurity responsibilities relating to their own systems, and many have...

Unapproved Genetically Modified Wheat Discovered in Oregon and Montana: Status and Implications

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced on May 31, 2013, that a variety of genetically engineered (GE) wheat had been discovered in a field in eastern Oregon. No varieties of genetically modified wheat have been approved, or deregulated, by the Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service (APHIS), the USDA agency responsible for regulating the release of GE plants into the environment. Release of GE plants into the natural environment is regulated by APHIS under the Plant Protection Act (PPA, 7 U.S.C. 7701 et seq.), as amended.

APHIS began a formal investigation in early May...

A Federal Pause in Potentially Risky Influenza Research

This report briefly discusses a recently implemented federal research moratorium that has highlighted concerns about the general appropriateness of research on biological pathogens and the sufficiency of certain biosecurity efforts.

Mobile Technology and Spectrum Policy: Innovation and Competition

This report traces the current and possible future evolution of mobile communications networks and some of the changes in spectrum policy that might better accommodate innovation.

Landsat: Overview and Issues for Congress

On February 11, 2013, NASA launched Landsat 8, a remote sensing satellite jointly operated by the U.S. Geological Survey and NASA. Landsat 8 is the latest in a series of Earth-observing satellites that began on July 23, 1972, with the launch of Landsat 1. Landsat has been used in a wide variety of applications, including land use planning, agriculture, forestry, natural resources management, public safety, homeland security, climate research, and natural disaster management, among others. A question for Congress is, should there be a Landsat 9? More generally, should Congress support the...

Presidential Appointments to Full-Time Positions in Independent and Other Agencies During the 111th Congress

This report explains the process for filling positions to which the President makes appointments with the advice and consent of the Senate (also referred to as PAS positions). It also identifies, for the 111th Congress, all nominations to full-time positions requiring Senate confirmation in 41 organizations in the executive branch (28 independent agencies, 6 agencies in the Executive Office of the President (EOP), and 7 multilateral organizations) and 4 agencies in the legislative branch. It excludes appointments to executive departments and to regulatory and other boards and commissions,...

Ebola Virus Disease (Ebola or EVD): Experts List

Ebola virus disease (Ebola or EVD) is a severe, often fatal disease that was first detected near the Ebola River in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in 1976. Originating in animals, EVD is spread to and among humans through contact with the blood, other bodily fluids, organs, and corpses of those infected. It is not transmitted through the air. In March 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that an EVD outbreak had begun in Guinea. The outbreak has since spread to Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, and Senegal.

Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Programs

The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program was established in 1982 by the Small Business Innovation Development Act (P.L. 97-219) to increase the participation of small innovative companies in federally funded R&D. The act requires federal agencies with extramural R&D budgets of $100 million or more to set aside a portion of these funds to finance an agency-run SBIR program. As of 2014, 11 federal agencies operate SBIR programs. A complementary program, the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program, was created by the Small Business Research and Development Enhancement...

Border Security: CRS Experts

The following table lists the names and contact information for CRS experts on policy concerns related to border security. Policy areas identified include the following: Mission: scope, magnitude, relationship to departmental mission, functions and their interrelationships. Border surveillance: airports and air space; detection of nuclear and radiological materials; land borders; seaports and waterways. Immigration and foreign visitors: immigration; border “look out” systems; illegal entry; visa issuance and alien tracking. Transnational issues: border violence; foreign cooperation with...

Financial Services and General Government (FSGG): FY2014 Appropriations

The Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) appropriations bill provides funding for the Department of the Treasury, the Executive Office of the President (EOP), the judiciary, the District of Columbia, and more than two dozen independent agencies. Among those independent agencies are the General Services Administration (GSA), the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the Small Business Administration (SBA), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and the United States Postal Service (USPS). The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is funded in the House through the...

President Obama’s Climate Action Plan

On June 25, 2013, President Obama announced a Climate Action Plan (CAP) to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases (GHG), and to encourage adaptation to expected climate change. The President affirmed his 2009 pledge to reduce U.S. GHG emissions by 17% below 2005 levels by 2020 if all other major economies agreed to limit their emissions as well. In 2012, U.S. gross GHG emissions were approximately 10% below 2005 levels.

The President stated willingness to work with Congress toward enacting a bipartisan, market-based scheme to reduce GHG emissions. He also said...

Department of Homeland Security: FY2014 Appropriations

This report analyzes the FY2014 appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The Administration requested $39.0 billion in adjusted net discretionary budget authority for DHS for FY2014, as part of an overall budget of $60.0 billion (including fees, trust funds, and other funding that is not appropriated or does not score against the budget caps). Net requested appropriations for major agencies within DHS were as follows: Customs and Border Protection (CBP), $10,833 million; Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), $4,997 million; Transportation Security...

Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies: FY2014 Appropriations

On March 26, 2013, President Obama signed into law the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013 (P.L. 113-6). The act provides a total of $60.638 billion for Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS). After rescissions and sequestration, the act provided a total of $57.936 billion for CJS, of which $7.510 billion was for the Department of Commerce, $25.830 billion was for the Department of Justice, $23.769 billion was for the science agencies, and $827.9 million was for the related agencies.

On April 10, 2013, President Obama submitted his FY2014 budget to...

The Debate Over Selected Presidential Assistants and Advisors: Appointment, Accountability, and Congressional Oversight

A number of the appointments made by President Barack H. Obama to his Administration or by Cabinet secretaries to their departments have been referred to, especially by the news media, as “czars.” For some, the term is used to convey an appointee’s title (e.g., climate “czar”) in shorthand. For others, it is being used to convey a sense that power is being centralized in the White House or certain entities. When used in political science literature, the term generally refers to White House policy coordination or an intense focus by the appointee on an issue of great magnitude. Congress has...

Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) and Related Non-Tariff Barriers to Agricultural Trade

Sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures are the laws, rules, standards, and procedures that governments employ to protect humans, animals, and plants from diseases, pests, toxins, and other contaminants. Examples include meat and poultry processing standards to reduce pathogens, residue limits for pesticides in foods, and regulation of agricultural biotechnology. Technical barriers to trade (TBT) cover technical regulations, product standards, environmental regulations, and voluntary procedures relating to human health and animal welfare. Examples include trademarks and patents, labeling...

Energy and Water Development: FY2014 Appropriations

The Energy and Water Development appropriations bill provides funding for civil works projects of the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), for the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation), the Department of Energy (DOE), and several independent agencies.

FY2013 Energy and Water Development appropriations were considered in the context of the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA, P.L. 112-25), which established discretionary spending limits for FY2012-FY2021. On March 26, 2013, the President signed H.R. 933, the FY2013 Defense and Military Construction/VA, Full Year...

Federal Research and Development Funding: FY2014

Congress completed action on the FY2014 regular appropriations bills with enactment of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014 (P.L. 113-76), in January 2014. The act contains the 12 regular appropriations bills that fund federal departments and agencies and provide funding for most research and development (R&D) supported by the federal government. Prior to enactment of P.L. 113-76, FY2014 funding was provided by two continuing resolutions (P.L. 113-46 and P.L. 113-73). Where possible, CRS has identified and included in this report R&D funding in P.L. 113-76 for agencies and programs....

The Domestic Terrorist Threat: Background and Issues for Congress

The emphasis of counterterrorism policy in the United States since Al Qaeda’s attacks of September 11, 2001 (9/11) has been on jihadist terrorism. However, in the last decade, domestic terrorists—people who commit crimes within the homeland and draw inspiration from U.S.-based extremist ideologies and movements—have killed American citizens and damaged property across the country. Not all of these criminals have been prosecuted under terrorism statutes. This latter point is not meant to imply that domestic terrorists should be taken any less seriously than other terrorists.

The Department...

The President’s Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP): Issues for Congress

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 that “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,...

An Analysis of STEM Education Funding at the NSF: Trends and Policy Discussion

Federal policy makers have a long-standing interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education that dates to at least the 1st Congress. This interest is largely driven by concerns about the national science and engineering workforce, which is widely believed to play a central role in U.S. global economic competitiveness and national security.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is a key component of the federal STEM education effort. Several inventories of the federal STEM education portfolio have highlighted NSF’s important role—both in terms of funding and in...

The Endangered Species Act (ESA) in the 113th Congress: New and Recurring Issues

The Endangered Species Act (ESA; P.L. 93-205, 16 U.S.C. §§1531-1543) was enacted to increase protection for, and to provide for the recovery of, vanishing wildlife and vegetation. Under ESA, species of plants and animals (both vertebrate and invertebrate) can be listed as endangered or threatened according to assessments of their risk of extinction. Habitat loss is the primary cause for listing species. Once a species is listed, powerful legal tools are available to aid its recovery and protect its habitat. Accordingly, when certain resources are associated with listed species—such as...

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education: A Primer

The term “STEM education” refers to teaching and learning in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. It typically includes educational activities across all grade levels—from pre-school to post-doctorate—in both formal (e.g., classrooms) and informal (e.g., afterschool programs) settings. Federal policy makers have an active and enduring interest in STEM education, and the topic is frequently raised in federal science, education, workforce, national security, and immigration policy debates. For example, more than 225 bills containing the term “science education”...

Science and Technology Issues in the 113th Congress

Science and technology (S&T) have a pervasive influence over a wide range of issues confronting the nation. Public and private research and development spurs scientific and technological advancement. Such advances can drive economic growth, help address national priorities, and improve health and quality of life. The constantly changing nature and ubiquity of science and technology frequently create public policy issues of congressional interest.

The federal government supports scientific and technological advancement by directly funding research and development and indirectly by creating...

America COMPETES 2010 and the FY2013 Budget

Signed on January 4, 2011, the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 (COMPETES 2010, P.L. 111-358) sought to improve U.S. competitiveness and innovation by authorizing, among other things, increased federal support for research in the physical sciences and engineering, as well as science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. Certain provisions of the law, including major funding authorizations, expired in FY2013. This report describes the President’s FY2013 budget request for selected COMPETES 2010 provisions and tracks the status of FY2013 funding for these...

Rare Earth Elements in National Defense: Background, Oversight Issues, and Options for Congress

Some Members of Congress have expressed concern over U.S. acquisition of rare earth materials composed of rare earth elements (REE) used in various components of defense weapon systems. Rare earth elements consist of 17 elements on the periodic table, including 15 elements beginning with atomic number 57 (lanthanum) and extending through number 71 (lutetium), as well as two other elements having similar properties (yttrium and scandium). These are referred to as “rare” because although relatively abundant in total quantity, they appear in low concentrations in the earth’s crust and...

Rare Earth Elements: The Global Supply Chain

The concentration of production of rare earth elements (REEs) outside the United States raises the important issue of supply vulnerability. REEs are used for new energy technologies and national security applications. Two key questions of interest to Congress are: (1) Is the United States vulnerable to supply disruptions of REEs? (2) Are these elements essential to U.S. national security and economic well-being?

There are 17 rare earth elements (REEs), 15 within the chemical group called lanthanides, plus yttrium and scandium. The lanthanides consist of the following: lanthanum, cerium,...

Federal Research and Development Funding: FY2013

President Obama’s budget request for FY2013 included $140.820 billion for research and development (R&D), a $1.951 billion (1.4%) increase from the FY2012 estimated funding level of $138.869 billion. The FY2013 Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act (P.L. 113-6), signed into law on March 26, 2013, provided year-long appropriations to all agencies for FY2013. The law included divisions incorporating five of the regular appropriations bills—Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies; Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies;...

Manufacturing Extension Partnership Program: An Overview

The National Institute of Standards and Technology: An Appropriations Overview

This report examines the funding for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

Petroleum Coke: Industry and Environmental Issues

Congressional Research Service 7-5700 www.crs.gov R43263 Summary In early 2013, media outlets around Detroit, Michigan began publishing stories about large piles of petroleum coke stored along the Detroit Riverfront. Petroleum coke (petcoke) is a black-colored solid composed primarily of carbon, and may contain limited amounts of elemental forms of sulfur, metals and non-volatile inorganic compounds. Petcoke is essentially chemically inert. Petcoke exposure is considered to pose few human health or environmental risks, but may present significant nuisance concerns. The material in Detroit...

Issues in Homeland Security Policy for the 113th Congress

With the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), many observers have made a fresh assessment of where America’s homeland security enterprise stands today. DHS is currently the third-largest department in the federal government, although it does not incorporate all of the homeland security functions at the federal level. The definition of homeland security remains unsettled, and questions about the effectiveness and efficiency of the department have been raised since it was first proposed. Evolution of America’s response to terrorist threats has...

Federal Climate Change Funding from FY2008 to FY2014

Direct federal funding to address global climate change totaled approximately $77 billion from FY2008 through FY2013. The large majority—more than 75%—has funded technology development and deployment, primarily through the Department of Energy (DOE). More than one-third of the identified funding was included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (P.L. 111-5). The President’s request for FY2014 contains $11.6 billion for federal expenditures on programs. In the request, 23% would be for science, 68% for energy technology development and deployment, 8% for international...

Possible Intervention in Syria: CRS Experts

The table below provides names and contact information for CRS experts on various policy concerns of interest to Congress relating to the prospect of international military responses to the suspected use of chemical weapons in Syria. Policy areas identified include the conflict in Syria, chemical weapons, military operations, intelligence issues, war powers, the humanitarian response, issues in the Middle East region, the United Nations, other international actors, and other foreign policy instruments.

Telecommunications and Media Convergence: Selected Issues for Consideration

The passage of the 1996 Telecommunications Act (P.L. 104-104) resulted in a major revision of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 151 et seq.) to address the emergence of competition in what were previously considered to be monopolistic markets. Since its passage, however, the advancement of broadband technology to supply data, voice, and video; the growing convergence of the telecommunications and media sectors; and the growth in demand for usable radio-frequency spectrum has led to a consensus that the laws that govern these sectors have become inadequate to address this rapidly...

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Other Mental Health Problems in the Military: Oversight Issues for Congress

Military servicemembers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI), and depression, as well as military suicides, continue to be a major concern of Congress. Numerous legislative provisions have been enacted over the past years to address these issues. Members will likely seek to offer legislation in the 113th Congress to address this complex set of issues. This report is intended to provide assistance in understanding the issues associated with psychological health in the active duty forces, potential congressional responses, and what questions may...

U.S.-China Relations: An Overview of Policy Issues

The United States relationship with China touches on an exceptionally broad range of issues, from security, trade, and broader economic issues, to the environment and human rights. Congress faces important questions about what sort of relationship the United States should have with China and how the United States should respond to China’s “rise.” After more than 30 years of fast-paced economic growth, China’s economy is now the second-largest in the world after that of the United States. With economic success, China has developed significant global strategic clout. It is also engaged in an...

Financial Services and General Government: FY2013 Appropriations

The Financial Services and General Government appropriations bill provides funding for the Department of the Treasury, the Executive Office of the President (EOP), the judiciary, the District of Columbia, and more than two dozen independent agencies. Among those independent agencies are the General Services Administration (GSA), the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the Small Business Administration (SBA), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and the United States Postal Service (USPS). The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is funded in the House through the...

Department of Homeland Security: FY2013 Appropriations

This report describes the FY2013 appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The Administration requested $39.510 billion in adjusted net discretionary budget authority for DHS for FY2013, as part of an overall budget of $59.501 billion (including fees, trust funds, and other funding that is not appropriated or does not score against the budget caps). The request amounted to a $90 million, or 0.2%, decrease from the $39.600 billion enacted for FY2012 through the consolidated appropriations act (P.L. 112-74).

Congress did not enact final FY2013 appropriations legislation...

Trade Reorganization: Overview and Issues for Congress

On January 13, 2012, President Obama asked Congress for authority to reorganize and consolidate, into one department, the business- and trade-related functions of six federal entities: Department of Commerce; Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im Bank); Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC); Small Business Administration (SBA); Trade and Development Agency (TDA); and Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR). Bills based on the proposal were introduced in the 112th Congress. The President reiterated the proposal in his FY2014 budget request, and he may resubmit his request for...

Severe Thunderstorms and Tornadoes in the United States

Severe thunderstorms and tornadoes affect communities across the United States every year, causing fatalities, destroying property and crops, and disrupting businesses. Tornadoes are the most destructive products of severe thunderstorms, and second only to flash flooding as the cause for most thunderstorm-related fatalities. Damages from violent tornadoes seem to be increasing, similar to the trend for other natural hazards—in part due to changing population, demographics, and more weather-sensitive infrastructure—and some analysts indicate that losses of $1 billion or more from single...

Deregulating Genetically Engineered Alfalfa and Sugar Beets: Legal and Administrative Responses

Monsanto Corporation, the developer of herbicide-tolerant varieties of genetically engineered (GE) alfalfa and sugar beet (called Roundup Ready alfalfa and Roundup Ready sugar beet), petitioned USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) for deregulation of the items. Deregulation of GE plants is the final step in the commercialization process. Monsanto filed a petition for deregulation of its GE alfalfa in 2004, and for GE sugar beets in 2005.

As part of the deregulation process, APHIS conducts an environmental review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to...

Energy and Water Development: FY2014 Appropriations, Preliminary Tables

The Energy and Water Development appropriations bill provides funding for civil works projects of the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), for the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) and the Department of Energy (DOE), and for a number of independent agencies.

FY2013 Energy and Water Development appropriations were considered in the context of the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA, P.L. 112-25), which established discretionary spending limits for FY2012-FY2021. On March 26, 2013, the President signed H.R. 933, the FY2013 Defense and Military Construction, and...

Energy and Water Development: FY2013 Appropriations

The Energy and Water Development appropriations bill provides funding for civil works projects of the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), for the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) and the Department of Energy (DOE), and for a number of independent agencies.

President Obama’s FY2013 budget request for Energy and Water Development was released in February 2012.

For FY2013 the level of overall spending has been a major issue. The Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA, P.L. 112-25) contained an overall discretionary spending cap for FY2013 of $1.047 trillion. On March 29,...

Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies: FY2013 Appropriations

On February 13, 2012, President Obama submitted his FY2013 budget to Congress. The Administration requests a total of $62.076 billion for the agencies and bureaus funded as a part of the annual Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) appropriations bill. The Administration’s request includes $7.978 billion for the Department of Commerce, $28.079 billion for the Department of Justice, $25.090 billion for the science agencies, and $929.2 million for the related agencies. The FY2013 request for CJS is 1.9% greater than the FY2012 appropriation of $60.910 billion.

On April 19,...

Fluoride in Drinking Water: A Review of Regulatory Issues and Developments

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2010, 73.9% of the people in the United States who receive their water from a public water system received fluoridated water (roughly 204.3 million people). One of CDC’s national health goals is to increase the proportion of the U.S. population served by community water systems with “optimally” fluoridated drinking water to 79.6% by 2020. The decision to add fluoride to a water supply is made by local or state governments. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) had long recommended an optimal fluoridation...

The Exon-Florio National Security Test for Foreign Investment

This report covers the recent background of the Exon-Florio provision with special regards to issues faced in the 112th Congress. The Exon-Florio provision grants the President the authority to block proposed or pending foreign acquisitions of "persons engaged in interstate commerce in the United States" that threaten to impair the national security.

Publishing Scientific Papers with Potential Security Risks: Issues for Congress

The federal government generally supports the publication of federally funded research results because wide dissemination may drive innovation, job creation, technology development, and the advance of science. However, some research results could also be used for malicious purposes. Congress, the Administration, and other stakeholders are considering whether current policies concerning publishing such research results sufficiently balances the potential benefits with the potential harms. The current issues under debate cut across traditional policy areas, involving simultaneous...

Public Access to Data from Federally Funded Research: Provisions in OMB Circular A-110

The results of scientific studies are often used in making government policy decisions. While the studies are often published, traditional federal research funding policies did not require the data on which they are based to be made available publicly. Such policies did, however, generally require researchers to share data and physical samples with other scientists after publication of the research. A rider, often called the Shelby Amendment or Data Access Act, that was attached to the Omnibus Appropriations Act for FY1999, P.L. 105-277, mandated the Office of Management and Budget (OMB)...

Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs: Status of the Integrated Electronic Health Record (iEHR)

The purpose of this report is to provide a background on the long-standing efforts in sharing health information between Department of Defense (DOD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Nondiscrimination in Environmental Regulation: A Legal Analysis

The enactment of various conservation and environmental protection statutes in the 1960s and 1970s created a new awareness of environmental harms. At the same time, the civil rights initiatives also secured nondiscrimination in a number of legal rights, including education, employment, housing, voting, etc. Over the following decades, the development of these movements eventually converged, raising concerns that minority groups face disproportionate exposure to environmental risks and harms.

Individuals and communities claiming to be disproportionately and adversely affected by how an...

The Endangered Species Act (ESA) in the 112th Congress: Conflicting Values and Difficult Choices

The Endangered Species Act (ESA; P.L. 93-205, 16 U.S.C. §§1531-1543) was enacted to increase protection for, and provide for the recovery of, vanishing wildlife and vegetation. Under ESA, species of plants and animals (both vertebrate and invertebrate) can be listed as endangered or threatened according to assessments of their risk of extinction. Habitat loss is the primary cause for listing species. Once a species is listed, powerful legal tools are available to aid its recovery and protect its habitat. Accordingly, when certain resources are associated with listed species—such as water...

Stem Cell Research: Science, Federal Research Funding, and Regulatory Oversight

Since FY1996, the Dickey amendment in Labor-Health and Human Services (HHS) appropriations acts has prohibited the use of federal funds for the creation of human embryos for research purposes or for research in which human embryos are destroyed. At the time, the Dickey amendment halted the development of guidelines by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on the broad field of human embryo research and has each year since 1996 prohibited federal funding for human embryo research and related topics, including in vitro fertilization (IVF) and human embryonic stem cells. These cells have...

Immigration of Foreign Nationals with Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Degrees

Although the United States remains the leading host country for international students in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) fields, the global competition for talent has intensified. A record number of STEM graduates—both U.S. residents and foreign nationals—are entering the U.S. labor market, and there is a renewed focus on creating additional immigration pathways for foreign professional workers in STEM fields. Current law sets an annual worldwide level of 140,000 employment-based admissions, which includes the spouses and children in addition to the principal...

Presidential Reorganization Authority: History, Recent Initiatives, and Options for Congress

On January 13, 2012, President Barack Obama announced that he would ask Congress to reinstate so-called presidential reorganization authority, and his Administration conveyed a legislative proposal that would renew this authority to Congress on February 16, 2012. Bills based on the proposed language were subsequently introduced in the Senate (S. 2129) and the House (H.R. 4409) during the 112th Congress.

Should this authority be granted, the President indicated that his first submitted plan would propose consolidation of six business and trade-related agencies into one: U.S. Department of...

The Bayh-Dole Act: Selected Issues in Patent Policy and the Commercialization of Technology

Congressional interest in facilitating U.S. technological innovation led to the passage of P.L. 96-517, Amendments to the Patent and Trademark Act (commonly referred to as the Bayh-Dole Act after its two main sponsors). The act provides patent rights to certain inventions arising out of government-sponsored research and development (R&D) to non-profit institutions and small businesses with the expressed purpose of encouraging the commercialization of new technologies through cooperative ventures between and among the research community, small firms, and industry.

Patents provide an...

Federal R&D, Drug Discovery, and Pricing: Insights from the NIH-University-Industry Relationship

Public interest in approaches that might provide prescription drugs at lower cost, particularly for the elderly, has rekindled discussion over the role the federal government plays in facilitating the creation of new pharmaceuticals for the marketplace. In the current debate, some argue that the government’s financial, scientific, and/or clinical support of health-related research and development (R&D) entitles the public to commensurate considerations in the prices charged for any resulting drugs. Others view government intervention in price decisions based upon initial federal funding as...

Drug Patent Expirations: Potential Effects on Pharmaceutical Innovation

Congress has exhibited a strong and ongoing interest in facilitating the development of new, innovative pharmaceuticals for the marketplace while reducing the cost of drugs to consumers. Policies pertaining to funding for research and development (R&D), intellectual property protection, and cooperative ventures have played an important role in the economic success of the pharmaceutical sector. Industry-specific legislation, including the Drug Price Competition and Patent Term Restoration Act of 1984, commonly known as the “Hatch-Waxman Act,” also work to encourage innovation in the...

Government Transparency and Secrecy: An Examination of Meaning and Its Use in the Executive Branch

From the beginnings of the American federal government, Congress has required executive branch agencies to release or otherwise make available government information and records. Some scholars and statesmen, including James Madison, thought access to information—commonly referred to in contemporary vernacular as “transparency”—was an essential cornerstone of democratic governance. Today, the federal government attempts to balance access to information with the need to protect certain information (including national security information and trade secrets) in order to achieve transparency....

Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program

This report discusses the Small Business Innovation Development Act (P.L. 97-219. The report also discusses the program's extensions and reauthorization activity over the years.

National Security and Emergency Preparedness Communications: A Summary of Executive Order 13618

In the event of a national security crisis or disaster, federal, state, local, and territorial government and private sector communications are important. National security and emergency preparedness communication systems include landline, wireless, broadcast and cable television, radio, public safety systems, satellite communications, and the Internet. For instance, federal national security and emergency preparedness communications programs include the Government Emergency Telecommunications Service, Wireless Priority Service, and classified messaging related to the Continuity of...

U.S. National Science Foundation: An Overview

The National Science Foundation (NSF) was created by the National Science Foundation Act of 1950, as amended (P.L.81-507). The NSF has the broad mission of supporting science and engineering in general and funding basic research across many disciplines. The agency provides support for investigator-initiated, merit-reviewed, competitively selected awards, state-of-the-art tools, and instrumentation and facilities. The majority of the research supported by the NSF is conducted at U.S. colleges and universities. Approximately 82.3% ($3,900.6 million) of NSF’s estimated FY2009 $4,742.0 million...

FDA Regulation of Cosmetics and Personal Care Products

The 1938 Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) granted the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the authority to regulate cosmetic products and their ingredients. The statutory provisions of the FFDCA that address cosmetics include adulteration and misbranding provisions. In addition to the FFDCA, cosmetics are regulated under the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (FPLA) and related regulations. The cosmetics provisions were amended by the Color Additive Amendments Act of 1960 and the Poison Prevention Packaging Act, but remain basically the same as the provisions in the 1938 FFDCA....

Financial Services and General Government: A Summary of the President’s FY2013 Budget Request

The Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) appropriations bill includes funding for the Department of the Treasury, the Executive Office of the President (EOP), the judiciary, the District of Columbia, and more than two dozen independent agencies. Among those independent agencies are the General Services Administration (GSA), the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the Small Business Administration (SBA), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and the United States Postal Service (USPS). The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is funded in the House through the...

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services: President’s FY2013 Budget

Federal law requires the President to submit an annual budget to Congress no later than the first Monday in February. The budget informs Congress of the President’s overall federal fiscal policy based on proposed spending levels, revenues, and deficit (or surplus) levels. The budget request lays out the President’s relative priorities for federal programs, such as how much should be spent on defense, education, health, and other federal programs. The President’s budget may also include legislative proposals for spending and tax policy changes. While the President is not required to propose...

Lean Finely Textured Beef: The “Pink Slime” Controversy

Since early March 2012, the use of lean finely textured beef (LFTB) in the U.S. ground beef supply has come under a barrage of media criticism and consumer backlash. The depiction of LFTB in the media as “pink slime” raised the product’s “yuck” factor and implied that there were food safety issues with LFTB, mainly because ammonium gas is used as an antimicrobial intervention in the production of LFTB. Also, the fact that ground beef purchased for the school lunch program could contain LFTB triggered consumer calls for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to immediately end the...

Federal Research and Development Funding: FY2012

Federal research and development (R&D) funding for FY2012 is estimated to total $138.869 billion, $3.845 billion (-2.7%) below the FY2011 funding level of $142.714 billion, and $9.042 billion (-6.1%) below the President’s request of $147.911 billion. Among the overarching issues that Congress contended with in the FY2012 appropriations process were the extent to which the federal R&D investment could grow in the context of increased pressure on discretionary spending and how available funding would be prioritized and allocated. The appropriations legislation was incorporated into two...

Executive Branch Reorganization Initiatives During the 112th Congress: A Brief Overview

On January 13, 2012, President Barack Obama announced a proposal for a federal government reorganization. This reorganization initially would involve two legislative stages. First, the President would ask Congress to reinstate the so-called “President’s reorganization authority,” an expedited process that was available to Presidents periodically between 1932 and 1984. A legislative proposal that would renew this authority was conveyed to Congress on February 16, 2012. A bill that is substantively similar to the Administration’s request, S. 2129, was subsequently introduced in the Senate....

Financial Services and General Government: FY2012 Appropriations

The Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) appropriations bill includes funding for the Department of the Treasury, the Executive Office of the President (EOP), the judiciary, the District of Columbia, and more than two dozen independent agencies. Among those independent agencies are the General Services Administration (GSA), the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the Small Business Administration (SBA), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and the United States Postal Service (USPS). The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is funded in the House through the...

Homeland Security Department: FY2012 Appropriations

This report describes the FY2012 appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The Administration requested a total appropriation (mandatory and discretionary) of $45,015 million in budget authority for FY2012. This amounts to a $1,610 million, or a 3.7%, increase from the $43,405 million enacted for FY2011 through the continuing resolution (P.L. 112-10). Total budget authority, including appropriations, fee revenues, and trust funds in the Administration’s budget request for DHS for FY2012 amounts to $57,079 million as compared to $55,783 million enacted for FY2011.

Net...

Defense: FY2012 Budget Request, Authorization and Appropriations

President Obama’s FY2012 budget request, sent to Congress on February 14, 2011, included $670.9 billion in discretionary budget authority for the Department of Defense (DOD), of which $553.1 billion was for the so-called “base budget” of the department (that is, the cost of routine, peacetime operations excluding the cost of ongoing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan). The remaining $117.8 billion in the DOD budget request was to cover the cost of so-called “overseas contingency operations (OCO),” including operations in those two countries.

However, the Budget Control Act (BCA) enacted in...

Energy and Water Development: FY2012 Appropriations

The Energy and Water Development appropriations bill provides funding for civil works projects of the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation, the Department of Energy (DOE), and a number of independent agencies.

President Obama’s FY2012 budget request for Energy and Water Development was released in February 2011, but the Congress was concerned for the first months of the year with completing the appropriations cycle for FY2011. As with other funding bills, the FY2011 Energy and Water Development bill was not taken to the floor in either the...

American Jobs Act: Provisions for Hiring Targeted Groups, Preventing Layoffs, and for Unemployed and Low-Income Workers

In response to continuing high rates of unemployment and a weak economy, President Obama announced his American Jobs Act on September 8, 2011. As stated by the President, the proposal aims to “put more people back to work and more money in the pockets of those who are working.” The proposal was introduced, by request, as S. 1549 and H.R. 12. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid subsequently introduced the proposal with a different spending offset, as S. 1660 on October 6. Since then, individual pieces of the American Jobs Act have been considered—and some provisions enacted—as freestanding...

Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies: FY2012 Appropriations

This report provides an overview of actions taken by Congress to provide FY2012 appropriations for Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) accounts.

On November 18, 2011, President Obama signed into law the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2012 (P.L. 112-55), which includes the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2012 (Division B). The act includes $60.91 billion for CJS, of which $7.808 billion is for the Department of Commerce, $27.408 billion is for the Department of Justice, $24.838 billion is for the science...

The Helium-3 Shortage: Supply, Demand, and Options for Congress

The world is experiencing a shortage of helium-3, a rare isotope of helium with applications in homeland security, national security, medicine, industry, and science. For many years the supply of helium-3 from the nuclear weapons program outstripped the demand for helium-3. The demand was small enough that a substantial stockpile of helium-3 accumulated. After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the federal government began deploying neutron detectors at the U.S. border to help secure the nation against smuggled nuclear and radiological material. The deployment of this equipment...

Issues in Homeland Security Policy for the 112th Congress

With the tenth anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks, many observers are making a fresh assessment of where America’s homeland security enterprise stands today. In the wake of those attacks, Congress made extensive changes to the structure and function of many agencies, establishing a consolidated Department of Homeland Security and dedicating significant additional resources expressly to the security of the homeland. After the initial surge of activity, evolution of America’s response has continued under the leadership of different Administrations, Congresses, and in a...

Regulatory Reform Legislation in the 112th Congress

Federal Research and Development Funding: FY2011

President Obama requested $147.696 billion for research and development (R&D) in FY2011, a $343 million (0.2%) increase from the estimated FY2010 R&D funding level of $147.353 billion. Congress plays a central role in defining the nation’s R&D priorities, especially with respect to two overarching issues: the extent to which the federal R&D investment can grow in the context of increased pressure on discretionary spending and how available funding will be prioritized and allocated. Low or negative growth in the overall R&D investment may require movement of resources across disciplines,...

Financial Services and General Government: FY2012 Appropriations Overview

The Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) appropriations bill includes funding for the Department of the Treasury, the Executive Office of the President (EOP), the judiciary, the District of Columbia, and more than two dozen independent agencies. Among those independent agencies are the General Services Administration (GSA), the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the Small Business Administration (SBA), the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), and the United States Postal Service (USPS). The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is funded in the House through the...

Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies: FY2011 Appropriations

This report provides an overview of actions taken by Congress to provide FY2011 appropriations for Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS). It also provides an overview of FY2010 appropriations for agencies and bureaus funded as a part of the annual appropriation for CJS.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2010 (P.L. 111-117), included a total of $68.705 billion in new budget authority for CJS. Of the $68.705 billion appropriated for FY2010, $14.035 billion was for the Department of Commerce, $28.078 billion was for the Department of Justice, $25.658 billion was for the...

Homeland Security Department: FY2011 Appropriations

This report describes the FY2011 appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The Administration requested a net appropriation of $45.0 billion in budget authority for FY2011. This amounts to a $1.1 billion, or a 2.4% increase from the $43.9 billion enacted for FY2010. Total budget authority requested by the Administration for DHS for FY2011 amounts to $52.6 billion as compared to $51.7 billion enacted for FY2010.

Net requested appropriations for major agencies within DHS were as follows: Customs and Border Protection (CBP), $9,809 million; Immigration and Customs...

Public Health Service (PHS) Agencies: Overview and Funding, FY2010-FY2012

Within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), eight agencies are designated components of the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS): (1) the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), (2) the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), (3) the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), (4) the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), (5) the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), (6) the Indian Health Service (IHS), (7) the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and (8) the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). This...

Financial Services and General Government (FSGG): FY2011 Appropriations

The Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) appropriations bill includes funding for the Department of the Treasury, the Executive Office of the President, the judiciary, the District of Columbia, and 26 independent agencies. Among the independent agencies funded by the bill are the Small Business Administration, the Office of Personnel Management, and the United States Postal Service.

The FSGG FY2010 appropriations were provided through P.L. 111-117, Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2010. P.L. 111-117 provided $46.265 billion for FSGG agencies in FY2010. In addition, P.L. 111-80...

America Competes 2010: FY2012 Funding and FY2008-FY2011 Funding Summary

This report discusses how funding affects the America COMPETES program, and subsequently U.S. interests in R&D in STEM disciplines.

Patent Reform in the 112th Congress: Innovation Issues

“Dirty Bombs”: Technical Background, Attack Prevention and Response, Issues for Congress

Congress has long sought, through legislation and oversight, to protect the United States against terrorist threats, especially from chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) weapons. Radiological dispersal devices (RDDs) are one type of CBRN weapon. Explosive-driven “dirty bombs” are an often-discussed type of RDD, though radioactive material can also be dispersed in other ways. This report provides background for understanding the RDD threat and responses, and presents issues for Congress.

Radioactive material is the necessary ingredient for an RDD. This material is composed...

Biotechnology in Animal Agriculture: Status and Current Issues

Animal agriculture is being transformed by rapid advances in biotechnology—a term that encompasses a variety of technologies, including genetic engineering (GE), genetic modification, transgenics, recombinant DNA techniques, and cloning, among others. Producers are interested in the application of biotechnology to improve productivity, consistency, and quality; to introduce new food, fiber, and medical products; and to protect the environment. Potential human health applications of transgenic animals include producing biopharmaceuticals and generating organs, tissues, and cells for...

Reauthorization of the America COMPETES Act: Selected Policy Provisions, Funding, and Implementation Issues

This report reviews major policy arguments raised in the congressional debate about the 2007 America COMPETES Act and 2010 reauthorization, examines and analyzes selected policy and funding provisions in these laws, and identifies some potential implementation and oversight issues for Congress.

Energy and Water Development: FY2011 Appropriations

The Energy and Water Development appropriations bill provides funding for civil works projects of the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation, the Department of Energy (DOE), and a number of independent agencies.

As with other funding bills, the FY2011 Energy and Water Development bill was not taken to the floor in either the House or the Senate in the 111th Congress. Funding for its programs was included in a series of continuing resolutions, and at the beginning of the 112th Congress was part of a major debate over overall spending levels....

Presidential Appointments to Full-Time Positions in Independent and Other Agencies During the 110th Congress

The appointment process for advice and consent positions consists of three main stages. The first stage is selection, clearance, and nomination by the President. This step includes preliminary vetting, background checks, and ethics checks of potential nominees. At this stage, the President may also consult with Senators who are from the same party if the position is located in a state. The second stage of the process is consideration of the nomination in the Senate, most of which takes place in committee. Finally, if a nomination is approved by the full Senate, the nominee is given a...

Federal Rulemaking: The Role of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs

The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1980 created the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) within the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Executive Order 12291, issued by President Reagan in 1981, gave OIRA the responsibility to review the substance of agencies’ regulatory actions before publication in the Federal Register. The office’s regulatory review role was initially highly controversial, and it has been criticized at different times as being both too active and too passive regarding agencies’ rules. Although OIRA has a number of specific statutory responsibilities (e.g.,...

The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and the Gulf of Mexico Fishing Industry

On April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oil drilling rig was destroyed by an explosion and fire, and the oil well began releasing oil into the Gulf of Mexico. The oil spill caused significant economic harm to the Gulf fishing industry because of fishery closures and consumer concerns related to the safety of Gulf seafood. Intermediate and long-term concerns are related to impacts on marine populations and degradation of fisheries habitat necessary for spawning, development of early life stages, and growth.

The closing and opening of fishing grounds has involved a tradeoff between...

The Obama Administration's Open Government Initiative: Issues for Congress

This report reviews the objectives delineated in President Obama's Open Government Initiative (OGI) and examines the expectations placed on agencies to meet these objectives. This report reviews department and agency attempts to implement Obama Administration initiatives that seek to make the federal government more transparent, participatory, and collaborative. The report then analyzes options for congressional action in this area.

The Future of NASA: Space Policy Issues Facing Congress

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-267) authorized major changes of direction for NASA. Among these, it called for the development of a new, crew-capable, heavy-lift rocket, and it provided for the development of commercial services to transport NASA crews into low Earth orbit. However, under the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011 (P.L. 111-242 as amended by P.L. 111-322), NASA continues to operate under a requirement to proceed with its previous human spaceflight program. Moreover, in a period of fiscal constraint, it is unclear whether...

Nanotechnology and Environmental, Health, and Safety: Issues for Consideration

Nanotechnology—a term encompassing nanoscale science, engineering, and technology—is focused on understanding, controlling, and exploiting the unique properties of matter that can emerge at scales of one to 100 nanometers. A key issue before Congress regarding nanotechnology is how best to protect human health, safety, and the environment as nanoscale materials and products are researched, developed, manufactured, used, and discarded. While the rapidly emerging field of nanotechnology is believed by many to offer significant economic and societal benefits, some research results have raised...

Patent Reform in the 111th Congress: Innovation Issues

The Endangered Species Act (ESA) in the 111th Congress: Conflicting Values and Difficult Choices

The Endangered Species Act (ESA; P.L. 93-205, 16 U.S.C. §§ 1531-1543) has been one of the more contentious environmental laws. This may stem from its strict substantive provisions, which can affect the use of both federal and nonfederal lands and resources. Under ESA, species of plants and animals (both vertebrate and invertebrate) can be listed as endangered or threatened according to assessments of their risk of extinction. Once a species is listed, powerful legal tools are available to aid its recovery and protect its habitat. ESA may also be controversial because dwindling species are...

Critical Infrastructure Security: CRS Experts

The following table provides access to names and contact information for CRS experts on policy concerns relating to critical infrastructure security. Policy areas identified include: mission, magnitude, importance, relationship to departmental mission; policy, organization, and operations across all infrastructures; information disclosure, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA); security services, airport screeners, guards; specific sectors, assessing vulnerabilities, planning and implementation; agriculture; banking and finance; chemical; defense industry; emergency systems; energy;...

Research and Development (R&D) to Enhance Homeland Security: CRS Experts

The following table provides access to names and contact information for CRS experts on policy concerns relating to research and development (R&D) to enhance homeland security. Policy areas identified include: mission, scope, magnitude, relationship to other federal homeland security goals; developing countermeasures policy and strategic plan; access to scientific and technical information; establishing R&D policy and priorities; conducting and coordinating homeland security R&D; Department of Homeland Security; Department of Agriculture; Department of Defense; Department of Health and...

Economics and National Security: Issues and Implications for U.S. Policy

As the world begins the second decade of the twenty-first century, the United States holds what should be a winning hand of a preeminent military, large economy, strong alliances, and democratic values. The nation’s security should be secure. Yet the debate over national security seems to be both intensifying and broadening. The problem appears not only in the difficulty of finding a winning strategy in the long war against acts of terrorism but having to face economic constraints that loom large in the public debate. In addition, the global financial crisis and recession have highlighted...

Chemical Facility Security: Reauthorization, Policy Issues, and Options for Congress

This report provides a brief overview of the existing statutory authority and the regulation implementing this authority. It describes several policy issues raised in previous debates regarding chemical facility security and identifies policy options that might resolve components of these issues. Finally, legislation introduced in the 111th Congress is discussed.

America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 (H.R. 5116) and the America COMPETES Act (P.L. 110-69): Selected Policy Issues

This report provides background information on P.L. 110-69 and H.R. 5116, includes information about related legislative activity in the 111th Congress, and analyzes four policy issues addressed by these measures: (1) STEM Education, (2) Federal Research Programs and Activities, (3) Broadening Participation, and (4) Funding. It also discusses selected policy concerns identified in the debate about U.S. competitiveness and describes how the House-passed version of H.R. 5116 responds to those concerns. It contains a description of federal multi-agency research and development initiatives...

EPA’s BACT Guidance for Greenhouse Gases from Stationary Sources

Stationary sources—a term that includes power plants, petroleum refineries, manufacturing facilities, and other non-mobile sources of air pollution—are not yet subject to any greenhouse gas (GHG) emission standards issued by the EPA; but because of the Clean Air Act’s wording, such stationary sources will become subject to permit requirements for their GHG emissions beginning on January 2, 2011. Affected units will be subject to the permitting requirements of the Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) and Title V provisions. For PSD, this will include state determinations of what...

Foreign Science and Engineering Presence in U.S. Institutions and the Labor Force

The increased presence of foreign students in graduate science and engineering programs and in the scientific workforce has been and continues to be of concern to some in the scientific community. Enrollment of U.S. citizens in graduate science and engineering programs has not kept pace with that of foreign students in those programs. In addition to the number of foreign students in graduate science and engineering programs, a significant number of university faculty in the scientific disciplines are foreign, and foreign doctorates are employed in large numbers by industry.

Few will...

Perchlorate Contamination of Drinking Water: Regulatory Issues and Legislative Actions

Perchlorate is the explosive component of solid rocket fuel, fireworks, road flares, and other products. Used heavily by the Department of Defense (DOD) and related industries, perchlorate also occurs naturally and is present in some organic fertilizer. This soluble, persistent compound has been detected in drinking water supplies, especially in California. It also has been found in milk and many foods. Because of this widespread occurrence, concern over the potential health risks of perchlorate exposure has increased, and some states, water utilities, and Members of Congress have urged...

America COMPETES Act and the FY2010 Budget

The America COMPETES Act (P.L. 110-69) became law on August 9, 2007. The act is intended to increase the nation’s investment in research and development (R&D), and in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. It is intended to address two concerns believed to influence U.S. competitiveness: the adequacy of R&D funding to generate sufficient technological progress, and the adequacy of the number of American students proficient in STEM or interested in STEM careers relative to other countries.

The act authorizes funding increases for the National Science Foundation...

Stem Cell Research: Ethical and Legal Issues

FY2010 Supplemental for Wars, Disaster Assistance, Haiti Relief, and Other Programs

The Administration requested $64.3 billion in FY2010 supplemental appropriations: $5.1 billion to replenish the U.S. Disaster Relief Fund administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA); $33 billion for the Department of Defense (DOD) primarily for deploying 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan; $4.5 billion in war-related foreign aid; and $2.8 billion for Haiti earthquake-related relief and reconstruction aid; $243 million for activities related to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill; $600 million for border security, and $129 million to reduce backlogs in patent requests;...

Coordination of Federal Water Research: Legislative Issues

H.R. 1145, the National Water Research and Development Initiative Act of 2009, would formally establish a federal interagency committee to coordinate federal water research. Federal water research currently averages roughly $700 million annually.

The proposed interagency committee, with input from an advisory committee, would develop a four-year plan for priority federal research topics, then require the President to annually report to Congress on progress in achieving the plan’s research outcomes. A version of the committee, the Subcommittee on Water Availability and Quality (SWAQ),...

Ocean Commissions: Ocean Policy Review and Outlook

In 2003 and 2004, the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy and the Pew Oceans Commission made numerous recommendations for changing U.S. ocean policy and management. The 109th Congress reauthorized the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (P.L. 109-479), incorporating provisions recommended by both commissions, and authorized the Marine Debris Research, Prevention, and Reduction Act (P.L. 109-449). Several bills encompassing a broad array of cross-cutting concerns such as ocean exploration; ocean and coastal observing systems; federal organization and administrative...

The National Broadband Plan

On March 16, 2010, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released Connecting America: The National Broadband Plan. Mandated by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA, P.L. 111-5), the FCC’s National Broadband Plan (NBP) is a 360-page document composed of 17 chapters containing 208 specific recommendations directed to the FCC, to the Executive Branch (both to individual agencies and to Administration as a whole), to Congress, and to nonfederal and nongovernmental entities. The ARRA specified that the NBP should “seek to ensure that all people of the United States...

A Federal Chief Technology Officer in the Obama Administration: Options and Issues for Consideration

In November 2007, Senator Barack Obama announced his intention, if elected President, to appoint a federal chief technology officer (CTO). He also identified several specific areas of responsibility of the CTO including transparency of government operations, computer and network security (sometimes referred to as cybersecurity), identification and adoption of best technologies and practices by federal agencies, and interoperability of emergency communications technologies for first responders.

On April 18, 2009, President Obama appointed Virginia Secretary of Technology Aneesh P. Chopra...

Fiscal Year 2011 Department of Homeland Security Assistance to States and Localities

The President’s budget request proposed total appropriations of $4.0 billion in FY2011 for homeland security assistance to states and localities, which is $164 million less than Congress appropriated in FY2010. These assistance programs are used by state and local governments, primarily first responder entities, to meet homeland security needs and enhance capabilities to prepare for, respond to, and recover from both man-made and natural disasters.

The Administration’s budget request not only proposes to reduce total appropriations for these programs, but also to eliminate some programs,...

Agricultural Biotechnology: The U.S.-EU Dispute

In May 2003, the United States, Canada, and Argentina initiated a dispute with the European Union concerning the EU’s de facto moratorium on biotechnology product approvals, in place since 1998. Although the EU effectively lifted the moratorium in May 2004 by approving a genetically engineered (GE) corn variety (MON810), the three complainants pursued the case, in part because a number of EU member states continue to block already approved biotech products. Industry estimates are that the moratorium costs U.S. corn growers some $300 million in exports to the EU annually. Corn gluten...

How Agencies Monetize “Statistical Lives” Expected to Be Saved By Regulations

Federal health, safety, and environmental regulations are often designed to reduce the risk of death, illness, or injury from exposure to a particular hazard (e.g., arsenic in drinking water or rollover car crashes). As part of an economic analysis required by Executive Order 12866, the issuing agencies often place a monetary value on these expected health benefits by determining the number of “statistical lives” that the rules are expected to extend or save, and then multiplying that number by an estimated “value of a statistical life” (VSL). For example, if 100,000 people are each...

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA): Issues for the 111th Congress

Financial Services and General Government (FSGG): FY2010 Appropriations

The Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) appropriations bill includes funding for the Department of the Treasury, the Executive Office of the President (EOP), the judiciary, the District of Columbia, and 26 independent agencies. Among the independent agencies funded by the bill are the General Services Administration (GSA), the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the Small Business Administration (SBA), the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), and the United States Postal Service (USPS).

On May 7, 2009, the Obama Administration delivered its FY2010 budget request to...

Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies: FY2010 Appropriations

This report provides an overview of actions taken by Congress to provide FY2010 appropriations for Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS). This report uses the House report to accompany H.R. 2847 (H.Rept. 111-149) and the text of the Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2009 (P.L. 111-32), as the source for the FY2009-enacted and the FY2010-requested amounts, and it uses the Senate report to accompany H.R. 2847 (S.Rept. 111-34) as the source for the amounts in the House-passed bill. The Senate-passed version of H.R. 2847 is used as the source for the Senate-passed amounts. The...

Federal Research and Development Funding: FY2010

In his FY2010 budget request, President Obama sought $147.620 billion for R&D, a $555 million (0.4%) increase from the estimated FY2009 R&D funding level of $147.065 billion (not including FY2009 R&D funding provided under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (P.L. 111-5). According to the Obama Administration, preliminary allocations of R&D funding provided under P.L. 111-5 brought total FY2009 R&D funding to $165.400 billion. Unless otherwise noted in this report, comparisons of FY2009 and FY2010 R&D funding do not incorporate funding provided under P.L. 111-5. To the extent...

Follow-On Biologics: Intellectual Property and Innovation Issues

Energy and Water Development: FY2010 Appropriations

The Energy and Water Development appropriations bill provides funding for civil works projects of the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation, the Department of Energy (DOE), and a number of independent agencies.

Key budgetary issues for FY2010 involving these programs may include:

the distribution of Corps appropriations across the agency’s authorized planning, construction, and maintenance activities (Title I);

support of major ecosystem restoration initiatives, such as Florida Everglades (Title I) and California “Bay-Delta” (CALFED) and...

Homeland Security Department: FY2010 Appropriations

This report describes the FY2010 appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The Administration requested a net appropriation of $44.1 billion in budget authority for FY2010. This amounts to a $2.8 billion, or a 6.7% increase over the $41.2 billion enacted for FY2009 (not including supplemental funding). Total budget authority requested by the Administration for DHS for FY2010 amounts to $55.1 billion.

Net requested appropriations for major agencies within DHS were as follows: Customs and Border Protection (CBP), $10,049 million; Immigration and Customs Enforcement...

Climate Change: Potential Regulation of Stationary Greenhouse Gas Sources Under the Clean Air Act

Although new legislation to address greenhouse gases is a leading priority of the President and many members of Congress, the ability to limit these emissions already exists under Clean Air Act authorities that Congress has enacted – a point underlined by the Supreme Court in an April 2007 decision, Massachusetts v. EPA. In response to the Supreme Court decision, EPA has begun the process of using this existing authority, issuing an “endangerment finding” for greenhouse gases (GHGs) December 7, 2009, and proposing GHG regulations for new motor vehicles in the September 28, 2009 Federal...

China-U.S. Relations: Current Issues and Implications for U.S. Policy

The bilateral relationship between the U.S. and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is vitally important, touching on a wide range of areas including, among others, economic policy, security, foreign relations, and human rights. U.S. interests with China are bound together much more closely now than even a few years ago. These extensive inter-linkages have made it increasingly difficult for either government to take unilateral actions without inviting far-reaching, unintended consequences. The Administration of President Barack Obama has inherited from the George W. Bush Administration...

Comparison of Climate Change Adaptation Provisions in S. 1733 and H.R. 2454

This report summarizes and compares climate change adaptation-related provisions in the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (H.R. 2454) and the Clean Energy, Jobs, and Power Act (S. 1733). H.R. 2454 was introduced by Representatives Waxman and Markey and passed the House on June 26, 2009. S. 1733 was introduced to the Senate by Senators Boxer and Kerry and, after subsequent revisions made in the form of a manager’s substitution amendment, was reported out of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on November 5, 2009.

Adaptation measures aim to improve an individual’s...

The U.S. Science and Technology Workforce

This report provides an overview of the status of the U.S. science and technology (S&T) workforce, and identifies some of the issues and options that are currently being discussed in Congress.

Science, Technology, and American Diplomacy: Background and Issues for Congress

This report focuses on international science and technology diplomacy, where American leadership in science and technology is used as a diplomatic tool to enhance another country's development and to improve understanding by other nations of U.S. values and ways of doing business.

Greenhouse Gas Legislation: Summary and Analysis of H.R. 2454 as Passed by the House of Representatives

This report offers an introduction and overview of legislation regarding greenhouse gases. It also discusses combined efficiency and renewable electricity standard, geologic sequestration of carbon dioxide, vehicles and fuels, smart grid, energy efficiency, and major cap-and-trade provisions.

The Unified Agenda: Implications for Rulemaking Transparency and Participation

The Obama Administration has launched an initiative to make the policymaking process more open and transparent, and has asked for comments from the public on how the rulemaking process in particular can be improved in these respects. Some observers have concluded that the most critical part of that process occurs before a proposed rule is published in the Federal Register, and (for significant rules) possibly even earlier—before the rule is approved by the issuing agency and submitted to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) within the Office of Management and Budget for...

America COMPETES Act: Programs, Funding, and Selected Issues

The America COMPETES Act (P.L. 110-69) became law on August 9, 2007. The act responds to concerns that the United States may not be able to compete economically with other nations in the future due to insufficient investment today in science and technology research and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and workforce development. The America COMPETES Act is intended to increase the nation’s investment in science and engineering research and in STEM education from kindergarten to graduate school and postdoctoral education. It is designed to focus on two...

Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E): Background, Status, and Selected Issues for Congress

In August 2007, Congress authorized the establishment of the Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E) within the Department of Energy (DOE) as part of the America COMPETES Act (P.L. 110-69). Modeled on the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), ARPA-E would support transformational energy technology research projects with the goal of enhancing the nation’s economic and energy security.

Congress authorized $300 million for ARPA-E in FY2008 and “such sums as are necessary” for FY2009 and FY2010. Congress subsequently appropriated no funds for FY2008. The Bush...

The DHS Directorate of Science and Technology: Key Issues for Congress

The Directorate of Science and Technology is the primary organization for research and development (R&D) in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). With an appropriated budget of $932.6 million in FY2009, it conducts R&D in several laboratories of its own and funds R&D conducted by other government agencies, the Department of Energy national laboratories, industry, and universities. The directorate consists primarily of six divisions: Chemical and Biological; Explosives; Command, Control, and Interoperability; Borders and Maritime Security; Infrastructure and Geophysical; and Human...

U.S. Motor Vehicle Industry: Federal Financial Assistance and Restructuring

This report focuses on the current situation faced by the Detroit 3, key aspects of their current crisis, including possible consequences of a failure of one or more companies, and some aspects of legislative actions that have been considered to bridge their financial conditions to a more stable situation.

Hiring and Pay Authorities for Federal Scientific and Technical (S&T) Personnel

In recent decades, the federal government has made many efforts to recruit and retain scientists, engineers, and technical workers, who otherwise may find a more attractive environment in the private and nonfederal sectors. As a group, these science and technology (S&T) personnel may be called the federal S&T workforce. A large subset of the S&T workforce is composed of scientific and engineering (S&E) personnel. By one count, the federal government employs over 200,000 scientists and engineers.

Several factors have contributed to concerns about the federal S&T workforce. These include...

U.S. Civilian Space Policy Priorities: Reflections 50 Years After Sputnik

The “space age” began on October 4, 1957, when the Soviet Union (USSR) launched Sputnik, the world’s first artificial satellite. Some U.S. policymakers, concerned about the USSR’s ability to launch a satellite, thought Sputnik might be an indication that the United States was trailing behind the USSR in science and technology. The Cold War also led some U.S. policymakers to perceive the Sputnik launch as a possible precursor to nuclear attack. In response to this “Sputnik moment,” the U.S. government undertook several policy actions, including the establishment of the National Aeronautics...

Science and Technology Policymaking: A Primer

Scientific and technical knowledge and guidance influences not just policy related to science and technology, but also many of today’s public policies as policymakers seek knowledge to enhance the quality of their decisions. Science and technology policy is concerned with the allocation of resources for and encouragement of scientific and engineering research and development, the use of scientific and technical knowledge to enhance the nation’s response to societal challenges, and the education of Americans in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Science and engineering...

Federal Research and Development Funding: FY2009

In February 2008, President Bush proposed total research and development (R&D) funding of $147.0 billion in his FY2009 budget request to Congress, a $3.9 billion (2.7%) increase over the estimated FY2008 level of $143.1 billion. President Bush’s request included $29.3 billion for basic research, up $847 million (3.0%) from FY2008; $27.1 billion for applied research, down $1.0 billion (-3.6%); $84.0 billion for development, up 1.6 billion (1.9%); and $6.5 billion for R&D facilities and equipment, up $2.5 billion (61.7%).

In the absence of final action on the regular FY2009 appropriations...

Financial Services and General Government (FSGG): FY2009 Appropriations

The Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) appropriations bill includes funding for the Department of the Treasury, the Executive Office of the President (EOP), the judiciary, the District of Columbia, and 26 independent agencies. Among the independent agencies funded by the bill are the General Services Administration (GSA), the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the Small Business Administration (SBA), and the United States Postal Service (USPS).

On September 30, 2008, President George W. Bush signed the Consolidated Security, Disaster Assistance, and Continuing...

Thirty-Five Years of Water Policy: The 1973 National Water Commission and Present Challenges

Concern about the availability and use of water to support the nation’s people, economy, and environment has bolstered interest in establishing a national water commission. The commission structure proposed in recent legislation (e.g., H.R. 135) is similar to that of the 1968-1973 National Water Commission (NWC or Commission). As proposed in H.R. 135, the commission would assess future water demands, study current management programs, and develop recommendations for a comprehensive water strategy. Questions about a commission as an effective model and which topics a commission might...

Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies: FY2009 Appropriations

This report provides an overview of actions taken by Congress to provide FY2009 appropriations for Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS). On March 11, 2009, President Obama signed into law the Omnibus Appropriations Act, 2009 (P.L. 111-8). In the Omnibus, Congress appropriated $60.538 billion for CJS agencies. This amount was $4.578 billion more than the FY2008 enacted level (an 8.2% increase) and $3.488 billion more than the amended FY2009 request (a 6.1% increase). The Omnibus included $9.268 billion for the Department of Commerce, $26.120 billion for the Department of...

Oversight of High-Containment Biological Laboratories: Issues for Congress

The federal government responded to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the subsequent anthrax attacks with increased focus on and funding for biodefense. A key consideration in this response was addressing shortages in diagnostic, clinical, and research laboratory capacity. Several departments and agencies have increased or are in the process of increasing their laboratory capacity. High-containment laboratories play a critical role in the biodefense effort, offering the hope of better responses to an attack and a better understanding of the threat posed by bioterrorism....

The America COMPETES Act and the FY2009 Budget

The America COMPETES Act (P.L. 110-69) became law on August 9, 2007. The act responds to concerns that the United States may not be able to compete economically with other nations in the future due to insufficient investment today in science and technology research and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and workforce development. The America COMPETES Act is intended to increase the nation’s investment in science and engineering research, and in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education from kindergarten to graduate school and...

Emergency Preparedness and Hazard Mitigation: CRS Experts

This report includes a table that provides access to names and contact information for CRS experts on policy concerns relating to emergency preparedness and hazard mitigation. Includes a number of policy areas, such as: emergency preparedness and protection missions, functions, and structures; emergency authorities; preparedness plans; communications networks; warning systems; and state and local homeland security funding, training, and standards.

Energy and Water Development: FY2009 Appropriations

The Energy and Water Development appropriations bill provides funding for civil works projects of the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation (BOR), the Department of Energy (DOE), and a number of independent agencies.

Key budgetary issues for FY2009 involving these programs included

the distribution of Corps appropriations across the agency’s authorized planning, construction, and maintenance activities (Title I);

support of major ecosystem restoration initiatives, such as Florida Everglades (Title I) and California “Bay-Delta” (CALFED)...

The Global Nuclear Detection Architecture: Issues for Congress

The U.S. government has implemented a series of programs to protect the nation against terrorist nuclear attack. Some of these programs predate September 11, 2001, while others were established since then. Most programs are within the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; the Departments of Defense, Energy, and State; and agencies that became part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) upon its creation, and they are focused on detecting the illicit acquisition and shipment of nuclear and radiological materials and protecting and securing nuclear weapons. These disparate programs have...

Energy Provisions in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (P.L. 111-5)

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA, P.L. 111-5) emphasizes jobs, economic recovery, and assistance to those most impacted by the recession. It also stresses investments in technology, transportation, environmental protection, and other infrastructure and proposes strategies to stabilize state and local government budgets.

Energy provisions are a featured part of ARRA. More than $45 billion is provided in appro-priations for energy programs, mainly for energy efficiency and renewable energy. Most funding must be obligated by the end of FY2010. ARRA also provides more...

National Aeronautics and Space Administration: Overview, FY2009 Budget, and Issues for Congress

This report provides an overview of National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), FY 2009 budget, the vision for space exploration, the science program, and NASA aeronautics research.

Homeland Security Department: FY2009 Appropriations

This report describes the FY2009 appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The Administration requested a net appropriation of $38,849 million in budget authority for FY2009. The House Appropriations Committee reported its version of the FY2009 DHS Appropriations bill on June 24, 2008. The bill was filed on September 18, 2008, as H.R. 6947, and the accompanying report has been numbered H.Rept. 110-862. House-reported H.R. 6947 would have provided a net appropriation of $41,137 million in budget authority for DHS for FY2009. This amounted to an increase of $2,288...

Polygraph Use by the Department of Energy: Issues for Congress

Four years after Congress directed the Department of Energy (DOE) to revamp its polygraph program, taking into account a 2003 National Academy of Sciences (NAS) report that questioned the scientific basis for the accuracy of polygraph testing, particularly when used to “screen” employees, DOE promulgated a regulation on October 30, 2006, that eliminated polygraph screening tests without specific cause. DOE said its counterintelligence evaluation policies were now consistent with existing Intelligence Community practices and the NAS 2003 report’s recommendations, particularly for cases when...

Infrastructure Programs: What's Different About Broadband?

This report discusses the unique characteristics that may dictate that government programs in support of broadband deployment be structured differently than conventional infrastructure programs.

The Role of Public Works Infrastructure in Economic Stimulus

Interest in using federal government spending to stimulate U.S. economic recovery has intensified recently in response to indicators showing significant deterioration of the economy. Policymakers at all levels of government are debating a range of options to address these problems. Some favor using traditional monetary and fiscal policies. Others, however, favor making accelerated investments in the nation’s public infrastructure in order to create jobs while also meeting infrastructure needs. This report is an overview of policy issues associated with the approach of using infrastructure...

Climate Change: Federal Program Funding and Tax Incentives

Federal funding to address global climate change was enacted at $6.37 billion for FY2008, extended by a Continuing Resolution for FY2009 at or below FY2008 levels to March 6, 2009. Members of Congress have expressed interest in how federal funding may reflect and enable an overall strategy, and priorities within it, to address climate change. This report summarizes federal funding and tax incentives identified as climate change-related under the Bush Administration. It identifies the organization of programs, how funding may reflect priorities, and external evaluations or recommendations...

Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Concerns in Agricultural Trade

This report categorizes, describes, and in some cases quantifies these barriers on a country-by-country basis. Sixty-two major trading partners are covered in the 2008 report.10 Sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures and technical barriers to trade (TBTs) are generally detailed in each country’s profile and, where feasible, their impacts on U.S. exports are quantified by U.S. Trade Representative (USTR).

The Executive Office of the President: An Historical Overview

Climate Change Legislation in the 110th Congress

Congressional interest in climate change legislation has grown in recent years. In the 110th Congress, Members have introduced numerous bills that directly address various aspects of climate change. These bills cover a wide spectrum, ranging from climate change research to comprehensive greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions cap-and-trade programs. As of the date of this report, Congress has enacted six broader pieces of legislation that—among many other non-climate-related provisions—address climate change in some fashion:

P.L. 110-140 expands the carbon capture research and development program,...

Phthalates in Plastics and Possible Human Health Effects

Roughly a dozen chemicals known as phthalates are used to make the plastics found in thousands of consumer products, ranging from medical tubing to automotive dashboards to bath toys. These phthalates are not tightly held by the plastics and are released into the environment over time. Congress is concerned about possible human health effects from exposure to six of these chemicals: di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), dibutyl phthalate (DBP), benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP), diisononyl phthalate (DINP), diisodecyl phthalate (DIDP), and di-n-octyl phthalate (DnOP). DEHP, DBP, BBP, and (to less...

Federal Research and Development Funding: Possible Impacts of Operating Under a Continuing Resolution

On September 30, 2008, President Bush signed into law the Consolidated Security, Disaster Assistance, and Continuing Appropriations Act, 2009. Division A of this law is a continuing resolution and provides funding for agencies and programs normally funded by nine of the 12 regular appropriations bills. This report explores the various aspects of this Act, including how the Act affects civilian research and development programs, as well as related pieces of legislation.

China’s Space Program: Options for U.S.-China Cooperation

China has a determined, yet still modest, program of civilian space activities planned for the next decade. The potential for U.S.-China cooperation in space—an issue of interest to Congress—has become more controversial since the January 2007 Chinese anti-satellite test. The test reinforced concerns about Chinese intentions in outer space and jeopardized space assets of more than two dozen countries by creating a large cloud of orbital space debris. Some argue that Chinese capabilities now threaten U.S. space assets in low earth orbit. Others stress the need to expand dialogue with...

Tsunami Detection and Warnings for the United States

This report discusses topics in respect to tsunami disaster warnings for the United States, discussions ensued between the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) about developing a multi-hazard warning and response system.

Communications Act Revisions: Selected Issues for Consideration

The passage of the 1996 Telecommunications Act (P.L. 104-104) resulted in a major revision of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 151 et seq.) to address the emergence of competition in what were previously considered to be monopolistic markets. Although less than a decade has passed, a consensus has grown that existing laws that govern the telecommunications and broadcasting sectors have become inadequate to meet the Nation’s changing telecommunications environment. Technological changes such as the advancement of Internet technology to supply data, voice, and video, the transition...

Engineered Nanoscale Materials and Derivative Products: Regulatory Challenges

Scientists and engineers can now examine, design, and manipulate materials at the molecular level, termed “nanoscale,” between 1 and 100 billionths of a meter. The U.S. government has invested heavily to ensure that American industry remains a global leader in the field, because the products of nanotechnology are seen to have great economic potential and offer possible solutions to national problems ranging from energy efficiency to detection of agents of biological warfare. Optimism about nanotechnology is tempered, however, by concerns about the unknown potential of nanoscale materials...

The Global Nuclear Detection Architecture: Issues for Congress

This report discusses the global nuclear detection architecture: a multi-layered system of detection technologies, programs, and guidelines designed to enhance the nation's ability to detect and prevent a radiological or nuclear attack.

Chemical Facility Security: Regulation and Issues for Congress

This report describes the statutory authority granted to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) with regards to chemical facility security regulation and the interim final rule promulgated by DHS, and identifies select issues of contention related to the interim final rule. Finally, this report discusses several possible policy options for Congress.

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education: Background, Federal Policy, and Legislative Action

This report provides the background and context to understand these legislative developments. The report first presents data on the state of Schience, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education in the United States. It then examines the federal role in promoting STEM education. The report concludes with a discussion of the legislative actions recently taken to address federal STEM education policy.

Financial Services and General Government (FSGG): FY2008 Appropriations

FY2008 appropriations for Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) agencies were originally proposed in H.R. 2829. The bill included funding for the Department of the Treasury, the Executive Office of the President (EOP), the judiciary, the District of Columbia, and 20 independent agencies. Among the independent agencies funded by the bill are the General Services Administration (GSA), the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the Small Business Administration (SBA), and the United States Postal Service (USPS).

On June 28, 2007, the House approved $43.8 billion for H.R. 2829, a...

Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies: FY2008 Appropriations

This report monitors actions taken by the 110th Congress for the FY2008 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) appropriations bill. In the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2008 (P.L. 110-161), Congress has provided $54.637 billion in CJS appropriations, a 3.4% increase over the FY2007 enacted level and a 2.2% increase over the Administration’s request. This amount includes $6.857 billion for the Department of Commerce (a 3.5% increase over the FY2007 enacted level), $23.592 billion for the Department of Justice (a 1.6% increase), $23.38 billion for science agencies (a 5.3%...

OMB and Risk Assessment

Homeland Security Department: FY2008 Appropriations

This report describes the FY2008 appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The Administration requested a net appropriation of $35.5 billion in net budget authority for FY2008. The requested net appropriation for major components of the department included the following: $8,783 million for Customs and Border Protection (CBP); $4,168 million for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE); $3,608 million for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA); $8,457 million for the U.S. Coast Guard; $1,399 million for the Secret Service; $1,047 for the National Protection...

The FY2008 National Defense Authorization Act: Selected Military Personnel Policy Issues

Military personnel issues typically generate significant interest from many Members of Congress and their staffs. Ongoing military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan in support of what the Bush Administration terms the Global War on Terror, along with the emerging operational role of the Reserve Components, have further heightened interest and support for a wide range of military personnel policies and issues.

CRS selected a number of issues addressed by Congress as it considered the FY2008 National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 1585/S. 1547/H.R. 4986). In each case, a brief synopsis is...

Federal Research and Development Funding: FY2008

The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2008 (P.L. 110-161) was the measure used by Congress and the President to wrap up action on the regular appropriations acts in late 2007. On December 19, 2007, Congress completed action on the act, and it was signed into law by President Bush on December 26, 2007. Previously, action had been completed on only one of the regular appropriations acts, the Defense Appropriations Act, FY2008 (P.L. 110-116) which was signed into law by President Bush on November 13, 2007. The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2008 provides appropriations covered in the eleven...

Energy and Water Development: FY2008 Appropriations

The Energy and Water Development appropriations bill provides funding for civil works projects of the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation (BOR), the Department of Energy (DOE), and a number of independent agencies.

Key budgetary issues involving these programs include

the distribution of Army Corps of Engineers appropriations across the agency’s authorized construction and maintenance activities (Title I);

support of major ecosystem restoration initiatives, such as Florida Everglades (Title I) and California “Bay-Delta” (CALFED) (Title...

Innovation and Intellectual Property Issues in Homeland Security

The U.S. government and private firms alike seek high technology solutions to detect and prevent future terrorist attacks, as well as to respond to any future attacks that do occur. Some concerns exist, however, that patents, trade secrets or other intellectual rights may impede the prompt, widespread and cost-effective distribution of innovations that promote homeland security. In 2001, these concerns arose with respect to pharmaceutical CIPRO, an antibiotic that treats inhalation anthrax. Some commentators called for the U.S. government to “override” a privately owned patent in order to...

Omnibus Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Legislation: A Side-by-Side Comparison of Major Provisions in House-Passed H.R. 3221 with Senate-Passed H.R. 6

In the first session of the 110th Congress, the House and the Senate passed two markedly different versions of omnibus energy efficiency and renewable energy legislation. This report compares major provisions in House-passed H.R. 3221 and Senate-passed H.R. 6. Key legislative challenges remain. First, there are significant differences between the two bills. Second, because the House and Senate have passed different measures, further action will be required in at least one chamber before a conference committee could be arranged. Third, concerns about certain oil and natural gas provisions,...

Agriculture-Based Renewable Energy Production

Marine Dead Zones: Understanding the Problem

An adequate level of dissolved oxygen is necessary to support most forms of aquatic life. While very low levels of dissolved oxygen (hypoxia) can be natural, especially in deep ocean basins and fjords, hypoxia in coastal waters is mostly the result of human activities that have modified landscapes or increased nutrients entering these waters. Hypoxic areas are more widespread during the summer, when algal blooms stimulated by spring runoff decompose to diminish oxygen. Such hypoxic areas may drive out or kill animal life, and usually dissipate by winter. In many places where hypoxia has...

The National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center: Issues for Congress

The mission of the National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center (NBACC) is to understand current and future biological threats; assess vulnerabilities and determine potential consequences; and provide a national capability for conducting forensic analysis of evidence from bio-crimes and bio-terrorism. The NBACC is operational, with a program office and several component centers occupying interim facilities.

A laboratory facility dedicated to executing the NBACC mission and to contain two NBACC component centers is being built at Fort Detrick, Maryland, as part of the National...

Project BioShield: Appropriations, Acquisitions, and Policy Implementation Issues for Congress

The Project BioShield Act of 2004 (P.L. 108-276) established a 10-year program to acquire civilian medical countermeasures to chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) agents for the Strategic National Stockpile. Provisions of this act were designed to encourage private companies to develop these countermeasures by guaranteeing a government market for successfully developed countermeasures.

Congress has expressed concern about the implementation of Project BioShield. It has held multiple oversight hearings and considered several pieces of legislation to improve the execution...

Transportation, the Treasury, Housing and Urban Development, the Judiciary, the District of Columbia, the Executive Office of the President, and Independent Agencies (TTHUD): FY2007 Appropriations

The Bush Administration requested $138.5 billion (after scorekeeping adjustments) for these agencies for FY2007, an increase of $2.3 billion over the $136.2 billion Congress provided in the agencies’ FY2006 appropriations act (this FY2006 figure reflects a 1.0% across-the-board rescission that was included in the FY2006 Department of Defense Appropriations Act, P.L. 109-148). The total FY2006 funding (after scorekeeping adjustments) for the agencies in this bill was $146.3 billion, due to emergency supplemental funding provided to deal with the effects of the Gulf Coast hurricanes of...

Tsunamis: Monitoring, Detection, and Early Warning Systems

This report discusses proposals for international tsunami early warning systems and examines U.S. policy regarding tsunamis.

Science, State, Justice, Commerce and Related Agencies (House)/Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (Senate): FY2007 Appropriations

This report monitors actions taken by the 109th Congress for the House’s Science, State, Justice, Commerce, and Related Agencies (SSJC) and the Senate’s Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) FY2007 appropriations bill. Appropriations bills reflect the jurisdiction of the subcommittees of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees in which they are considered. Jurisdictions for the subcommittees of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees changed at the beginning of the 109th Congress.

On September 29, 2006, Congress passed the Defense Department Appropriation...

Energy and Water Development: FY2007 Appropriations

The Energy and Water Development appropriations bill in the past included funding for civil works projects of the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation (BOR), most of the Department of Energy (DOE), and a number of independent agencies. For FY2006, the Congress reorganized the appropriations subcommittees and the content of the various appropriations bills to be introduced. In the case of Energy and Water Development, the only changes were the consolidation of DOE programs that had previously been funded by the Interior and Related Agencies...

H.R. 1 (Implementing the 9/11 Commission Recommendations Act of 2007) and S. 4 (Improving America’s Security Act of 2007): A Comparative Analysis

This comparative analysis of H.R. 1 (Implementing the 9/11 Commission Recommendations Act of 2007) and S. 4 (Improving America’s Security Act of 2007) is an assessment of major similarities and differences between the two bills as passed by the House (January 9, 2007) and Senate (March 13, 2007) and under conference consideration.

References to the two bills are to engrossed versions. The presentation is organized to follow the basic construct of the House bill because its coverage remained more stable through the legislative process and as the analyses began. Titles unique to S. 4 follow...

Exon-Florio Foreign Investment Provision: Overview of H.R. 556

Food Labeling: Allergy Information

Federal Research and Development Funding: FY2007

On February 15, 2007 President Bush signed into law P.L. 110-5 (H.J.Res. 20), which provides funding for the nine outstanding regular appropriations bills through September 30, 2007.The 109th Congress passed two appropriations bills, the Department of Defense (P.L. 109-289, H.Rept. 109-676) and the Department of Homeland Security (P.L. 109-295, H.Rept. 109-699). P.L. 110-5 will fund most agencies at FY2006 levels through September 30, 2007. However, P.L. 110-5 contains some exceptions to those guidelines, including the centerpiece of the President’s proposed FY2007 R&D budget, the American...

Agroterrorism: Threats and Preparedness

The potential for terrorist attacks against agricultural targets (agroterrorism) is increasingly recognized as a national security threat, especially after the events of September 11, 2001. Agroterrorism is a subset of bioterrorism, and is defined as the deliberate introduction of an animal or plant disease with the goal of generating fear, causing economic losses, and/or undermining social stability.

The goal of agroterrorism is not to kill cows or plants. These are the means to the end of causing economic damage, social unrest, and loss of confidence in government. Human health could be...

U.S. National Science Foundation: An Overview

Dietary Supplements: Ephedra

“Sensitive But Unclassified” Information and Other Controls: Policy and Options for Scientific and Technical Information

Providing access to scientific and technical information (S&T) for legitimate uses while protecting it from potential terrorists poses difficult policy choices. Federally funded, extramural academic research is to be “classified” if it poses a security threat; otherwise, it is to be “unrestricted.” Since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, controls increasingly have been placed on some unclassified research and S&T information, including that used to inform decision making and citizen oversight. These controls include “sensitive but unclassified” (SBU) labels; restrictive contract...

Homeland Security Research and Development Funding, Organization, and Oversight

P.L. 107-296, the Homeland Security Act, consolidated some research and development (R&D) in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). For FY2007, Congress appropriated an R&D budget (excluding management/procurement) totaling about $1.0 billion, about 22% less than FY2006, and representing the first decline in DHS’s R&D funding since the inception of DHS in 2002. DHS is mandated to coordinate all federal agency homeland security R&D, which was requested at about $5.1 billion. During the 110th Congress, contentious policy issues relating to DHS’s R&D are likely to include...

Federal Research and Development: Budgeting and Priority-Setting Issues, 109th Congress

This report summarizes current research and development (R&D) priority-setting issues—in terms of expenditures; agency, topical, or field-specific priorities; and organizational arrangements to determine priorities. Federal R&D funding priorities reflect presidential policies and national needs. Defense R&D predominated in the 1980s, decreasing to about 50% of federal R&D in the 1990s. In non-defense R&D, space R&D was important in the 1960s as the nation sought to compete with the Soviet Union; energy R&D was a priority during the energy-short 1970s, and, since the 1980s, health R&D has...

9/11 Commission Recommendations: Implementation Status

This report provides a review of the 9/11 Commission recommendations and the status of their implementation at the end of the 109th Congress. The discussions herein are organized on the basis of policy themes that are at the core of the 9/11 Commission’s recommendations, rather than through a review of each numbered item set out in the Commission’s final report. The analysis was produced by a large team of CRS Specialists, analysts, and attorneys who are responsible for the wide variety of policy areas covered by the 9/11 Commission in its work. The authors of the varied segments of this...

Homeland Security Department: FY2007 Appropriations

The annual consideration of appropriations bills (regular, continuing, and supplemental) by Congress is part of a complex set of budget processes that also encompasses the consideration of budget resolutions, revenue and debt-limit legislation, other spending measures, and reconciliation bills. In addition, the operation of programs and the spending of appropriated funds are subject to constraints established in authorizing statutes. Congressional action on the budget for a fiscal year usually begins following the submission of the President’s budget at the beginning of each annual session...

Balancing Scientific Publication and National Security Concerns: Issues for Congress

The federal government has historically supported the open publication of federally funded research results. In cases where such results presented a challenge to national security concerns, several mechanisms have been employed. For fundamental research results, the federal policy has been to use classification to limit dissemination. For advanced technology and technological information, a combination of classification and export and arms trafficking regulation has been used to inhibit its spread. The terrorist attacks of 2001 increased scrutiny of nonconventional weapons, including...

Protection of Security-Related Information

The terrorist attacks of September 11 prompted a reevaluation of how to balance public access to information with the need for safety and security. The accumulation of confidential business information from owners and operators of the nation’s critical infrastructures, 85% of which is reportedly owned by the private sector, continues to be an important component of homeland security efforts. Critical infrastructure sectors have been defined to include information technology; telecommunications; chemicals; transportation systems; including mass transit, aviation, maritime, ground/surface,...

The Information Quality Act: OMB’s Guidance and Initial Implementation

Science and Technology Policy: Issues for the 109th Congress

Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Legislation in the 109th Congress

This report reviews the status of energy efficiency and renewable energy legislation introduced during the 109th Congress. Action in the second session has focused on appropriations bills; the first session focused on omnibus energy policy bill H.R. 6 ( P.L. 109-58 ), H.R. 3 ( P.L. 109-59 ), and several appropriations bills. The enacted version of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 ( P.L. 109-58 , H.R. 6 ) authorizes or reauthorizes several energy efficiency and renewable energy programs. It also establishes several new commercial and consumer product efficiency standards, sets new goals...

Energy Efficiency Policy: Budget, Electricity Conservation, and Fuel Conservation Issues

Energy efficiency issues include research and development (R&D) priorities, funding for climate-related efficiency programs, implementation of equipment efficiency standards, regulation of vehicle fuel efficiency, and electricity industry ratemaking for energy efficiency profitability. The Bush Administration has proposed an Advanced Energy Initiative (AEI) to accelerate hydrogen programs. For the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) energy efficiency R&D programs, the Administration seeks $484.7 million, with increases for Hydrogen and Hybrid/Electric Propulsion. The request would cut $74.8...

Federal Emergency Management and Homeland Security Organization: Historical Developments and Legislative Options

This report provides background information about the establishment and evolution of federal emergency management and related homeland security organization since 1950. Post-Katrina assessments of current arrangements by Congress and the White House are also discussed. Finally, the report provides a brief summary of related legislation that had been introduced as of July 17, 2006.

Renewable Energy Policy: Tax Credit, Budget, and Regulatory Issues

High gasoline and natural gas prices have rekindled interest in the role that renewable energy may play in producing electricity, displacing fossil fuel use, and curbing demand for power transmission equipment. Also, worldwide emphasis on environmental problems of air and water pollution and global climate change, the related development of clean-energy technologies in western Europe and Japan, and technology competitiveness may remain important influences on renewable energy policymaking.

The Bush Administration’s FY2007 budget request for the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Renewable...

Federal Research and Development: Budgeting and Priority-Setting Issues, 109th Congress

Federal research and development (R&D) funding priorities reflect presidential policies and national needs. For FY2007, R&D is requested at almost $137 billion of budget authority, about 1.8% more than enacted in FY2006. The FY2007 budget would fund three interagency R&D initiatives: networking and information technology; climate change science; and nanotechnology. The Administration is using performance measures for R&D budgeting, including the Government Performance and Results Act and the Program Assessment Rating Tool.

U.S. Space Programs: Civilian, Military, and Commercial

The future of the U.S. human space flight program is dominating debate about NASA. Pursuant to the "Vision for Space Exploration" announced by President Bush in January 2004, the shuttle program is to be terminated in 2010. The Vision directs NASA to focus its activities on returning humans to the Moon by 2020 and eventually sending them to Mars. How to manage Department of Defense (DOD) space programs to avoid the cost growth and schedule delays that have characterized several recent projects is a key issue facing DOD. The appropriate role of the government in facilitating commercial...

The Federal Networking and Information Technology Research and Development Program: Funding Issues and Activities

This report discusses federal funding for IT research and development. Proponents assert that federal support of IT R&D has produced positive outcomes for the country and played a crucial role in supporting long-term research into fundamental aspects of computing. Critics assert that the government, through its funding mechanisms, may be

picking “winners and losers” in technological development, a role more properly residing

with the private sector.

MTBE in Gasoline: Clean Air and Drinking Water Issues

As gasoline prices have risen in March and April 2006, renewed attention has been given to methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), a gasoline additive being phased out of the nation's fuel supply. Many argue that the phaseout of MTBE and its replacement by ethanol have been a major factor in driving up prices. MTBE has been used by refiners since the late 1970s. It came into widespread use when leaded gasoline was phased out -- providing an octane boost similar to that of lead, but without fouling the catalytic converters used to reduce auto emissions since the mid-1970s. MTBE has also been...

Comparing Automotive and Steel Industry Legacy Cost Issues

DOE Budget Earmarks: A Selective Look at Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy R&D Programs

Appropriations earmarks for the Department of Energy's (DOE's) Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) programs have tripled from FY2003 to FY2006. According to the Executive Office of the President and the private American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), this affects the conduct of programs and may delay the achievement of goals. Further, the Administration has proposed new funding for hydrogen, biomass/biorefinery, and solar energy initiatives proposed under the American Competitiveness Initiative/Advanced Energy Initiative (AEI). The report discusses the...

The Exon-Florio National Security Test for Foreign Investment

The proposed acquisition of major operations in six major U.S. ports by Dubai Ports World and of Unocal by the China National Offshore Oil Corporation sparked intense concerns among some Members of Congress and the public and has reignited the debate over what role foreign acquisitions play in U.S. national security. The United States actively promotes internationally the national treatment of foreign firms. Several Members of Congress have introduced various measures during the 2nd Session of the 109th Congress that can be grouped into four major areas: those that deal specifically with...

Global Climate Change: Federal Research on Possible Human Health Effects

This report identifies the array of climate-relevant human health research and discusses the interconnections.

Federal Research and Development Funding: FY2006

The Bush Administration requested $132.4 billion in federal research and development (R&D) funding for FY2006. This sum represents a $400 million increase over the FY2005 estimated funding level of $132 billion. CRS estimates that Congress has approved a record $135.7 billion for federal R&D in FY2006, a 2.8% increase over the FY2005 estimated funding level. However, nearly all of that increase can be attributed to increases in defense weapons systems and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's $877 million increase for human space exploration technology. (1) (See Table 13) ...

Homeland Security Department: FY2006 Appropriations

This report describes the FY2006 appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The Administration requested a net appropriation of $30.6 billion in net budget authority for FY2006, of which $29.6 billion is discretionary budget authority, and $1 billion is mandatory budget authority. P.L. 109-90 was signed into law on October 18, 2005, and provides a net appropriation of $31.9 billion for DHS and $30.8 billion in discretionary budget authority.

The President’s request for appropriations includes the following break out of net budget authority for the four Titles of the DHS...

Transportation, the Treasury, Housing and Urban Development, the Judiciary, the District of Columbia, the Executive Office of the President, and Independent Agencies: FY2006 Appropriations

At the beginning of the 109th Congress, both the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations reorganized their subcommittee structure, affecting the coverage of the FY2006 appropriations bills. As a result, the appropriations subcommittees that previously oversaw the Departments of Transportation and the Treasury, the Executive Office of the President, and Independent Agencies now also oversee the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Judiciary, and (in the case of the House, but not the Senate) the District of Columbia.

The Bush Administration requested $126.1 billion for...

Stem Cell Research

Space Stations

Science, State, Justice, Commerce and Related Agencies (House)/Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (Senate): FY2006 Appropriations

This report monitors actions taken by the 109th Congress for the House’s Science, State, Justice, Commerce, and Related Agencies (SSJC) and the Senate’s Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) FY2006 appropriations legislation. Appropriations bills reflect the jurisdiction of the subcommittees of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees in which they are considered. Jurisdictions for the subcommittees of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees changed at the beginning of the 109th Congress. In the 108th Congress, both the House and Senate subcommittees had...

Anthrax-Contaminated Facilities: Preparations and a Standard for Remediation

This report provides background information on the 2001 anthrax incidents and federal preparedness plans, but it focuses primarily on preparations for future remediations and considerations for setting a remediation standard.

Energy and Water Development: FY2006 Appropriations

The Energy and Water Development appropriations bill in the past included funding for civil works projects of the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation (BOR), most of the Department of Energy (DOE), and a number of independent agencies.

After the budget request for FY2006 was submitted in February 2005, both the House and the Senate Appropriations Committees reorganized their subcommittee structure and with it the content of the various appropriations bills to be introduced. In the case of Energy and Water Development, the only changes were...

Climate Change: Federal Expenditures for Science and Technology

Arsenic-Treated Wood: Background and Overview

Republic of the Marshall Islands Changed Circumstances Petition to Congress

In September 2000, the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) government submitted to the United States Congress a Changed Circumstances Petition related to U.S. nuclear testing on the Marshall Islands atolls of Bikini and Enewetak during the 1940s and 1950s. The Petition requests additional compensation for personal injuries and property damages and restoration costs, medical care programs, health services infrastructure and training, and radiological monitoring. According to various estimates, between 1954 and 2004, the United States spent over $500 million on nuclear test compensation...

Intellectual Property and Collaborative Research

Innovative individuals and firms have increasingly engaged in collaborative research. The greater complexity of modern technology, heightened specialization in advanced fields, improved means of communications, and the desire to share the risks and expenses of high technology research have each contributed to this trend. Congressional interest in creating an environment conducive to collaborative research has resulted in numerous legislative initiatives. The Patent Law Amendments Act of 1984 and the Cooperative Research and Technology Enhancement (CREATE) Act of 2004 are among those that...

Omnibus Energy Legislation, 109th Congress: Side-by-Side Assessment of House and Senate Versions of H.R. 6

The House approved an omnibus energy bill ( H.R. 6 ) on April 21, 2005, that would open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to oil and gas leasing, substantially change oversight of electric utilities, increase the use of alternative motor fuels, provide $8.1 billion in energy tax incentives, and authorize numerous energy R&D programs. The Senate passed its version of H.R. 6 on June 28 without ANWR provisions but with $14.1 billion in tax incentives -- including a nuclear energy production credit -- and provisions on global climate change. Highlights of the bills include:

...

Dietary Supplements: International Standards and Trade Agreements

The dietary supplement industry has long been concerned about international activities that could have a potential impact on supplement trade. As originally proposed, FDA reform legislation contained provisions on mutual agreements and global harmonization that would have applied to most products under FDA jurisdiction. However, Congress explicitly exempted supplements from the final provisions of the Food and Drug Administration Modernization Act of 1997 (P.L. 105-115), which means that these products are not part of on-going trade discussions.

Genetically Engineered Fish and Seafood

Genetic engineering techniques allow the manipulation of inherited traits to modify organisms. Genetically modified (GM) fish and seafood products are currently under development and may offer potential benefits such as increasing aquaculture productivity and addressing human health concerns. However, some critics of this rapidly evolving field are concerned that current technological and regulatory safeguards are inadequate to protect the environment and ensure public acceptance of these products. This report discusses various regulatory and environmental concerns regarding GM fish and...

Agriculture: A Glossary of Terms, Programs, and Laws, 2005 Edition

The complexities of federal farm and food programs have generated a unique vocabulary. Common understanding of these terms (new and old) is important to those involved in policymaking in this area. For this reason, the House Agriculture Committee requested that CRS prepare a glossary of agriculture and related terms (e.g., food programs, conservation, forestry, environmental protection, etc.). Besides defining terms and phrases with specialized meanings for agriculture, the glossary also identifies acronyms, abbreviations, agencies, programs, and laws related to agriculture that are of...

Presidential Appointments to Full-Time Positions in Independent and Other Agencies During the 108th Congress

This report provides an overview of the process for filling positions to which the President makes appointments with the advice and consent of the Senate. It also discusses nominations to full-time positions in 38 executive branch organizations (25 independent agencies, six agencies in the Executive Office of the President (EOP), and seven multilateral banking organizations) and four legislative branch agencies. It excludes appointments to executive departments and to regulatory and other boards and commissions, which are covered in other reports. The Federal Emergency Management Agency,...

Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami: Humanitarian Assistance and Relief Operations

On December 26, 2004, a magnitude 9.0 undersea earthquake off the west coast of northern Sumatra, Indonesia, unleashed a tsunami that affected more than 12 countries throughout south and southeast Asia and stretched as far as the northeastern African coast. Current official estimates indicate that more than 250,000 people are dead or missing and millions of others are affected, including those injured or displaced, making this the deadliest tsunami on record. Sections of Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, and Thailand have suffered the worst devastation. In response, the United Nations, the...

Nursing Workforce Programs in Title VIII of the Public Health Service Act

Responding to concerns about existing or impending shortages of nurses, Congress passed the Nurse Training Act of 1964 (P.L. 88-581). It established in Title VIII of the Public Health Service Act (PHSA) the first comprehensive federal support for programs to develop the nursing workforce. Through subsequent authorizations, these programs have been amended to increase opportunities in nurse education and training for individuals and institutions. Currently, Title VIII authorizes grants to institutions, and scholarships and loans to individuals, for basic and advanced levels of nursing...

Creating a National Framework for Cybersecurity: An Analysis of Issues and Options

Even before the terrorist attacks of September 2001, concerns had been rising among security experts about the vulnerabilities to attack of computer systems and associated infrastructure. Yet, despite increasing attention from federal and state governments and international organizations, the defense against attacks on these systems has appeared to be generally fragmented and varying widely in effectiveness. Concerns have grown that what is needed is a national cybersecurity framework -- a coordinated, coherent set of public- and private-sector efforts required to ensure an acceptable...

Peer Review: OMB's Proposed, Revised, and Final Bulletins

In September 2003, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) published a proposed bulletin on "Peer Review and Information Quality" in the Federal Register that sought to establish a process by which all "significant regulatory information" would be peer reviewed. The scope of the proposed bulletin was very broad, covering virtually all agencies and defining regulatory information as "any scientific or technical study that ... might be used by local, state, regional, federal and/or international regulatory bodies." Such information would be subject to peer review if the agency could...

Federal Research and Development Funding: FY2005

This report discusses federal research and development (R&D) funding for FY2005. The Bush Administration requested $131.9 billion in R&D funding for FY2005. This was $5.9 billion above the estimated $126 billion that was appropriated for federal R&D in FY2004.

Critical Infrastructure Protections: The 9/11 Commission Report and Congressional Response

Many of the recommendations made in the 9/11 Commission's report dealt indirectly with critical infrastructure protection, especially as the goals of critical infrastructure protection have evolved to include countering the type of attack that occurred on September 11. However, relatively few of the recommendations addressed critical infrastructure protection specifically. Those that did called for using a systematic risk management approach for setting priorities and allocating resources for critical infrastructure protection. None of these recommendations advocated a change in...

Information Sharing for Homeland Security: A Brief Overview

Homeland Security: Department Organization and Management -- Implementation Phase

After substantial congressional entreatment, President George W. Bush gave impetus to the creation of a Department of Homeland Security when, on June 6, 2002, he proposed the establishment of such an entity by the 107th Congress. The President transmitted his department proposal to the House of Representatives on June 18, where it was subsequently introduced by request ( H.R. 5005 ). The House approved the bill in amended form on July 26. The Senate did not begin consideration of the legislation until after an August recess. Senate deliberations on the matter were slower due to partisan...

Environmental Protection Agency: Appropriations for FY2005

The President signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act for FY2005 ( P.L. 108-447 , H.R. 4818 ) on December 8, 2004. The law provides funding for numerous federal agencies, including $8.09 billion for EPA, subject to an across-the-board rescission of 0.8%. The final appropriation is more than the Administration's request of $7.79 billion, but is less than the FY2004 appropriation of $8.37 billion. The adequacy of funding for scientific research, the cleanup of hazardous waste sites under the Superfund program, and water infrastructure were prominent issues in the FY2005 appropriations...

Science and Technology Policy: Issues for the 108th Congress, 2nd Session

Appropriations for FY2005: VA, HUD, and Independent Agencies

Appropriations for FY2005: Transportation, Treasury, and Independent Agencies

The FY2005 Transportation, Treasury and Independent Agencies appropriations bill was passed as Division H of P.L. 108-447 , an omnibus appropriations bill, and was signed into law on December 8, 2004. The bill provides $90.6 billion for Transportation, Treasury, and Independent Agencies. However, the bill also includes an across-the-board rescission of 0.80%, which will reduce the Transportation, Treasury, and Independent Agencies funding by approximately $725 million. This will make the final figure $89.9 billion, slightly less than FY2004’s $90.3 billion but more than...

Agricultural Biotechnology: Overview and Selected Issues

H.R. 10 (9/11 Recommendations Implementation Act) and S. 2845 (National Intelligence Reform Act of 2004): A Comparative Analysis

This comparative analysis of H.R. 10 (9/11 Recommendations Implementation Act) and S. 2845 (National Intelligence Reform Act of 2004) is an assessment of major similarities and differences between the two bills as passed by the House (October 8, 2004) and Senate (October 6, 2004) and under conference consideration.

References to the two bills are to engrossed versions. The presentation is organized to follow the basic construct of the House bill, because its coverage remained more stable through the legislative process to date. For purposes of clarity, we refer to the House-passed bill as...

Air Pollution Emission Control: Existing Technologies and Mercury Cobenefits

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates the amount of pollution emitted into the atmosphere by stationary combustion sources. To meet these regulations, stationary sources use various techniques to reduce air pollutant emissions, including installing post-combustion emission control technologies. Some post-combustion technologies reduce the emissions of other pollutants besides the one for which they are designed. These concomitant reductions are called cobenefits. The EPA has proposed regulating mercury emissions from coal-fired electric power plants by relying on the results...

Terrorism: Key Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission and Recent Major Commissions and Inquiries

This report highlights key recommendations set out in the report of the 9/11 Commission organized by the following major thematic areas: (1) Focus of U.S. International Anti-Terrorism Policy; (2) Institutional Steps to Protect Against and Prepare for Terrorist Attacks; (3) Intelligence Issues; and (4) Congress and Oversight Issues. A bulleted summary is made, under each of these major thematic headings, of the key recommendations of the 9/11 Commission, the Gilmore Commission, the Bremer Commission, the Joint Inquiry of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, and the Hart-Rudman...

Homeland Security Research and Development Funding and Activities in Federal Agencies: A Preliminary Inventory

According to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), federal agency funding for homeland security research and development (R&D) was requested at $3.6 billion for FY2005, a 5.4% increase over the enacted FY2004 level, and about 63% more than enacted for FY2003, and about double the resources used in FY2002. The Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) R&D programs constitute about one-third of total federal homeland security R&D funding. Other agencies which have substantial homeland security R&D budgets, listed in descending funding order, include the National Institutes of Health, the...

Federal Homeland Security Research and Development Funding: Issues of Data Quality

Section 889 of the Homeland Security Act, P.L. 107-296 , requires the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to report homeland security budget data annually to Congress and to consult with Congress to identify homeland security activities for this purpose. Accurate information is needed in order to set and coordinate priorities and policy for federal homeland security research and development (R&D). P.L. 107-296 gave the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary, acting through the Under Secretary for Science and Technology, coordination responsibilities to ensure that federal...

Small-scale Terrorist Attacks Using Chemical and Biological Agents: An Assessment Framework and Preliminary Comparisons

This report, which will be updated as necessary, presents a means of assessing the relative threat from terrorist-use of individual chemical, biological, and toxin agents. It focuses on small-scale, targeted chemical and biological attacks, rather than mass-casualty attacks. The framework considers the elements of access, public health impact, medical treatment, prophylaxis, and dissemination. Other factors that may affect potential use by terrorists include the range of lethality, covert employment of an agent, and the availability of dual-use technologies. The results of this framework...

Government Performance and Results Act: Brief History and Implementation Activities

This report discusses implementation of the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA), P.L. 103-62 (107 Stat. 285). General Accounting Office reports, congressional reviews, and Office of Management and Budget documents indicate that while agencies are making progress in implementing the law, they encounter difficulties when trying to use results-oriented goals, measures, and data. Interest is growing in using results-oriented information in authorizations, oversight, and funding decisions. The Bush Administration identifies budget and performance integration as one of five...

General Management Laws: A Compendium

This report (hereafter "compendium") is a companion to CRS Report RL32388(pdf) , General Management Laws: Major Themes and Management Policy Options . In combination, these reports have three main objectives: (1) to identify and describe the major management laws under which the executive branch of the federal government is required to operate, including their rationale, design, and scope; (2) to assist Members of Congress and their staff in oversight of executive branch management; and (3) to help Congress when considering potential changes to the management laws themselves, as well as...

Computer Security: A Summary of Selected Federal Laws, Executive Orders, and Presidential Directives

This report provides a short summary of selected federal laws, executive orders, and presidential directives, currently in force, that govern computer security. The report focuses on the major roles and responsibilities assigned various federal agencies in the area of computer security. This report will not be updated.

One major area of federal activity in computer security deals with securing federal computer systems. The roles and responsibilities for securing federal computer systems are split between national security systems and all other federal systems. The Federal Information...

Foreign Assistance Authorization Act, FY2005

Congress last enacted a broad foreign assistance authorization act in 1985. In the absence of omnibus foreign aid measures, the majority of foreign assistance legislation has been enacted as part of annual Foreign Operations appropriation measures. Division B of S. 2144 -- Foreign Assistance Authorization for FY2005 -- is an effort to "reinforce" the Senate Foreign Relations Committee's role in foreign aid policy making. It is not an attempt to comprehensively review and re-write existing foreign aid legislation, but rather it is a first step in providing necessary authorization for...

Appropriations for FY2004: VA, HUD, and Independent Agencies

Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSEs), Including "Mad Cow Disease": Public Health and Scientific Issues

On December 23, 2003, the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture announced that a cow in Washington state had tested positive for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE, or Mad Cow disease), representing the first domestic case. The Secretary announced expanded protections against BSE on December 30, 2003. On January 26, 2004, the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services announced additional safety measures for products regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to protect public health. Both have stressed that the human health impact of finding one BSE positive cow is believed to...

Appropriations for FY2004: Transportation, Treasury, Postal Service, Executive Office of the President, General Government, and Related Agencies

For FY2004 Congress began providing, in a single bill, appropriations for the Departments of Transportation and the Treasury, the United States Postal Service, the Executive Office of the President, and Related Agencies, as well as General Government provisions. On January 23, 2004, President Bush signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2004 ( H.R. 2673 ; P.L. 108-199 ), which included the conference version of the FY2004 Transportation, Treasury and Independent Agencies Appropriations bill. On September 9, 2003, the House passed H.R. 2989 , the FY2004 Transportation, Treasury and...

"Sensitive But Unclassified" and Other Federal Security Controls on Scientific and Technical Information: Background on the Controversy

The U.S. Government has always protected scientific and technical information that might compromise national security. Since the 2001 terrorist attacks, controls have been widened on access to information and scientific components that could threaten national security. The policy challenge is to balance science and security without compromising national security, scientific progress, and constitutional and statutory protections. This report summarizes (1) provisions of the Patent Law; Atomic Energy Act; International Traffic in Arms Control regulations; the USA PATRIOT Act, P.L. 107-56 ;...

Dual-Use Biological Equipment: Difficulties in Domestic Regulation

A question in the current debate over chemical and biological terrorism is: how well do current United States policies limit opportunities to terrorist groups for acquisition of such weapons? The domestic purchase and use of “dual-use” biological equipment, such as fermenters, centrifuges, and other equipment, is one area suggested as potentially providing opportunities for terrorist, biological weapons development. Dual-use equipment has both legitimate civilian and military use. Regulating international sale of dual-use equipment is used as a nonproliferation policy tool. Similar...

MTBE in Gasoline: Clean Air and Drinking Water Issues

MTBE in Gasoline: Clean Air and Drinking Water Issues

Computer Software and Open Source Issues: A Primer

The use of open source software by the federal government has been gaining attention as organizations continue to search for opportunities to enhance their information technology (IT) operations while containing costs. For the federal government and Congress, the debate over the use of open source software intersects several other issues, including, but not limited to, the development of homeland security and e-government initiatives, improving government information technology management practices, strengthening computer security, and protecting intellectual property rights. Currently,...

Climate Change: Federal Research and Technology and Related Programs

For over 20 years there have been federal programs directly or indirectly related to climate change. Direct programs have focused largely on scientific research to improve the capability to understand climate systems and/or predict climatic change and variability. Energy use has been a major focus of efforts related to possible climate change because carbon dioxide, the major "greenhouse gas," is added to the atmosphere when fossil fuels are burned. Those efforts, which sought to reduce oil imports, manage electricity needs, and address environmental concerns including climate...

Homeland Security: Standards for State and Local Preparedness

Emergency Electronic Communications in Congress: Proposals and Issues

The events of September 11, 2001, and the subsequent anthrax incidents have prompted some observers to suggest creating an emergency electronic communications system for Congress to ensure continuity of its operations. On July 25, 2003, Representative James R. Langevin introduced H.R. 2948. The bill would direct the Comptroller General of the United States to enter into arrangements with the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and the Librarian of Congress for conducting a study on the feasibility and costs of implementing such a system for Congress to use during an emergency.

Presidential Appointments to Full-Time Positions in Independent and Other Agencies During the 107th Congress

During the 107th Congress, 109 nominations to full-time positions in independent and other agencies were submitted to the Senate. Of these nominations, three were submitted by President Clinton before he left office and were withdrawn by President Bush on March 19, 2001. President Bush submitted 106 nominations, of which 94 were confirmed, 10 were returned to him, and two were withdrawn. President Clinton made three recess appointments to these positions during the intersession between the 106th and 107th Congresses; all expired at the end of the first session of the 107th Congress....

Emergency Communications: Meeting Public Safety Spectrum Needs

This report has two main sections. In the first section “Identifying Public Safety Needs,” some of the organizations involved with public safety telecommunications are introduced, and key activities dealing with wireless and spectrum issues are summarized. The second main section, “Spectrum for Public Safety,” is organized by the major spectrum bands where public safety wireless communications are in use or planned. These are at: 100-512 MHz; 700 MHz; 800 MHz; 900 MHz and 4.9 GHz. Ultra-wide band (UWB), that broadcasts across a broad range of frequencies, is also discussed. The final...

Monkeypox: Technical Background and Outbreak Implications for Bioterrorism Preparedness

Monkeypox, a viral disease related to smallpox, has appeared in humans in the Midwest. Though monkeypox usually has a fatality rate of 1 to 10%, no fatalities have occurred in the outbreak, which has been linked to pet rodents. Although officials do not believe that this outbreak is bioterrorism, the delay between the initial presentation of an unusual disease and the notification to the federal government has raised concerns regarding the state of bioterrorism preparedness. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have provided guidance to local communities regarding handling...

U.S. Agricultural Biotechnology in Global Markets: An Introduction

U.S. farmers have been rapidly adopting genetically engineered (GE) crops -- mainly corn, soybean, and cotton varieties -- to lower production costs and improve management. However, the U.S. agricultural economy is highly dependent upon exports, at a time when many foreign consumers are wary of the products of agricultural biotechnology. As a result, U.S. exporters often have encountered barriers to trade in these markets. Among the most controversial barriers is in the European Union (EU). The EU, the fourth-largest foreign market for U.S. agricultural products, since 1998 has...

Homeland Security Act of 2002: Legislative History and Pagination Key

Appropriations for FY2003: VA, HUD, and Independent Agencies

Appropriations are one part of a complex federal budget process that includes budget resolutions, appropriations (regular, supplemental, and continuing) bills, rescissions, and budget reconciliation bills. This Report is a guide to one of the 13 regular appropriations bills that Congress passes each year. It is designed to supplement the information provided by the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on VA, HUD, and Independent Agencies.

Appropriations for FY2003: Treasury, Postal Service, Executive Office of the President, and General Government

The Treasury and General Government accounts are funded for FY2003 through the Consolidated Appropriations Resolution, 2003 ( P.L. 108-7 ; Division J). Because the accounts in this appropriation were not funded, other than under continuing resolution, as the 107th Congress adjourned, legislation was required for that purpose early in the 108th Congress. During the interim, the accounts were funded at FY2002 enacted levels. P.L. 108-7 also requires a rescission across all discretionary funding within the Act. On February 4, 2002, President George W. Bush submitted his FY2003 budget to...

Homeland Security Act of 2002: Critical Infrastructure Information Act

The Critical Infrastructure Information Act of 2002 (“CIIA”), to be codified at 6 U.S.C. §§131 - 134, was passed on November 25, 2002 as subtitle B of Title II of the Homeland Security Act (P.L. 107-296, 116 Stat. 2135, sections 211 - 215), and regulates the use and disclosure of information submitted to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) about vulnerabilities and threats to critical infrastructure. This report examines the CIIA. For further information, see CRS Report RL30153, Critical Infrastructures: Background, Policy, and Implementation, by John D. Moteff. This report will be...

Synthetic Poliovirus: Bioterrorism and Science Policy Implications

In July 2002, an online scientific journal published a report describing how to make the virus that causes polio from mail-ordered pieces of DNA. This sparked widespread concern that the same process could be used by terrorists to make this or other biological agents. Most bioterrorism experts agree that it would be much easier, cheaper, and quicker to obtain most such agents from naturally occurring sources. Smallpox and Ebola are frequently cited as exceptions; however, these agents would be significantly more difficult to synthesize than poliovirus. To limit the threat posed by...

Invasive Non-Native Species: Background and Issues for Congress

This report compares an approach based on a species-by-species assessment, vs. one based on pathways of entry. It also assesses the choice of an emphasis on prevention vs. post hoc control and intra-state quarantine. It describes existing federal laws and federal agency roles, federal interagency cooperation, and the federal interaction with state governments. Finally, it outlines effects, costs, and issues surrounding 47 selected harmful non-native species.

Federal Research and Development Organization, Policy, and Funding for Counterterrorism

Before the September 11th terrorist attacks, experts questioned whether the government was prepared adequately to conduct and use research and development (R&D) to counter terrorism. They cited inadequate planning; conflicting information about agency funding; the absence of coordinated ways to set priorities and eliminate duplication; and the need to use research resources effectively. Mechanisms have been established since then to set specific R&D priorities and to coordinate interagency policy. The Office of Homeland Security (OHS), created by Executive Order 13228, does not list R&D...

Federal Chief Information Officer (CIO): Opportunities and Challenges

Debate over the creation of a federal Chief Information Officer (CIO) position has ebbed and flowed over the past five years as Congress has sought to address government information technology (IT) management issues. In private sector organizations, a CIO is often a senior decisionmaker providing leadership and direction for information resource development, procurement, and management, with a focus on improving efficiency and the quality of services delivered. Originally considered in an early draft of the Clinger-Cohen Act in 1995 ( P.L. 104-106 ), the idea of a single federal CIO...

Protecting Critical Infrastructure from Terrorist Attack: A Catalog of Selected Federal Assistance Programs

This report lists selected federal assistance programs that are available to state, local, and other public authorities to help protect critical infrastructures. Critical infrastructures include such facilities as seaports, airports, energy production and transmission, assets used by the telecommunications and banking and finance industries, and those assets used by emergency services. Much of what is considered critical infrastructure is owned and operated by the private sector, and the private sector is primarily responsible for ensuring its protection. However, for those facilities...

Federal Disaster Policies After Terrorists Strike: Issues and Options for Congress

This report is intended to assist Congress as it considers options for consequence management legislation. It provides information on federal policies that would be implemented in the event that terrorist attacks in an attempt to answer the question: Based on experiences gained thus far, should Congress consider changes in federal consequence management policies to address the effects of possible future attacks? The report explores two types of issues--selected administrative issues pertinent to the delivery of assistance, and selected policy issues about the assistance provided.

Klamath River Basin Issues: An Overview of Water Use Conflicts

Severe drought in 2001 affected the Klamath River Basin, an area on the California-Oregon border, exacerbating competition for scarce water resources and generating conflict among several interests -- farmers, municipal and industrial users, commercial and sport fishermen, other recreationists, federal wildlife refuges, environmental groups, and Indian Tribes. The conflicts over water distribution and allocation are physically and legally complex, reflecting the varied and sometimes competing uses of limited water supplies in the Upper Basin.

On April 6, 2001, the Bureau of Reclamation...

Omnibus Energy Legislation: H.R. 4 Side-by-side Comparison

The House and Senate have passed two distinct versions of an omnibus energy bill ( H.R. 4 ), the first comprehensive energy legislation in ten years. The substantial differences between the two chambers' approaches to energy policy remain to be resolved in conference, which is expected to take place over the summer. The House version of H.R. 4 , the Securing America's Future Energy Act of 2001, which passed August 2, 2001, includes a key component of the Bush Administration's energy strategy: opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to oil and gas exploration and development....

Homeland Security Office: Issues and Options

President George W. Bush created the Office of Homeland Security (OHS) within the Executive Office of the President after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks as a federal focal point for coordinating domestic efforts against terrorism. Former Governor Tom Ridge of Pennsylvania, a close friend and political ally of the President, was appointed to head the OHS. Such a high-level unit, it was hoped, could bring direction and coherence to federal homeland security-related activities that were spread among more than 40 different departments and agencies. Yet OHS has been controversial...

Possible Impacts of Major Counter Terrorism Security Actions on Research, Development, and Higher Education

The Congress, the executive branch, and scientific and technical communities have adopted and are considering research and development (R&D) and education-related security measures to counteract terrorism. There is widespread agreement on the need for these measures, but some experts say that they could have unintended consequences. Some of these actions are included in the PATRIOT/USA Act, P.L. 107-56 ; in addition the Office of Homeland Security, federal agencies, and the scientific and technical community have proposed or taken other actions. Activities relating to higher education (in...

Instant Messaging on the Internet: Interoperability Issues of Competition and Fair Access

Instant Messaging (IM) is one of the fastest growing Internet applications. The recent debate about IM is related to the broad issues of open access rules and competition in the high speed Internet service and cable television markets. Although IM technology has evolved largely independent of formal regulation, a review of the AOL-Time Warner (AOL-TW) merger brought issues of interoperability (the ability to exchange messages between multiple IM services) among IM services under scrutiny both in the US and Europe. Concerns about open access and accessibility for the disabled, have been...

Irradiated Mail

In response to the mailings of the bioterror agent Bacillus anthracis , the U.S. Postal Service has begun systematic sterilization of mail destined for federal government offices in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area. The mail is sterilized using irradiation by electron beam, a method widely used to treat food and medical devices. The USPS is considering expanding sterilization procedures to include all non-commercial mail. The USPS predicts that this may cost up to $2.25 billion and could start as early as FY2005. This report examines some of the issues surrounding benefits...

The Internet and the USA PATRIOT Act: Potential Implications for Electronic Privacy, Security, Commerce, and Government

The September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks prompted congressional action on many fronts, including passage of the United and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism (USA PATRIOT) Act, P.L. 107-56 . The Act is broadly scoped, and some of its provisions may affect Internet usage, computer security, and critical infrastructure protection. In the area of computer security, the Act creates a definition of "computer trespasser" and makes such activities a terrorist act in certain circumstances. The Act enables law enforcement officials...

Energy Policy Act of 2002: Summary of S.1766 as Introduced

The Energy Policy Act of 2002 (S. 1766) was introduced by Senate Majority Leader Daschle on December 5, 2001, and placed on the Senate Calendar for floor action. The bill is expected to be the primary vehicle for Senate debate on national energy policy. S. 1766 would further the trend of the past two decades towards competitive electric markets. Subtitle B of Title II of S. 1766 would repeal the Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935 (PUHCA), which makes certain multi-state utility holding companies subject to regulation by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Title II,...

Government Information Technology Management: Past and Future Issues (The Clinger-Cohen Act)

Government reform and improved management of public resources have been a common theme in congressional policymaking over the past decade. This report provides an overview of the Information Technology Management Reform Act (ITMRA) of 1996, or as it is better known, the Clinger-Cohen Act. Although the Clinger Cohen Act is a combination of the Federal Acquisition Reform Act (FARA) and the ITMRA, this report focuses on the information technology procurement and management reforms only. At the time of its passage, ITMRA reflected a growing concern that the federal government was not...

Magnetic Fusion: The DOE Fusion Energy Sciences Program

Human Cloning

Appropriations for FY2002: VA, HUD, and Independent Agencies (P.L. 107-73)

Appropriations are one part of a complex federal budget process that includes budget resolutions, appropriations (regular, supplemental, and continuing) bills, rescissions, and budget reconciliation bills. This report is a guide to one of the 13 regular appropriations bills that Congress passes each year. It is designed to supplement the information provided by the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on VA, HUD, and Independent Agencies.

Research and Development Funding: Fiscal Year 2002

Presidential Appointments to Full-time Positions in Independent and Other Agencies During the 106th Congress, 1999 -- 2000

This report provides information on 120 full-time positions requiring Senate confirmation in 25 independent executive agencies, six units in the Executive Office of the President, six multilateral banking agencies, and four legislative branch agencies. It does not cover appointments to cabinet departments or independent regulatory and other collegial boards and commissions. During the 106th Congress, President Clinton submitted 37 nominations to full-time positions requiring Senate confirmation. The Senate confirmed 28 of the nominations and returned seven at the end of the Congress. The...

Nutrition Labeling: Fresh Meats

Abortion: Termination of Early Pregnancy with RU-486 (Mifepristone)

On September 28, 2000, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the drug mifepristone, also known as RU-486, for the termination of early pregnancy. Because RU-486 is an abortion agent, the process of moving it out of the lab and into mainstream medicine has been fraught with controversy. Since its discovery, the pro-life movement has been adamantly against the use of this drug for abortion. This report discusses the procedure of obtaining and using the drug, as well as the ongoing debate regarding its usage and related legislation.

Food Biotechnology in the United States: Science, Regulation, and Issues

This report discusses the science of food biotechnology, and the federal structure by which it is regulated. Because U.S. farmers are adopting this technology at a rapid rate, some observers advocate a more active role for the federal government to ensure that farmers have equal access to this technology. Others believe that federal officials should play a more active role in protecting the environment, funding more research, and participating in international trade negotiations to ensure that trade continues to expand for genetically engineered crops. Trading partners often label food...

Environmental Protection: New Approaches

In recent years, the interest in alternatives to the nation's "command-and-control" approach to environmental protection has heightened. Driving this interest are concerns that the current approach is inefficient and excessively costly, and that it is ineffective in addressing certain problems such as nonpoint source pollution and global climate change. Several blue-ribbon panels have issued reports on environmental protection needs for the next century, including one headed by former two-time Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, William D. Ruckelshaus -- ...

Appropriations for FY2001: VA, HUD, and Independent Agencies (P.L. 106-377)

Appropriations are one part of a complex federal budget process that includes budget resolutions, appropriations (regular, supplemental, and continuing) bills, rescissions, and budget reconciliation bills. This report is a guide to one of the 13 regular appropriations bills that Congress passes each year. It is designed to supplement the information provided by the House and Senate Subcommittees on VA, HUD and Independent Agencies Appropriations.

The National Institutes of Health: An Overview

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the focal point for federal health research. An agency of the Department of Health and Human Services, it uses its $17.8 billion budget to support more than 50,000 scientists working at 2,000 institutions across the United States, as well as to conduct biomedical and behavioral research and research training at its own facilities. Components of the agency include 25 institutes and centers, each with a focus on particular diseases or research areas in human health. Recent budget growth has been significant despite caps on discretionary spending....

Federal R&D, Drug Discovery, and Pricing: Insights from the NIH-University-Industry Relationship

Interest in methods to provide drugs at lower cost, particularly for the elderly, has rekindled discussion over the role the federal government plays in facilitating the creation of new pharmaceuticals for the marketplace. This report explores the issue of whether or not the substantial federal investment in health-related research and development (R&D) entitles the public to commensurate consideration in prices charged for any resulting drugs. It is intended to provide the reader with an understanding of the rationale for government support of R&D and subsequent efforts to...

Appropriations for FY2000: Treasury, Postal Service, Executive Office of the President, and General Government

P.L. 106-58 ( H.R. 2490 ), signed by the President September 29, 1999, to fund the Department of the Treasury, the Executive Office of the President, several independent agencies and to provide partial funding for the U.S. Postal Service. The act funds the accounts at $27.99 billion, including mandatories (before scorekeeping by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO)). The consolidated FY2000 funding measure, P.L. 106-113 , signed November 29, 1999, requires a cut by 0.38% in all accounts. The administration's budget, to be submitted in early February, will contain a report on the exact...

Appropriations for FY2000: VA, HUD, and Independent Agencies

Appropriations are one part of a complex federal budget process that includes budget resolutions, appropriations (regular, supplemental, and continuing) bills, rescissions, and budget reconciliation bills. This report is a guide to one of the 13 regular appropriations bills that Congress passes each year. It is designed to supplement the information provided by the House and Senate Subcommittees on VA, HUD and Independent Agencies Appropriations.

Department of Energy: Programs and Reorganization Proposals

Created in response to the energy crisis of the 1970s, the Department of Energy (DOE) survived an attempt to dismantle it early in the Reagan Administration, and another in the 104th Congress. Now the agency is again the subject of reorganization legislation, this time because of concern about the security of its nuclear weapons program. An amendment to the Intelligence Authorization Act for FY2000 ( H.R. 1555 ) was adopted by the Senate to create the Agency for Nuclear Stewardship within DOE. The head of that agency would report directly and only to the Secretary of Energy. The agency...

WIC Food Package: History of the Sugar Cap

This report provides a historic review of the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) food package and the controversy over the sugar cap on cereals allowed in the program.

Defense Research: A Primer on the Department of Defense's Research, Development, Test and Evaluation (RDT&E) Program

Over the last 10 years, the country has spent an average of $36 billion a year on DOD's RDT&E program. About 80% of that goes toward the development of specific military systems or system components. Most of the rest, between $7 billion and $8 billion, goes toward more fundamental research, development, and demonstrations of sciences and technologies identified as important to military capabilities and operations (called the Science and Technology program). Total RDT&E funding for the last 10 years has remained relatively level in nominal terms. However, when accounting for inflation,...

Defense Research: A Primer on the Department of Defense's Research, Development, Test and Evaluation (RDT and E) Program

This report describes the basic elements and issues of the Department of Defense's (DOD) Research, Development, Test and Evaluation (RDT&E) Program. It defines basic activities supported by the program, presents budget trends, discusses the management of program, and describes the infrastructure in which the program is implemented. This report is for staff new to the area of defense research and for senior staff interested in historical trends.

Aspartame

Federal Government Information Technology Policy: Selected Issues

Federal government information technology (IT) is an important part of the federal mission to serve Americans. Federal government IT policy can improve how services and information are provided to citizens, increase the timeliness and quality of federal agencies' responses, and save federal tax dollars by improving government efficiency. Protection and security of individuals' privacy, as well as making appropriate federal data more transparent and available for its citizens, are the ultimate goals of federal agency IT policies. But there are some questions and concerns regarding federal...

Appropriations for FY1999: VA, HUD, and Independent Agencies

Appropriations are one part of a complex federal budget process that includes budget resolutions, appropriations (regular, supplemental, and continuing) bills, rescissions, and budget reconciliation bills. This report is a guide to one of the 13 regular appropriations bills that Congress passes each year. It is designed to supplement the information provided by the House and Senate Subcommittees on VA, HUD and Independent Agencies Appropriations.

Appropriations for FY1999: Treasury, Postal Service, Executive Office of the President, and General Government

Appropriations are one part of a complex federal budget process that includes budget resolutions, appropriations (regular, supplemental, and continuing) bills, rescissions, and budget reconciliation bills. This report is a guide to one of the 13 regular appropriations bills that Congress passes each year. It summarizes the current legislative status of the bill, its scope, major issues, funding levels, and related legislative activity.

Federal R&D Funding: A Concise History

Prior to World War II, federal R&D funding was generally small and focused on specific items of direct interest to the federal government such as exploration of federal lands. In the 20th century, the federal role expanded to include research related to public health concerns, national security (World War I), and some limited efforts to help U.S. business, including research on aeronautics and standards. The research effort accompanying World War II set off a major expansion of federal R&D funding after the war. Total R&D funding increased from a little over $5.5 billion in 1947...

Congressional Liaison Offices of Selected Federal Agencies

This is a directory of approximately 150 government agencies designed to assist congressional staff in contacting agencies of the legislative branch, cabinet departments and other executive branch agencies and boards and commissions. This directory contains names of congressional liaison officers, addresses, telephone and fax numbers, and occasionally e-mail addresses. It is regularly updated each spring.

Cloning: Where Do We Go From Here?

Cloning: Where Do We Go From Here?

News in February 1997 that scientists in Scotland had succeeded in cloning an adult sheep ignited a worldwide debate. Of concern are the ethical and social implications of the potential application of cloning to produce human beings. In response to concerns about the potential application of cloning to produce humans, actions were taken by the Administration and Congress.

International Science and Technology Issues: Summary of a Report to the Committee on Science

The 1990s have been a time of great vitality and change for U.S. science and technology (S&T) policy and research and development (R&D) programs. As a result, many Members of Congress have asked what might be done to set national S&T priorities more efficiently, establish policies, and fund or otherwise support R&D programs that best enhance U.S. resources?

The answers may be found, in part, by understanding other nations' S&T policies and R&D programs within the context of U.S. policy and programs. For many, U.S. S&T policy (and the R&D programs supported by the policy) is perhaps...

AIDS Funding for Federal Government Programs: FY1981-FY1999

This report provides a synopsis of the budget activity related to AIDS from the discovery of the disease in 1981 through FY1999. Funding for AIDS research, prevention and treatment programs within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) discretionary budget has increased from $200,000 in FY1981 to an estimated $3.85 billion in FY1999.

Cancer Research: Selected Federal Spending and Morbidity and Mortality Statistics

This report shows federal spending at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for research on selected cancer sites.

Human Embryo Research

Human Embryo Research

Abortion Procedures

Abortion Procedures

The Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 1997, H.R. 1122 was vetoed by President Clinton on October 10, 1997. This legislation would have made it a federal crime, punishable by fine and/or incarceration, for a physician to perform a partial birth abortion unless it was necessary to save the life of a mother whose life is endangered by

a physical disorder, illness, or injury. The partial-birth abortion legislation has stimulated a great deal of controversy. This report provides a brief overview of the abortion methods currently in use for which data have been published and some positions on...

Agriculture: A Glossary of Terms, Programs, and Laws

This report includes a glossary of approximately 1,700 agriculture and related terms (e.g., food programs, conservation, forestry, environmental protection, etc.). Besides defining terms and phrases with specialized meanings for agriculture, the glossary also identifies acronyms, agencies, programs, and laws related to agriculture.

Space Issues

Artificial Sweeteners

This report discusses the artificial sweeteners have been a source of controversy in the U.S. for over 73 years. One of the factors driving these issues has been an interplay of a large consumer demand for low calorie sweeteners and controversy concerning certain safety standards set forth in the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA.

Ethylene Dibromide (EDB)

Much attention has recently been focused on the chemical ethylene dibromide (EDB). This chemical has been widely used in leaded gasoline, and has also been used to treat grains, citrus and other crops. It has been found in foods and in groundwater. This paper examines the possible health effects of exposure to EDB, as well as its regulation. The possible health effects and regulation of various chemical and physical alternatives to EDB are also examined. This paper concludes with some policy considerations pertinent to EDB.

Ethylene Dibromide: History, Health Effects, and Policy Questions

Much attention has recently been focused on the chemical ethylene dibromide (EDB). This chemical has been widely used in leaded gasoline, and has also been used to treat grains, citrus and other crops. It has been found in foods and in groundwater. This paper examines the possible health effects of exposure to EDB, as well as its regulation. The possible health effects and regulation of various chemical and physical alternatives to EDB are also examined. This paper concludes with some policy considerations pertinent to EDB.