Author: Maria A. Kreiser, Reference Librarian
This fact sheet is designed to assist congressional offices with locating current and recent news articles and transcripts. It contains brief descriptions of Library of Congress news resources (available in the Congressional Research Service [CRS’s] and other Library Reading Rooms), selected subscription news resources, broadcast news transcript resources, radio and television news resources, directories for online news sites, and contact information for further assistance. It also includes locations of where subscription databases can be accessed (e.g., House and Senate offices, House and Senate Libraries, CRS La Follette Reading Room); some House and Senate offices or committees may also subscribe to these or other paid databases. This fact sheet does not include resources for searching historical (archival) news. For additional assistance, please contact CRS or the Library’s Newspaper and Current Periodical Reading Room.
Author: Ronald O’Rourke, Specialist in Naval Affairs
This report provides background information and issues for Congress on the sustainment and modernization of the Coast Guard’s polar icebreaker fleet. Coast Guard polar icebreakers perform a variety of missions supporting U.S. interests in polar regions. The operational U.S. polar icebreaking fleet currently consists of one heavy polar icebreaker, Polar Star, and one medium polar icebreaker, Healy. The issue for Congress is whether to approve, reject, or modify the Administration’s plans for sustaining and modernizing the polar icebreaking fleet. Congress’s decisions on this issue could affect Coast Guard funding requirements, the Coast Guard’s ability to perform its polar missions, and the U.S. shipbuilding industrial base. This report does not cover the icebreakers that the Coast Guard operates on the Great Lakes. A separate CRS report covers procurement of general-purpose cutters for the Coast Guard. Another CRS report provides an overview of various issues relating to the Arctic. Bills: H.R. 2838, H.R. 3128, S. 1619, H.R. 1987, S. 1611, S. 1386, H.R. 1735, H.R. 4567
Author: Clare Ribando Seelke, Specialist in Latin American Affairs
This report describes the nature and scope of the problem of trafficking in persons in Latin America and the Caribbean. It then describes U.S. efforts to deal with trafficking in persons in the region, as well as discusses the successes and failures of some recent country and regional anti-trafficking efforts. The report concludes by raising issues that may be helpful for the 114th Congress to consider as it continues to address human trafficking as part of its authorization, appropriations, and oversight activities.
Author: James V. Saturno Coordinator Specialist on Congress and the Legislative Process
The purpose of this report is to provide an analysis of the continuing appropriations provisions for FY2017 in H.R. 5325. The measure also included provisions covering appropriations in the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill for all of FY2017 (Division A), as well as emergency funds to combat the Zika virus and provide relief for flood victims in Louisiana and other affected states (Division B). On September 29, 2016, the President signed H.R. 5325 into law (P.L. 114-223).
Author: Alexadra M. Wyatt, Legislative Attorney
This report provides legal background on the Rule, its Clean Air Act (CAA) framework under Section 111, and climate-related lawsuits that have preceded the present litigation over the CPP. It then gives an overview of the participants in the current litigation, including two groups of Members of Congress, who have offered briefs in support of the petitioners and the respondents, respectively. This report explains the major events in the litigation as of the date of publication, including the Supreme Court stay, and the likely timetable of events in the near term. Bills: H.R. 2834
Author: Kristy N. Kamarck, Analyst in Military Manpower
This report starts by giving an overview of recent research on diversity and organizational management to demonstrate why organizations value diversity and what the findings on diversity mean in a military context. The next sections outline DOD’s military personnel policies, processes and organizational structure for managing diversity, inclusion, and equal opportunity. Following that, the report examines how the concept of diversity and inclusion has evolved over the history of the Armed Forces and provides a snapshot of the current demographic composition of the military relative to the U.S. civilian population. Finally, the report addresses some of the current legislative and policy issues related to diversity in the Armed Forces. Bills: H.R. 2965, H.R. 1059, H.R. 2007, H.R. 1246, H.R. 1735
Author: Mark P. Sullivan, Specialist in Latin American Affairs
This report, divided into three main sections, examines the political and economic situation in Venezuela and U.S.-Venezuelan relations. The first section surveys the political transformation of Venezuela under the populist rule of President Hugo Ch vez (1999-2013) and the first two years of the government of President Nicol s Maduro, including the government’s severe crackdown on opposition protests in 2014. The second section analyzes Venezuela’s political and economic environment since 2015, including the opposition’s December 2015 legislative victory and the Maduro government’s attempts to thwart the powers of the legislature; efforts to remove President Maduro through a recall referendum; deteriorating economic and social conditions in the country; and the government’s foreign policy orientation. The third section examines U.S. relations with Venezuela, including the imposition of sanctions on Venezuelan officials, and selected issues in U.S. relations-democracy and human rights, energy, counternarcotics, and terrorism concerns. Appendix A provides information on legislative initiatives in the 113th and 114th Congresses, and Appendix B provides links to selected U.S. government reports on Venezuela. Bills: H.R. 5134, H.R. 3547, H.R. 83, H.R. 2029, H.R. 2020, S. 2845, S. 1635, S. 2142
Author: Ronald O’Rourke, Specialist in Naval Affairs
This report provides background information and potential oversight issues for Congress on the Coast Guard’s programs for procuring 8 National Security Cutters (NSCs), 25 Offshore Patrol Cutters (OPCs), and 58 Fast Response Cutters (FRCs). These 91 planned cutters are intended as replacements for 90 aging Coast Guard cutters and patrol craft. The Coast Guard began procuring NSCs and FRCs a few years ago, and the first few NSCs and FRCs are now in service. The Coast Guard plans to begin procuring OPCs within the next few years. The NSC, OPC, and FRC programs have a combined estimated acquisition cost of about $21.1 billion, and the Coast Guard’s proposed FY2016 budget requests a total of $449.9 million in acquisition funding for the three programs. Bills: H.R. 3128, S. 1619, H.R. 2029, H.R. 1987, S.1611, H.R. 4188
Author: Robert Jay Dilger, Senior Specialist in American National Government
This report discusses the rationale provided for the 7(a) program; the program’s borrower and lender eligibility standards and program requirements; and program statistics, including loan volume, loss rates, use of proceeds, borrower satisfaction, and borrower demographics. It also examines issues raised concerning the SBA’s administration of the 7(a) program, including the oversight of 7(a) lenders and the program’s lack of outcome-based performance measures. Bills: H.R. 2936, H.R. 2462, H.R. 2499, H.R. 4213, H.R. 3854, H.R. 2936, H.R. 2451, H.R. 2461, H.R. 2462, H.R. 2499, H.R. 3132, H.R. 2936, H.R. 3854, S. 1828, S. 532, S. 2143, S. 2125
Author: Vincent L. Morelli, Section Research Manager
The prospects for a negotiated settlement of the Cyprus issue also warrant attention in the Congress. Among other things, a potential settlement could involve U.S. financial assistance for the implementation of the agreement. The 114th Congress has thus far continued a modest but increasing level of interest as prospects for a potential solution grow. This report provides a brief overview of the history of the negotiations and a description of some of the issues involved in those talks.