Daylight Saving Time, and More from CRS

New and updated reports from the Congressional Research Service this week include the following.

Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau’s State Visit, March 2016, CRS Insight, March 7, 2016

Overview of FY2017 Appropriations for Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS), March 7, 2016

First-Term Members of the House of Representatives and Senate, 64th-114th Congresses, March 7, 2016

The Precision Medicine Initiative, CRS Insight, March 8, 2016

Cybersecurity: Critical Infrastructure Authoritative Reports and Resources, March 8, 2016

The Aliso Canyon Natural Gas Leak: State and Federal Response and Oversight, CRS Insight, March 9, 2016

EPA’s Clean Power Plan for Existing Power Plants: Frequently Asked Questions, updated March 9, 2016

Poland and Its Relations with the United States: In Brief, updated March 7, 2016

Iraq: Politics and Governance, updated March 9, 2016

Navy Ford (CVN-78) Class Aircraft Carrier Program: Background and Issues for Congress, updated March 8, 2016

Navy Ohio Replacement (SSBN[X]) Ballistic Missile Submarine Program: Background and Issues for Congress, updated March 8, 2016

Daylight Saving Time, March 9, 2016

Encryption: Legal Aspects, and More from CRS

A new report from the Congressional Research Service considers legal aspects of encryption policy. It reviews the existing case law concerning efforts to compel disclosure of encrypted data. It also discusses related issues including the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, and the scope of the All Writs Act that is now the focus of a dispute between Apple and the FBI. See Encryption: Selected Legal Issues, March 3, 2016.

Other new and updated CRS reports that Congress has withheld from online public distribution include the following.

Nominations to the Supreme Court During Presidential Election Years (1900-Present), CRS Insight, March 3, 2016

Heroin Production in Mexico and U.S. Policy, CRS Insight, March 3, 2016

Expedited Removal Authority for VA Senior Executives (38 U.S.C. 713): Selected Legal Issues, updated March 4, 2016

House Committee Chairs: Considerations, Decisions, and Actions as One Congress Ends and a New Congress Begins, updated March 3, 2016

Health Care for Dependents and Survivors of Veterans, updated March 3, 2016

Libya: Transition and U.S. Policy, updated March 4, 2016

Implications of Iranian Elections, CRS Insight, March 4, 2016

Bill Would Authorize Release of CRS Reports

A bill to make Congressional Research Service reports available to the public through authorized rather than unauthorized channels was introduced in Congress yesterday.

The bill was sponsored in the Senate (S. 2639) by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Sen.  John McCain (R-AZ) and in the House (H.R. 4702) by Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ) and Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL).

While the support of these congressional sponsors of both parties is promising, the proposal to provide authorized public access to non-confidential CRS publications is not assured of passage.

A press release from Sen. Leahy’s office yesterday noted gamely that “McCain and Leahy have partnered for more than a decade in pressing for this change.”

Still, conditions for approval of the measure seem more favorable today than for many years past, thanks largely to a broad coalition of support mobilized by Daniel Schuman of Demand Progress and Kevin Kosar of the R Street Institute, themselves former CRS employees.

In the meantime, the latest reports from CRS that are not yet subject to authorized public disclosure include the following.

Lead in Flint, Michigan’s Drinking Water: Federal Regulatory Role, CRS Insight, updated March 2, 2016

Authorizing New Additions to Memorials in the District of Columbia: Issues for Consideration, CRS Insight, March 2, 2016

Cybersecurity: Education, Training, and R&D Authoritative Reports and Resources, March 3, 2016

Cybersecurity: Overview Reports and Links to Government, News, and Related Resources, March 2, 2016

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act: History, Impact, and Issues, March 2, 2016

Child Support: An Overview of Census Bureau Data on Recipients, March 1, 2016

The Proposed U.S. Foreign Assistance Initiative “Peace Colombia”, CRS Insight, March 3, 2016

Latin America and the Caribbean: Fact Sheet on Leaders and Elections, March 1, 2016

Marine Corps Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV) and Marine Personnel Carrier (MPC): Background and Issues for Congress, February 26, 2016

International Trade and Finance: Key Policy Issues for the 114th Congress, 2nd Session, February 29, 2016

An Eight-Member Supreme Court, and More from CRS

A new report from the Congressional Research Service examines the implications of having only eight members on the Supreme Court following Justice Scalia’s death.

“This report provides an overview of the Supreme Court’s procedural rules and requirements when the Court is staffed with less than nine members. Included in this discussion is an overview of the Court’s quorum requirements, rehearing procedures, and vote count practices, with a focus on how the Court has traditionally responded to a change of composition during a term. The report concludes by highlighting over a dozen cases from the current term that could result in an evenly divided Supreme Court.”

See The Death of Justice Scalia: Procedural Issues Arising on an Eight-Member Supreme Court, February 25, 2016.

Other new and updated CRS reports that were published (but not publicly released) in the past week include the following.

DOD Releases Plan to Close GTMO, CRS Legal Sidebar, February 23, 2016

The United Kingdom and the European Union: Stay or Go?, CRS Insight, February 24, 2016

Court-Ordered Access to Smart Phones: In Brief, February 23, 2016

Health Care for Veterans: Suicide Prevention, updated February 23, 2016

Prescription Drug Abuse, February 23, 2016

Overview of Labor Enforcement Issues in Free Trade Agreements, updated February 22, 2016

Senators’ Official Personnel and Office Expense Account (SOPOEA): History and Usage, February 25, 2016

U.S. Trade Deficit and the Impact of Changing Oil Prices, updated February 25, 2016

The 2015 National Security Strategy: Authorities, Changes, Issues for Congress, updated February 26, 2016

Ukraine: Current Issues and U.S. Policy, updated February 22, 2016

Federal Court Declines to Bar the Resettlement of Syrian Refugees in Texas, CRS Legal Sidebar, February 26, 2016

Iraqi and Afghan Special Immigrant Visa Programs, updated February 26, 2016

Iran-North Korea-Syria Ballistic Missile and Nuclear Cooperation, updated February 26, 2016

Too Many Senior Military Officers?, and More from CRS

Does the U.S. military have too many senior officers in its ranks?

A new report from the Congressional Research Service does not answer that question, but it explains why the question could arise, and provides relevant background for addressing it.

“While always very small in comparison to the total force, the general and flag officer (GFO) corps has increased as a percentage of the total force over the past five decades.”

“GFOs made up about one-twentieth of one percent (0.048%) of the total force in 1965, while they made up about one-fifteenth of one percent (0.069%) of the total force in 2015, indicating that the share of the total force made up of GFOs increased by 43%.”

“Some argue that this increased proportion of GFOs is wasteful and contributes to more bureaucratic decisionmaking processes. Others counter that the increased proportion is linked to the military’s greater emphasis on joint and coalition operations, core organizational requirements, and the increasing use of advanced technologies.”

“This report provides an overview of active duty GFOs in the United States Armed Forces–including authorizations, duties, and compensation–historical trends in the proportion of GFOs relative to the total force, criticisms and justifications of GFO to total force proportions, and statutory controls.”

See General and Flag Officers in the U.S. Armed Forces: Background and Considerations for Congress, February 18, 2016.

Other new and updated reports from the Congressional Research Service that Congress has withheld from public release include the following.

Encryption and Evolving Technology: Implications for U.S. Law Enforcement Investigations, updated February 18, 2016

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), updated February 19, 2016

Legislative Options for Financing Water Infrastructure, updated February 18, 2016

Recovery Act Funding for DOE Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) Projects, February 18, 2016

The Role of Local and Regional Food Systems in U.S. Farm Policy, February 18, 2016

The Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC): In Brief, February 18, 2016

Temporary Protected Status: Current Immigration Policy and Issues, updated February 18, 2016

Kuwait: Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy, updated February 19, 2016

Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV): Background and Issues for Congress, updated February 18, 2016

FY2017 State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Budget Request: In Brief, February 19, 2016

Ground Troops Vs. the Islamic State, and More from CRS

In response to calls for increased deployment of ground forces against the Islamic State, the Congressional Research Service stated this week that “There are no clear-cut answers to determining the suitability, size, and mission profile of the ground elements of any military campaign; determining the disposition of military forces is in many ways as much an art as it is a science.”

“As it evaluates proposals to introduce more ground forces [to combat the Islamic State], Congress may therefore ponder five questions.” See Additional U.S. Ground Troops to Counter the Islamic State? Five Questions, CRS Insight, February 17, 2016.

Other new and updated reports from the Congressional Research Service issued this week include the following.

IAEA Budget and U.S. Contributions: In Brief, February 17, 2016

U.S. Family-Based Immigration Policy, updated February 17, 2016

Border Security Metrics Between Ports of Entry, February 16, 2016

Deficits and Debt: Economic Effects and Other Issues, February 17, 2016

Domestic Food Assistance: Summary of Programs, updated February 17, 2016

U.S. Farm Income Outlook for 2016, February 16, 2016

The Federal Networking and Information Technology Research and Development Program: Background, Funding, and Activities, February 16, 2016

Afghanistan: Post-Taliban Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy, updated February 17, 2016

Intelligence Spending, and More from CRS

A new summary of U.S. intelligence expenditures over time has been prepared by the Congressional Research Service. See Intelligence Spending: In Brief, February 16, 2016.

Other new and updated reports from the Congressional Research Service that Congress has withheld from public distribution include the following.

What Does Justice Scalia’s Death Mean for Congress and the Nation?, CRS Legal Sidebar, February 16, 2016

Appointment of African American U.S. Circuit and District Court Judges: Historical Overview and Current Data, CRS Insight, February 12, 2016

FY2017 Defense Budget Request: In Brief, February 12, 2016

FY2016 Changes to DOD’s 1033 Program, CRS Insight, February 16, 2016 (The 1033 Program governs the transfer of surplus military equipment to local law enforcement agencies)

National Commission on the Future of the Army (NCFA): Background and Issues for Congress, February 5, 2016

Navy Virginia (SSN-774) Class Attack Submarine Procurement: Background and Issues for Congress, updated February 12, 2016

Lead in Flint, Michigan’s Drinking Water: Federal Regulatory Role, CRS Insight, February 16, 2016

U.S.-EU Data Privacy: From Safe Harbor to Privacy Shield, updated February 12, 2016

Disposal of Unneeded Federal Buildings: Legislative Proposals in the 114th Congress, February 12, 2016

Federal Support for Graduate Medical Education: An Overview, February 12, 2016

Federal Research and Development Funding: FY2016, updated February 11, 2016

Federal Grant Financial Reporting Requirements and Databases: Frequently Asked Questions, February 11, 2016

Brazil: Background and U.S. Relations, updated February 11, 2016

The European Union: Current Challenges and Future Prospects, updated February 15, 2016

Supreme Court Nominations: CRS Resources

The Congressional Research Service has prepared reports on various aspects of the U.S. Supreme Court nominations process, including these:

Speed of Presidential and Senate Actions on Supreme Court Nominations, 1900-2010, August 6, 2010

Supreme Court Appointment Process: Roles of the President, Judiciary Committee, and Senate, February 19, 2010

Supreme Court Nominations Not Confirmed, 1789-August 2010, August 20, 2010

Supreme Court Nominations: Senate Floor Procedure and Practice, 1789-2011, March 11, 2011

Supreme Court Appointment Process: President’s Selection of a Nominee, October 19, 2015

Supreme Court Appointment Process: Consideration by the Senate Judiciary Committee, October 19, 2015

Supreme Court Appointment Process: Senate Debate and Confirmation Vote, October 19, 2015

Questioning Supreme Court Nominees About Their Views on Legal or Constitutional Issues: A Recurring Issue, June 23, 2010

Supreme Court Justices: Demographic Characteristics, Professional Experience, and Legal Education, 1789-2010, April 9, 2010

“Notwithstanding Any Other Provision of Law,” and More from CRS

The phrase “notwithstanding any other provision of law” has already appeared in bills introduced in the current Congress more than 600 times, according to a new analysis from the Congressional Research Service.

“Does the presence of this phrase in an enactment really mean that no other statutes apply, as is sometimes suggested? The short answer is: not necessarily.”

See “Notwithstanding Any Other Provision of Law”: Does It Really Mean That No Other Provisions of Law Apply?, CRS Legal Sidebar, February 10, 2016.

Other new and updated Congressional Research Service reports that Congress has withheld from public release include the following.

The Shutdown of the Joint North/South Korean Kaesong Industrial Complex, CRS Insight, February 11, 2016

Volkswagen, Defeat Devices, and the Clean Air Act: Frequently Asked Questions, February 10, 2016

The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS): Waiver Authority and Modification of Volumes, February 10, 2016

An Overview of USDA Rural Development Programs, updated February 10, 2016

Private Health Insurance Market Reforms in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), updated February 10, 2016

Renewed Crypto Wars?, CRS Insight, February 9, 2016

Water Infrastructure Financing: The Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) Program, February 9, 2016

Social Security Primer, updated February 9, 2016

DOE’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (OE): A Primer, with Appropriations for FY2016, February 9, 2016

The Peace Corps: Current Issues, updated February 9, 2016

EPA Regulations: Too Much, Too Little, or On Track?, updated February 9, 2016

Aung San Suu Kyi’s Party Takes Control of Parliament in Burma, CRS Insight, February 9, 2016

China’s Recent Stock Market Volatility: What Are the Implications?, CRS Insight, updated February 11, 2016

The U.S.-Japan Alliance, updated February 9, 2016

The Islamic State and U.S. Policy, updated February 9, 2016

Oman, Saudi Arabia, and More from CRS

New and updated reports from the Congressional Research Service that Congress has withheld from online public disclosure include the following.

Oman: Reform, Security, and U.S. Policy, updated February 5, 2016

Saudi Arabia: Background and U.S. Relations, updated February 5, 2016

Senate Committee Rules in the 114th Congress: Key Provisions, February 8, 2016

Medicare Trigger, updated February 8, 2016

Federal Freight Policy: In Brief, February 5, 2016

Local Food Systems: Selected Farm Bill and Other Federal Programs, February 5, 2016

Commemorative Commissions: Overview, Structure, and Funding, February 5, 2016

Ocean Energy Agency Appropriations, FY2016, February 5, 2016

Allocation of Wastewater Treatment Assistance: Formula and Other Changes, updated February 5, 2016

The New START Treaty: Central Limits and Key Provisions, updated February 5, 2016

Iran’s Nuclear Program: Tehran’s Compliance with International Obligations, updated February 8, 2016