Refugee Admissions and Resettlement, & More from CRS

The total number of refugees that can be admitted to the United States this year — termed the worldwide refugee ceiling — is 110,000 persons.

The total amount is allocated among refugees from Africa (35,000), East Asia (12,000), Europe and Central Asia (4,000), Latin America/Caribbean (5,000), and Near East/South Asia (40,000), with an unallocated reserve of 14,000 persons.

Background on law and policy affecting refugees is presented in a newly updated report from the Congressional Research Service. See Refugee Admissions and Resettlement Policy, November 30, 2016.

The number of government employees involved in acquisition of U.S. military systems, equipment and services reached 158,212 as of March 2016, according to another new CRS report. See The Civil Defense Acquisition Workforce: Enhancing Recruitment Through Hiring Flexibilities, November 22, 2016.

The U.S. has gone from being a net exporter of fruits and vegetables in the 1970s to being a net importer today, CRS found. On the other hand, U.S. production of nuts is strong. As far as nuts are concerned, there have been “continued increases and, generally, a growing U.S. trade surplus.” See The U.S. Trade Situation for Fruit and Vegetable Products, updated December 1, 2016.

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

Demographic and Social Characteristics of Persons in Poverty: 2015, November 30, 2016

Child Welfare: An Overview of Federal Programs and Their Current Funding, updated November 30, 2016

Agency Final Rules Submitted After June 2, 2016, May Be Subject to Disapproval, CRS Insight, updated November 30, 2016

The Congressional Appropriations Process: An Introduction, November 30, 2016

Authorization of Appropriations: Procedural and Legal Issues, updated November 30, 2016

Federal Income Tax Treatment of the Family, updated November 23, 2016

Social Security: What Would Happen If the Trust Funds Ran Out?, updated November 23, 2016

Conflict of Interest and “Ethics” Provisions That May Apply to the President, CRS memorandum, November 22, 2016

Iran’s Nuclear Program: Status, updated November 30, 2016

The Central African Republic: Background and U.S. Policy, updated December 1, 2016

What Happens if Johnny Hacks His Seventh Grade Report Card?, CRS Legal Sidebar, December 1, 2016

What Can President Trump “Undo”?, & More from CRS

The steps that the incoming Trump Administration could take to revise or reverse policies of the Obama Administration are considered in several new publications from the Congressional Research Service.

“While the Constitution does not permit the President to single-handedly repeal or amend statutes, there is much that a new President can do to rapidly reverse the policies of a previous administration,” CRS explained.

The ease of altering existing policies depends on how those policies were promulgated in the first place: by executive order, through agency policy statements, or through agency rules.

“The President can immediately revoke, modify, or supersede executive orders issued by a predecessor.”

“A new President can also immediately direct the heads of executive branch agencies to withdraw discretionary directives and guidance documents that were issued by an executive agency during a previous administration.”

“Agency rules and regulations may also be repealed by a new administration; however, the repeal process can be time consuming and must comply with certain mandated procedures.”

See With the Stroke of a Pen: What Executive Branch Actions Can President-elect Trump “Undo” on Day One?, CRS Legal Sidebar, November 22, 2016.

See also: Can a New Administration Undo a Previous Administration’s Regulations?, CRS Insight, November 21, 2016

The Obama Administration’s 2014 Immigration Initiative: Looking Back at What the Obama Administration Has Done– and Ahead to the Trump Administration, CRS Legal Sidebar, November 22, 2016

“Major” Obama Administration Rules Potentially Eligible to be Overturned under the Congressional Review Act in the 115th Congress, CRS Memorandum, November 17, 2016

Other new or updated reports from the Congressional Research Service include the following.

The Budget Reconciliation Process: The Senate’s “Byrd Rule”, updated November 22, 2016

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA): Proposed Legislation in the 114th Congress, November 21, 2016

Five-Year Program for Federal Offshore Oil and Gas Leasing: Status and Issues in Brief, November 21, 2016

Unique Identification Codes for Federal Contractors: DUNS Numbers and CAGE Codes, November 21, 2016

The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Block Grant: A Primer on TANF Financing and Federal Requirements, updated November 21, 2016

Internet Governance and the Domain Name System: Issues for Congress, updated November 18, 2016

Venezuela: Background and U.S. Relations, updated November 21, 2016

Barriers Along the U.S. Borders: Key Authorities and Requirements, updated November 18, 2016

Presidential Transitions, & More from CRS

The complexities and some of the potential pitfalls of the presidential transition period are described in a newly updated report from the Congressional Research Service.

“A variety of events, decisions, and activities contribute to what some may characterize as the unfolding drama of a presidential transition. Interparty transitions in particular might be contentious.”

The report addresses the use of executive orders, record preservation and clemency actions by the outgoing Administration, as well as cybersecurity, budget preparation, political appointments, and so forth. See Presidential Transitions: Issues Involving Outgoing and Incoming Administrations, updated November 16, 2016.

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

Counting Electoral Votes: An Overview of Procedures at the Joint Session, Including Objections by Members of Congress, updated November 15, 2016

The Congressional Review Act: Frequently Asked Questions, updated November 17, 2016

Infrastructure Finance and Debt to Support Surface Transportation Investment, updated November 17, 2016

Prevalence of Mental Illness in the United States: Data Sources and Estimates, updated November 16, 2016

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s (ACA’s) Transitional Reinsurance Program, November 16, 2016

CRISPR: A Revolutionary Tool for Editing the Code of Life?, CRS Insight, November 17, 2016

Certain U.S. Laws for Foreign Workers Draw Fire from India in the WTO, CRS Legal Sidebar, November 16, 2016

Justice Department’s Role in Cyber Incident Response, CRS Insight, November 15, 2016

Naval Station Guantanamo Bay: History and Legal Issues Regarding Its Lease Agreements, updated November 17, 2016

Iran Sanctions, updated November 16, 2016

Yemen: Civil War and Regional Intervention, updated November 16, 2016

Congress May Overturn Some Agency Rules, & More from CRS

“With a change of presidential administrations taking place in January, some in Congress are paying renewed attention to a parliamentary mechanism that might enable the new Congress and the new President to overturn agency final rules of the Obama Administration issued after late-May 2016,” a newly updated brief from the Congressional Research Service explains.

“The inauguration of Republican Donald J. Trump as President in 2017 may present a finite window during which the [congressional] disapproval mechanism might be used more successfully.” See Agency Final Rules Submitted After May 30, 2016, May Be Subject to Disapproval in 2017 Under the Congressional Review Act, CRS Insight, updated November 9, 2016.

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

Legislative Actions to Repeal, Defund, or Delay the Affordable Care Act, updated November 10, 2016

“Regulatory Relief” for Banking: Selected Legislation in the 114th Congress, updated November 10, 2016

Retirement Benefits for Members of Congress, updated November 10, 2016

Staff Tenure in Selected Positions in Senate Committees, 2006-2016, November 9, 2016

Staff Tenure in Selected Positions in Senators’ Offices, 2006-2016, November 9, 2016

Staff Tenure in Selected Positions in House Committees, 2006-2016, November 9, 2016

Staff Tenure in Selected Positions in House Member Offices, 2006-2016, November 9, 2016

U.S. Trade with Free Trade Agreement (FTA) Partners, updated November 9, 2016

China Issues Decision on Hong Kong Legislative Council Controversy, CRS Insight, November 9, 2016

Navy Force Structure: A Bigger Fleet? Background and Issues for Congress, updated November 9, 2016

Gun Control: FY2017 Appropriations for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and Other Initiatives, November 9, 2016

Intelligence Community Spending, & More from CRS

In a deeply fractured political environment, the work of the Congressional Research Service may be even more valuable than ever. Non-partisan to a fault, CRS provides the same policy analysis to Republicans and Democrats, to problem-solvers and to nihilists. CRS reports can therefore help to establish a common framework for debate, and a shared vocabulary for discussion. They are at least a place to start a conversation.

One newly updated CRS report “examines Intelligence Community (IC) funding over the past several decades, with an emphasis on the period from 2007-2017.” See Intelligence Community Spending: Trends and Issues by Anne Daugherty Miles, November 8, 2016.

It was issued along with a new companion report on the structure and management of U.S. intelligence. See Intelligence Community Programs, Management, and Enduring Issues, also by Anne Miles, November 8, 2016.

Other new and updated Congressional Research Service reports include the following.

Internet Gambling: Policy Issues for Congress, November 7, 2016

Afghanistan: Post-Taliban Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy, updated November 8, 2016

Cuba: Issues for the 114th Congress, updated November 8, 2016

FY2017 Defense Spending Under an Interim Continuing Resolution (CR): In Brief, updated November 7, 2016

Women in Congress, 1917-2016: Biographical and Committee Assignment Information, and Listings by State and Congress, updated November 7, 2016

Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF): Program Overview and Issues, updated November 8, 2016

Youth Transitioning from Foster Care: Background and Federal Programs, updated November 8, 2016

What Is the Farm Bill?, updated November 8, 2016

When Does Sovereign Immunity Protect Property Owned by State Sponsors of Terrorism?, CRS Legal Sidebar, November 8, 2016

“Contingent Election” of the President, & More from CRS

What would happen if no candidate for President of the United States won a majority of electoral votes?

The Congressional Research Service explains: “In these circumstances, the 12th Amendment . . . provides that the House of Representatives would elect the President, and the Senate would elect the Vice President, in a procedure known as ‘contingent election’.”

This is not a purely speculative scenario. “Contingent election has been implemented twice in the nation’s history under the 12th Amendment: first, to elect the President in 1825, and second, the Vice President in 1837.”

See Contingent Election of the President and Vice President by Congress: Perspectives and Contemporary Analysis by CRS Specialist Thomas H. Neale, November 3, 2016.

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

The Terrorist Screening Database and Preventing Terrorist Travel, November 7, 2016

Pipeline Security: Domestic Threats, CRS Insight, November 3, 2016

Individual Income Tax Rates and Other Key Elements of the Federal Individual Income Tax: 1988 to 2017, updated November 4, 2016

Treasury’s Recent Report on Foreign Exchange Rate Policies, CRS Insight, November 3, 2016

U.S.-Mexico Economic Relations: Trends, Issues, and Implications, updated November 4, 2016

Moldova: A Pivotal Election?, CRS Insight, November 4, 2016

Challenges to Election Law, & More from CRS

“Numerous” legal challenges to state election laws have been filed during the last few weeks and months, a new report from the Congressional Research Service found, generating new judicial interpretations of those laws.

“For example, there have been recent court rulings affecting the laws regulating early voting, voter photo identification (ID) requirements, registration procedures, straight-party voting, and voter rolls. Accordingly, many such laws have been recently invalidated, enjoined, or altered. Others continue to be subject to litigation.”

The current state of affairs was reviewed in Recent State Election Law Challenges: In Brief by legislative attorney L. Paige Whitaker, November 2, 2016.

Another new CRS report discussed pending efforts in Congress to reconfigure Department of Defense partnerships with foreign military services. See Security Cooperation: Comparison of Proposed Provisions for the FY2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), November 1, 2016.

A federal court for the first time upheld the use of the “social cost of carbon” (SCC) in a cost-benefit analysis by a federal agency, another CRS publication observed. The SCC is a monetary estimate of economic damages that are associated with an incremental increase in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. See Courts Evaluate How Federal Agencies Put a Price on Carbon, CRS Legal Sidebar, November 1, 2016.

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

Foreign Aid and the Education Sector: Programs and Priorities, November 2, 2016

Funding and Financing Highways and Public Transportation, November 1, 2016

Extraterritorial Application of American Criminal Law, updated October 31, 2016

A Thousand Advisory Committees, and More from CRS

As of last year, there were 1,009 federal advisory committees comprised of 72,220 members who provided advice to the government at a cost of more than $367 million.

The operations of these federal advisory committees — which may also include commissions, councils, task forces, or working groups — are examined in a newly updated report from the Congressional Research Service. See Federal Advisory Committees: An Introduction and Overview by Wendy Ginsberg and Casey Burgat, October 27, 2016.

Other new and updated CRS reports that have not been made publicly available online include the following.

Bahrain: Reform, Security, and U.S. Policy, updated October 28, 2016

Iran: Politics, Human Rights, and U.S. Policy, updated October 25, 2016

Israel: Background and U.S. Relations, updated October 28, 2016

Ukraine: Current Issues and U.S. Policy, updated October 27, 2016

Navy Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) Program: Background and Issues for Congress, updated October 25, 2016

Navy Virginia (SSN-774) Class Attack Submarine Procurement: Background and Issues for Congress, updated October 25, 2016

Navy Columbia Class (Ohio Replacement) Ballistic Missile Submarine (SSBN[X]) Program: Background and Issues for Congress, updated October 25, 2016

Department of Homeland Security Preparedness Grants: A Summary and Issues, October 28, 2016

DHS Appropriations FY2017: Security, Enforcement, and Investigations, October 27, 2016

Treatment of Noncitizens Under the Affordable Care Act, updated October 27, 2016

Video Broadcasting of Congressional Proceedings, October 28, 2016

The Social Security Retirement Age, October 28, 2016

Social Security: Calculation and History of Taxing Benefits, updated October 27, 2016

Did a Thermostat Break the Internet?, CRS Insight, October 26, 2016

Contesting a Presidential Election, and More from CRS

The feasibility of challenging the outcome of a presidential election is examined in a new report from the Congressional Research Service.

“If legitimate and verifiable allegations of voting fraud, or indications of misconduct by election officials on election day are presented, what legal recourses are available to complainants to litigate and potentially to remedy such wrongs and to contest the result of a presidential election?” the report inquires.

Although the presidential election is a national event, it is actually comprised of fifty separate state elections, plus the one in the District of Columbia.

Therefore, “it is an individual state that has the initial responsibility for resolving a challenge, recount, or contest to the results of a presidential election within that jurisdiction,” wrote CRS Legislative Attorney Jack Maskell. See Legal Processes for Contesting the Results of a Presidential Election, October 24, 2016.

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

Partisan Political Activities and Federal Workers: Questions in the 2016 Election, CRS Legal Sidebar, October 20, 2016

State Voter Identification Requirements: Analysis, Legal Issues, and Policy Considerations, updated October 21, 2016

Yemen: Recent Attacks Against U.S. Naval Vessels in the Red Sea, CRS Insight, October 21, 2016

U.S.-South Korea Relations, updated October 20, 2016

DHS Appropriations FY2017: Research and Development, Training, and Services, October 20, 2016

Navy Lasers, Railgun, and Hypervelocity Projectile: Background and Issues for Congress, updated October 21, 2016

Russian Compliance with the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty: Background and Issues for Congress, October 20, 2016

Iran’s Foreign and Defense Policies, updated October 21, 2016

Presidential Conflicts of Interest, and More from CRS

“Does federal law require the President to relinquish control of his or her business interests?” That question is considered in a new analysis from the Congressional Research Service.

The short answer appears to be No. “There is no current legal requirement that would compel the President to relinquish financial interests because of a conflict of interest.”

There are, however, certain legal disclosure requirements that apply to candidates for the Presidency. It is those requirements that are “the principal method of regulation of potential conflicts of interests for elected officials such as the President.”

See Conflicts of Interest and the Presidency, CRS Legal Sidebar, October 14, 2016,

Other new and updated reports from the Congressional Research Service that have not been publicly released include the following.

The Help America Vote Act and Election Administration: Overview and Selected Issues for the 2016 Election, October 18, 2016

Federal Citations to the Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases, October 19, 2016

Collateral Consequences: What Role, if any, Should They Play in Crafting Sentences?, CRS Legal Sidebar, October 19, 2016

Clean Water Act: A Summary of the Law, October 18, 2016

Ocean Dumping Act: A Summary of the Law, October 18, 2016

The High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail (HSIPR) Grant Program: Overview, October 18, 2016

Next Steps for Auction of TV Broadcast Airwaves to Commercial Carriers, CRS Insight, October 17, 2016

Current Vacancies on the U.S. Court of Federal Claims: Overview and Historical Context, CRS Insight, October 13, 2016

Iran’s State-Linked Conglomerates, CRS Insight, October 17, 2016

The Senkakus (Diaoyu/Diaoyutai) Dispute: U.S. Treaty Obligations, October 14, 2016

President Waives Restrictions on Relations with Burma’s Military under Child Soldier Prevention Act of 2008, CRS Insight, October 12, 2016

Elections Strengthen Georgia’s Ruling Party, CRS Insight, October 18, 2016

Recent Developments in U.S.-Russian Nonproliferation Cooperation, CRS Insight, October 13, 2016

A new web site provides a searchable collection of a large number of Congressional Research Service reports, modified to remove the names of the authors and their contact information. Aspirationally named EveryCRSReport.com, it does not include the latest CRS publications such as those provided above.