Posts tagged ‘congress’

New Government Report: Saudi Arabia: Background and U.S. Relations

Saudi Arabia: Background and U.S. Relations
by Christopher M. Blanchard
Paperback, 51 pages, 2009, $30.00
ISBN: 1437928382

Contents: (I) Recent Developments; (II) Background: Saudi Arabia’s Political Development; Saudi-U.S. Relations, 1931-2001; September 11, 2001, and its Aftermath; The 9/11 Commission Report; Saudi Responses; Recent Assessments; Terrorist Financing Concerns; Toward a New Relationship?; New Bilateral Agreements;

(III) Recent Congressional Interest in Saudi Arabia: U.S. Foreign Assistance to Saudi Arabia and Congressional Prohibitions; International Military Education and Training (IMET); Counterterrorism Assistance; Prohibitions on Foreign Assistance; FY2010 Appropriations Debate; U.S. Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia; Background; Criticism and Action in the 110th Congress; BAE Corruption Inquiry;

(IV) Current Issues in U.S.-Saudi Relations; U.S.-Saudi Military Cooperation: U.S. Military Training Mission in Saudi Arabia (USMTM); Saudi Arabian National Guard Modernization Program (PM-SANG); Office of Program Mgt. Ministry of Interior – Facilities Security Forces (OPM MOI-FSF); Counterterrorism; Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula; Combating Extremism; The Arab-Israeli Conflict; Saudi-Palestinian Relations; Saudi Peace Proposals; Iraq;Saudi Policy Priorities in Iraq; Saudi-Iraqi Diplomatic and Economic Relations; Economic Relations and Trade; U.S.-Saudi Trade; U.S. Oil Imports and Saudi Policy; U.S.-Saudi Foreign Direct Investment; Saudi Boycott of Israel and WTO Membership; Human Rights, Religious Freedom, and Political Reform; Political Reform Debates and Elections; Leadership and Succession; Social Reform Debates and Recent Leadership Changes; Human Rights; Religious Freedom; Consular Issues;

(V) Further Reading and Historical Resources; Appendix A. Recent Proposed Arms Sales; Appendix B. Text of Saudi Peace Initiatives. Figures.

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August 11, 2010 at 7:00 am Leave a comment

New Government Report: Understanding China’s Political System

Understanding China’s Political System
by Kerry Dumbaugh and Michael F. Martin
Paperback, 24 pages, 2009, $20.00
ISBN: 1437928374

At one level, China is a one-party state that has been ruled by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) since 1949. But rather than being rigidly hierarchical and authoritarian, political power in China now is diffuse, complex, and at times highly competitive. Despite the CCP’s grip on power, present-day China’s political process is infused with other political actors that influence and sometimes determine policy.

Contents of this report: (I) Introduction and Overview: China’s Preeminent Political Institutions; (II) The Chinese Communist Party: The Political Bureau (Politburo); The Politburo Standing Committee (PSC); The Secretariat; Party Discipline; (III) The Chinese Government: The State Council; The Ministries; Government Control; (IV) The National People’s Congress; (V) The People’s Liberation Army;

(VI) Relationships Among Leaders; (VII) Other Important Political Actors: Leading Small Groups; Government-Sponsored Research Institutions; Central Party School; The “Princelings”; (VIII) Provincial, Municipal, and Local Governments; (IX) Trends and Idiosyncrasies of China’s Political System: China’s View of Democracy and Political Reform; Coordination of Central and Local Governments; Factionalism; Modern Media; (X) Implications for Congress.

Appendices: A. Official Members of the CCP’s Political Bureau (Politburo) and its StandingCommittee; B. Official Members of China’s State Council (by title);  C. Current Members of Central Military Commission.

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August 9, 2010 at 5:00 am Leave a comment

New Government Report: Social Security Disability: Management of Disability Claims Workload Will Require comprehensive Planning: Testimony Before Subcommittees on Social Security and Income Security and Family Support, Committee on Ways and Means, U.S. House of Representatives

Social Security Disability: Management of Disability Claims Workload Will Require comprehensive Planning: Testimony Before Subcommittees on Social Security and Income Security and Family Support, Committee on Ways and Means, U.S. House of Representatives
by Daniel Bertoni
Paperback, 17 pages, 2010, ISBN: 9781437933284, $15.00

Statement of Daniel Bertoni, Dir., Education, Workforce, and Income Security, GAO.

Nearly 2 million people are waiting to find out if they qualify for Social Security disability benefits, reports the Associated Press. It will be a long wait for most, even if they eventually win their cases. The Social Security system is so overwhelmed by applications for disability benefits that many people are waiting more than two years for their first payment. In Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota and other states, the wait can be even longer.

For years, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has been challenged to manage its large disability claims workload. Difficulties in making timely and accurate decisions have contributed to backlogs accumulating at different levels of the claims process.

These backlogs have occurred most often at the hearings level, the level at which initial claims that were denied are appealed and await a hearing before an administrative law judge.

Claimants often experienced long waits for a decision on their claim because of this backlog. In May 2007, SSA released a plan designed to eliminate its hearings-level backlog. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) was subsequently asked by Congress to evaluate this plan and issued a report in September 2009.

This testimony discusses SSA’s backlog reduction plan and the challenges the agency faces in managing its overall claims workload. It draws primarily from GAO reports, and recent reports issued by SSA’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG). Figures.

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August 4, 2010 at 11:51 am Leave a comment

New Government Report: Commonwealth Brands, Inc. vs. U.S.: Legal Judgment on Marketing Restrictions in the New Federal Tobacco Law

Commonwealth Brands, Inc. vs. U.S.: Legal Judgment on Marketing Restrictions in the New Federal Tobacco Law
by Joseph H. McKinley Jr.
Paperback, 47 pages, 2010, $30.00, ISBN: 9781437936704

The opinion and order of U.S. District Judge Joseph H. McKinley Jr., U.S. District Court, Western District of Kentucky, Bowling Green Division, which overturns two of the marketing restrictions in the new federal tobacco law.

Several tobacco makers sued in August 2009 to block the restrictions. Judge McKinley agreed that the ban on color and graphics in labels and advertising that children might see intruded too broadly on commercial free speech.

He noted that, instead, Congress could have exempted certain types of color and graphic images. Judge McKinley did uphold the authority of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to restrict tobacco marketing, as well as a specific provision which requires new, graphic warning labels to cover the top half of cigarette packages.

In fact, he upheld most of the new marketing restrictions, including a ban on tobacco companies sponsoring athletic, social and cultural events or offering free samples or branded merchandise.

Lawyers on both sides affirmed that this case will probably be appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and eventually to the Supreme Court.

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August 3, 2010 at 11:53 pm Leave a comment

New Government Report: China’s Approach to Cyber Operations: Implications for the United States: Congressional Testimony

China’s Approach to Cyber Operations: Implications for the United States: Congressional Testimony
by Larry M. Wortzel
Paperback, 11 pages, 2010, $10.00
ISBN: 1437931103

Statement of Larry M. Wortzel, Commissioner, U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, at a Hearing on “The Google Predicament: Transforming U.S. Cyberspace Policy to Advance Democracy, Security, and Trade.”

The attacks on Google that prompted this hearing are the most recent example of a series of penetrations into the computer networks of American companies, departments of the U.S Government, and even some members of Congress.

Read the Google Preview: China Cyber Attacks of this report before you purchase it.

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August 3, 2010 at 11:18 pm Leave a comment

New Government Report: Warlord, Inc.: Extortion and Corruption Along the U.S. Supply Chain in Afghanistan (ISBN: 9781437935271)

Warlord, Inc.: Extortion and Corruption Along the U.S. Supply Chain in Afghanistan (ISBN: 9781437935271)
By John F. Tierney
(Paperback, 79 pages, 2010, $30)

After a six-month investigation, this report exposes the circumstances surrounding the Department of Defense’s (DOD) outsourcing of security on the supply chain in Afghanistan to questionable providers, including warlords. The findings of this report range from sobering to shocking.

In short, DOD designed a contract that put responsibility for the security of vital U.S. supplies on contractors and their unaccountable security providers. This arrangement has fueled a vast protection racket run by a shadowy network of warlords, strongmen, commanders, corrupt Afghan officials, and perhaps others. Not only does the system run afoul of DOD’s own rules and regulations mandated by Congress, it also appears to risk undermining the U.S. strategy for achieving its goals in Afghanistan.

To be sure, Afghanistan presents an extremely difficult environment for military operations, logistics, and business practices. Nevertheless, the evidence indicates that little attention was given to the cost-benefit analysis of allowing the system to continue in a fashion that injected a good portion of a $2.16 billion contract’s resources into a corruptive environment.

This report is confined to the facts pertaining to the Host Nation Trucking contracts, and in that limited sphere there are constructive changes that can be made to the U.S. supply chain in Afghanistan to improve contracting integrity while mitigating corrupting influences. The report offers some realistic recommendations to serve as a catalyst for what appears to be a much-needed reconsideration of policy. Figures.

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July 9, 2010 at 9:00 am Leave a comment

New Government Report: Treaties Latin America and the Caribbean: Illicit Drug Trafficking and U.S. Counterdrug (ISBN: 1437934056)

Treaties Latin America and the Caribbean: Illicit Drug Trafficking and U.S. Counterdrug (ISBN: 1437934056)
By Clare Ribando Seelke
(Paperback, 34 pages, 2010, $20)

Earlier in June 2010, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton toured Latin America and the Caribbean to discuss issues, including drug trafficking, Politics Daily reported. On the agenda were the lawless border regions — between, for one, Colombia and Ecuador — where legitimate governments are stymied by non-state actors wielding sub-machine guns and running drugs. The Washington Office on Latin America noted that drug money from Venezuela and other countries is funneled throughout the Caribbean, corrupting officials and paving the way for safe passage of drugs.

Contents: (1) An Overview of Illicit Drugs in Latin America and the Caribbean: Drug Traffickers and Related Criminal-Terrorist Actors; (2) U.S. Antidrug Assistance Programs in Latin America: Plan Colombia: Mérida Initiative for Mexico and Central America: U.S. Assistance to Mexico Beyond Mérida; Central American Regional Security Initiative; Caribbean Basin Security Initiative; Department of Defense (DoD) Counternarcotics Assistance Programs; (3) Foreign Assistance Prohibitions and Conditions: Annual Drug Certification Process; Conditions on Counternarcotics Assistance: Human Rights Prohibitions on Assistance to Security Forces; Country-Specific Prohibitions on Certain Counterdrug Assistance; Drug Eradication-Related Conditions; (4) Issues for Congress. Illustrations.

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June 23, 2010 at 7:00 am Leave a comment

New Government Report: African American Members of the United States Congress: 1870-2009 (ISBN: 1437929044)

African American Members of the United States Congress: 1870-2009 (ISBN: 1437929044)
By Jennifer E. Manning and Colleen J. Shogan
(Paperback, 63 pages, 2010, $25)

In 2010, there are at least 32 African-Americans running for Congress this year as Republicans, and many more as Democrats, reports the New York Times.

Contents of this report: (1) Introduction: Historical Overview of African Americans in Congress; African American Firsts in Congress; Length of Service; How African Americans Enter Congress; (2) African American Members in Leadership Positions; (3) Congressional Black Caucus: Martin Luther King Jr. Day; Ending Apartheid in South Africa; Humanitarian Aid to Haiti; (4) Tables and Data; (5) Alphabetical Listing of African American Members, Selected Biographical Information, and Committee Assignments During Their Tenure in Office. Charts and tables.

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June 18, 2010 at 9:00 am Leave a comment

New Government Report: Identity Theft: Trends and Issues (ISBN: 1437929079)

Identity Theft: Trends and Issues (ISBN: 1437929079)
By Kristin M. Finklea (Paperback, 27 pages, 2010, $20)

“Identity theft is one of the fastest-growing crimes in the nation,” according to Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance. In Manhattan alone, there were more than 8,100 identity theft arrests between Jan. 1, 2008, and March 31, 2010, the office said.

Contents of this report: (1) Definitions of Identity Theft (IT): IT vs. Fraud; (2) Legis. History: IT Assumption Deterrence Act; IT Penalty Enhancement Act; IT Enforcement and Restitution Act; (3) IT Task Force: Recommendations; Legislation Recommendations; (4) Red Flags Rule; (5) Trends in IT: Perpetrators; Investigations and Prosecutions: FBI; Secret Service; Postal Inspection Service; Social Security Administration; Immigration and Customs Enforcement; Justice Department; Domestic Impact: Credit Card Fraud; Document Fraud; Employment Fraud; (6) Data Breaches and IT; (7) Issues for Congress: IT Prevention: Securing Social Sec. No.; Effects of Data Breaches; Deterrence and Punishment; (8) Selected Legislation in the 111th Cong.: Social Sec. no.; Law Enforcement and Consumer Notification.

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June 16, 2010 at 7:00 am Leave a comment

New Government Report: Immigration Visa Issuances and Grounds for Exclusion: Policy and Trends (ISBN: 143793126X)

Immigration Visa Issuances and Grounds for Exclusion: Policy and Trends (ISBN: 143793126X)
By Ruth Ellen Wasem (Paperback, 27 pages, 2010, $20)

At the recent U.S. Conference of Mayors, mayors from across the country condemned Arizona’s SB 1070 law and pressed Congress to pass immigration reform.

Contents of this report: (1) Introduction: Policy Context; Background; (2) Visa Issuance Policy: Disqualification; Exclusion; Permanent Admissions (Immigrant Visas): Procedures; Trends; Temporary Admissions (Nonimmigrant Visas): Procedures; Presumption; Trends; (3) Grounds for Exclusion: Brief Legislative History; Communicable Diseases; Criminal History; Security and Terrorist Concerns; Public Charge; Labor Market Protections; Illegal Entrants and Immigration Law Violations; Ineligible for Citizenship; Illegal Presence or Previously Removed; (4) Analysis of Visa Inadmissibility Determinations: Inadmissible Immigrants, and Nonimmigrants; (5) Concluding Observations. Charts and tables.

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June 15, 2010 at 6:00 am Leave a comment

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