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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Bisphenol A (BPA) in Plastics and Possible Human Health Effects
Bisphenol A (BPA) is used to produce certain types of plastic. Containers made of these plastics may expose people to small amounts of BPA in food and water. Some animal experiments have found that fetal and infant development may be harmed by small amounts of BPA, but scientists disagree about the value of the animal studies for predicting harmful effects in people. This report discusses this issue and relevant legislation, as well as inquiries into studies currently underway to determine the true harm inherent in BPA and the degree to which people are regularly exposed to BPA. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10734/
Bisphenol A (BPA) in Plastics and Possible Human Health Effects
Bisphenol A (BPA) is used to produce certain types of plastic. Containers made of these plastics may expose people to small amounts of BPA in food and water. Some animal experiments have found that fetal and infant development may be harmed by small amounts of BPA, but scientists disagree about the value of the animal studies for predicting harmful effects in people. This report discusses this issue and relevant legislation, as well as inquiries into studies currently underway to determine the true harm inherent in BPA and the degree to which people are regularly exposed to BPA. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10733/
Bisphenol A (BPA) in Plastics and Possible Human Health Effects
Bisphenol A (BPA) is used to produce certain types of plastic. Containers made of these plastics may expose people to small amounts of BPA in food and water. Some animal experiments have found that fetal and infant development may be harmed by small amounts of BPA, but scientists disagree about the value of the animal studies for predicting harmful effects in people. This report discusses this issue and relevant legislation, as well as inquiries into studies currently underway to determine the true harm inherent in BPA and the degree to which people are regularly exposed to BPA. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10735/
The International Wine Market: Description and Selected Issues
This report discusses global trade in wine, which has Several important issues have emerged in recent years with respect to international wine trade, particularly between the EU and non-EU countries, including oenological (wine-making) practices and the use of “semi-generic” names for wines. The latter issue is encompassed under the debate on “geographical indications” at the World Trade Organization. Ongoing bilateral negotiations between the United States and the EU seek to resolve both of these issues. . digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9641/
The International Wine Market: Description and Selected Issues
This report discusses the global trade in wine, which has increased rapidly during the past 25 years, steadily rising from under $1 billion in 1977 to over $7 billion in 2001. Reports of health benefits and rising global incomes have spurred increasing demand for wine, particularly in mid- to upper-income countries. In 2001, the United States was the world’s leading importer, just ahead of the European Union (EU). Together, they accounted for over 60% of global imports. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9637/
The General Motors-Toyota Joint Venture and Its Competitive Implications
This report reviews the economics of joint ventures by focusing on their implication for market competition. It also reviews the legislative history of mergers and joint ventures with special emphasis on aspects of the law that are directed at reducing market concentration. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs8811/
Agriculture, Nutrition, and Rural Provisions in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009
This report analyzes the agriculture, nutrition, and rural provisions in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA, P.L. 111-5). The ARRA boosts government spending on various infrastructure programs and government benefits programs, and offers individual and business tax benefits. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc795420/
Federal Loans to the Auto Industry Under the Energy Independence and Security Act
This report examines various programs considered by Congress, including grants and loans, to help automakers with the increased cost of compliance with higher fuel economy standards. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc795466/
Methods of Estimating the Total Cost of Federal Regulations
This report analyzes these two approaches for estimating the total cost of federal regulations. In discussing each approach, the report provides an overview of the advantages, a brief case study, and an analysis of the potential issues or inherent problems using the case study to illustrate the concepts. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc824492/
Postal Reform
This report examines the U.S. Postal Service's (USPS's) financial crisis and the resulting legislative action. Although its short-term financial performance has improved, the USPS faces severe long-term financial straits, largely due to digital alternatives. USPS has a negative net worth and mounting obligations for retiree health benefits. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc824616/
Alaska Natural Gas Pipelines: Interaction of the Natural Gas and Steel Markets
In 1976, Congress approved legislation to establish the regulatory framework for building a pipeline to bring natural gas from the Alaska North Slope to the lower 48 states. This report focuses on two major issues or uncertainties that may serve as economic constraints on a capital investment undertaking of this major scale. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc847781/
Cybersecurity and Information Sharing: Legal Challenges and Solutions
While considerable debate exists with regard to the best strategies for protecting America’s various cyber-systems and promoting cybersecurity, one point of general agreement amongst cyber-analysts is the perceived need for enhanced and timely exchange of cyber-threat intelligence both within the private sector and between the private sector and the government. This report examines the various legal issues that arise with respect to the sharing of cybersecurity intelligence, with a special focus on two distinct concepts: (1) sharing of cyberinformation within the government’s possession and (2) sharing of cyber-information within the possession of the private sector. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc821165/
TARP Assistance for Chrysler: Restructuring and Repayment Issues
This report describes the progress that New Chrysler has made since it was created from the sale of the Old Chrysler assets in July 2009 and the path of the divestment of the federal government's stake in Chrysler. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc122212/
The Liability Insurance Controversy
This report discusses liability insurance, as the primary method of managing business related risks that has been recognized as one of the foundations of American commerce. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9598/
The Liability Insurance Controversy
This report discusses liability insurance, as the primary method of managing business related risks that has been recognized as one of the foundations of American comnerce. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9588/
The Liability Insurance Crisis
This report discusses liability insurance crisis, including complaints from businesses, professionals , and municipalities as well threat of lawsuits. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9589/
The Liability Insurance Crisis
This report discusses liability insurance crisis, including complaints from businesses, professionals , and municipalities as well threat of lawsuits. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9599/
The TANF Emergency Contingency Fund
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 created an Emergency Contingency Fund (ECF) within the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant. The fund expired on September 30, 2010. It helped states, Indian tribes, and territories pay for additional costs of providing economic aid to families during the current economic downturn for FY2009 and FY2010. This report describes the TANF ECF as well as proposals offered in 2010 to extend and modify TANF emergency funding. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491209/
The TANF Emergency Contingency Fund
This report describes the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Emergency Contingency Fund (ECF) as well as proposals to extend and modify TANF emergency funding. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491643/
Outsourcing and Insourcing Jobs in the U.S. Economy: Evidence Based on Foreign Investment Data
This report addresses the debate of job creation in the U.S. versus job outsourcing and its effects on the economy by analyzing the extent of direct investment into and out of the economy, the role such investment plays in U.S. trade, jobs, and production, and the relationship between direct investment and the broader economic changes that are occurring in the U.S. economy. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462394/
The Constitutionality of Campaign Finance Regulation: Buckley v. Valeo and Its Supreme Court Progeny
This report first discusses the key holdings enunciated by the Supreme Court in Buckley, including those upholding reasonable contribution limits, striking down expenditure limits, upholding disclosure reporting requirements, and upholding the system of voluntary presidential election expenditure limitations linked with public financing. It then examines the Court's extension of Buckley in several subsequent cases, evaluating them in various regulatory contexts: contribution limits, expenditure limits, disclosure requirements, and political party soft money and electioneering communication restrictions. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc461924/
The Debt Limit: History and Recent Increases
This report discusses how the total debt of the federal government can increase, an historical overview of debt limits, and how the current economic slowdown has led to higher deficits and thereby a series of debt limit increases, as well as legislation related to these increases. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc461953/
Economic Slowdown: Issues and Policies
This report first discusses the current state of the economy, including measures that have already been taken by the monetary authorities, and assesses the need for and potential consequences of fiscal stimulus. The second part of the report reviews the proposals discussed during debate on the recently enacted fiscal stimulus, both those adopted and those considered but not adopted. The various stimulus packages differed somewhat, and the report briefly describes those differences. This section also includes a discussion of the potential elements of a second stimulus proposal, and concludes with a discussion of the macroeconomic effects of the proposals. The final section of the paper discusses recent and proposed financial interventions. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462792/
Barriers to Corporate Fraud: How They Work, Why They Fail
The report focuses on the internal controls on American corporations (including corporate governance, business ethics, managerial structure and compensation, internal counsel, and whistleblowers), as well as external controls (government regulation, external auditors and accountants, and the judicial process). A recurring theme is the limited efficacy of many safeguards and watchdogs in cases of "control fraud," where fraud is directed or abetted by top management, and where unethical or abusive practices may become the organizational norm. Another broad question raised by the report is whether the post-Enron scandals were a one-time event, made possible by the stock market bubble of the 1990s and several other unique historical developments which together constituted a "perfect storm," or whether fraud is a cyclical phenomenon associated with the end of long bull markets. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462705/
The Debt Limit: History and Recent Increases
This report gives an historical overview of debt limits, discusses how the total debt of the federal government can increase and how the current economic slowdown has led to higher deficits and thereby a series of debt limit increases, as well as legislation related to these increases. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc463280/
The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act and Current Financial Turmoil: Issues and Analysis
This report briefly introduces aspects of the current financial instability. Following this, it outlines the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (EESA) legislation and the steps that Treasury has taken to implement EESA. Finally, the report concludes with a more in-depth analysis of the current financial instability, including potential causes of financial instability in general, some sources of the current instability, and how financial instability may spill over into the broader economy. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462143/
U.S. International Trade: Trends and Forecasts
This report provides an overview of the current status, trends, and forecasts for U.S. international trade. The purpose of this report is to provide current data and brief explanations for the various types of trade flows, particularly U.S. exports, along with a short discussion of particular trends and points of contention related to trade policy. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462946/
The Debt Limit: History and Recent Increases
This report gives an historical overview of debt limits, discusses how the total debt of the federal government can increase and how the current economic slowdown has led to higher deficits and thereby a series of debt limit increases, as well as legislation related to these increases. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc463249/
Running Deficits: Positives and Pitfalls
This report discusses how deficit finance can help governments manage their economies and how large and persistent deficits can lead to severe economic problems. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501644/
The Debt Limit: History and Recent Increases
This report discusses how the total debt of the federal government can increase, an historical overview of debt limits, and how the current economic slowdown has led to higher deficits and thereby a series of debt limit increases, as well as legislation related to these increases. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc503326/
Government Access to Phone Calling Activity and Related Records: Legal Authorities
This report summarizes legal authorities regarding access by the government, for either foreign intelligence or law enforcement purposes, to information related to telephone calling patterns or practices. Where pertinent, it also discusses statutory prohibitions against accessing or disclosing such information, along with relevant exceptions to those prohibitions. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc503528/
The Debt Limit: History and Recent Increases
This report discusses how the total debt of the federal government can increase, a historical overview of debt limits, and how the current economic slowdown has led to higher deficits and thereby a series of debt limit increases, as well as legislation related to these increases. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc505595/
Attorneys' Fees in the State Tobacco Litigation Cases
In the past few years, many states have filed complaints against the tobacco industry in state court to recover Medicaid costs paid by the states to treat their citizens for tobacco related illnesses. The states are also attempting to recover other damages, such as punitive damages, against the tobacco industry. For various reasons, the states have hired private attorneys to assist the state Attorneys General in prosecuting these cases. In most cases, the retention of private counsel has included a fee agreement specifying the amount of compensation that these attorneys will receive for their services. These agreements are not uniform among the states, but most tend to provide some form of contingency fee arrangement. Some of these states have developed a sliding scale contingency fee schedule which varies with the amount of time spent on the litigation and whether a trial has begun. This report briefly summarizes the different fee agreements that the states have with private counsel. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs377/
"Bunker Busters": Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator Issues, FY2005-FY2007
The Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator (RNEP) program has been the most controversial nuclear weapon program in Congress for the last several years. Supporters argue that it is needed to attack hard and deeply buried targets (such as leadership bunkers) in countries of concern, thereby deterring or defeating challenges from such nations; critics assert that RNEP would lower the threshold for use of nuclear weapons and prompt other nations to develop nuclear weapons to deter U.S. attack. This report presents a brief technical background on RNEP, then discusses the history of RNEP in Congress and the Administration for the FY2005 and FY2006 budget cycles. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs8585/
China's Impact on the U.S. Automotive Industry
This report discusses China’s impact on the U.S. Automotive Industry. Congress has been concerned with broad policies giving Chinese exporters unfair trade advantages. The Senate approved a bill, added as an amendment to other legislation that would place a high tariff on Chinese imports unless China revalues its pegged exchange rate (S. 295). Further action has been postponed on this measure. Legislation to allow U.S. producers to bring countervailing duty cases against Chinese firms subsidized by their government has been approved in the House (H.R. 3283), and a new law has tightened rules against trade in counterfeited goods (P.L. 109-181). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9141/
Chrysler Corporation Loan Guarantee Act of 1979: Background, Provisions, and Cost
A look at how the Chrysler Loan Guarantee Act of 1979 affected TARP funding for the Detroit Big Three. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc83894/
Chrysler Corporation Loan Guarantee Act of 1979: Background, Provisions, and Cost
A look at how the Chrysler Loan Guarantee Act of 1979 affected TARP funding for the Detroit Big Three. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc83893/
Cigarette Taxes to Fund Health Care Reform: An Economic Analysis
A cigarette excise tax increase of 75 cents per pack has been proposed to finance part of the President's universal health care program. The tax enjoys considerable public support, would raise about $11 billion per year, and would be relatively simple to administer because it would increase an existing manufacturer's excise tax. This report discusses these rationales, as well as other effects of and concerns about the tax, organized into topics of market failure as a justification for the tax (i.e., economic efficiency); potential for revenue; equity; and the job loss the tax might cause in tobacco growing regions. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26039/
Constitutionality of Proposals to Prohibit the Sale or Rental to Minors of Video Games with Violent or Sexual Content or "Strong Language"
It has been proposed that Congress prohibit the sale or rental to minors of video games that are rated “M” (mature) or “AO” (adults-only) by the Entertainment Software Ratings Board. This board is a non-governmental entity established by the Interactive Digital Software Association, and its ratings currently have no legal effect. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9144/
Energy Tax Policy: An Economic Analysis
The report provides background on the theory and application of tax policy as it relates to the energy sector, particularly with respect to the theory of market failure in the energy sector and the suggested policy remedies. This background provides a context for understanding how current or proposed energy tax policy may affect other policy objectives or be affected by such objectives. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9111/
The Federal Role in Technology Development
The federal government has traditionally played a role in fostering technological progress. This has involved both direct federal research and development (R&D) funding and indirect measures that create incentives for increased private sector investments in innovation. However, this mix of initiatives was challenged since the 104th Congress. While support for all on-going efforts continues, some programs have been funded at reduced levels. However, since FY2001, appropriations appear to have reversed this trend. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26095/
Executive Compensation in Bankruptcy: The Fairness and Accountability in Reorganizations Act
S. 2556 and its companion bill, H.R. 5113, 109th Congress, 2nd Sess. (2006), introduced by Senator Bayh and Representative Conyers, respectively, are entitled the Fairness and Accountability in Reorganizations Act of 2006. The legislation, according to its sponsors, is intended to “ensure that workers are treated more fairly during [bankruptcy] reorganizations by limiting executive compensation deals and requiring corporations to provide a more accurate picture of their holdings before attempting to modify collective bargaining agreements or promised health benefits.” This report surveys the bill’s provisions. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9151/
Internet Commerce and State Sales and Use Taxes
In theory, state sales and use taxes are based on the destination principle, which prescribes that taxes should be paid where the consumption takes place. States are concerned because they anticipate gradually losing more tax revenue as the growth of Internet commerce allows more residents to buy products from vendors located out-of-state and evade use taxes. The size of the revenue loss from Internet commerce and subsequent tax evasion is uncertain. Congress is involved in this issue because commerce conducted by parties in different states over the Internet falls under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution. The degree of congressional involvement is an open question. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10193/
Location-Based Preferences in Federal and Federally Funded Contracting: An Overview of the Law
This report discusses constitutional and other legal issues related to the creation and implementation of location-based preferences in federal contracting, as well as summarizes key authorities requiring or allowing federal agencies to "favor" contractors located in specific places. The report does not address federal preferences for domestic products or provisions of federal law that could, depending upon their implementation, effectively prefer local contractors, such as project labor agreements. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29583/
Postal Reform Bills: A Side-by-Side Comparison of H.R. 22 and S. 662
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Postal Reform Bills: A Side-by-Side Comparison of H.R. 22 and S. 662
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Postal Reform Bills: A Side-by-Side Comparison of H.R. 22 and S. 662
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International Tax Provisions of the American Competitiveness and Corporate Accountability Act (H.R. 5095)
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Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator Budget Request and Plan, FY2005-FY2009
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The Postal Revenue Forgone Appropriation: Overview and Current Issues
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