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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Spyware: Background and Policy Issues for Congress
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Spyware: Background and Policy Issues for Congress
The term "spyware" is not well defined. Generally, it is used to refer to any software that is downloaded onto a person's computer without their knowledge. Spyware may collect information about a computer user's activities and transmit their information to someone else. Most spyware is installed surreptitiously, and most users are therefore unaware that spyware exists on their computers. A central point of the spyware debate in Congress is whether new laws are needed, or if industry self-regulation, coupled with enforcement actions under existing laws, such as the Trade Commission Act, is sufficient. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10401/
Discriminatory Pricing and the Robinson- Patman Act: Brief Background and Analysis
This report discusses the Robinson-Patman (R-P) Act, which makes it unlawful, with certain exceptions, to knowingly sell goods "in commerce," for use or sale within the United States, at differing prices to contemporaneous buyers of those goods. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc795356/
The Budget for Fiscal Year 2008
This report discusses the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA's) FY2009 budget request of $2.676 billion that would provide a 17.9% increase ($406 million) over FY2008. It includes an overview and breakdowns for specific programs: Foods Program, Human Drugs Program, Biologics program, Animal Drugs and Feed Program, and the Devices and Radiological Health Program. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc822600/
Advertising of Alcoholic Beverages: Should a Radio and TV Ban be Imposed?
This issue brief discusses the ongoing debate centered around television and radio advertising of alcoholic beverages, especially as it relates to the possible negative influence on the drinking habits of minors. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9049/
Inflation-Indexing Elements in Federal Entitlement Programs
This report identifies key indexing elements in major federal entitlement programs under current law and presents the information in a summary table. The report provides a brief description of the measures of consumer price change used to index various elements of these programs under current law, as well as the alternative measure of consumer price change (the Chained CPI-U) that has been proposed for computing Social Security cost-of-living-adjustments (COLAs) and making inflation adjustments to other federal programs. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462438/
Financial Regulatory Reform: Analysis of the Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) as Proposed by the Obama Administration and H.R. 3126
This report provides a brief summary of the Obama Administration's Consumer Financial Protection Agency Act of 2009 (CFPA) and delineates some of the substantive differences between it and H.R. 3126, as ordered to be reported by the House Financial Services Committee, as well as the version that was ordered to be reported by the House Energy and Commerce Committee. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc626997/
Beneficiary Information and Decision Supports for the Medicare-Endorsed Prescription Drug Discount Card
On December 8, 2003 the President signed into law the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003 (MMA, P.L. 108-173). This legislation establishes a Medicare prescription drug benefit, effective January 1, 2006. In the interim, the legislation requires the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to establish a temporary program of Medicare-endorsed prescription drug discount cards. This report discusses the objectives and benefits of this legislation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs6351/
Asbestos Compensation Act of 2000
This report summarizes H.R. 1283, 106th Congress, the Asbestos Compensation Act of 2000, as ordered to be reported with amendments by the House Committee on the Judiciary on March 16, 2000. The bill would create an administrative procedure for asbestos liability claims. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs1122/
Drug Control
How to prevent the non-medical use of dependency-producing drugs has been a public policy concern for at least a century. A large part of the responsibility for controlling such substances has been assumed by the Federal Government. Historically based on decision to restrict availability through a system of close regulation, including selective prohibition, the current Federal anti-drugs strategy lives on activities and programs in five major areas: 1) regulation and other “enforcement” efforts; 2) support for international control and for control efforts of individual drug-producing and drug-transiting countries; 3) education and other prevention activities; 4 ) treatment and rehabilitation for drug-dependent persons; and ( 5 ) research on drugs , drug dependency, and prevention and treatment methods. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs8518/
Financial Regulatory Reform: Analysis of the Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) as Proposed by the Obama Administration and H.R. 3126
This report provides a brief summary of the President's Consumer Financial Protection Agency Act of 2009 (the CPFA Act or the Act) and delineates some of the substantive differences between it and H.R. 3126, as introduced. It then analyzes some of the policy implications of the proposal, focusing on the separation of safety and soundness regulation from consumer protection, financial innovation, and the scope of regulation. The report then raises some questions regarding state law preemption, sources of funding, and rule-making procedures that the Act does not fully answer. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26183/
The Pros and Cons of Allowing the Federal Government to Negotiate Prescription Drug Prices
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Compensating Farmers for the Tobacco Settlement
The legislative proposals designed to reduce smoking, primarily by teenagers, are likely to have negative economic consequences for tobacco growers and tobacco-dependent communities. This report discusses the possibility of some kind of compensation to farmers as part of the settlement package legislation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs563/
Data Security: Protecting the Privacy of Phone Records
This report discusses recent legislative and regulatory efforts to protect the privacy of customer telephone records, and efforts to prevent the unauthorized use, disclosure, or sale of such records by data brokers. In addition, it provides a brief overview of the confidentiality protections for customer information established by the Communications Act of 1934. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9027/
Data Security: Protecting the Privacy of Phone Records
This report discusses recent legislative and regulatory efforts to protect the privacy of customer telephone records, and efforts to prevent the unauthorized use, disclosure, or sale of such records by data brokers. In addition, it provides a brief overview of the confidentiality protections for customer information established by the Communications Act of 1934. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9026/
Spyware: Background and Policy Issues for Congress
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Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, H.R. 1036, S. 659, S. 1805, S. 1806, 108th Congress: Legal Analysis
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Class Actions and Proposed Reform in the 108th Congress: Class Action Fairness Act of 2003
The report discusses the consumer class action bill of rights in each proposal contains safeguards which provide for judicial scrutiny of coupon and other non-cash settlements, protection against a proposed settlement that would result in a net loss to a class member, protection against discrimination based upon geographic location, and prohibition on a class representative receiving a greater share of the award. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs5117/
Class Actions and Proposed Reform in the 107th Congress: Class Action Fairness Act of 2002
This report discusses the Class Action Fairness Act of 2002. The bill reflects a preference for class actions to be adjudicated in federal courts and would enlarge U.S. district courts original jurisdiction over class actions with claims aggregating $2,000,000 or more (even if each of the members of the class had not sustained damages in excess of $75,000 as is now required). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs3241/
Medicare Endorsed Prescription Drug Discount Card Program
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Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, H.R. 1036 and S. 659, 108th Congress: Legal Analysis
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Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, H.R. 1036, 108th Congress: Legal Analysis
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President Bush's Proposed Medicare-Endorsed Drug Discount Card Initiative: Status and Issues
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Medicare: Major Prescription Drug Provisions of Selected Bills
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Medicare: Major Prescription Drug Provisions of Selected Bills
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Medicare: Major Prescription Drug Provisions of Selected Bills
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The Cost of Prescription Drugs for the Uninsured Elderly and Legislative Approaches
The purpose of this report is to explain why many of those who are least able to afford high drug costs are those who are most frequently charged the most. This report describes the basic economic theory underlying price differentiation and, in the context of the pharmaceutical market, analyzes the role and behavior of pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), pharmaceutical manufacturers, and retail pharmacies, respectively. It also looks at a number of the criticisms that have been made of the practice of differential pricing. Finally, this report discusses various policy approaches aimed at assisting the elderly to purchase prescription drugs. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs1520/
President Bush's Proposed Medicare-Endorsed Drug Discount Card Initiative: Status and Issues
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President Bush's Proposed Medicare-Endorsed Drug Discount Card Initiative: Status and Issues
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Financial Regulatory Reform: Analysis of the Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) as Proposed by the Obama Administration and H.R. 3126
This report provides a brief summary of the President's Consumer Financial Protection Agency Act of 2009 and delineates some of the substantive differences between it and H.R. 3126, as introduced. It then analyzes some of the policy implications of the proposal, focusing on the separation of safety and soundness regulation from consumer protection, financial innovation, and the scope of regulation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc689285/
Standardized Choices: Medigap Lessons for Medicare Part D
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State Securities Class Action Suits: Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner
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Spyware: Background and Policy Issues for Congress
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Three Utility Financing Issues
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Three Utility Financing Issues
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Medicare: Selected Prescription Drug Proposals
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Medicare: Side-by-Side Comparison of Selected Prescription Drug Bills
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Summary and Comparison of the Major Agricultural Provisions of the Tobacco Settlement Policy Proposals
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Credit Default Swaps: Frequently Asked Questions
Credit default swaps are contracts that provide protection against default by third parties, similar to insurance. These financial derivatives are used by banks and other financial institutions to manage risk. The rapid growth of the derivatives market, the potential for widespread credit defaults (such as defaults for subprime mortgages), and operational problems in the over-the-counter (OTC) market where credit default swaps are traded, have led some policymakers to inquire if credit default swaps are a danger to the financial system and the economy. This report defines credit default swaps, explains their use by banks for risk management, and discusses the potential for systemic risk. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10780/
Infant Formula: National Problems
This report discusses congressional concerns regarding infant formula that was deficient in a required nutrient. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9046/
The Internal Revenue Service's Use of Private Debt Collection Agencies: Current Status and Issues for Congress
Under the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004 (AJCA, P.L. 108-357), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has acquired for the second time in its history the legal authority to hire private debt collection agencies (PCAs) to assist in the collection of certain individual tax debt. The grant of authority grew out of a proposal made by the Bush Administration in its budget request for the IRS in both FY2004 and FY2005. This report focuses on IRS’s current plan for hiring PCAs to collect delinquent individual taxes and the policy issues it raises. It begins with an examination of the scope of IRS’s authority to use PCAs under the AJCA and concludes with a discussion of the main issues for Congress as it oversees IRS’s efforts to implement and manage the private tax debt collection initiative. The report will be updated to reflect significant legislative action and new developments related to the initiative digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs8380/
Medicare: Prescription Drug Proposals
This report provides an overview of the President’s plan and the legislation introduced to date in the 106th Congress. It digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs1048/
Medicare: Beneficiary Cost-Sharing Under Proposed Prescription Drug Benefits
This report provides background on how the cost-sharing and premium provisions under each bill would affect the amount that a beneficiary pays annually for prescription drugs. In addition, this report gives examples of how annual cost-sharing would differ for beneficiaries with various levels of total prescription drug spending in 2006 under the plans. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs3700/
Medicare: Beneficiary Cost-Sharing Under Prescription Drug Legislation
This report provides an analysis of how the cost-sharing and premium provisions under the Prescription Drug and Medicare Improvement Act of 2003 (S. 1) and the Medicare Prescription Drug and Modernization Act of 2003 (H bill would affect the amount that a beneficiary would pay annually for prescription drugs. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs3698/
Medicare: Beneficiary Cost-Sharing Under Proposed Prescription Drug Benefits
This report examines these proposals as well as the “Medicare Rx Drug Benefit and Discount Act of 2003,” which was introduced by Representative Charles Rangel, the ranking member of the House Ways and Means Committee. Specifically, this report provides background on how the cost-sharing and premium provisions under each bill would affect the amount that a beneficiary pays annually for prescription drugs. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs3699/
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/
The FDA 2009 Budget Request
The Administration's FY2009 budget request of $2.4 billion for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would provide a 5.7% increase ($130 million) over FY2008. User fees would make up about 26% of the total amount requested and would account for 61% of the proposed increase. Budget documents indicate that the additional funding would provide for expanded activities to ensure the safety of foods and drugs, as well as to accelerate the availability of new medical products. About half of the requested increase would be used for cost-of-living pay increases, as opposed to new program activities. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10745/
Increases in Tricare Costs: Background and Options for Congress
In its FY2007 budget submission, the Department of Defense (DOD) proposed increases in Tricare enrollment fees, deductibles, and pharmacy co-payments for retired beneficiaries not yet eligible for Medicare. The raises were justified by DOD as necessary to constrain the growth of health care spending as a proportion of the overall defense budget in the next decade. Many beneficiaries argued that the proposed hikes were unfair and unnecessary. The FY2007 Defense Authorization Act prohibited increases in premiums, deductibles, and co-payments prior to September 30, 2007. The FY2008 National Defense Authoriztion Act extended the prohibition of increases in co-payments and enrollment fees until October 2008 and Congress may move to extend them further. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10666/
Food Safety in the 111th Congress
This report discusses whether the current food safety system has the resources, authority, and structural organization to safeguard the health of American consumers, who spend more than $1 trillion on food each year. Also at issue is whether federal food safety laws, first enacted in the early 1900s, have kept pace with the significant changes that have occurred in the food production, processing, and marketing sectors since then. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31334/
Food Safety in the 111th Congress: H.R. 2749 and S. 510
This report discusses whether the current food safety system has the resources, authority, and structural organization to safeguard the health of American consumers, who spend more than $1 trillion on food each year. Also at issue is whether federal food safety laws, first enacted in the early 1900s, have kept pace with the significant changes that have occurred in the food production, processing, and marketing sectors since then. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31333/