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 Decade: 2000-2009
 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Campaign Finance Bills in the 106th Congress: Comparison of Shays-Meehan, as passed, with McCain-Feingold, as considered
On September 14, 1999, the House passed the Shays-Meehan bill--H.R. 417, the Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act of 1999, as amended, by a vote of 252-177. Senate sponsors of the companion measure, S. 26 (McCain-Feingold), revised their proposal and, on September 16, introduced S. 1593, containing just four sections of H.R. 417 and S. 26. The Senate debated S. 1593 from October 13-20, culminating in unsuccessful cloture votes October 19 on two amendments: Daschle amendment 2298, substituting text nearly identical to the House-passed H.R. 417; and Reid amendment 2229 (a perfecting amendment to no. 2298), substituting text of S. 1593 as offered, plus McCain amendment 2294 (adopted October 14), which added certain disclosure requirements. This report compares provisions of the House-passed bill with the one considered by the Senate in October 1999. No further updates are planned. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs1160/
Campaign Finance Debate in the 106th Congress: Comparison of Measures Under House Consideration
On September 14, the House passed H.R. 417 on a vote of 252-177, as amended by three perfecting amendments: Bereuter/Wicker #6; Faleomavaega #1; and Sweeney #21. This report features two tables. Table 1 summarizes and compares the ten perfecting amendments, current law, and the Shays-Meehan proposal. Table 2 summarizes and compares current law, the Shays-Meehan bill, and the three substitute amendments. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs1155/
State-by-State Comparison of Selected Electricity Restructuring Provisions
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EPA's Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Program: Highlights of Proposed Changes and Impacts on Agriculture
In August 1999 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed regulations to clarify and strengthen the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) program under section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act. Section 303(d) requires states to identify surface waters for which wastewater discharge limits are not stringent enough to achieve water quality standards and to allocate further required pollutant reductions among sources in order to attain those standards. This report discusses the major changes in EPA's proposals, compared with existing regulatory program requirements, and potential impacts on agriculture and forestry sources, which have been controversial. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs1125/
Campaign Finance: Constitutional and Legal Issues of Soft Money
Soft money is a major issue in the campaign finance reform debate because these generally unregulated funds are perceived as resulting from a loophole in the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA). Generally, soft money is funds that are raised and spent according to applicable state laws, which FECA prohibits from being spent directly on federal elections, but that may have an indirect influence on federal elections. This Issue Brief discusses three major types of soft money: political party soft money, corporate and labor union soft money, and soft money used for issue advocacy communications. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs1153/
Trade Legislation in the 106th Congress: An Overview
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Water Quality Initiatives and Agriculture
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Campaign Financing: Highlights and Chronology of Current Federal Law
Current law governing financial activity of campaigns for federal office is based on two principal statutes: the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) of 1971, as amended in 1974, 1976, and 1979, and the Revenue Act of 1971. These laws were enacted to remedy widely perceived shortcomings of existing law, the Corrupt Practices Act of 1925, and in response to reports of campaign finance abuses over the years, culminating in the 1972-1974 Watergate scandal. This report provides a summary of major provisions of federal law and a chronology of key legislative and judicial actions. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs1151/
Electricity Restructuring and the Constitutionality of Retail Reciprocity Requirements
Retail reciprocity requirements have been included in the electricity restructuring legislation of at least four states. These requirements mandate generally that out-of-state utilities which operate in a state “closed” to retail competition cannot market power to retail consumers in the “open” state. Because state reciprocity requirements enacted without congressional authorization are probably unconstitutional under the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution, Congress would have to include a reciprocity provision in federal electricity restructuring legislation if it wants to support the view that such a provision will increase competition. This report reviews the treatment of state reciprocity requirements by the U.S. Supreme Court and discusses Congress’ power under the Commerce Clause. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs1181/
Property Rights: House Judiciary Committee Reports H.R. 2372
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Coastal Zone Management Reauthorization: An Overview
Congress is considering legislation that would reauthorize the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972. This overview summarizes the programs created by this act and its amendments, and outlines issues associated with reauthorization. These issues include reauthorizing funding, altering grant programs, changing the National Estuarine Research Reserve system, funding to implement nonpoint water pollution requirements, protecting private property rights, expanding program evaluation efforts, and examining effects of personal water craft on the coastal requirement. A reauthorization bill has been reported by the House Resources Committee (H.R. 2669, H. Rept. 106-485), and floor action is anticipated soon. In the Senate, no action has been taken. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs1267/
The Pendulum Swings Back: Standing Doctrine After
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Economic Sanctions and U.S. Agricultural Exports
Various statutes and regulations authorize the President to restrict or prohibit trade with targeted countries for national security or foreign policy reasons. The exercise of these authorities has resulted in restrictions or prohibitions at times being placed on the export of U.S. agricultural commodities and products. The U.S. government currently restricts exports of agricultural products as part of across-the-board economic sanctions imposed on Cuba and Iraq. Exceptions are made for humanitarian reasons, allowing food to be sold or donated to these two countries. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs1255/
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/
Conservation Reserve Payments and Self-Employment Taxes
Farmers enrolling their land in the Department of Agriculture's Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) receive payments for refraining from farming their property and for engaging in certain conservation practices mandated by the Department of Agriculture. These payments are described in the contract with the Department of Agriculture as "rental payments." Farmers would like to treat the income as "rental income" because it would not be subject to self-employment taxes, but the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) insists that under certain conditions, the payments are income from the trade or business of farming and thus subject to self-employment taxes. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs1066/
Fact Sheet on Congressional Tax Proposals
A general tax cut (H.R. 2488), costing $792 billion over 10 years, was vetoed in September 1999. A more narrowly focused bill (H.R. 1180) extending certain expiring provisions was adopted in December. Several tax proposals have been or are likely to be considered in 2000. The largest of these was marriage penalty legislation (H.R. 6 and S. 2346). Tax provisions are also included in health care legislation and minimum wage legislation; the latter passed the House on March 9 and included distressed communities legislation and a repeal of the installment sales provision included in the extenders bill. A number of separate tax bills are also under consideration. The general tax cut proposal included across-the-board tax cuts, benefits for married couples, phase-out of the alternative minimum tax, a reduction in capital gains taxes, a phase-out of the estate tax and provisions relating to education and health. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs1315/
Sexual Harassment and Violence Against Women: Developments in Federal Law
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The Posse Comitatus Act and Related Matters: The Use of the Military to Execute Civilian Law
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China's Accession to the World Trade Organization: Legal Issues
The People's Republic of China (PRC) applied to resume membership in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in 1986 and continues to negotiate its accession to GATT's successor, the World Trade Organization (WTO). A country may join the WTO on terms agreed by the applicant and WTO Members if two-thirds of Members approve the country's accession agreement. A Member may "opt out" of WTO relations with another country by invoking Article XIII of the WTO Agreement, its "non-application" clause. The United States and the PRC agreed to bilateral terms for the PRC's accession in November 1999. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs1333/
Immigration and Naturalization Service Reorganization and Related Legislative Proposals
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527 Organizations: How the Differences in Tax and Election Laws Permit Certain Organizations to Engage in Issue Advocacy without Public Disclosure and Proposals for Change
This report compares the tax and election laws relating to political organizations and political committees in an attempt to highlight the differences between them, and discusses some of the proposals in the 106th Congress to require additional reporting by organizations engaging in political activities. This report does not address the taxation of other tax-exempt organizations making political expenditures taxable under IRC § 527. The report will be updated as new proposals are reported. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs1156/
Civil Service Retirement Bills in the 106th Congress
Among the civil service retirement issues addressed in bills introduced thus far in the 106th Congress are the correction of retirement coverage errors for federal employees assigned to the wrong retirement system; immediate eligibility for federal employees to participate in the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP); improved portability of pension benefits; and repeal of the temporary increase in employee retirement contributions that was mandated by the Balanced Budget Act of 1997. Other bills would expand TSP eligibility to include members of the armed services; improve pension coverage for temporary and part-time federal employees; and designate several categories of federal employees as law enforcement officers for purposes of determining their retirement benefits. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs1241/
Overview of NEPA Requirements
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EPA's Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Program: Highlights of the Final Revised Rule
This report discusses the final rule and the key modifications of the August 1999 proposal. The final rule builds on the current TMDL regulatory program and adds details, specific requirements, and deadlines. It retains the basic elements of the 1999 proposal for more comprehensive identification of impaired waters, schedules and minimum elements for TMDLs, and new public participation requirements. At the same time, dropped from the final rule are several provisions that were most controversial in the proposal, including some potentially affecting agriculture and forestry, one that would have required pollutant discharge offsets in some circumstances, and one that would have required states to identify waters threatened but not yet impaired by pollution digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs1126/
Electricity Restructuring: Comparison of Comprehensive Bills
Once considered the nation's most regulated industry, the electric utility industry is evolving into a more competitive environment. Currently, the focus of this development is the generating sector, where the advent of new generating technologies has lowered both entry barriers to competitors of traditional utilities and the marginal costs of those competitors below those of some traditional utilities. This technological advance has combined with legislative initiatives, such as the Energy Policy Act (EPACT), to encourage the introduction of competitive forces into the electric generating sector. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs1170/
Campaign Finance: Constitutional and Legal Issues of Soft Money
"Soft money" has become one of the major issues in the area of campaign financing in federal elections. The controversy surrounding this issue is due to the perception that soft money may be the largest loophole in the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA). Soft money is broadly defined as funds that are raised and spent according to applicable state laws; that would be impermissible, under the FECA, to spend directly in federal elections and that may have an indirect influence on federal elections. This Issue Brief discusses three major types of soft money: political party soft money, corporate and labor union soft money, and soft money used for issue advocacy communications. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs6363/
Defense Cleanup and Environmental Programs: Authorization and Appropriations for FY2001
The Department of Defense operates six environmental programs: cleanup of past contamination at military facilities, acceleration of cleanup at military bases designated for closure, compliance with environmental laws and regulations that apply to ongoing military operations, pollution prevention, natural resource conservation, and environmental technology. In addition to these activities, the Department of Energy is responsible for managing defense nuclear waste and remediating contaminated sites. This report discusses the federal laws that established these programs, describes their scope and purpose, provides a history of appropriations, indicates the President’s budget request for FY2001, examines authorization and appropriations legislation for FY2001, and discusses other relevant legislation considered in the 106th Congress. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs1144/
Elementary and Secondary School Teachers: Action by the 106th Congress
The quality and quantity of public elementary and secondary school teachers are of increasing concern to the 106th Congress. Although states and localities are responsible for most aspects of teacher preparation, recruitment, and employment, the federal government supports a wide array of programs for teachers. Several of these programs are being considered for amendment and extension by the 106th Congress including the Eisenhower Professional Development program and the Class Size Reduction program. The 106th Congress has before it a wide array of legislative proposals to address teacher issues. Action has occurred on several proposals. This report tracks such action and will be updated as it occurs. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs1163/
An Examination of the Issues Surrounding Biotechnology Patenting and Its Effect Upon Entrepreneurial Companies
The biotechnology industry is notable both for its heavy concentration of small businesses and its weighty research and development (R&D) expenditures. Given the small size and heavy expenses of many biotechnology firms, their ability to raise venture capital may be of some consequence. The patent law has been identified as a facilitator of these R&D financing efforts. Congress may choose to exercise oversight on these issues. Such consideration would likely include examination of U.S. commitments in international agreements along with other factors. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs1296/
Internet Tax Legislation: Distinguishing Issues
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527 Organizations: How the Differences in Tax and Election Laws Permit Certain Organizations to Engage in Issue Advocacy without Public Disclosure and Proposals for Change
Virtually all political organizations are "section 527" political organizations, which means that they are tax-exempt. 527 organizations are created to influence the election or defeat of public officials. This report compares the tax and election laws relating to political organizations and political committees prior to the enactment of P.L. 106-230 in an attempt to highlight the differences between them, and discusses some of the proposals in the 106th Congress to require additional reporting by organizations engaging in political activities. This report does not address the taxation of other tax-exempt organizations making political expenditures taxable under IRC § 527. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10190/
527 Organizations: How the Differences in Tax and Election Laws Permit Certain Organizations to Engage in Issue Advocacy without Public Disclosure and Proposals for Change
Virtually all political organizations are "section 527" political organizations, which means that they are tax-exempt. 527 organizations are created to influence the election or defeat of public officials. This report compares the tax and election laws relating to political organizations and political committees prior to the enactment of P.L. 106-230 in an attempt to highlight the differences between them, and discusses some of the proposals in the 106th Congress to require additional reporting by organizations engaging in political activities. This report does not address the taxation of other tax-exempt organizations making political expenditures taxable under IRC § 527. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10189/
527 Organizations: How the Differences in Tax and Election Laws Permit Certain Organizations to Engage in Issue Advocacy without Public Disclosure and Proposals for Change
This report compares the tax and election laws relating to political organizations and political committees prior to the enactment of P.L. 106-230 in an attempt to highlight the differences between them, and discusses some of the proposals in the 106th Congress to require additional reporting by organizations engaging in political activities. This report does not address the taxation of other tax-exempt organizations making political expenditures taxable under IRC § 527. For developments after the enactment of P.L. 106-230, please see CRS Report RS20650, 527 Organizations: Reporting Requirements Imposed on Political Organizations after the Enactment of P.L. 106-230. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9625/
Campaign Finance Regulation Under the First Amendment:
This Report first discusses the critical 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 fourteen subsequent cases, evaluating them in three regulatory contexts: contribution limits (California Medical Association v. FEC; Citizens Against Rent Control v. Berkeley; Nixon v. Shrink Missouri Government PAC), expenditure limits (First National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti; FEC v. Massachusetts Citizens for Life; Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce; FEC v. National Right to Work; Colorado Republican Federal Campaign Committee v. FEC; FEC v. Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee; FEC v. National Conservative Political Action Committee), and disclosure requirements (Buckley v. American Constitutional Law Foundation; Brown v. Socialist Workers ‘74 Campaign Committee; FEC v. Akins; McIntrye v. Ohio Elections Commission). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs1158/
Constitutional Constraints on Congress' Ability to Protect the Environment
Federal protection of the environment must hew to the same constitutional strictures as any other federal actions. In the past decade, however, the Supreme Court has invigorated several of these strictures in ways that present new challenges to congressional drafters of environmental statutes. This report reviews six of these newly emergent constitutional areas, with special attention to their significance for current and future environmental legislation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs1186/
Tax Benefits for Education in the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997: New Legislative Developments
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Medicare: Side-by-Side Comparison of Selected Prescription Drug Bills
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The Foreign Sales Corporation (FSC) Tax Benefit for Exporting and the WTO
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The Americans with Disabilities Act: Eleventh Amendment Issues
This report provides a brief overview of the Eleventh Amendment to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs1147/
Clean Air Act Issues in the 106th Congress
The Clean Air Act and its 1990 amendments appear to have contributed to a marked improvement in air quality nationwide. Of nearly 100 metropolitan areas not meeting air quality standards for ozone in 1990, more than two-thirds now do so. Even greater progress has been achieved with carbon monoxide: 36 of 42 areas not in attainment in 1990 now meet the standard. Nevertheless, EPA remains concerned about air pollution. In 1997, the Agency promulgated major revisions to its air quality standards for ozone and particulates, an action that would require most states and urban areas to establish additional controls on a wide range of pollution sources. The revised standards were challenged by numerous parties and the courts have remanded the standards to EPA. Implementation is currently in limbo, pending resolution of appeals by the Supreme Court. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs1185/
Police and Law Enforcement: Selected Issues
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Caribbean Basin Interim Trade Program: CBI/NAFTA Parity
The entry into force, on January 1, 1994, of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has eliminated the advantage that the beneficiaries of the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act (CBERA) and related provisions of the Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI) had enjoyed in trade with the United States relative to Mexico, and gave Mexico an increasingly significant competitive edge over the CBERA countries. The scheduled further implementation of the NAFTA would have resulted in a substantial advantage to Mexico over the CBERA countries and vitiate in part the purpose of the CBERA. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs1331/
Internet Tax Legislation: Distinguishing Issues
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Iraq: Oil-for-Food Program
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Pharmacy Benefit Managers
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Alternative Transportation Fuels and Vehicles: Energy, Environment, and Development Issues
This report reviews several issues relating to alternative fuels and vehicles, mainly to combat dependence on petroleum imports and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The report discusses the advantages and drawbacks of various alternative fuels and vehicles, as well as related legislation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs1178/
Clean Air Standards: The Supreme Court Agrees to Review
In May, 2000, the Supreme Court agreed to review this decision, raising the prospect of a major pronouncement on the non-delegation doctrine, the enforceability of the revised ozone standard, and the role of compliance costs in setting nationwide air quality standards. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs1128/
Campaign Finance: Constitutional and Legal Issues of Soft Money
As in the 105th Congress, many of the 106th Congress bills focus on political party soft money--subjecting contributions, expenditures, or transfers of national political parties to the limitations, prohibitions and reporting requirements of the FECA. Other bills would restrict corporate and labor union soft money. Another major reform proposal would subject certain types of advocacy communications to FECA regulation, either fully or just insofar as disclosure requirements. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs1154/
The Foreign Sales Corporation (FSC) Tax Benefit for Exporting: WTO Issues and an Economic Analysis
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Patent Ownership and Federal Research and Development (R and D): A Discussion on the Bayh-Dole Act and the Stevenson-Wydler Act
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