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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Results 14101 - 14150 of 21,518
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Africa: U.S. Foreign Assistance Issues
This report discusses the issue of U.S. economic assistance to sub-Saharan Africa, highlighting the importance of continued assistance in light of U.S. national security and also various U.S.-led efforts to promote reform amongst African citizens themselves. U.S. assistance finds its way to Africa through a variety of channels, including the USAID-administered DA program, food aid programs, and indirect aid provided through international financial institutions and the United Nations. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs6233/
Agriculture-Based Renewable Energy Production
Since the late 1970s, U.S. policy makers at both the federal and state levels have enacted a variety of incentives, regulations, and programs to encourage the production and use of agriculture-based renewable energy. Motivations cited for these legislative initiatives include energy security concerns, reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, and raising domestic demand for U.S.-produced farm products. This report provides background information on farm-based energy production and how this fits into the national energy-use picture. It briefly reviews the primary agriculture-based renewable energy types and issues of concern associated with their production, particularly their economic and energy efficiencies and long-run supply. Finally, this report examines the major legislation related to farm-based energy production and use. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9101/
Clean Water Act and Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) of Pollutants
Section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act requires states to identify waters that are impaired by pollution, even after application of pollution controls. For those waters, states must establish a total maximum daily load (TMDL) of pollutants to ensure that water quality standards can be attained. Implementation of this provision has been dormant until recently, when states and EPA were prodded by numerous lawsuits. The TMDL issue has become controversial, in part because of requirements and costs now facing states to implement a 25-year-old provision of the law. Congressional activity to reauthorize the Act, a possibility in the 2nd Session of the 105th Congress, could include TMDL issues, but the direction for any such action is unclear at this time. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10107/
"Dear Colleague" Letters: A Brief Overview
“Dear Colleague” letters are official correspondence distributed in bulk to Members in both chambers. Primarily, they are used by one or more Members to persuade others to cosponsor or oppose a bill (generally, prior to introduction). Dear Colleague letters might also inform Members of an event connected with congressional business, of new or modified House procedures, or of some other matter. The use of the phrase “‘Dear Colleague’ letter” to refer to a widely distributed letter among Members dates at least to the start of the 20th century. New technologies and expanded use of the Internet have increased the speed and facilitated the process of preparing Dear Colleague letters. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs6161/
NATO and the European Union
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The Senate's Calendar of Business
This report provides a summary of the contents of the Senate's Calendar of Business, which lists bills, resolutions, and other items of legislative business that are eligible for floor consideration. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29538/
Special Operations Forces (SOF) and CIA Paramilitary Operations: Issues for Congress
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United Nations System Funding: Congressional Issues
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Agriculture: Prospective Issues for Congress
A number of issues affecting U.S. agriculture could receive attention during the 109th Congress. Some are related to new initiatives or to unfinished legislation from the 108th Congress; others have been the focus of ongoing congressional oversight. Although the current (2002) farm bill (P.L. 107-171) generally does not expire until 2007, the agriculture committees could begin hearings on a new measure as early as 2005. The farm bill spells out the types and levels of benefits provided to producers and landowners under commodity price support and conservation programs, both of which could receive close scrutiny in the coming year as lawmakers seek ways to control federal spending. Other concerns include agroterrorism, food safety, and animal and plant diseases (e.g., “mad cow” disease); interest in multilateral and bilateral trade negotiations; the rising cost of energy on farms; environmental issues; and a number of agricultural marketing matters. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs6726/
Bank and Thrift Deposit Insurance Premiums: The Record from 1934-2004
Since federal deposit insurance first came into being in the mid-1930s, commercial banks and savings associations (thrifts) have paid premiums into government insurance reserves to cover losses due to financial institution failures. Banks and thrifts have come to offer similar services and the government has standardized insurance premiums for the two institutions to reflect their competition. Deposit insurance premiums have been the subject of legislation several times over recent years including measures passed by the House. Most banks and thrifts pay essentially no premiums, but the potential for future assessments continues to drive “reform” legislation. This report provides the rationale and amounts of assessments since federal deposit insurance began and will be updated annually. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs8306/
The Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA)
On August 5, 2004, the United States, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and the Dominican Republic signed the Dominican Republic- Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement, or the DR-CAFTA. The DR-CAFTA was negotiated as a regional agreement in which all parties would be subject to the “the same set of obligations and commitments,” but with each country defining its own separate schedules for market access. It is a comprehensive and reciprocal trade agreement, which distinguishes it from the unilateral preferential trade arrangement between the United States and these countries as part of the Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI), as amended. It liberalizes trade in goods, services, government procurement, intellectual property, investment, and addresses labor and environment issues. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs6320/
Estate and Gift Taxes: Economic Issues
The Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 (EGTRRA, P.L. 107-16) repeals the estate tax in 2010. During the phase-out period, the new law increases the exempt amount to $3.5 million by 2009 ($1.5 million in 2005), lowers the top rate to 45% by 2007 (the top rate in 2005 is 47%), and repeals the federal credit for state death taxes in 2005. The federal gift tax remains though the rate is reduced to the top personal income tax rate (35% in 2005). After repeal of the estate tax, carryover basis replaces step-up in basis for assets transferred at death. The legislation includes an exemption from carryover basis for capital gains of $1.3 million (and an additional $3 million for a surviving spouse). However, the estate tax provision in EGTRRA automatically sunsets December 31, 2010. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs6312/
Flag Protection: A Brief History and Summary of Recent Supreme Court Decisions and Proposed Constitutional Amendment
This report gives a brief history of the flag protection issue, from the enactment of the Flag Protection Act in 1968 through current consideration of a constitutional amendment. A second part briefly summarizes the two decisions of the United States Supreme Court -- Texas v. Johnson and United States v. Eichman -- that struck down the state and federal flag protection statutes as applied in the context punishing expressive conduct. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc795684/
A Free Trade Area of the Americas: Major Policy Issues and Status of Negotiations
In 1994, 34 Western Hemisphere nations met at the first Summit of the Americas, envisioning a plan for completing a Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) by January 1, 2005. Nine years later, the third draft text of the agreement was presented at the November 2003 Miami trade ministerial. The Ministerial Declaration, negotiated largely by the two co-chairs, Brazil and the United States, took the FTAA in a new direction, away from the comprehensive, single undertaking principle, toward a two-tier framework comprising a set of “common rights and obligations” for all countries, augmented by voluntary plurilateral arrangements with country benefits related to commitments. A follow-up meeting in early 2004 in Puebla, Mexico was unable to clarify this concept, highlighting the deep differences that remained between the United States and Brazil. FTAA talks subsequently stalled and the original January 1, 2005 deadline was missed. In the meantime, both Brazil and the United States are pursuing subregional trade pacts that may further complicate the negotiation process. Talks between Brazil and the United States may resume in early 2005, but it is still unclear if significant progress can be made on the FTAA this year. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs6322/
Military Forces: What is the Appropriate Size for the United States?
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An Overview of Tax Benefits for Higher Education Expenses
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United States-Southern African Customs Union (SACU) Free Trade Agreement Negotiations: Background and Political Issues
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United States-Southern African Customs Union (SACU) Free Trade Agreement Negotiations: Background and Political Issues
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The Virus-Serum-Toxin Act: A Brief History and Analysis
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The Virus-Serum-Toxin Act: A Brief History and Analysis
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HIV/AIDS International Programs: Appropriations, FY2003-FY2005
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Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004: "Lone Wolf" Amendment to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act
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Afghanistan: Post-War Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy
The United States and its allies are helping Afghanistan emerging from more than 22 years of warfare, although substantial risk to Afghan stability remains. Before the U.S. military campaign against the orthodox Islamist Taliban movement began on October 7, 2001, Afghanistan had been mired in conflict since the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. The defeat of the Taliban has enabled the United States and its coalition partners to send forces throughout Afghanistan to search for Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters and leaders that remain at large, including Osama bin Laden. As the war against remaining Al Qaeda and Taliban elements winds down, the United States is shifting its military focus toward stabilizing the interim government, including training a new Afghan national army, and supporting the international security force (ISAF) that is helping the new government provide security. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs6020/
Introduction to the Federal Budget Process
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The United States and Europe: Possible Options for U.S. Policy
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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/
Congressional Budget Actions in 2004
During the second session of the 108th Congress, the House and Senate considered many different budgetary measures. Most of them pertained to FY2005 (referred to as the “budget year”) and beyond. In addition, some made adjustments to the budget for FY2004 (referred to as the “current year”). This report describes House and Senate action on major budgetary legislation within the framework of the congressional budget process and other procedural requirements. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs7377/
Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade: Key Issues for the 109th Congress
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Germany's Role in Fighting Terrorism: Implications for U.S. Policy
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Project BioShield
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Veterans' Medical Care Appropriations and Funding Process
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Victims of Crime Compensation and Assistance: Background and Funding
This report discusses the Crime Victims Fund (CVF or "Fund"), which was established in the U.S. Treasury in 19841 by the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA)2 to provide a dedicated source of funds for state victim compensation and assistance programs. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc700765/
Electric Reliability: Options for Electric Transmission Infrastructure Improvements
The electric utility industry is inherently capital intensive. At the same time, the industry must operate under a changing and sometimes unpredictable regulatory system at both the federal and state level. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 has set in place government activities intended to relieve congestion on the transmission system. Several factors have contributed to the lack of new transmission capacity; these are outlined within this report. This report also discusses earlier pieces of energy legislation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9649/
Electric Reliability: Options for Electric Transmission Infrastructure Improvements
The electric utility industry is inherently capital intensive. At the same time, the industry must operate under a changing and sometimes unpredictable regulatory system at both the federal and state level. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 has set in place government activities intended to relieve congestion on the transmission system. Several factors have contributed to the lack of new transmission capacity; these are outlined within this report. This report also discusses earlier pieces of energy legislation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10200/
Iraq: Summary of U.S. Casualties
This report provides statistics on fatalities during Operation Iraqi Freedom, which began on March 19, 2003, as well as on the number of fatalities since May 1, 2003, plus statistics on those wounded, but not killed, since March 19, 2003. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs7856/
Presidential Rescission Authority: Efforts to Modify the 1974 Framework
This report examines presidential rescission authority and repeated attempts made in Congress to amend the ICA or provide the President with expanded rescission or overt item veto authority. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc795918/
Social Security: "Transition Costs"
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U.S.-European Union Trade Relations: Issues and Policy Challenges
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Appropriations for FY2005: District of Columbia
Appropriations are one part of a complex federal budget process that includes budget resolutions, appropriations (regular, supplemental, and continuing) bills, rescissions, and budget reconciliation bills. This Report is a guide to one of the 13 regular appropriations bills that Congress passes each year. It is designed to supplement the information provided by the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees on the District of Columbia Appropriations. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs8007/
European Union Enlargement
On May 1, 2004, 10 states joined the European Union (EU), enlarging the Union to 25 members. The EU views the enlargement process as an historic opportunity to promote stability in Europe and further the integration of the continent by peaceful means. In addition to the 10 new members (Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia), three other states — Bulgaria, Romania, and Croatia — hope to accede to the EU by 2007. Turkey is also a candidate and is expected to begin accession negotiations in 2005. Macedonia has also applied for EU membership. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs8436/
Intelligence Issues for Congress
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Internet Privacy: Overview and Pending Legislation
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Iraq: U.S. Regime Change Efforts and Post-Saddam Governance
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Mexico-U.S. Relations: Issues for the 108th Congress
The United States and Mexico have a special relationship as neighbors and partners under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The friendly relationship has been strengthened by President Bush's meetings with President Fox but has been weakened by disagreements over Iraq and other issues. Major congressional issues are trade, migration/border security, drug trafficking, and political and human rights issues. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10201/
Mexico-U.S. Relations: Issues for the 108th Congress
This report discusses the United States and Mexico relations and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The major issues discussed by Congress are trade, migration/border security, drug trafficking, and political issues. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9295/
Wireless Privacy and Spam: Issues for Congress
Wireless communications devices such as cell phones and personal digital assistants (PDAs) are ubiquitous. Some consumers, already deluged with unwanted commercial messages, or “spam,” via computers that access the Internet by traditional wireline connections, are concerned that such unsolicited advertising is expanding to wireless communications, further eroding their privacy. Congress continues to debate how to protect wireless subscribers further, and several bills were considered in the 108th Congress. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs8209/
Energy Policy: Historical Overview, Conceptual Framework, and Continuing Issues
Energy policy issues of continuing interest include whether or not to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) for leasing; settlement upon a pipeline route to allow production of Alaskan natural gas; access to public lands for energy exploration and development; restructuring of the electric utility industry to encourage competition and consumer choice; raising corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards for motor vehicles; seeking effective means to promote energy conservation using currently available technologies; and development of new technologies and alternative fuels. This report discusses those major policy approaches, provides a conceptual framework for categorizing energy policy proposals, and briefly describes issues that remain current in the debates over energy policy. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs7840/
Federal Spending for Older Americans
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Intelligence Community Reorganization: Potential Effects on DOD Intelligence Agencies
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Interstate Travel: Constitutional Challenges to the Identification Requirement and Other Transportation Security Regulations
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs6087/