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 Decade: 1980-1989
 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
The American Telephone and Telegraph Divestiture: Background, Provisions, and Restructuring
On January 1, 1984, The American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T) divested itself of a major portion of its organizational structure and functions. Under the post-divestiture environment the once fully-integrated Bell System is now reorganized into the "new" AT&T and seven Ladependent regional holding companies -- American Information Technologies Corp., 3ell Atlantic Corp., 3ell- South Corp., NYNEX Corp., Pacific Telesis Group., Southwestern Bell Corp., and U.S. West, Inc. The following analysis provides an overview of the pre- and post-divestiture organizational structure and details the evolution of the antitrust action which resulted in this divestiture.
Basic Reference Sources For Use by Congressional Offices: An Annotated Selection of Publications and Services
This is an annotated guide to publications and other sources of information useful to Members of Congress and their staffs, covering congressional office management, the organization and operation of Congress, legislative responsibilities, services to constituents, and other duties of Congress.
AT and T Divestiture: Restructuring the U.S. Domestic Telephone Industry
On January 8, 1982, the Justice Department and the American Telephone and Telegraph Company announced the settlement of the Government's seven year old antitrust suit against AT&T. Nineteen months later, in August 1983, U.S. District Court Judge Harold Greene gave final approval to the AT& T divestiture agreement. The breakup of AT&T will affect every aspect of the U.S. domestic telephone industry from the yellow pages to the manufacture of telephones. AT&T officially spun off its 22 local operating companies into seven regional phone companies on January 1, 1984. This Info Pack focuses on the Department of Justice settlement with AT&T and how the resulting divestiture will affect the U.S. domestic telephone industry.
Bank Failures: Recent Trends and Policy Options
During the 1980s the U.S. banking industry has experienced a rapidly growing number of failures. Many factors have contributed to this trend including deregulation, technology, individual bank management, and economic conditions. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) handles insured bank failures. Congress has been monitoring the recent trend and is concerned with the FDIC’s ability to continue to perform its supervisory and insurance operations. The present situation, information on key factors affecting the banking industry, and the FDIC’s role when a bank fails is discussed in this report. The reference section of this issue brief contains a list of CRS products providing background on the FDIC and legislative issues relevant to the agency.
Bankruptcy and Business Failure Data
The purpose of this report is to provide statistical data on the actual number of businesses that are filing for bankruptcy or ceasing operations. Tabular data of both a historical and current nature concerning business failures and bankruptcies is provided.
Aspartame: An Artificial Sweetener
Since 1973 when the Food and Drug Administration first approved the artificial sweetener, aspartame, for use in food products, some researchers have raised questions about possible health effects associated with its consumption. This paper provides an overview of the regulatory history and possible health problems associated with the use of aspartame.
Assessing the Options for Preserving ICBM Survivability
The decision on how to redress the perceived vulnerability of U.S. intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMS) is the most controversial strategic nuclear weapon decision now facing the 97th Congress. A full-scale debate on this issue, especially as regards MX missile basing, seems certain. To assist Members of Congress in the debate, this paper discusses nine proposals for treating ICBM survivability: Recognize that ICBMs are invulnerable, rely only on bombers and submarines for deterrence, deploy a large or scaled-down shell-game multiple shelter system, defend MX with anti ballistic missiles, launch ICBMs on warning of attack, deploy MX on aircraft or small submarines, and diversify strategic forces, perhaps using small ICBMs.
Article Packet: Background Information on Seatbelts in School Buses
This notice from the Department of Transportation, denies a petition for rule-making filed by Physicians for Automotive Safety (PAS), asking this agency to mandate the installation of seat belts on all school buses. NHTSA believes that the currently mandated occupant protections in school buses provide an adequate level of safety protection, and that seat belts would not raise the level of protection for the occupants unless States and local jurisdictions were willing to take steps to ensure that the seat belts were actually used.
Artificial Sweeteners
This report discusses the artificial sweeteners have been a source of controversy in the U.S. for over 73 years. One of the factors driving these issues has been an interplay of a large consumer demand for low calorie sweeteners and controversy concerning certain safety standards set forth in the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA.
Aviation Safety: FAA Near Midair Collision Reports
This report discusses the minimum separation distance in a near midair collision report which the event must meet in order to be classified a "near miss." If a pilot of flight crew member subjectively believes that the near miss occurred, the report of that event is accepted by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and counts as a near miss in the FAA data base regardless of the actual separation distance. While no proximity limits are placed on near midair collision reports, the agency does attempt to categorize each reported encounter by degree of hazard represented from an aviation safety perspective.
The Availability of Nonfuel Minerals on Federal Lands: Background on the Issue
The following report reviews the laws and practices that govern the extraction of non-fuel minerals from federal lands, and the restrict ions against such extract ions. Moreover, the federal land management agencies that regulate such activities are identified, and their responsibilities discussed.
Automobile Domestic Content Requirements
In response to the lowest drop of American produced automobile sales in two decades and other related conditions, legislation has been introduced that would impose domestic (local) content ratios for automotive vehicles. These would require that cars and trucks sold in the United States in large quantities contain a certain percentage of American parts and labor.
Automobiles Imported from Japan
In recent years, U.S. automotive imports from Japan have seen an increasing at an unusually rapid pace. Congress is considering measures that alleviate the situation and in June 1980 concurrently resolved to promote the competitiveness of U.S. industry in world automobile and truck markets. As a result of the restraint agreement, automobile imports from Japan dropped from 1.99 million units in 1980 to 1.91 million units in 1981 (calendar year).
Balanced Budget and Spending Limitations: Proposed Constitutional Amendments in the 97th Congress
Expenditures and revenue limitation proposals link Federal spending and taxation to some measure of economic performance, such as the rate of economic growth or percentage levels of GNP or national income. The report presents this issue brief reviews, the various approaches to balance the budget and to impose spending limitations offered as constitutional amendments’ in the 97 congress.
Closing a Congressional Office: A Brief Overview
This paper sets forth questions that a congressional office needs to consider in the process of closing down. These include statutory and non-statutory matters such as staff, the franking privilege, retirement benefits for Members and staff, allowances, and the disposition of congressional papers, and other office items.
The Changing World of Financial Intermediaries and Related Institutions: Survey of Major Developments and Their Implications for Public Policy
Inflation, high and variable interest rates, and new electronic technology have had a profound impact on financial institutions throughout the world. This report surveys how the various kinds of financial institutions in the United States have been affected by these developments, how they have reacted, what major legislative action has been taken, and what policy issues remain.
The Case for and Against an Import Surcharge
The United States is now running a deficit of over $100 billion in its foreign trade and the Federal budget is in the red by roughly $200 billion. To deal with these two deficits, Congress is considering a temporary import surcharge. This brief examines the case for and against such a surcharge as well as its use against Japan.
Casework in a Congressional Office
This paper presents a general overview of congressional office procedures associated with handling casework, and the assistance provided by a Member of Congress to help constituents in their dealings with Federal agencies. It discusses options for assisting Member's constituents, and the role of staff and Members in providing casework services.
Cash and Non-Cash Benefits for Persons with Limited Income: Eligibility Rules, Recipient and Expenditure Data, FY1981-83
This report summarizes basic eligibility rules, as of May 1984, for more than 70 cash and non-cash programs that benefit primarily persons of limited income. It also gives funding formulas, benefit levels, and, for fiscal years 1981-1983, recipient numbers and expenditure data for each program.
Catastrophic Health Insurance: Comparison of the Major Provisions of the "Medicare Catastrophic Protection Act of 1987" (H.R. 2470, as passed by the House July 22, 1987) and the "Medicare Catastrophic Loss Prevention Act of 1987" (S. 1127, as passed by the Senate Finance Committee, July 27, 1987)
Catastrophic Health Insurance: Comparison of the Major Provisions of the “Medicare Catastrophic Protection Act of 1987” (H.R. 2470, as passed by t h e House July 22, 1987) and the "MEDICARE CATASTROPHIC LOSS PREVENTION ACT OF 1987" (S. 1127, as reported by the S e n a t e Finance Committee, July 27, 1987)
Catastrophic Health Insurance: Medicare
Catastrophic medical costs are broadly defined as large unpredictable health care expenses; these are usually associated with a major illness or serious injury. The absence of catastrophic health insurance protection for the elderly is the subject of concern in this report.
Campaign Financing
This is one report in the series of reports that discuss the campaign finance practices and related issues. Concerns over financing federal elections have become a seemingly perennial aspect of our political system, centered on the enduring issues of high campaign costs and reliance on interest groups for needed campaign funds. The report talks about the today’s paramount issues such as perceived loopholes in current law and the longstanding issues: overall costs, funding sources, and competition.
Campaign Finance Reform: A Summary and Analysis of Legislative Proposals In the 98th and 99th Congresses
This report summarizes and analyzes on a conceptual basis the 108 bills and major amendments offered in the 98th and 99th Congresses which proposed changes in the campaign finance laws governing Federal elections.
Civil Defense and the Effects of Nuclear War
This Info Pack contains material on nuclear weapons and on the anticipated physical, economic, and social consequences of nuclear attacks on the United States, basic information on the civil defense program, and material discussing some of the arguments, pro and con, surrounding the civil defense issues.
Civil Rights Legislation: Responses to Grove City College v. Bell
This report discusses how broad should the coverage of Federal civil rights laws be? This was the central issue in the debate over legislation introduced in response to the February 1984 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Grove City College v. Bell.
Civil Rights Restoration Act: Bibliography-in-Brief, 1984-1988
This bibliography includes references to magazine articles, monographs, and congressional documents which discuss civil rights legislation following 1984 Supreme Court decision in Grove City v. Bell which ruled title IX applies only to the specific program receiving federal financial assistance.
The Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1987: Legal Analysis of S.557
The Senate i n January 1988 passed S. 557 with amendments to “restore the...broad institution – wide application" of certain federal civil rights laws in the wake of t h e U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Grove City College v. Bell . This report discusses the background and contents of this legislation.
Chronology and Brief Description of Federal Food Assistance Legislation, 1935-1983
Since 1935 when Congress first approved the donation of agricultural surplus commodities to low-income populations and school lunch programs, some 57 laws have been passed creating and revising Federal food assistance programs. This report is a chronology of these laws. It briefly describes the major provisions which have led to the network of Federal food assistance programs we know today-- the food stamp program, school lunch and breakfast programs, summer food and child care food programs, special and commodity supplemental food programs for women, infants and children (WICa nd CSFP), elderly nutrition programs, and commodity donation programs.
Child Support Enforcement
During the first session of the 98th Congress, the House passed H.R. 4325, 422-0. This measure requires States to adopt several methods of enforcing overdue child support obligations, including mandatory wage withholding; requires States to permit establishment of paternity until a child's 18th birthday; alters the incentive payment formula for child support collections; and extends the formula to collections made on behalf of non-AFDC children. The report includes background and policy analysis.
The Child Support Enforcement Program
This report provides summary information on the child support enforcement program, established under title IV-D of the Social Security Act. It includes basic program statistics and a description of the administrative structure and major characteristics of the program.
China-U.S.-Soviet Relations
In 1979, a time of clear downturn in U.S.-Soviet relations over such sensitive issues as SALT, Soviet troops in Cuba, and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the Carter Administration moved ahead with a series of measures designed to improve relations with Moscow's major adversary in Asia, the Peoples Republic of China (P.R.C.). The purpose of this report is to provide background for and summarize current developments in U.S. - People’s Republic of China (PRC) relations, including current and pending congressional actions involving the PRC.
China-U.S. Trade
The improved political relationship between the United States and the People's Republic of China (P.R.C.), initiated by the Nixon Administration and furthered by the Carter Administration's decision to establish diplomatic relations, has spurred a rapid increase in Sino-U.S. trade. While still small relative to overall U.S. foreign trade, the volume of trade represents an abrupt shift from the no-trade policy that had been pursued since 1950. Despite the rapid expansion, outstanding issues remain as serious barriers to normalized trade. Resolution of those issues may require concession or accommodations by the Chinese leadership as well as action by both the U.S. Congress and the Executive Branch. However, the development of a new approach to foreign economic relations by the post-Mao Chinese leadership and the establishment of diplomatic relations have laid the ground work for a further expansion of commercial relations.
Constitutional Conventions: Political and Legal Questions
This report discusses the applications that have been passed by 32 of the necessary 34 State legislatures to convene a convention to propose an amendment prohibiting abortion. Because this process for amending the Constitution has never been used, several unresolved legal and policy questions arise governing the convening and the authority of such a convention.
Energy and the 97th Congress: Overview
During his campaign, President Reagan called for a major shift in this country's energy policy. In particular, the President emphasized the need for more domestic production of energy and reliance on market forces to produce and distribute energy products. Now in office, the new Administration is employing executive, administrative, and legislative methods to implement these changes.
Explanation of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985 -- Public Law 99-177 (The Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act)
The report explains briefly the major features of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985 (Public Law 99-177), commonly referred to as the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act. Following a short overview of the deficit reduction process, the report outlines the deficit control timetable for each of fiscal years 1987-1991, and the accelerated timetable for fiscal year 1986, describes the procedures for eliminating excess deficits, discusses how to compute the required spending reductions, and summarizes the sequestration of funds for fiscal year 1986. The report also identifies the programs exempted from emergency deficit reduction procedures and those that have special rules for making reductions.
Enterprise Zones
The enclosed material discusses the concept of urban enterprise zones, outlines the administration's proposals for the zones, and includes the major arguments for and against their creation. Because of considerable congressional interest in the enterprise zone concept, we have included a comparison of the major bills relating to enterprise zones introduced in the 97th Congress along with a bibliography for those who desire to research the subject in greater detail.
Enterprise Zones as a Concept
"Enterprise zones" as a concept originated in England in the late 1970s. The idea is to free certain specified urban areas of taxes and government regulations to encourage private business investment and create new jobs. Empirical evidence to support the concept is lacking. This paper contains a discussion of the concept of enterprise zones, without reference to any legislative proposals in the United States. Analyses of legislation will appear as prime sponsors introduce new bills.
Enterprise Zones: The Urban Jobs and Enterprise Zone Act of 1981
"Enterprise zones” as a concept originated in England in the late 1970s. The idea is to free specified urban areas of taxes and Government regulations to encourage private business investment and create new jobs. There is little in the way of direct empirical evidence to indicate whether and how such an approach would work. There is considerable interest in the concept, however, since other Federal urban assistance programs (such as Urban Renewal in the 1950s, Model Cities in the 1960s, and Urban Development Action Grant more recently -- since 1978) have not produced in sufficient amount the desired results in creating jobs for the unemployed in inner cities.
Energy Efficiency Standards for Appliances: Are They Needed?
The Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA! (P.L. 94-163), as amended by the National Energy Conservation Policy Act (NEPCA) (P.L. 95-619) , requires that energy efficiency standards be established for each of 13 classes of appliances that are major consumers of energy. NEPCA stipulates that such standards "be designed to achieve the maximum improvement in energy efficiency which the Secretary [of Energ'y] determines is technologically feasible and economically justified." The Department of Energy ' announced proposed standards for 8 of the 13 classes of appliances in June 1980 and initiated public hearings on them prior to final promulgation. In January 1981, the DOE suspended this process; after re-studying the proposed standards, it announced in April 1982 a finding that no standards are economically justified.
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.
Drunk Driving and Raising the Drinking Age
This brief report is prepared in response to numerous requests for information on the related issues of drunk driving and raising the drinking age.
The Effects of Indexation on Tax Revenues and Distributional Effects of the U.S. Individual Income Tax System: A Historical Simulation
This report compares the actual tax revenues and distribution of the tax burden under the Federal individual income tax from 1971 to 1981 with estimates of what they would have been under the 1971 tax structure if indexed for inflation and under the 1971 tax structure if left unchanged. Policy implications of the comparison are discussed.
EDB and the Agriculture Community: A Background Discussion
EDB is being removed from major agricultural uses because of concerns about possible adverse effects on human health. Regulatory actions to remove EDB from the food system will have impacts on the agricultural community. Uses of EDB in agriculture, regulatory actions to remove EDB from the food system quickly, and possible impacts of those regulatory actions on domestic and international markets are discussed.
Education: Federal Concerns
This issue brief analyzes six areas in which Federal policies to address the educational system's current needs are being fashioned (1) services for disadvantaged youth, (2) the financing of post-secondary education, ( 3 ) the level of Federal appropriations for education, ( 4 ) responses to adult illiteracy, (5) international economic competitiveness, and (6) the role of vocational education.
Drunk Driving and the National Driver Register
At the 0.08 BAC level of alcohol, braking, steering, lane changing, and judgment are degraded and the driving performance of virtually all drivers is substantially impaired. During the debate on reauthorization of the federal surface transportation programs, an amendment that would require each state either to enact a 0.08 BAC law or face the loss of a portion of its Federal Highway Trust Fund monies passed the Senate and will likely be considered in the House. This proposal raises questions about the effectiveness and impacts of a 0.08 BAC law, the rights of states versus the federal government, and alternative ways to encourage the states to adopt stronger impaired driving countermeasures.
Education in America: Reports on Its Condition, Recommendations for Change
The quality of education in our schools, particularly our high schools, and appropriate Federal actions to improve educational quality have become a major political issue. A number of reports on education with recommendations for change have been issued, among them A Nation At Risk by the National Commission on Excellence in Education. These reports are critical of how our Schools are functioning and call for improvement in areas such as teaching, curriculum, and standards for student performance and behavior. Some issues raised by these reports are whether these changes are needed, how these changes might be implemented, and what might be the roles of different- levels of government in this process.
Education of the Handicapped
Federal involvement in the education of the handicapped increased significantly with the enactment of the Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975 (P.L. 94-142) in the 94th Congress. This legislation amended the provisions for State assistance under Part B of the Education of the Handicapped Act (EHA, P.L. 91-230, title VI, as amended) to require that a "free appropriate public education" be available for all handicapped children age 3 through 21 by September 1980. P.L. 94-142 authorized increased Federal financial assistance along with new requirements for participating State agencies and local school districts. Current issues relating to Federal policy for the education of the handicapped include concerns about costs and responsibilities in educating the handicapped, about the level of Federal financial support, about the characteristics of handicapped children actually identified and served, about the implementation of P.L. 94-142 requirements by State and local school districts, and about Administration proposals to revise Part B regulations.
Education Proposals in Trade Competitiveness Legislation
Improvement on America's competitive position in international trade is one of the major issues confronting the 100th Congress. Most legislative proposals have included provisions for increasing the funding levels for Federal education programs, expanding current programs, or authorizing new programs. The primary goal is to improve the productivity of the Nation's workers by raising the skill level of the workforce. Discussions about education's role i n addressing the competitiveness issue have included the contribution of education to productivity growth, comparisons of the educational achievement of American school children with that of their peers in other nations , the educational needs of illiterate adults , and the role of technology in education.
Education Funding Issues for FY89
Congress considers annually the funding level for all programs administered by U.S. Department of Education (ED). The debate in this process has focused on how much the Federal Government should spend on education , and what, if any, program changes might be necessary to achieve these levels.
Examining the Monetary Causes of the Economic Slowdown
This issue brief investigates the effects of changes in money supply growth on the current economic conditions. The results presented are based upon a statistical methodology outlined in a CRS report (No.82-43E, March 1982) of the same title. The approach may be distinguished from most previous work along these lines in that it attempts to estimate the statistical significance of the 1979-82 deceleration in monetary growth. The resulting estimates are then employed in analyzing the timing implications of decelerating monetary growth for episodes of high and volatile interest rates, for lower inflation, and for unstable economic growth.