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 Decade: 2000-2009
 Year: 2004
 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Animal Rendering: Economics and Policy

Animal Rendering: Economics and Policy

Date: March 17, 2004
Creator: Becker, Geoffrey S
Description: Renderers convert dead animals and animal byproducts into ingredients for a wide range of industrial and consumer goods, such as animal feed, soaps, candles, pharmaceuticals, and personal care products. This report describes the rendering industry and discusses several industry-related issues that arose in the 108th Congress.
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Association Health Plans, Health Marts and the Small Group Market for Health Insurance

Association Health Plans, Health Marts and the Small Group Market for Health Insurance

Date: May 10, 2004
Creator: Hearne, Jean P
Description: An estimated 41.2 million people were without health insurance in 2001. Legislation under consideration by the 108th and earlier Congresses is intended to assist small employers in offering health insurance as a benefit to their workers. A new bill, H.R. 4281, introduced on May 5, 2004, The Small Business Health Fairness Act of 2003 (H.R. 6601s. 545), and a number of bills from the earlier Congresses include provisions creating new groups for small firms to join or encouraging the growth of existing groups so that small employers can band together to offer coverage to their employees.
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Barriers to Corporate Fraud: How They Work, Why They Fail

Barriers to Corporate Fraud: How They Work, Why They Fail

Date: December 27, 2004
Creator: Jickling, Mark
Description: 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.
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"Bunker Busters":  Sources of Confusion in the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator Debate

"Bunker Busters": Sources of Confusion in the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator Debate

Date: September 22, 2004
Creator: Medalia, Jonathan
Description: The Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator (RNEP), often called a “bunker buster,” is at present the subject of a cost and feasibility study to determine if either of two nuclear bombs, the B61 and the B83, could be modified, mainly by adding a heavy, pointed case, so as to be able to penetrate perhaps 10 meters into earth or rock. This penetration would increase the weapon’s ability, by a factor of 20 to 50, to destroy hardened and deeply buried facilities. The RNEP debate has received much attention and spawned much confusion. This report examines sources of confusion in this debate.
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Can the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation Be Restored to Financial Health?

Can the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation Be Restored to Financial Health?

Date: December 16, 2004
Creator: Ranade, Neela K
Description: In 2003, the Bush administration made a proposal for reform to strengthen pension plan funding and the financial condition of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC). Various bills with the goal of reforming the PBGC were proposed in the 108th Congress but none were enacted into law. The doubling of the PBGC deficit from fiscal 2003 to fiscal 2004, has heightened awareness about the PBGC deficit situation. Congressional leaders from both parties have announced their intention to move aggressively on legislative solutions in the 109th Congress.
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Chemical Plant Security

Chemical Plant Security

Date: January 20, 2004
Creator: Schierow, Linda-Jo
Description: Facilities handling large amounts of potentially hazardous chemicals (i.e., chemical facilities) might be of interest to terrorists, either as targets for direct attacks meant to release chemicals into the community or as a source of chemicals for use elsewhere. Because few terrorist attacks have been attempted against chemical facilities in the United States, the risk of death and injury in the near future is estimated to be low, relative to the likelihood of accidents at such facilities or attacks on other targets using conventional weapons. For any individual facility, the risk is very small, but risks may be increasing with potentially severe consequences for human health and the environment. Available evidence indicates that many chemical facilities may lack adequate safeguards.
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Civil Charges in Corporate Scandals

Civil Charges in Corporate Scandals

Date: April 8, 2004
Creator: Jickling, Mark & Janov, Paul H
Description: This report lists civil suites filled by federal regulatory agencies charging individuals and corporations with violations related to these scandals. The list is limited to corporations and their offices or employees that fit within the Enron pattern. That is, these are cases that display one or more of the following: irregular accounting and auditing, management self-dealing, conflicts of interests between firms and financial advisors (or Wall Street firms and their costumers), and manipulation or abusive trading in energy markets.
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Congressionally Chartered Nonprofit Organizations ("Title 36 Corporations"): What They Are and How Congress Treats Them

Congressionally Chartered Nonprofit Organizations ("Title 36 Corporations"): What They Are and How Congress Treats Them

Date: April 8, 2004
Creator: Moe, Ronald C
Description: This report discusses a category of congressionally chartered nonprofit organizations that have as their purpose the promotion of patriotic, charitable, educational, and other eleemosynary activities . Title 36 of the United States Code, where such corporate organizations are listed with their charters, was re-codified by law in 1998 (EL 105-225).
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Congress’s Power Under the Commerce Clause: The Impact of Recent Court Decisions

Congress’s Power Under the Commerce Clause: The Impact of Recent Court Decisions

Date: June 23, 2004
Creator: Tatelman, Todd B
Description: This report will first review the current Supreme Court case law with respect to the Commerce Clause. Second, it will examine the analysis used and the results of the three lower court opinions. Finally, two areas of tension that appear to exist within the Court’s jurisprudence, and the potential implications that resolution of these conflicts may have on congressional power under the Commerce Clause will be examined.
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Dairy Policy Issues

Dairy Policy Issues

Date: July 21, 2004
Creator: Chite, Ralph M
Description: A temporary pilot program that allows processors to enter into forward price contracts with individual dairy farmers or their cooperatives for certain uses of milk is scheduled to expire December 31, 2004. A forward price contract allows buyers and sellers of a commodity to negotiate a price for the commodity on a future delivery date and insulates both parties from price volatility. Identical bills (H.R. 3308, S. 2565) pending in Congress would convert the pilot program to a permanent one. The bills are supported by dairy processors, but are opposed by the largest organization of dairy cooperatives, which is concerned that the program might undermine federal minimum pricing requirements
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