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Agricultural Marketing Assistance Loans and Loan Deficiency Payments

Description: Marketing assistance loans for the major crops were designed to facilitate orderly marketing by providing short-term financing so that farmers could pay their bills right after harvest and spread their sales over the entire marketing year. However, the persistence of very low commodity prices transformed the loan program into a major vehicle of farm income support. Marketing loan program benefits (primarily loan deficiency payments, LDPs) to farmers amounted to about $5.9 billion in 1999, and will exceed $6.5 billion in 2000. Such levels of use and high costs have revealed several administrative problems and given rise to several policy issues. Some policy makers have favored broadening the scope and enhancing the benefits of the program to achieve greater farm income support. Anticipated adverse market impacts have discouraged adoption of these proposals to date. A persistent policy issue is the payment limitation on marketing loan gains.
Date: December 13, 2000
Creator: Womach, Jasper
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Agricultural Trade in the 106th Congress: A Review of Issues

Description: The 106th Congress considered a number of trade policy developments against a backdrop of weak foreign demand and large world supplies of agricultural commodities. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that the value of U.S. agricultural exports fell between FY1996 (a record year) and FY1999 by almost $11 billion, to $49.2 billion. Agricultural exports did climb back to $50.9 billion in FY2000, and are now projected at $53 billion in FY2001. However, the pace of recovery concerned many agricultural groups and their supporters in Congress. Although they recognize that many world economic, farm production, political, and weather factors influence exports, many of these groups believe that the agricultural sector's future prosperity also depends upon such U.S. trade policies as: 1) encouraging China's entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO), with its binding rules and responsibilities; 2) exempting agricultural exports from U.S. unilateral economic sanctions; 3) fully using export and food aid programs; and 4) aggressively battling foreign-imposed barriers to the movement of U.S. farm products. A few U.S. farm groups are wary of such approaches.
Date: December 29, 2000
Creator: Becker, Geoffrey S.; Hanrahan, Charles E. & Jurenas, Remy
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Agriculture and the 106th Congress: A Summary of Major Issues

Description: Most congressional interest in agriculture in the 106th Congress was focused on persistent low prices for major commodities and proposals to redress declining farm income. Six emergency farm aid bills were approved, increasing agricultural spending by nearly $27 billion for fiscal years 1999-2001. These bills provided disaster relief along with short term “market loss payments”to farmers to shore up farm income. Some longer term changes also were enacted as part of emergency farm legislation, which this report discusses in brief.
Date: December 15, 2000
Creator: Jones, Jean Yavis
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Airborne Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR): The U-2 Aircraft and Global Hawk UAV Programs

Description: Among airborne intelligence, surveillance, and reconaissance (ISR) platforms, the U-2 Dragon Lady and the RQ-4A Global Hawk are especially valuable. This report discusses how best to use existing and planned manned and unmanned ISR aircraft to most effectively satisfy the Department of Defense's (Dod) requirements for timely and accurate information on enemy forces.
Date: December 1, 2000
Creator: Best, Richard A., Jr. & Bolkcom, Christopher
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Alternative Transportation Fuels and Vehicles: Energy, Environment, and Development Issues

Description: 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.
Date: December 5, 2000
Creator: Yacobucci, Brent D.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Asset Distribution of Taxable Estates: An Analysis

Description: This report provides data on the distribution of assets in taxable estates that filed returns in 1998. The report also offers a brief overview of the estate and gift tax and "The Death Tax Elimination Act of 2000," which was passed in the 106th Congress and vetoed. This report finds that farm and business assets represent a small share of the total value of taxable estate tax returns filed in 1998. For an overview of estate tax, see CRS Report RL30600, Estate and Gift Taxes: Economic Issues, by Jane G. Gravelle and Steven Maguire. This report will be updated as new data becomes available.
Date: December 7, 2000
Creator: Maguire, Steven
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Budget FY2001: A Chronology with Internet Access

Description: This is a select chronology of, and a finding guide for information on, congressional and presidential actions and documents related to major budget events in calendar year 2000, covering the FY2001 budget. Brief information is provided for the President’s budget, congressional budget resolutions, appropriations measures (regular, continuing, supplementals, and rescissions), budget reconciliation, House and Senate votes, line-item vetoes, publications, testimony, charts, and tables.
Date: December 27, 2000
Creator: Thomas, Pearl
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Campaign Finance: Constitutional and Legal Issues of Soft Money

Description: 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.
Date: December 11, 2000
Creator: Whitaker, L. Paige
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Causes of Unemployment: A Cross-Country Analysis

Description: This report examines data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to explore what differences in microeconomic structures and policies explain the causes of unemployment across various countries.
Date: December 12, 2000
Creator: Labonte, Marc
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

China: Suspected Acquisition of U.S. Nuclear Weapon Secrets

Description: This CRS Report discusses China’s suspected acquisition of U.S. nuclear weapon secrets, including that on the W88, the newest U.S. nuclear warhead, since the late 1970s. This current controversy, began in early 1999, raises policy issues about whether U.S. security is further threatened by the PRC’s suspected use of U.S. nuclear weapon secrets in its development of nuclear forces, as well as whether the Administration’s response to the security problems is effective or mishandled and whether it fairly used or abused its investigative and prosecuting authority.
Date: December 20, 2000
Creator: Kan, Shirley A.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Clean Air Standards: The Supreme Court Agrees to Review

Description: 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.
Date: December 5, 2000
Creator: Meltz, Robert & McCarthy, James E.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Economic Sanctions: Legislation in the 106th Congress

Description: This report tracks legislation relating to the use of economic sanctions in pursuit of foreign policy or national security objectives. Separate sections are given to the areas of greatest activity: sanctions imposed against India and Pakistan; exemptions of food and medicine exports; and sanctions reform. A separate table is included listing sanctions measures that were introduced but received no consideration, including measures pertaining to export controls, nonproliferation, drug certifications, and the sanctions regimes leveled, or proposed to be leveled, against Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Serbia and Montenegro, and other countries.
Date: December 15, 2000
Creator: Rennack, Dianne E
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Education Vouchers: Constitutional Issues and Cases

Description: This report details the constitutional standards that currently apply to indirect aid programs and summarizes all of the pertinent state and federal court decisions, including the Ohio case that will be heard by the Supreme Court. On September 25, 2001, the Supreme Court agreed to review a case raising the controversial issue of the constitutionality of education vouchers. In Zelman v. Simmons-Harris the Sixth Circuit held Ohio’s Pilot Scholarship Program, which provided up to $2500 to help low-income students in Cleveland’s public schools attend private schools in the city, to violate the establishment of religion clause of the First Amendment.
Date: December 19, 2000
Creator: Ackerman, David M.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Emergency Funding for Agriculture: A Brief History of Congressional Action, FY1989-FY2001

Description: From FY1989 through FY2001 (to date), nineteen appropriations or farm disaster acts have provided $38 billion in emergency funding for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs. Nearly $27 billion, or about 70 percent of the total amount, has been provided for FY1999-FY2001 alone. Since FY1989, the vast majority of the funds has been paid directly to farmers, primarily in the form of “market loss payments” (just under $17 billion, all since FY1999) to compensate for low farm commodity prices, and disaster payments($15.6 billion) paid to any producer who experienced a major crop loss caused by a natural disaster. The remaining $5.4 billion has funded a wide array of other USDA programs, including other forms of farm disaster assistance, farm loans, overseas food aid, food and nutrition programs, and rural development assistance.
Date: December 11, 2000
Creator: Chite, Ralph M.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Environmental Protection Agency: FY2001 Budget Issues

Description: The request for state and local wastewater and drinking water capital needs was a key issue. The request of $2.91 billion for State and Tribal Assistance Grants, which fund these needs, was about one-half billion less than in FY2000. The House passed $3.18 billion, the Senate $3.32 billion, and the conferees $3.62 billion. The request included $800 million for Clean Water State Revolving Funds, $550 million less than in FY2000. The House passed $1.20 billion, the Senate $1.35 billion and the conferees $1.35 billion. Conferees approved the $825 million requested for Drinking Water State Revolving Funds. Congress denied the Administration's request for a new Clean Air Partnership program. EPA requested $100 million for Mexican border water projects and $15 million for State of Alaska projects. Conferees approved $75 million and $35 million respectively. For state and tribal administrative grants, the conferees approved roughly the requested amount of $1.0 billion.
Date: December 4, 2000
Creator: Lee, Martin R.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Environmental Protection: New Approaches

Description: This report summarizes briefly a number of "new approaches," grouped under the following categories: Information: Approaches to improve the quantity and quality of information to enhance the knowledge base underlying environ- mental decisions (e.g., risk assessment, cost-benefit analysis).Public Sector Processes: Approaches to restructure governmental processes for making environmental decisions (e.g., devolution). Incentives: Approaches that emphasize incentives as opposed to regulatory or financial penalties for achieving environmental ends. Approaches that rely on markets and common law for environmental decisions to the extent possible. Approaches to inculcate environmental values in public or private managerial decisions (e.g., sustainability).
Date: December 11, 2000
Creator: Blodgett, John E
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The European Union's Ban on Hormone-Treated Meat

Description: The European Union (EU) continues to ban imports of meat derived from animals treated with growth hormones despite rulings by World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute settlement panels that the banis inconsistent with the Uruguay Round Agreement on health and safety measures used to restrict imports (the Sanitary and Phytosanitary or SPS Agreement). U.S. retaliation, authorized by the WTO, in the form of 100% duties on $116 million of EU agricultural products remains in effect while negotiations to resolve the dispute continue. Thus far, EU offers of compensation (trade concessions) for lost U.S. meat exports in lieu of lifting the ban have been rejected by the United States.
Date: December 19, 2000
Creator: Hanrahan, Charles E.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department