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"Price Gouging," the Antitrust Laws, and Vertical Integration in the Petroleum Industry: How They Are Related

Description: This report, which may be updated to further reflect congressional action, attempts to provide the antitrust context for prohibited practices, such as "price gouging"; notes prior congressional action concerning vertical divestiture in the petroleum industry; and provides information on the state "divorcement" statutes.
Date: May 28, 2008
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The FDA 2009 Budget Request

Description: The Administration's FY2009 budget request of $2.4 billion for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would provide a 5.7% increase ($130 million) over FY2008. User fees would make up about 26% of the total amount requested and would account for 61% of the proposed increase. Budget documents indicate that the additional funding would provide for expanded activities to ensure the safety of foods and drugs, as well as to accelerate the availability of new medical products. About half of the requested increase would be used for cost-of-living pay increases, as opposed to new program activities.
Date: May 19, 2008
Creator: Johnson, Judith A.; Lister, Sarah A.; Porter, Donna V.; Smith, Pamela W.; Thaul, Susan & Williams, Erin D.
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Health and Safety Concerns Over U.S. Imports of Chinese Products: An Overview

Description: China is a major source of U.S. imports of consumer products (such as toys) and an increasingly important supplier of various food products. Reports of unsafe seafood, pet food, toys, tires, and other products imported from China over the past year or so have raised concern in the United States over the health, safety, and quality of imported Chinese products. This report provides an overview of this issue and implications for U.S.-China trade relations.
Date: May 8, 2008
Creator: Morrison, Wayne M.
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Increases in Tricare Costs: Background and Options for Congress

Description: In its FY2007 budget submission, the Department of Defense (DOD) proposed increases in Tricare enrollment fees, deductibles, and pharmacy co-payments for retired beneficiaries not yet eligible for Medicare. The raises were justified by DOD as necessary to constrain the growth of health care spending as a proportion of the overall defense budget in the next decade. Many beneficiaries argued that the proposed hikes were unfair and unnecessary. The FY2007 Defense Authorization Act prohibited increases in premiums, deductibles, and co-payments prior to September 30, 2007. The FY2008 National Defense Authoriztion Act extended the prohibition of increases in co-payments and enrollment fees until October 2008 and Congress may move to extend them further.
Date: May 6, 2008
Creator: Best, Richard A., Jr.
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Budget for Fiscal Year 2008

Description: This report discusses the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA's) FY2009 budget request of $2.676 billion that would provide a 17.9% increase ($406 million) over FY2008. It includes an overview and breakdowns for specific programs: Foods Program, Human Drugs Program, Biologics program, Animal Drugs and Feed Program, and the Devices and Radiological Health Program.
Date: January 4, 2008
Creator: Austin, D. Andrew
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Spyware: Background and Policy Issues for Congress

Description: The term "spyware" is not well defined. Generally, it is used to refer to any software that is downloaded onto a person's computer without their knowledge. Spyware may collect information about a computer user's activities and transmit their information to someone else. Most spyware is installed surreptitiously, and most users are therefore unaware that spyware exists on their computers. A central point of the spyware debate in Congress is whether new laws are needed, or if industry self-regulation, coupled with enforcement actions under existing laws, such as the Trade Commission Act, is sufficient.
Date: July 17, 2006
Creator: Figliola, Patricia Moloney
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Data Security: Protecting the Privacy of Phone Records

Description: This report discusses recent legislative and regulatory efforts to protect the privacy of customer telephone records, and efforts to prevent the unauthorized use, disclosure, or sale of such records by data brokers. In addition, it provides a brief overview of the confidentiality protections for customer information established by the Communications Act of 1934.
Date: May 17, 2006
Creator: Stevens, Gina Marie & Rainson, Tara Alexandra
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Data Security: Protecting the Privacy of Phone Records

Description: This report discusses recent legislative and regulatory efforts to protect the privacy of customer telephone records, and efforts to prevent the unauthorized use, disclosure, or sale of such records by data brokers. In addition, it provides a brief overview of the confidentiality protections for customer information established by the Communications Act of 1934.
Date: February 28, 2006
Creator: Stevens, Gina Marie & Rainson, Tara Alexandra
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit: An Overview of Implementation for Dual Eligibles

Description: This report provides background information on the early stages of the implementation of the Medicare Part D outpatient prescription drug program. This report describes certain policies and implementation issues related to those who are not dually eligible.
Date: February 6, 2006
Creator: O'Sullivan, Jennifer & Tritz, Karen
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Internal Revenue Service's Use of Private Debt Collection Agencies: Current Status and Issues for Congress

Description: Under the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004 (AJCA, P.L. 108-357), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has acquired for the second time in its history the legal authority to hire private debt collection agencies (PCAs) to assist in the collection of certain individual tax debt. The grant of authority grew out of a proposal made by the Bush Administration in its budget request for the IRS in both FY2004 and FY2005. This report focuses on IRS’s current plan for hiring PCAs to collect delinquent individual taxes and the policy issues it raises. It begins with an examination of the scope of IRS’s authority to use PCAs under the AJCA and concludes with a discussion of the main issues for Congress as it oversees IRS’s efforts to implement and manage the private tax debt collection initiative. The report will be updated to reflect significant legislative action and new developments related to the initiative
Date: January 11, 2006
Creator: Guenther, Gary
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Credit Card Minimum Payments

Description: Recently, credit card issuers began adjusting their minimum payment formulas, raising the amount of the required monthly payment. Congress has focused on the need to increase consumer awareness of the financial jeopardy that can result from paying only the required minimum. This report provides an overview of the issues and congressional action. It will be updated as events warrant.
Date: December 21, 2005
Creator: Smale, Pauline
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Farm Product "Check-Off" Programs: A Constitutional Analysis

Description: This report begins with a brief introduction to check-off programs and then describes many of the First Amendment principles that have been discussed in checkoff cases. Next is an analysis of the first two challenges that reached the Supreme Court, as well as a brief discussion of subsequent lower court decisions. This report concludes with a discussion of Johanns v. Livestock Marketing Association and its possible implications for check-off programs.
Date: June 21, 2005
Creator: Vina, Stephen R
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Beneficiary Information and Decision Supports for the Medicare-Endorsed Prescription Drug Discount Card

Description: On December 8, 2003 the President signed into law the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003 (MMA, P.L. 108-173). This legislation establishes a Medicare prescription drug benefit, effective January 1, 2006. In the interim, the legislation requires the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to establish a temporary program of Medicare-endorsed prescription drug discount cards. This report discusses the objectives and benefits of this legislation.
Date: March 24, 2005
Creator: Justice, Diane
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department