Congressional Research Service Reports - Browse


Energy Policy: The Continuing Debate

Description: On April 10, 2003, the House passed comprehensive energy legislation, H.R. 6 (247- 175). The bill was a composite of four measures – H.R. 39, reported from the House Committee on Resources, H.R. 238, marked up by the House Science Committee, H.R. 1531, reported from Ways and Means, and an unnumbered bill reported out of the Energy and Commerce Committee. Unlike comprehensive energy legislation (H.R. 4) debated in the 107th Congress, H.R. 6 includes a section on electricity which has stirred some controversy. H.R. 6 would provide authorization for exploration and development of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).
Date: April 17, 2003
Creator: Bamberger, Robert L.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Clean Water Act Issues in the 108th Congress

Description: In this report several other Clean Water Act issues are likely to receive congressional attention, through oversight hearings and possibly in legislative proposals. Among the topics of interest is whether and how the Administration will revise the current program for restoration of pollution-impaired waters (the Total Maximum Daily Load, or TMDL program), in view of controversy over regulatory changes made during the Clinton Administration and continuing disagreement among states, cities, industry, and environmental advocates about program effectiveness and efficiency.
Date: April 16, 2003
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Brownfields and Superfund Issues in the 108th Congress

Description: The Superfund program for cleaning up the nation’s worst hazardous waste sites was created by the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980, or CERCLA (P.L. 96-510, as amended). This report discusses recent development and background issues, superfund issues, revenue issues, comprehensive reauthorization, and legislation regarding superfund program.
Date: April 15, 2003
Creator: Reisch, Mark
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Campaign Finance: Constitutional and Legal Issues of Soft Money

Description: Prior to enactment of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA), P.L. 107-155, the term “soft money” generally referred to unregulated funds, perceived as resulting from loopholes in the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA), 2 U.S.C. §§ 431 et seq. Generally, the intent of BCRA, (effective Nov. 6, 2002), which amends FECA, is to restrict the raising and spending of soft money. This Issue Brief discusses constitutional and legal issues surrounding two major types of soft money that BCRA regulates: political party soft money and soft money used for issue advocacy communications. Corporate and labor union soft money, which FECA exempts from regulation and is not addressed by BCRA, is also discussed.
Date: April 15, 2003
Creator: Whitaker, L. Paige
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Electoral College: Reform Proposals in the 108th Congress

Description: American voters elect the President and Vice President of the United States under a complex arrangement of constitutional provisions, federal and state laws, and political party practices known as the electoral college system. Despite occasional close elections, this system has delivered uncontested results in 46 of 50 elections since adoption of the 12th Amendment, effective in 1804. Throughout this period, nevertheless, it has been the subject of persistent criticism and many reform proposals. Related measures fall into two basic categories: those that would eliminate the electoral college and substitute direct popular election of the President and Vice President, and those that would retain the existing system in some form and correct perceived defects.
Date: April 15, 2003
Creator: Neale, Thomas H
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Endangered Species Act: Consideration of Economic Factors

Description: The Endangered Species Act (ESA) provides for the listing and protection of species that are found to be “endangered” or “threatened” – species that might become extinct. The listing of a species as endangered triggers the prohibitions in the Act against “taking” (killing or harming) individuals of the protected species, unless a permit is obtained to take individuals incidental to an otherwise lawful proposed action, or an exemption for the proposed action is obtained. Unauthorized taking of a listed species can result in civil or criminal penalties. These prohibitions and potential penalties can affect various activities, including development and use of land, with attendant economic impacts.
Date: April 15, 2003
Creator: Baldwin, Pamela
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Energy Efficiency: Budget, Oil Conservation, and Electricity Conservation Issues

Description: In the 108th Congress, debate over energy efficiency programs has focused on budget, oil, natural gas, and electricity issues, and provisions in the omnibus energy policy bill, S. 2095, H.R. 6, and S. 14/S. 1149. The Bush Administration’s FY2005 budget request for the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Energy Efficiency Program sought $875.9 million, including $543.9 for R&D and $332.0 million for grants. In the first session, the omnibus energy bill (H.R. 6) had several significant tax and regulatory measures for energy efficiency. It did not pass the Senate due to concerns about cost and an MTBE “safe harbor” provision.
Date: April 15, 2003
Creator: Sissine, Fred
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

"Junk E-mail": An Overview of Issues and Legislation Concerning Unsolicited Commercial Electronic Mail ("Spam")

Description: Unsolicited commercial e-mail (UCE), also called “spam” or “junk e-mail,” aggravates many computer users. Not only can it be a nuisance, but its cost may be passed on to consumers through higher charges from Internet service providers who must upgrade their systems to handle the traffic. Proponents of UCE insist it is a legitimate marketing technique and protected by the First Amendment. Legislation to place limits on UCE was considered by the last three Congresses (105th-107th), but no federal law was enacted (27 states have anti-spam laws, however). Two bills have been introduced in the 108th Congress: S. 563 (Dayton) and S. 877 (Burns).
Date: April 15, 2003
Creator: Smith, Marcia S.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Child Care Issues in the 108th Congress

Description: This report includes recent developments in federal child care programs and tax provisions. The report discusses several federal programs that support child care or related services, primarily for low-income working families. In addition, the tax code includes provisions specifically targeted to assist families with child care expenses. The report presents the legislative activity in the 108th Congress in regard to child care legislature and provisions.
Date: April 10, 2003
Creator: Gish, Melinda
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: April 8, 2003
Creator: Ackerman, David M.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Drug Control: International Policy and Approaches

Description: Over the past decade, worldwide production of illicit drugs has risen dramatically: opium and marijuana production has roughly doubled and coca production tripled. Street prices of cocaine and heroin have fallen significantly in the past 20 years, reflecting increased availability. Despite apparent national political resolve to deal with the drug problem, inherent contradictions regularly appear between U.S. anti-drug policy and other national policy goals and concerns. The mix of competing domestic and international pressures and priorities has produced an ongoing series of disputes within and between the legislative and executive branches concerning U.S. international drug policy. One contentious issue has been the Congressionally-mandated certification process, an instrument designed to induce specified drug-exporting countries to prioritize or pay more attention to the fight against narcotics businesses.
Date: April 7, 2003
Creator: Perl, Raphael F.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department