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Private Health Insurance Provisions of H.R. 3200
This report provides a short background describing key aspects of the private insurance market as it exists currently. This information is useful in setting the stage for understanding how and where H.R. 3200 would reform health insurance. Primarily, however, the report summarizes provisions affecting private health insurance in Division A (or Division 1) H.R. 3200, as ordered reported by the House Committees on Education and Labor and on Ways and Means.
Water Infrastructure Funding in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009
This report identifies funding for water infrastructure programs and projects contained in the legislation, including amounts in the House- and Senate-passed versions that preceded the conference agreement. Among the purposes identified in the legislation are preservation and creation of jobs and promotion of U.S. economic recovery, and investment in transportation, environmental protection, and other infrastructure that will provide long-term economic benefits.
Telecommunications and Media Convergence: Selected Issues for Consideration
This report provides an overview of selected topics that provide a broad overview of issues that are central to the telecommunications/media convergence debate.
The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA): Implementation and New Challenges
This report provides an overview of basic Toxic Supstances Control Act (TSCA) provisions, briefly examines the history of TSCA implementation by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and describes the legal, scientific, and technological developments that are being used to provide support to calls for TSCA reform.
Trade Adjustment Assistance for Workers
This report provides background on the Trade Adjustment Assistance for Workers (TAA) program. After a brief introduction, it discusses TAA eligibility and benefits as set by TAAEA. It then describes how the program is funded and administered. The report concludes by presenting data on recent application activity and benefit usage.
The Supreme Court Accepts Five Environmental Cases During Its 2008-2009 Term
In the Supreme Court's 2008-2009 term, which likely will conclude in late June, 2009, the Court has accepted for argument five environmental cases—an unusually large number out of the roughly 85 cases accepted for argument. The reason for this interest in environmental cases at this particular time is speculative; the Court generally does not explain why it accepts cases. This report reviews the cases, decided and undecided, and then briefly comments.
Supreme Court Appellate Jurisdiction Over Military Court Cases
This report discusses events in which the U.S. Supreme Court would have jurisdiction over military court cases.
Stormwater Permits: Status of EPA's Regulatory Program
This report discusses the regulation of stormwater drainage. Stormwater discharge systems are the pipes and sewer lines that carry rainwater or snow melt, but not domestic sanitary wastes, away from urban areas and commercial and industrial facilities. For many years the focus of the nation's water quality programs was on controlling pollutants associated with industrial process wastewaters and municipal sewage discharges.
Speed of Presidential and Senate Actions on Supreme Court Nominations, 1900 - 2009
This report provides information on the amount of time taken to act on all Supreme Court nominations occurring between 1900 and the present. It focuses on the actual amounts of time that Presidents and the Senate have taken to act (as opposed to the elapsed time between official points in the process). This report focuses on when the Senate became aware of the President's selection (e.g., via a public announcement by the President).
Safeguarding the Nation's Drinking Water: EPA and Congressional Actions
This paper discusses the EPAs efforts to increase drinking water security, Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002, and EPA and DHS water infrastructure security roles.
Temporary Protected Status: Current Immigration Policy and Issues
When civil unrest, violence, or natural disasters erupt in spots around the world, concerns arise over the safety of foreign nationals residing in the United States who are from these troubled places. Provisions exist in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) to offer temporary protected status (TPS) or relief from removal under specified circumstances. A foreign national who is granted TPS receives a registration document and an employment authorization for the duration of TPS. The United States currently provides TPS or deferred enforced departure (DED) to over 300,000 foreign nationals from a total of eight countries: El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan, and most recently Southern Sudan and Syria.
Terrorism Information Sharing and the Nationwide Suspicious Activity Report Initiative: Background and Issues for Congress
This report describes the NSI, the rationale for the sharing of terrorism-related SARs, and how the NSI seeks to achieve this objective. It examines the privacy and civil liberties concerns raised by the initiative and identifies other oversight issues for Congress.
Legislative Options for Financing Water Infrastructure
Report that addresses several options considered by Congress to address the financing needs of local communities for wastewater and drinking water infrastructure projects and to decrease or close the gap between available funds and projected needs.
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA): Policies, Programs, and Funding
Report on the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), which is an agency of the Department of Commerce set up to advise on domestic and international telecommunications and information policies.
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA): Policies, Programs, and Funding
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), an agency of the Department of Commerce, is the executive branch's principal advisory office on domestic and international telecommunications and information policies. Its mandate is to provide greater access for all Americans to telecommunications services, support U.S. attempts to open foreign markets, advise on international telecommunications negotiations, and fund research for new technologies and their applications. NTIA also manages the distribution of funds for several key grant programs.
The Federal Communications Commission: Current Structure and its Role in the Changing Telecommunications Landscape
The report discusses the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)-Related Congressional Actions in the 112th Congress. The policymakers, including some in Congress, have long called for varying degrees and types of reform to the FCC.
State and Local Restrictions on Employing, Renting Property to, or Providing Services for Unauthorized Aliens: Legal Issues and Recent Judicial Developments
This report discusses the constitutional issues raised in relation to state and local laws intended to deter the presence of unauthorized aliens, along with the implications that federal civil rights statutes might have on the implementation and enforcement of measures restricting such persons' ability to obtain employment, housing, or other state and local benefits or services.
Controversies over Redefining "Fill Material" Under the Clean Water Act
On May 3, 2002, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (the Corps) announced a regulation redefining two key terms, "fill material" and "discharge of fill material," in rules that implement Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. This report discusses the 2002 rule, focusing on how it changes which material and types of activities are regulated under Section 404 and the significance of these issues, especially for the mining industry.
Enforcing Immigration Law: The Role of State and Local Law Enforcement
This report examines some of the policy and legal issues that may accompany an increased role of state and local law officials in the enforcement of immigration law.
Federal Taxation of the Drug Industry and Its Effects on New Drug Development
This report examines the impact of federal taxation on the incentive to invest in new drug development. More specifically, it looks at the provisions in current tax law that affect the performance of the drug industry, compares the industry's federal tax burden with that of other major industries, and assesses the effect of federal taxation on the incentive to invest in new drug development.
Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS): Background, Legislation, and Funding
This report discusses the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program, which was created by Title I of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (P.L. 103-322). The mission of the COPS program is to advance community policing in all jurisdictions across the United States. Several bills introduced in the 111th Congress would either modify the COPS program, reauthorize appropriations for the program, or both.
Greenhouse Gas Pledges by Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
This report briefly summarizes the existing commitments and pledges of selected national and regional governments to limit their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as contributions to the global effort.
Legislative Options for Financing Water Infrastructure
This report addresses several options being considered by Congress to address the financing needs of local communities for wastewater and drinking water infrastructure projects and to decrease or close the gap between available funds and projected needs. Six options that are reflected in current or recent legislative proposals, including budgetary implications, are discussed.
Farm Commodity Programs: Honey
This report discusses the honey price support program, which was first created by the Agricultural Act of 1949 (P.L. 81-439) to provide market price stability for honey producers and to encourage maintenance of sufficient bee populations for pollination
Federal Emergency Management and Homeland Security Organization: Historical Developments and Legislative Options
This report provides background information about the establishment and evolution of federal emergency management and related homeland security organization since 1950. Post-Katrina assessments of current arrangements by Congress and the White House are also discussed. Finally, the report provides a brief summary of related legislation that had been introduced as of July 17, 2006.
Federal Emergency Management and Homeland Security Organization: Historical Developments and Legislative Options
This report provides background information about the establishment and evolution of federal emergency management and related homeland security organization since 1950. Post-Katrina assessments of current arrangements by Congress and the White House are also discussed. Finally, the report provides a brief summary of related legislation that had been introduced as of July 17, 2006.
Federal Emergency Management and Homeland Security Organization: Historical Developments and Legislative Options
This report provides background information about the establishment and evolution of federal emergency management and related homeland security organization since 1950. Post-Katrina assessments of current arrangements by Congress and the White House are also discussed. Finally, the report provides a brief summary of related legislation that had been introduced as of July 17, 2006.
Fast-Track Trade Authority Proposals: Which Environmental Issues are Included in the Principal Negotiating Objectives?
This report discusses fast-track negotiating authority, which provides that Congress will consider trade agreements within mandatory deadlines, with limited debate, and without amendment. Environmental provisions are eligible for the fast-track procedure only if they meet at least one of the principal trade negotiating objectives.
FCC Media Ownership Rules: Issues for Congress
The Federal Communications Commission adopted an order on June 2, 2003 that modified five of its media ownership rules and retained two others.1 The new rules will go into effect on September 4, 2003 – thirty days after their appearance in the Federal Register. Because of the potential that changes in these rules – which set limits on national television ownership, newspaper-broadcast and radio-television cross-ownership in a market, and ownership of multiple television or radio stations in a market – could have far-reaching effects, a number of bills have been introduced in the 108th Congress that reflect a range of positions on these issues. This report analyzes each of the areas that have changed as a result of the FCC action or may change as a result of congressional action. The various positions in the debate also are summarized.
FCC Media Ownership Rules: Issues for Congress
The Federal Communications Commission adopted an order on June 2, 2003 that modified five of its media ownership rules and retained two others. The new rules were scheduled to go into effect on September 4, 2003, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit stayed implementation of the new rules pending adjudication of claims that the rules are unlawful. (Prometheus Radio Project v. FCC, 3rd Cir., No 03-3388, stay issued 9/3/03). Because of the potential that changes in these rules – which set limits on national television ownership, newspaper-broadcast and radio-television cross-ownership in a market, and ownership of multiple television or radio stations in a market – could have far-reaching effects, a number of bills have been introduced in the 108th Congress that reflect a range of positions on these issues. This report analyzes each of the areas that have changed as a result of the FCC action or may change as a result of congressional action. The various positions in the debate also are summarized.
Farm Commodity Programs: Base Acreage and Planting Flexibility
This report discusses two policy issues that have arisen regarding planting flexibility on base acres, particularly restrictions on growing fruits and vegetables as an alternative crop. First, some Midwestern producers felt penalized because their history of growing fruits and vegetables reduced their soybean bases under the 2002 farm bill. H.R. 2045 and S. 1038 would allow certain fruits and vegetables to be grown without penalizing any future recalculation of base, while reducing a farm’s subsidy payments for one year. S. 194 would allow chicory to be grown on base acres. Second, a World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute settlement panel found that the restriction on planting fruits and vegetables made direct and counter-cyclical payments ineligible to be a nondistorting payment (green box) for international trade purposes.
Fast-Track Trade Authority: Which Environmental Issues are "Directly Related to Trade"?
This report discusses fast-track negotiating authority, which provides that Congress will consider trade agreements within mandatory deadlines, with limited debate, and without amendment. Trade negotiating objectives have generally been included in fast-track legislation to establish priorities for trade negotiators.
Perchlorate Contamination of Drinking Water: Regulatory Issues and Legislative Actions
This report reviews perchlorate water contamination issues and developments.
Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) Status for Russia and U.S.-Russian Economic Ties
The change in Russia's trade status will require legislation to lift the restrictions of Title IV of the Trade Act of 1974 as they apply to Russia, which includes the “freedom-of-emigration” requirements of the Jackson-Vanik amendment. The process for Russia's accession has been completed. As a result, Members of the 112th Congress confront the issue of whether to grant Russia permanent normal trade relations (PNTR).
Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) Status for Russia and U.S.-Russian Economic Ties
Report that discusses the issues surrounding whether or not the U.S. should grant Russia permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) following its accession into the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) Status for Russia and U.S.-Russian Economic Ties
The change in Russia's trade status will require legislation to lift the restrictions currently applied to Russia under Title IV of the Trade Act of 1974, which includes the "freedom-of-emigration" requirements of the Jackson-Vanik amendment. The process for Russia's accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) is proceeding and may be completed soon. As a result, Members may confront the issue of whether to grant Russia permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) status during the 112th Congress.
Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) Status for Russia and U.S.-Russian Economic Ties
This report discusses the issues surrounding whether or not the U.S. should grant Russia permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) following its accession into the World Trade Organization (WTO). The change in Russia's trade status will require legislation to lift the restrictions of Title IV of the Trade Act of 1974 as they apply to Russia, which includes the "freedom-of-emigration" requirements of the Jackson-Vanik amendment.
Tax Havens: International Tax Avoidance and Evasion
The federal government loses both individual and corporate income tax revenue from the shifting of profits and income into low-tax countries, often referred to as tax havens. The revenue losses from this tax avoidance and evasion are difficult to estimate, but some have suggested that the annual cost of offshore tax abuses may be around $100 billion per year. Recent actions by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the G-20 industrialized nations have targeted tax haven countries, focusing primarily on evasion issues. There are also a number of legislative proposals that address these issues including the Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act (S. 506, H.R. 1265); draft proposals by the Senate Finance Committee; two other related bills, S. 386 and S. 569; and a proposal by President Obama. This report discusses this issue in detail.
Tax Credit Bonds: Overview and Analysis
Tax Credit Bonds (TCBs) are a type of bond that offers the holder a federal tax credit instead of interest. This report explains the tax credit mechanism and describes the market for the bonds. It also discusses related pieces of legislation and what the most common uses of the proceeds from TCBs are.
The U.S. Postal Service's Financial Condition: A Primer
Report that discusses the USPS financial challenges, agency's revenues, and recent financial difficulties.
The U.S. Postal Service's Financial Condition: Overview and Issues for Congress
This report provides an overview of the U.S. Postal Service's (USPS's) financial condition, legislation enacted to alleviate the USPS's financial challenges, and possible issues for the 112th Congress. It also includes a side-by-side comparison of two of the postal reform bills, H.R. 2309 and S. 1789.
The U.S. Postal Service's Use of Contractors to Deliver Mail: Background and Recent Developments
Currently, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is collectively bargaining with the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) and National Rural Letter Carriers Association (NRLCA). One issue that may or may not be settled is the Postal Service's use of non-USPS employees (i.e., contractors) to deliver mail. If the parties cannot come to a satisfactory arrangement, Congress may be approached to consider the matter.
World Trade Organization (WTO) Decisions and Their Effect in U.S. Law
This report looks at specific laws that have been affected by interactions between the Uruguay Round Agreements Act, the WTO, and domestic law.
The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN)
Congress has passed legislation to facilitate the reemployment of workers who through no fault of their own are let go by their employers. Among these laws is the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, P.L. 100-379, enacted in 1988. This report discusses the WARN Act in brief, especially as related to Congress's renewed interest in the Act due to the current financial crises and recession.
Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act
Report that discusses the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act in brief, especially as related to Congress's renewed interest in the Act due to the current financial crises and recession.
The Workforce Investment Act and the One-Stop Delivery System
Report that provides details of WIA Title I state formula program structure, services, allocation formulas, and performance accountability. In addition, it provides a program overview for national grant programs.
War Powers Litigation Initiated by Members of Congress Since the Enactment of the War Powers Resolution
This report summarizes the eight cases initiated by Members of Congress in which final rulings were reached, which concerned U.S. military activities in El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Grenada; military action taken during the Persian Gulf conflict between Iraq and Iran; U.S. activities in response to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait (prior to the congressional authorization); U.S. participation in NATO's action in Kosovo and Yugoslavia; and U.S. military action in Libya.
Water Infrastructure Funding in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009
This report identifies funding for water infrastructure programs and projects contained in the legislation, including amounts in the House- and Senate-passed versions that preceded the conference agreement. Among the purposes identified in the legislation are preservation and creation of jobs and promotion of U.S. economic recovery, and investment in transportation, environmental protection, and other infrastructure that will provide long-term economic benefits.
The United Nations Human Rights Council: Issues for Congress
On March 15, 2006, the U.N. General Assembly passed a resolution replacing the Commission on Human Rights with a new Human Rights Council (the Council). The Council was designed to be an improvement over the Commission, which was widely criticized for the composition of its membership when perceived human rights abusers were elected as members. This report discusses the history of the Council, the previous participation of the Bush Administration, the current participation of the Obama Administration, and ongoing international and Congressional concerns of the credibility and effectiveness of the Council.
Unauthorized Aliens Residing in the United States: Estimates Since 1986
This report discusses a rise in the unauthorized resident ("illegal") alien population from 1986 to 2010. It looks at reasons that illegal aliens stay resort to breaking the law and how illegal aliens affect the workforce in certain industries.