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A Free Trade Area of the Americas: Status of Negotiations and Major Policy Issues

Description: At the second Summit of the Americas in Santiago, Chile (April 1998), 34 Western Hemisphere nations agreed to initiate formal negotiations to create a Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) by 2005. The process so far has led to two draft texts, the second completed for the November 1, 2002 trade ministerial in Quito, Ecuador. The many sections of “bracketed” text indicate that there are still significant differences to be worked out. Although implementing legislation is not anticipated until the next Congress at the earliest, for an FTAA agreement to be signed in January 2005, the 108th Congress, having an expanded oversight authority as defined in the Trade Act of 2002 (P.L. 107-210), will play a crucial role during this last phase of the FTAA negotiations. This report will be updated periodically.
Date: January 2, 2003
Creator: Hornbeck, J. F.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Funding Postal Service Obligations to the Civil Service Retirement System

Description: This report provides background on the U.S. Postal Service's (USPS) funding of its retirement obligations, describes and analyzes the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) recalculation, and discusses considerations Congress may bring to bear on the draft legislation.
Date: January 2, 2003
Creator: Purcell, Patrick & Stevens, Nye
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Automobile and Light Truck Fuel Economy: The CAFE Standards

Description: One of the least controversial provisions of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975 (P.L. 94-163) established corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards for new passenger cars. This report presents a brief background and analysis regarding the price of crude oil that brought into sharp focus the fuel inefficiency of U.S. automobiles. The report also discusses the previous issues and the most recent developments regarding CAFE.
Date: April 2, 2003
Creator: Bamberger, Robert L.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Congressional Investigations: Subpoenas and Contempt Power

Description: When conducting investigations of the executive branch, congressional committees and Members of Congress generally receive the information required for legislative needs. If agencies fail to cooperate or the President invokes executive privilege, Congress can turn to a number of legislative powers that are likely to compel compliance. The two techniques described in this report are the issuance of subpoenas and the holding of executive officials in contempt. These techniques usually lead to an accommodation that meets the needs of both branches. Litigation is used at times, but federal judges generally encourage congressional and executive parties to settle their differences out of court. The specific examples in this report explain how information disputes arise and how they are resolved.
Date: April 2, 2003
Creator: Fisher, Louis
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Egypt-United States Relations

Description: Among the current issues in U.S.-Egyptian relations are the shared concerns over the terrorist attacks against Egyptian police, religious, government, and tourist facilities, and what those attacks maysignal for Egypt’s domestic stability. The two nations may disagree over Egypt’s interpretation of applying human rights practices to Islamic terrorists. The two countries disagree over the speed and depth, but not the need for some of Egypt’s economic reforms. Egypt and the United States agree on the importance of the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty, the need to continue current Arab-Israel peace talks, and the need for regional stability. The two nations agree on Egypt’s determination to introduce democratic reforms to Egypt.
Date: April 2, 2003
Creator: Mark, Clyde R.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Environmental Protection Issues in the 108th Congress

Description: The 108th Congress has acted on a variety of disparate environmental measures; some of these represent proposals or issues that had been under consideration in the 107th Congress and earlier. Environmental issues considered by Congress tend to fall into several major categories: (1) funding issues — whether funding levels are adequate and focused on appropriate priorities; (2) expanding, renewing, or refocusing specific environment programs; (3) environmental issues that are important “subsets” of other major areas of concern, such as energy, defense, or transportation programs; and more recently, (4) terrorism and infrastructure protection in areas such as wastewater and chemical facilities.
Date: April 2, 2003
Creator: Fletcher, Susan R. & Isler, Margaret M.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Global Climate Change

Description: This report discusses the effect of human activities on global climate change. Human activities, particularly burning of fossil fuels, have increased atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) and other trace gases, including chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), methane, and nitrous oxide.
Date: April 2, 2003
Creator: Justus, John R. & Fletcher, Susan R.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

"Sensitive But Unclassified" and Other Federal Security Controls on Scientific and Technical Information: History and Current Controversy

Description: This report (1) summarizes provisions of several laws and regulations, including the Patent Law, the Atomic Energy Act, International Traffic in Arms Control regulations, the USA PATRIOT Act (P.L. 107-56), the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002 (P.L. 107-188), and the Homeland Security Act (P.L. 107-296), that permit the federal government to restrict disclosure of scientific and technical information that could harm national security; (2) describes the development of federal controls on “sensitive but unclassified” (SBU) scientific and technical information; (3) summarizes current controversies about White House policy on “Sensitive But Unclassified Information,” and “Sensitive Homeland Security Information” (SHSI) issued in March 2002; and (4) identifies controversial issues which might affect the development of Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and agency guidelines for sensitive unclassified information, which are expected to be released during 2003.
Date: April 2, 2003
Creator: Knezo, Genevieve J.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department