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Energy Policy: Historical Overview, Conceptual Framework, and Continuing Issues

Description: Energy policy issues of continuing interest include whether or not to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) for leasing; settlement upon a pipeline route to allow production of Alaskan natural gas; access to public lands for energy exploration and development; restructuring of the electric utility industry to encourage competition and consumer choice; raising corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards for motor vehicles; seeking effective means to promote energy conservation using currently available technologies; and development of new technologies and alternative fuels. This report discusses those major policy approaches, provides a conceptual framework for categorizing energy policy proposals, and briefly describes issues that remain current in the debates over energy policy.
Date: December 21, 2004
Creator: Bamberger, Robert L.
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Semiautomatic Assault Weapons Ban

Description: This report focuses on the use and interpretation of firearms trace data produced by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).
Date: December 16, 2004
Creator: Krouse, William J.
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Affirmative Action Revisited: A Legal History and Prospectus

Description: Affirmative action remains a focal point of public debate as the result of legal and political developments at the federal, state, and local levels. This report discusses legislation related to affirmative action, as well as legal rulings on the topic and the federal government's role in first establishing and, later, attempting to curb affirmative action policies.
Date: December 15, 2004
Creator: Dale, Charles V.
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Campaign Financing: Highlights and Chronology of Current Federal Law

Description: This report summarizes major provisions of federal law and offers a chronology of key legislative and judicial actions which govern financial activity of federal election campaigns. The laws are based on two principal statutes: the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) of 1971, as amended in 1974, 1976, 1979, and 2002, and the Revenue Act of 1971.
Date: December 13, 2004
Creator: Cantor, Joseph E.
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Farm Commodity Programs: Direct Payments, Counter-Cyclical Payments, and Marketing Loans

Description: This report discusses federal law that has authorized farm income and commodity price support programs for over 70 years.The 2002 farm bill (P.L. 107-171) authorizes the current programs for the 2002-2007 crop years. The payment framework combines direct payments of the 1996 farm bill (P.L. 104-127) with counter-cyclical payments of prior laws. Subsidies continue for wheat, feed grains, upland cotton, and rice, and soybeans and peanuts are added to the list of major crops. Dry peas, lentils, and chickpeas were added to the loan program, and wool, mohair, and honey were reinstated. This report covers grains, cotton, oilseeds, and peanuts. These commodities have similar rules, and generally account for about two-thirds of CCC outlays.
Date: December 13, 2004
Creator: Monke, Jim
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Safe Drinking Water Act: Implementation and Issues

Description: This report discusses key drinking water issues in the 108th Congress involving water infrastructure funding and problems caused by specific contaminants, such as the gasoline additive methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), perchlorate, and lead in drinking water. Congress last reauthorized the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) in 1996, and although funding authority for most SDWA programs expired in FY2003, broad reauthorization efforts were not pursued as EPA, states, and water utilities continued implementing the 1996 amendments.
Date: December 8, 2004
Creator: Tiemann, Mary
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Visa Issuances: Policy, Issues, and Legislation

Description: This report opens with an overview of visa issuances, with sections on procedures for aliens coming to live in the United States permanently and on procedures for aliens admitted for temporary stays. It includes a discussion of visa screening policies, including inadmissibility, databases, an analysis of visa refusals, biometric visas and other major visa policy procedures. Summaries of key laws revising visa policy enacted in the 107th Congress follows. The final section analyzes selected issues in the 108th Congress, notably the 9/11 Commission recommendations, visa revocation and removal, new technologies, potential impact on business, and other security concerns.
Date: December 7, 2004
Creator: Wasem, Ruth Ellen
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

9/11 Commission: Current Legislative Proposals for U.S. Immigration Law and Policy

Description: This report briefly discusses some of the major immigration areas under consideration in comprehensive reform proposals suggested by the 9/11 Commission, including asylum, biometric tracking systems, border security, document security, exclusion, immigration enforcement, and visa issuances. It refers to other CRS reports that discuss these issues in depth and will be updated as needed.
Date: December 6, 2004
Creator: Garcia, Michael John & Wasem, Ruth Ellen
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Clean Water Act Issues in the 108th Congress

Description: This report discusses issues regarding the Clean Water Act. Prospects for legislative initiatives to comprehensively amend the Clean Water Act (CWA) have stalled for some time over whether and exactly how to change the law, and Congress has recently focused legislative attention on narrow bills to extend or modify selected CWA programs, rather than taking up comprehensive proposals. For example, the 108th Congress enacted one bill amending the CWA, legislation to reauthorize the National Estuary Program (H.R. 4731, P.L. 108-399).
Date: December 6, 2004
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Constitutionality of a Senate Filibuster of a Judicial Nomination

Description: This report provides an overview of the major issues which have been raised recently in the Senate regarding the Judicial Nominations, Filibusters, and the Constitution: When a Majority Is Denied Its Right to Consent and in the press concerning the constitutionality of a Senate filibuster (i.e., extended debate) of a judicial nomination.
Date: December 6, 2004
Creator: Shampansky, Jay R
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Farm Commodity Programs: Honey

Description: 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
Date: December 3, 2004
Creator: Canada, Carol
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

FDA Regulation of Tobacco Products: A Policy and Legal Analysis

Description: This report examines the legislative debate over giving FDA the authority to regulate tobacco products and provides some analysis of S. 2461/H.R. 4433. It begins with an overview of the FDA’s 1996 tobacco rule that includes a summary of the agency’s arguments for asserting jurisdiction over tobacco products. That is followed by an analysis of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in FDA v. Brown & Williamson, which overturned the FDA tobacco rule. The report then reviews the 1997 proposed national tobacco settlement, which would have codified the FDA rule and given the agency explicit authority to regulate tobacco products as medical devices. It includes a discussion of the FDA provisions in the McCain tobacco bill, which was introduced and debated in the 105th Congress in an attempt to implement the proposed settlement. The final section of the report summarizes the provisions in S. 2461/H.R. 4433 and discusses some of the key issues, including preemption and the regulation of reduced-risk products.
Date: December 3, 2004
Creator: Redhead, C. Stephen & Feder, Jody
Item Type: Report
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: December 1, 2004
Creator: Sissine, Fred
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Energy Policy: The Continuing Debate and Omnibus Energy Legislation

Description: This report discusses a variety of issues pertaining to energy policy. It includes information about most recent developments, background and analysis broken down into major categories, and relevant legislation.
Date: November 24, 2004
Creator: Bamberger, Robert L.
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

School Choice: Current Legislation

Description: This report provides an overview of current local, state, and federal policies and programs that support school choice and identifies and summarizes recent federal school choice legislation.
Date: November 24, 2004
Creator: Smole, David P.
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Soil and Water Conservation Issues

Description: This report discusses soil and water conservation, which were prominent farm policy topics in the 108th Congress as the Administration implemented provisions in the 2002 farm bill (P.L. 107-171). This farm bill increased spending and expanded the scope of the conservation effort by reauthorizing and amending most existing conservation programs and enacting new ones through FY2007.
Date: November 24, 2004
Creator: Zinn, Jeffrey A.
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department