This report presents arguments for and against congressional resolutions to disapprove President Clinton’s February 26, 1999 certification of Mexico as a fully cooperative country in efforts to control illicit narcotics.1 These resolutions (H.J.Res. 35--Bachus, and H.J.Res. 43--Mica and Gilman) would disapprove the President’s certification, but would permit him to avoid withholding of assistance to Mexico if he determined that vital national interests required such assistance.
The United States has long been concerned with Colombia as a major producer and trafficker of the illegal narcotics entering this country: first marijuana, then cocaine, and now also heroin. Colombia's drug trafficking business has been dominated by two cartels during the two decades in which cocaine trafficking became a major activity: first the Medellin cartel, which dominated during the 1980s and then the Cali cartel, which dominated during the early 1990s. With the arrests of the major Cali cartel leaders in the mid-1990s, independent traffickers have filled the void.
At the 0.08 BAC level of alcohol, braking, steering, lane changing, and judgment are degraded and the driving performance of virtually all drivers is substantially impaired. During the debate on reauthorization of the federal surface transportation programs, an amendment that would require each state either to enact a 0.08 BAC law or face the loss of a portion of its Federal Highway Trust Fund monies passed the Senate and will likely be considered in the House. This proposal raises questions about the effectiveness and impacts of a 0.08 BAC law, the rights of states versus the federal government, and alternative ways to encourage the states to adopt stronger impaired driving countermeasures.
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.
This report tracks the efforts to restore to office President Aristide of Haiti between the years 1991-1994. During this period, the main U.S. foreign policy concern was the restoration of the democratic process to Haiti. Closely related to this was the issue of Haitians attempting to flee to the United States by boat. Congressional concerns focused on human rights, Haitian migration, socioeconomic conditions, and drug trafficking.
A cigarette excise tax increase of 75 cents per pack has been proposed to finance part of the President's universal health care program. The tax enjoys considerable public support, would raise about $11 billion per year, and would be relatively simple to administer because it would increase an existing manufacturer's excise tax. This report discusses these rationales, as well as other effects of and concerns about the tax, organized into topics of market failure as a justification for the tax (i.e., economic efficiency); potential for revenue; equity; and the job loss the tax might cause in tobacco growing regions.
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