Congressional Research Service Reports - 200 Matching Results

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Consumers and Food Price Inflation
The heightened commodity price volatility of 2008 and the subsequent acceleration in U.S. food price inflation raised concerns and generated many questions about farm and food price movements by Members of Congress and their constituents. This report responds to those concerns by addressing the nature and measurement of retail food price inflation.
The Chained Consumer Price Index: What Is It and Would It Be Appropriate for Cost-of-Living Adjustments?
This report provides technical and logistical information on how the Consumer Price Index for all Urban Consumers (C-CPI-U) is constructed and reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Consumers and Food Price Inflation
This report is divided into five sections that cover the following: major economic concepts underlying consumer food behavior; descriptions how U.S. food price inflation rates have evolved since 1915, when federal price data collection for inflation-measuring purposes began; information on recent history and projections for U.S. food expenditure shares relative to total household budget; an examination of retail food price inflation; and a discussion on the impact that rapid food price inflation can have on government food programs and the more vulnerable consumer groups.
Discriminatory Pricing and the Robinson- Patman Act: Brief Background and Analysis
This report discusses the Robinson-Patman (R-P) Act, which makes it unlawful, with certain exceptions, to knowingly sell goods "in commerce," for use or sale within the United States, at differing prices to contemporaneous buyers of those goods.
Advertising of Alcoholic Beverages: Should a Radio and TV Ban be Imposed?
This issue brief discusses the ongoing debate centered around television and radio advertising of alcoholic beverages, especially as it relates to the possible negative influence on the drinking habits of minors.
Financial Regulatory Reform: Analysis of the Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) as Proposed by the Obama Administration and H.R. 3126
This report provides a brief summary of the President's Consumer Financial Protection Agency Act of 2009 (the CPFA Act or the Act) and delineates some of the substantive differences between it and H.R. 3126, as introduced. It then analyzes some of the policy implications of the proposal, focusing on the separation of safety and soundness regulation from consumer protection, financial innovation, and the scope of regulation. The report then raises some questions regarding state law preemption, sources of funding, and rule-making procedures that the Act does not fully answer.
Medicare: Prescription Drug Proposals
This report provides an overview of the President’s plan and the legislation introduced to date in the 106th Congress. It
Medicare: Side-by-Side Comparison of Selected Prescription Drug Bills
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Medicare: Selected Prescription Drug Proposals
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President Bush's Proposed Medicare-Endorsed Drug Discount Card Initiative: Status and Issues
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President Bush's Proposed Medicare-Endorsed Drug Discount Card Initiative: Status and Issues
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Medicare: Major Prescription Drug Provisions of Selected Bills
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Medicare: Major Prescription Drug Provisions of Selected Bills
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Medicare: Major Prescription Drug Provisions of Selected Bills
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The Cost of Prescription Drugs for the Uninsured Elderly and Legislative Approaches
The purpose of this report is to explain why many of those who are least able to afford high drug costs are those who are most frequently charged the most. This report describes the basic economic theory underlying price differentiation and, in the context of the pharmaceutical market, analyzes the role and behavior of pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), pharmaceutical manufacturers, and retail pharmacies, respectively. It also looks at a number of the criticisms that have been made of the practice of differential pricing. Finally, this report discusses various policy approaches aimed at assisting the elderly to purchase prescription drugs.
Medicare Endorsed Prescription Drug Discount Card Program
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Class Actions and Proposed Reform in the 108th Congress: Class Action Fairness Act of 2003
The report discusses the consumer class action bill of rights in each proposal contains safeguards which provide for judicial scrutiny of coupon and other non-cash settlements, protection against a proposed settlement that would result in a net loss to a class member, protection against discrimination based upon geographic location, and prohibition on a class representative receiving a greater share of the award.
Summary and Comparison of the Major Agricultural Provisions of the Tobacco Settlement Policy Proposals
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Compensating Farmers for the Tobacco Settlement
The legislative proposals designed to reduce smoking, primarily by teenagers, are likely to have negative economic consequences for tobacco growers and tobacco-dependent communities. This report discusses the possibility of some kind of compensation to farmers as part of the settlement package legislation.
Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, H.R. 1036 and S. 659, 108th Congress: Legal Analysis
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Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, H.R. 1036, 108th Congress: Legal Analysis
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President Bush's Proposed Medicare-Endorsed Drug Discount Card Initiative: Status and Issues
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Medicare: Beneficiary Cost-Sharing Under Prescription Drug Legislation
This report provides an analysis of how the cost-sharing and premium provisions under the Prescription Drug and Medicare Improvement Act of 2003 (S. 1) and the Medicare Prescription Drug and Modernization Act of 2003 (H bill would affect the amount that a beneficiary would pay annually for prescription drugs.
Medicare: Beneficiary Cost-Sharing Under Proposed Prescription Drug Benefits
This report examines these proposals as well as the “Medicare Rx Drug Benefit and Discount Act of 2003,” which was introduced by Representative Charles Rangel, the ranking member of the House Ways and Means Committee. Specifically, this report provides background on how the cost-sharing and premium provisions under each bill would affect the amount that a beneficiary pays annually for prescription drugs.
Medicare: Beneficiary Cost-Sharing Under Proposed Prescription Drug Benefits
This report provides background on how the cost-sharing and premium provisions under each bill would affect the amount that a beneficiary pays annually for prescription drugs. In addition, this report gives examples of how annual cost-sharing would differ for beneficiaries with various levels of total prescription drug spending in 2006 under the plans.
Class Actions and Proposed Reform in the 107th Congress: Class Action Fairness Act of 2002
This report discusses the Class Action Fairness Act of 2002. The bill reflects a preference for class actions to be adjudicated in federal courts and would enlarge U.S. district courts original jurisdiction over class actions with claims aggregating $2,000,000 or more (even if each of the members of the class had not sustained damages in excess of $75,000 as is now required).
Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, H.R. 1036, S. 659, S. 1805, S. 1806, 108th Congress: Legal Analysis
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Spyware: Background and Policy Issues for Congress
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Beneficiary Information and Decision Supports for the Medicare-Endorsed Prescription Drug Discount Card
On December 8, 2003 the President signed into law the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003 (MMA, P.L. 108-173). This legislation establishes a Medicare prescription drug benefit, effective January 1, 2006. In the interim, the legislation requires the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to establish a temporary program of Medicare-endorsed prescription drug discount cards. This report discusses the objectives and benefits of this legislation.
Credit Default Swaps: Frequently Asked Questions
Credit default swaps are contracts that provide protection against default by third parties, similar to insurance. These financial derivatives are used by banks and other financial institutions to manage risk. The rapid growth of the derivatives market, the potential for widespread credit defaults (such as defaults for subprime mortgages), and operational problems in the over-the-counter (OTC) market where credit default swaps are traded, have led some policymakers to inquire if credit default swaps are a danger to the financial system and the economy. This report defines credit default swaps, explains their use by banks for risk management, and discusses the potential for systemic risk.
Asbestos Compensation Act of 2000
This report summarizes H.R. 1283, 106th Congress, the Asbestos Compensation Act of 2000, as ordered to be reported with amendments by the House Committee on the Judiciary on March 16, 2000. The bill would create an administrative procedure for asbestos liability claims.
Drug Control
How to prevent the non-medical use of dependency-producing drugs has been a public policy concern for at least a century. A large part of the responsibility for controlling such substances has been assumed by the Federal Government. Historically based on decision to restrict availability through a system of close regulation, including selective prohibition, the current Federal anti-drugs strategy lives on activities and programs in five major areas: 1) regulation and other “enforcement” efforts; 2) support for international control and for control efforts of individual drug-producing and drug-transiting countries; 3) education and other prevention activities; 4 ) treatment and rehabilitation for drug-dependent persons; and ( 5 ) research on drugs , drug dependency, and prevention and treatment methods.
The Pros and Cons of Allowing the Federal Government to Negotiate Prescription Drug Prices
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State Securities Class Action Suits: Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner
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The Internal Revenue Service's Use of Private Debt Collection Agencies: Current Status and Issues for Congress
Under the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004 (AJCA, P.L. 108-357), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has acquired for the second time in its history the legal authority to hire private debt collection agencies (PCAs) to assist in the collection of certain individual tax debt. The grant of authority grew out of a proposal made by the Bush Administration in its budget request for the IRS in both FY2004 and FY2005. This report focuses on IRS’s current plan for hiring PCAs to collect delinquent individual taxes and the policy issues it raises. It begins with an examination of the scope of IRS’s authority to use PCAs under the AJCA and concludes with a discussion of the main issues for Congress as it oversees IRS’s efforts to implement and manage the private tax debt collection initiative. The report will be updated to reflect significant legislative action and new developments related to the initiative
Spyware: Background and Policy Issues for Congress
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Three Utility Financing Issues
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Three Utility Financing Issues
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Standardized Choices: Medigap Lessons for Medicare Part D
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Data Security: Protecting the Privacy of Phone Records
This report discusses recent legislative and regulatory efforts to protect the privacy of customer telephone records, and efforts to prevent the unauthorized use, disclosure, or sale of such records by data brokers. In addition, it provides a brief overview of the confidentiality protections for customer information established by the Communications Act of 1934.
Data Security: Protecting the Privacy of Phone Records
This report discusses recent legislative and regulatory efforts to protect the privacy of customer telephone records, and efforts to prevent the unauthorized use, disclosure, or sale of such records by data brokers. In addition, it provides a brief overview of the confidentiality protections for customer information established by the Communications Act of 1934.
Infant Formula: National Problems
This report discusses congressional concerns regarding infant formula that was deficient in a required nutrient.
Financial Regulatory Reform: Analysis of the Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) as Proposed by the Obama Administration and H.R. 3126
This report provides a brief summary of the President's Consumer Financial Protection Agency Act of 2009 and delineates some of the substantive differences between it and H.R. 3126, as introduced. It then analyzes some of the policy implications of the proposal, focusing on the separation of safety and soundness regulation from consumer protection, financial innovation, and the scope of regulation.
Financial Regulatory Reform: Analysis of the Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) as Proposed by the Obama Administration and H.R. 3126
This report provides a brief summary of the Obama Administration's Consumer Financial Protection Agency Act of 2009 (CFPA) and delineates some of the substantive differences between it and H.R. 3126, as ordered to be reported by the House Financial Services Committee, as well as the version that was ordered to be reported by the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
Inflation-Indexing Elements in Federal Entitlement Programs
This report identifies key indexing elements in major federal entitlement programs under current law and presents the information in a summary table. The report provides a brief description of the measures of consumer price change used to index various elements of these programs under current law, as well as the alternative measure of consumer price change (the Chained CPI-U) that has been proposed for computing Social Security cost-of-living-adjustments (COLAs) and making inflation adjustments to other federal programs.
Copyright Law: Digital Rights Management Legislation in the 107th and 108th Congresses
Digital Rights Management (DRM) refers to the technology that copyright owners use to protect digital media. This report surveys several of the DRM bills that were introduced in the 107th and 108th Congresses. Generally, the bills are directed at two separate goals. One goal is to increase access to digitally-protected media for lawful purposes. The other attempts to thwart digital piracy and would do so by enhancing civil and criminal sanctions for digital (and traditional) copyright infringement and educating the public about the rights of copyright holders.
Copyright Law: Digital Rights Management Legislation
Digital Rights Management (DRM) refers to the technology that copyright owners use to protect digital media. This report surveys several of the DRM bills that were introduced in the 107th Congress and those that are pending in the 108th Congress. Generally, the bills are directed at two separate goals. One goal is to increase access to digitally-protected media for lawful purposes. The other attempts to thwart digital piracy and would do so by enhancing civil and criminal sanctions for digital (and traditional) copyright infringement and educating the public about the rights of copyright holders.
Copyright Law: Digital Rights Management Legislation
Digital Rights Management (DRM) refers to the technology that copyright owners use to protect digital media. This report surveys several of the DRM bills that were introduced in the 107th Congress and those that are pending in the 108th Congress. Generally, the bills are directed at two separate goals. One goal is to increase access to digitally-protected media for lawful purposes. The other attempts to thwart digital piracy and would do so by enhancing civil and criminal sanctions for digital copyright infringement and educating the public about the rights of copyright holders.
Increases in Tricare Costs: Background and Options for Congress
In its FY2007 budget submission, the Department of Defense (DOD) proposed increases in Tricare enrollment fees, deductibles, and pharmacy co-payments for retired beneficiaries not yet eligible for Medicare. The raises were justified by DOD as necessary to constrain the growth of health care spending as a proportion of the overall defense budget in the next decade. Many beneficiaries argued that the proposed hikes were unfair and unnecessary. The FY2007 Defense Authorization Act prohibited increases in premiums, deductibles, and co-payments prior to September 30, 2007. The FY2008 National Defense Authoriztion Act extended the prohibition of increases in co-payments and enrollment fees until October 2008 and Congress may move to extend them further.
"Price Gouging," the Antitrust Laws, and Vertical Integration in the Petroleum Industry: How They Are Related
This report, which may be updated to further reflect congressional action, attempts to provide the antitrust context for prohibited practices, such as "price gouging"; notes prior congressional action concerning vertical divestiture in the petroleum industry; and provides information on the state "divorcement" statutes.