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Electricity: The Road Toward Restructuring
The Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935 (PUHCA) and the Federal Power Act (FPA) were enacted to eliminate unfair practices and other abuses by electricity and gas holding companies by requiring federal control and regulation of interstate public utility holding companies. Comprehensive energy legislation has passed the House and Senate. The House passed H.R. 6 on April 11, 2003. On July 31, 2003, the Senate suspended debate on S. 14, inserted the text of H.R. 4 (107th Congress) as a substitute, and passed H.R. 6. A conference agreement was reached November 17, 2003, and passed by the House the next day. H.R. 6 includes an electricity title that would, in part, repeal PUHCA, would prospectively repeal the mandatory purchase requirement under PURPA, and would create an electric reliability organization. On June 15, 2004, H.R. 4503, a comprehensive energy policy bill, passed the House.
Automobile and Light Truck Fuel Economy: The CAFE Standards
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.
Automobile and Light Truck Fuel Economy: The CAFE Standards
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.
Nuclear Nonproliferation Issues
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Military Medical Care Services: Questions and Answers
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U.N. System Funding: Congressional Issues
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U.N. System Funding: Congressional Issues
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Major Tax Issues in the 108th Congress
This report provides an overview of major tax issues. It begins by describing three aspects of the economic context in which the tax policy debate during 2004 is likely to occur: the general state of the U.S. economy; the position of the federal budget; and the level of taxes in the United States.
Japanese-U.S. Trade Relations: Cooperation or Confrontation?
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Water Quality: Implementing the Clean Water Act
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Africa: U.S. Foreign Assistance Issues
This report discusses the issue of U.S. economic assistance to sub-Saharan Africa, highlighting the importance of continued assistance in light of U.S. national security and also various U.S.-led efforts to promote reform amongst African citizens themselves. U.S. assistance finds its way to Africa through a variety of channels, including the USAID-administered DA program, food aid programs, and indirect aid provided through international financial institutions and the United Nations.
Africa: U.S. Foreign Assistance Issues
This report discusses the issue of U.S. economic assistance to sub-Saharan Africa, highlighting the importance of continued assistance in light of U.S. national security and also various U.S.-led efforts to promote reform amongst African citizens themselves. U.S. assistance finds its way to Africa through a variety of channels, including the USAID-administered DA program, food aid programs, and indirect aid provided through international financial institutions and the United Nations.
AIDS in Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa has been far more severely affected by AIDS than any other part of the world. The United Nations reports that 29.4 million adults and children are infected with the HIV virus in the region, which has about 10% of the world's population but more than 70% of the worldwide total of infected people. This report discusses this issue in detail, including the cause of the African AIDS epidemic, the social and economic consequences, response and treatment, and U.S. policy.
AIDS in Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa has been far more severely affected by AIDS than any other part of the world. The United Nations reports that 25.3 million adults and children are infected with the HIV virus in the region, which has about 10% of the world's population but more than 70% of the worldwide total of infected people. This report discusses this issue in detail, including the cause of the African AIDS epidemic, the social and economic consequences, response and treatment, and U.S. policy.
Military Pay and Benefits: Key Questions and Answers
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Military Retirement: Major Legislative Issues
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Military Retirement: Major Legislative Issues
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Military Retirement: Major Legislative Issues
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POWs and MIAs: Status and Accounting Issues
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Exempting Food and Agriculture Products from U.S. Economic Sanctions: Status and Implementation
Falling agricultural exports and declining commodity prices led farm groups and agribusiness firms to urge the 106th Congress to pass legislation exempting foods and agricultural commodities from U.S. economic sanctions against certain countries. In completing action on the FY2001 agriculture appropriations bill, Congress codified the lifting of unilateral sanctions on commercial sales of food, agricultural commodities, medicine, and medical products to Iran, Libya, North Korea, and Sudan, and extended this policy to apply to Cuba (Title IX of H.R. 5426, as enacted by P.L. 106-387; Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000). Related provisions place financing and licensing conditions on sales to these countries. Those that apply to Cuba, though, are permanent and more restrictive than for the other countries. Other provisions give Congress the authority in the future to veto a President's proposal to impose a sanction on the sale of agricultural or medical products.
Global Climate Change
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.
Iraq: Compliance, Sanctions, and U.S. Policy
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Iraq: Compliance, Sanctions, and U.S. Policy
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Iraq: Weapons Programs, U.N. Requirements, and U.S. Policy
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Airport Improvement Program
This issue brief discusses the Airport Improvement Program and its complement, the Passenger Facility Charge (PFC). After a brief history of federal support for airport construction and improvement, the report describes AIP funding, its source of revenues, funding distribution, the types of projects the program funds, AIP and PFC policy issues, and the allowable use of AIP funds for airport security purposes.
Pakistan-U.S. Relations
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Pakistan-U.S. Relations
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Energy Tax Policy
Omnibus energy legislation (H.R. 4) that is now in conference would expand energy tax incentives significantly. The House passed the bill on August 2, 2001, and the Senate approved its version April 25, 2002. Several energy tax issues are addressed in these bills: 1) tax incentives to increase the supply of oil and gas, and the demand for coal; 2) energy tax issues relating to energy conservation and energy efficiency; 3) energy tax issues relating to alternative fuels; 4) selected issues relating to electricity restructuring; and 5) expiring energy tax provisions.
Energy Tax Policy
President Bush has issued a comprehensive energy policy initiative, which includes limited energy tax measures; the Administration has criticized such measures as being inconsistent with its free market philosophy. Several of the issues that drove energy policy and energy tax policy during the 106th Congress are extant: 1) tax incentives to increase the supply of oil and gas; 2) energy tax issues relating to energy conservation and energy efficiency; 3) energy tax issues relating to alternative fuels; 4) energy taxes/subsidies and residential energy costs; and 5) issues relating to electricity restructuring. In addition, there are certain energy tax provisions that are either expiring or are time-sensitive that the 107th Congress may choose to take action on.
Afghanistan: Soviet Invasion and U.S. Response
The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan has raised a number of serious issues and choices for the United States. The train of events seem likely to have an important influence on overall American foreign policy in the 1980s. Reassessment of Soviet motives and of U.S. roles in the world are already in progress. Emerging American attitudes, in turn, will shape more specific policy decisions on several issues, which this issue brief discusses.
Egypt-United States Relations
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.
Libya
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Palestinians and Middle East Peace: Issues for the United States
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Item Veto and Expanded Impoundment Proposals
In recent years conflicting budget priorities and divided political control have accentuated the institutional tensions between the executive and legislative branches inherent in the federal budget process. President Clinton, like his two predecessors, called for an item veto, or possibly expanded impoundment authority, to provide him with greater control over federal spending. This report provides a brief history of impoundment and discusses the debate surrounding the line item veto.
Armenia-Azerbaijan Conflict
This report presents an overview of the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict. This is a clash between the principles of territorial integrity and self-determination that is occurring in the Caucasus, creating the longest inter-ethnic dispute in the former Soviet Union. The report includes the background and analysis of history, warfare and peace process in the region. The report discusses the Armenian and Azerbaijani perspective, the role and views of others (Iran, Turkey, Russia), as well as the U.S. policy regarding the conflict.
The Middle East Peace Talks
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China-U.S. Trade Issues
U.S.-China economic ties have expanded substantially over the past several years. China is now the third largest U.S. trading partner, its second largest source of imports, and its fourth largest export market. However, U.S.-China commercial ties have been strained by a number of issues, including a surging U.S. trade deficit with China, China's refusal to float its currency, and failure to fully comply with its World Trade Organization (WTO) commitments, especially its failure to provide protection for U.S. intellectual property rights (IPR). This report explores these issues in detail, especially concerning the lack of protection for U.S. IPR.
China-U.S. Trade Issues
U.S.-China economic ties have expanded substantially over the past several years. China is now the third largest U.S. trading partner, its second largest source of imports, and its fourth largest export market. However, U.S.-China commercial ties have been strained by a number of issues, including a surging U.S. trade deficit with China, China's refusal to float its currency, and failure to fully comply with its World Trade Organization (WTO) commitments, especially its failure to provide protection for U.S. intellectual property rights (IPR). This report explores these issues in detail, especially concerning the lack of protection for U.S. IPR.
Drug Control: International Policy and Approaches
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.
Drug Control: International Policy and Options
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.
Terrorism and National Security: Issues and Trends
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Terrorism and National Security: Issues and Trends
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Jordan: U.S. Relations and Bilateral Issues
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Cooperative R&D: Federal Efforts to Promote Industrial Competitiveness
In response to the foreign challenge in the global marketplace, the United States Congress has explored ways to stimulate technological advancement in the private sector. The government has supported various efforts to promote cooperative research and development activities among industry, universities, and the federal R&D establishment designed to increase the competitiveness of American industry and to encourage the generation of new products, processes, and services. Among the issues before Congress are whether joint ventures contribute to industrial competitiveness and what role, if any, the government has in facilitating such arrangements.
Industrial Competitiveness and Technological Advancement: Debate Over Government Policy
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The Hatch-Waxman Act: Proposed Legislative Changes Affecting Pharmaceutical Patents
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The Role of Risk Analysis and Risk Management in Environmental Protection
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Chinese Missile and Nuclear Proliferation: Issues for Congress
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Space Launch Vehicles: Government Activities, Commercial Competition, and Satellite Exports
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Space Stations
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