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Agricultural Trade Issues in the 106th Congress

Description: Agricultural interests have been following trade policy developments against a backdrop of weak foreign demand and large world supplies of agricultural products. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that the value of U.S. agricultural exports fell between FY1996 (a record year) and FY1999 by almost $11 billion. USDA forecasts agricultural exports at $50.5 billion in FY2000 and $51.5 billion in FY2001. However, the projected agricultural trade surpluses for those years, of $11.5 billion and $12 billion, would be less than half the FY1996 surplus of $27.2 billion. Many agricultural groups and their supporters in Congress believe that the sector's future prosperity depends upon such U.S. trade policies as: 1) encouraging China's entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO), with its binding rules and responsibilities; 2) exempting agriculture from U.S. unilateral economic sanctions; 3) fully using export and food aid programs; and 4) aggressively battling foreign-imposed barriers to the movement of U.S. farm products. A few U.S. farm groups are wary of such approaches.
Date: November 27, 2000
Creator: Becker, Geoffrey S.; Hanrahan, Charles E. & Jurenas, Remy

Agricultural Trade in the 106th Congress: A Review of Issues

Description: The 106th Congress considered a number of trade policy developments against a backdrop of weak foreign demand and large world supplies of agricultural commodities. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that the value of U.S. agricultural exports fell between FY1996 (a record year) and FY1999 by almost $11 billion, to $49.2 billion. Agricultural exports did climb back to $50.9 billion in FY2000, and are now projected at $53 billion in FY2001. However, the pace of recovery concerned many agricultural groups and their supporters in Congress. Although they recognize that many world economic, farm production, political, and weather factors influence exports, many of these groups believe that the agricultural sector's future prosperity also depends upon such U.S. trade policies as: 1) encouraging China's entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO), with its binding rules and responsibilities; 2) exempting agricultural exports from U.S. unilateral economic sanctions; 3) fully using export and food aid programs; and 4) aggressively battling foreign-imposed barriers to the movement of U.S. farm products. A few U.S. farm groups are wary of such approaches.
Date: December 29, 2000
Creator: Becker, Geoffrey S.; Hanrahan, Charles E. & Jurenas, Remy

Agriculture and the 106th Congress: A Summary of Major Issues

Description: Most congressional interest in agriculture in the 106th Congress was focused on persistent low prices for major commodities and proposals to redress declining farm income. Six emergency farm aid bills were approved, increasing agricultural spending by nearly $27 billion for fiscal years 1999-2001. These bills provided disaster relief along with short term “market loss payments”to farmers to shore up farm income. Some longer term changes also were enacted as part of emergency farm legislation, which this report discusses in brief.
Date: December 15, 2000
Creator: Jones, Jean Yavis

Airport Improvement Program Reauthorization Legislation in the 106th Congress

Description: This report discusses the Airport Improvement Program (AIP), which provides federal grants to airports for capital development. This report also discusses the Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century, also referred to as AIR21, which includes provisions for increases in AIP spending, among other things. Primarily, this report discusses the legislative processes surrounding the enaction of these laws and the various appropriations the laws authorize.
Date: April 17, 2000
Creator: Kirk, Robert S.

Biennial Budgeting: Background and Legislative History in the 106th Congress

Description: Proposals for a two-year budget cycle have previously been reported in the Senate in 1988, 1990, 1994, and 1997. Another such proposal, S. 92, was reported by the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee on March 10, 1999 (S.Rept. 106-12). S. 92 calls for the House and Senate to use the first year of each Congress to consider a two-year budget resolution and two-year appropriation bills, and the second year to consider multiyear authorizations and conduct oversight. More recently, biennial budgeting has also been a topic of interest in the House where the Rules Committee conducted a series of hearings on February 16, March 10, and March 16, 2000.
Date: May 4, 2000
Creator: Saturno, James V.

Campaign Finance Debate in the 106th Congress: Comparison of Measures Under House Consideration

Description: On September 14, the House passed H.R. 417 on a vote of 252-177, as amended by three perfecting amendments: Bereuter/Wicker #6; Faleomavaega #1; and Sweeney #21. This report features two tables. Table 1 summarizes and compares the ten perfecting amendments, current law, and the Shays-Meehan proposal. Table 2 summarizes and compares current law, the Shays-Meehan bill, and the three substitute amendments.
Date: January 12, 2000
Creator: Cantor, Joseph E.

Campaign Finance Bills in the 106th Congress: Comparison of Shays-Meehan, as passed, with McCain-Feingold, as considered

Description: On September 14, 1999, the House passed the Shays-Meehan bill--H.R. 417, the Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act of 1999, as amended, by a vote of 252-177. Senate sponsors of the companion measure, S. 26 (McCain-Feingold), revised their proposal and, on September 16, introduced S. 1593, containing just four sections of H.R. 417 and S. 26. The Senate debated S. 1593 from October 13-20, culminating in unsuccessful cloture votes October 19 on two amendments: Daschle amendment 2298, substituting text nearly identical to the House-passed H.R. 417; and Reid amendment 2229 (a perfecting amendment to no. 2298), substituting text of S. 1593 as offered, plus McCain amendment 2294 (adopted October 14), which added certain disclosure requirements. This report compares provisions of the House-passed bill with the one considered by the Senate in October 1999. No further updates are planned.
Date: January 12, 2000
Creator: Cantor, Joseph E.

Elementary and Secondary School Teachers: Action by the 106th Congress

Description: The quality and quantity of public elementary and secondary school teachers are of increasing concern to the 106th Congress. Although states and localities are responsible for most aspects of teacher preparation, recruitment, and employment, the federal government supports a wide array of programs for teachers. Several of these programs are being considered for amendment and extension by the 106th Congress including the Eisenhower Professional Development program and the Class Size Reduction program. The 106th Congress has before it a wide array of legislative proposals to address teacher issues. Action has occurred on several proposals. This report tracks such action and will be updated as it occurs.
Date: August 22, 2000
Creator: Stedman, James B.

Disaster Mitigation Assistance Bills in the 106th Congress: Comparison of Provisions

Description: The Administration initiative to shift federal emergency management policy away from a "response and recovery" emphasis has generated little congressional controversy, although some have raised concerns about the cost effectiveness of implementing a mitigation strategy. Greater attention, it is generally argued, should be given to mitigation (loss reduction) efforts before disasters occur in order to reduce future losses. Legislation (H.R. 707, S. 1691) pending before the 106th Congress would amend the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (the Stafford Act) which authorizes federal assistance when the President declares that a catastrophe has overwhelmed state and local resources.
Date: May 5, 2000
Creator: Bea, Keith

Clean Water Act Issues in the 106th Congress

Description: In the 106th Congress, no comprehensive activity on reauthorizing the Clean Water Act occurred, although a number of individual clean water bills were enacted. Other issues have been debated recently, such as reforming the law to provide regulatory relief for industry, states and cities, and individual landowners. The debate over many of these issues highlights differing views of the Act and its implementation by some who seek to strengthen existing requirements and others who believe that costs and benefits should be more carefully weighed before additional control programs are mandated.
Date: February 23, 2001
Creator: Copeland, Claudia

Environmental Protection Issues in the 106th Congress

Description: This report discuses issues such as Reforming Superfund, defense cleanup compliance, funding measures, beach assessment, air-related risk management plans, and research received congressional attention in the 106th Congress, first session. In the remaining days, there may be action related on water quality programs involving specific water bodies, and funding of environmental programs.
Date: September 11, 2000
Creator: Lee, Martin R.

Clean Air Act Issues in the 106th Congress

Description: The Clean Air Act and its 1990 amendments appear to have contributed to a marked improvement in air quality nationwide. Of nearly 100 metropolitan areas not meeting air quality standards for ozone in 1990, more than two-thirds now do so. Even greater progress has been achieved with carbon monoxide: 36 of 42 areas not in attainment in 1990 now meet the standard. Nevertheless, EPA remains concerned about air pollution. In 1997, the Agency promulgated major revisions to its air quality standards for ozone and particulates, an action that would require most states and urban areas to establish additional controls on a wide range of pollution sources. The revised standards were challenged by numerous parties and the courts have remanded the standards to EPA. Implementation is currently in limbo, pending resolution of appeals by the Supreme Court.
Date: November 14, 2000
Creator: McCarthy, James E.

Conservation and Reinvestment Act (CARA) (H.R. 701) and a Related Initiative in the 106th Congress

Description: This report compares existing law with H.R. 701, as passed by the House(HP) and H.R. 701, as reported by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee (SCR). Both versions, also known as the Conservation and Reinvestment Act (CARA), would have created a new fund, the CARA Fund. Both bills would have created and funded a new coastal energy impact assistance program, amended and funded the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), funded the Urban Park and Recreation Recovery Program and the Historic Preservation Fund, increased funding for wildlife conservation, funded land restoration and easement programs, and funded the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) Program.1 The SCR version would also have funded additional programs to protect natural and cultural resources.
Date: January 17, 2001
Creator: Zinn, Jeffrey A. & Corn, M. Lynne