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A New Farm Program Option: Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE)

Description: Farm commodity programs over the decades have focused on protecting farmers against declines in farm prices and not declines in revenue (price times production). Traditional programs for field crops provide benefits to producers when farm prices drop below specified levels. This report discusses the Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) program which Congress included in the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-246) as a revenue based program option for farmers who enroll in traditional farm commodity programs. Unlike revenue protection provided by some crop insurance products, ACRE is designed to protect against losses from multi-year price declines.
Date: December 10, 2010
Creator: Shields, Dennis A.

Nuclear Energy Policy

Description: This report discusses the nuclear energy policy issues facing Congress, which include the implementation of federal incentives for new commercial reactors, radioactive waste management policy, research and development priorities, power plant safety and regulation, and security against terrorist attacks.
Date: July 20, 2006
Creator: Holt, Mark

Developing Countries: Definitions, Concepts and Comparisons

Description: This report examines four criteria which are often used today to rank and assess countries’ levels of development. They are: (1) per capita income; (2) economic and social structure; (3) social conditions; and (4) the prevailing level of economic and political freedom. Specific indices or quantitative studies are explained and applied to each criteria and the differences among the various measures are explained.
Date: December 6, 2002
Creator: Sanford, Jonathan E. & Sandhu, Anjula

Estate and Gift Taxes: Economic Issues

Description: The unified estate and gift tax is levied on the transfer of assets that occurs when someone dies or gives a gift. Filing an estate tax return can be difficult depending on the value and complexity of the estate. The purpose here is to outline the mechanics of the estate and gift tax. The first section begins with a brief review of the general rules accompanied with a numerical example. There are some minor provisions of the law that are not discussed here, however, such as the phase out of the graduated rates and the credit for taxes on property recently transferred. The second section summarizes the special rules for farms and small businesses. And, the final section briefly describes the generation skipping transfer tax. The appendix of this report provides detailed data from returns filed in 2005, the latest year for which data are available.
Date: March 19, 2008
Creator: Marples, Donald J. & Gravelle, Jane G.

Energy Policy: Setting the Stage for the Current Debate

Description: This report discusses the energy policy. Comprehensive energy legislation was introduced in the Senate by both parties by late March (S. 388, S. 389, S. 596, S. 597).
Date: January 14, 2003
Creator: Bamberger, Robert L.

China Naval Modernization: Implications for U.S. Navy Capabilities—Background and Issues for Congress

Description: This report focuses on the potential implications of China's naval modernization for future required U.S. Navy capabilities. The report particularly discusses how potential United States responses to China's military modernization effort -- including its naval modernization effort -- have emerged as a key issue in U.S. defense planning.
Date: October 17, 2012
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald

H.R. 4: The Pension Protection Act

Description: This report discusses the Pension Protection Act (PPA) reforms and the funding rules for defined benefit pensions; requires employers to disclose more information about pension funding; restricts benefit payments and accruals in underfunded plans; and clarifies, prospectively, that cash balance pension plans do not violate legal prohibitions on age discrimination in employee benefits.
Date: September 27, 2006
Creator: Purcell, Patrick

Unauthorized Aliens’ Access to Federal Benefits: Policy and Issues

Description: The degree to which unauthorized resident aliens should be accorded certain rights and privileges as a result of their residence in the United States, along with the duties owed by such aliens given their presence, remains the subject of debate in Congress. Included among the specific policy areas that spark controversy are due process rights, tax liabilities, military service, eligibility for federal assistance, educational opportunities, and pathways to citizenship. This report focuses on the policy and legislative debate surrounding unauthorized aliens’ access to federal benefits.
Date: September 16, 2011
Creator: Wasem, Ruth Ellen

Cybersecurity: Authoritative Reports and Resources, by Topic

Description: Cybersecurity vulnerabilities challenge governments, businesses, and individuals worldwide. Attacks have been initiated by individuals, as well as countries. Targets have included government networks, military defenses, companies, or political organizations, depending upon whether the attacker was seeking military intelligence, conducting diplomatic or industrial espionage, or intimidating political activists. This report provides links to selected authoritative resources related to cybersecurity issues.
Date: December 4, 2013
Creator: Tehan, Rita

Small Business Administration Microloan Program

Description: The Small Business Administration’s (SBA’s) Microloan program provides direct loans to qualified nonprofit intermediary lenders who, in turn, provide “microloans” of up to $50,000 to small businesses and nonprofit child care centers. It also provides marketing, management, and technical assistance to microloan borrowers and potential borrowers. This report opens with a discussion of the rationale provided for having a Microloan program, describes the program’s eligibility standards and operating requirements for lenders and borrowers, and examines the arguments presented by the program’s critics and advocates. It then discusses P.L. 111-240, the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, which increased the Microloan program’s loan limit for borrowers from $35,000 to $50,000, and the aggregate loan limit for intermediaries after their first year of participation in the program from $3.5 million to $5 million.
Date: May 28, 2015
Creator: Dilger, Robert Jay

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services: President’s FY2013 Budget

Description: This report summarizes the President's budget estimates for each section of the CMS budget. Then, for each legislative proposal included in the President's budget, this report provides a description of current law and the President's proposal. The explanations of the President's legislative proposals are grouped by the following program areas: Medicare, Medicaid, program integrity, and health insurance programs.
Date: April 9, 2012
Creator: Mitchell, Alison & Paulette, Morgan C.

Reform of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Courts: Procedural and Operational Changes

Description: This report begins with an overview of both the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Court of Review, including the jurisdiction of these courts, how the judges are appointed, and the FISC’s practices and procedures for reviewing and issuing surveillance orders. The report then discusses the scope and underlying legal principles behind congressional regulation of the procedures of the federal courts, and applies those principles with respect to the various proposals to reform the FISA judicial review process.
Date: January 16, 2014
Creator: Nolan, Andrew & Thompson, Richard M., II

International Drug Control Policy

Description: This report provides an overview of U.S. international drug control policy. It describes major international counternarcotics initiatives and evaluates the broad array of U.S. drug control policy tools currently in use. The report also considers alternative counterdrug policy approaches to current initiatives and raises several counterdrug policy issues and considerations for policy makers.
Date: August 24, 2009
Creator: Wyler, Liana Sun

Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Order: Answers to Questions

Description: This report discusses Executive Order 13673, Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces, which has the stated intent of increasing “efficiency and cost savings” by ensuring that executive branch procurement contractors understand and comply with labor laws.
Date: July 15, 2015
Creator: Perry, Rodney M. & Manuel, Kate M.

Unrest in Syria and U.S. Sanctions Against the Asad Regime

Description: This report analyzes the current unrest in Syria and the U.S. response to the Syrian government’s crackdown against demonstrators. It also provides background information on U.S. sanctions against the Asad regime and its supporters.
Date: November 9, 2011
Creator: Sharp, Jeremy M. & Blanchard, Christopher M.