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Access to Paper Currency by Visually Impaired Individuals: The American Council of the Blind v. Paulson

Description: In May 2008, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia issued a decision in The American Council of the Blind v. Paulson. The court held that under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Treasury Department of the U.S. government discriminates against blind and visually impaired individuals through the issuance of currency in denominations which are not readily distinguishable by touch. The Treasury Department did not file an appeal of the decision, and the case was remanded to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia to address the American Council of the Blind’s request for injunctive relief. The House Subcommittee on Domestic and International Monetary Policy, Trade, and Technology held a hearing on this issue on July 30, 2008. This report discusses the court of appeals’ decision and factors and viewpoints by affected parties that may have implications for a proposed remedy.
Date: October 15, 2008
Creator: Toland, Carol

U.S. Intelligence and Policymaking: The Iraq Experience

Description: This report explores in broad terms the relationship between the production of intelligence and the making of policy as reflected in the period prior to the war against Iraq in March 2003 and the implications for Congress.
Date: January 16, 2004
Creator: Best, Richard A., Jr.

Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Infrastructure Security: Issues for Congress

Description: This report provides an overview of industry and federal activities related to LNG security. The report describes U.S. LNG infrastructure, the industry's safety record and security risks, and the industry's security initiatives since September 11, 2001. It summarizes recent changes in federal LNG and maritime security law and related changes in the security roles of federal agencies. The report discusses several policy concerns related to federal LNG security efforts: 1) public costs of marine security, 2) uncertainty regarding LNG terrorism risks, and 3) security implications of promoting U.S.-flagged LNG tankers and U.S. crews.
Date: March 25, 2008
Creator: Parfomak, Paul W.

Hurricane Katrina: Medicaid Issues

Description: This report discusses the following: Medicaid’s rules on eligibility, benefits, and financing in the context of current questions and issues raised by Hurricane Katrina. Recent state actions in response to Medicaid issues raised by the hurricane. Federal Medicaid waiver authority, including information on current activity in this area and the New York Disaster Relief Medicaid waiver granted in response to the September 11 terrorist attacks. Current federal legislation related to Medicaid and Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.
Date: November 18, 2005
Creator: Baumrucker, Evelyne P.; Grady, April; Hearne, Jean P. & Herz, Elicia J.

Medicaid and SCHIP: The President’s FY2006 Budget Proposals

Description: This report describes the proposal and provides an estimate of the cost or savings based on publicly available information. The report provides a brief background for the proposal and provides a listing of current Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports related to the proposal.
Date: February 15, 2005
Creator: Grady, April; Hearne, Jean P.; Herz, Elicia J.; Scott, Christine; Stone-Axelrad, Julie & Tritz, Karen

The U.S. Trade Situation for Fruit and Vegetable Products

Description: This report presents recent trends in U.S. fruit and vegetable trade, and highlights some of the factors contributing to these trends. This summary excludes trade data for tree nuts and processed tree nut products. Although not presented here, U.S. exports and imports of tree nuts and processed tree nut products (excluding peanuts) have shown continued increases, with a growing trade surplus of $1.8 billion in 2006.
Date: April 30, 2008
Creator: Johnson, Renée

Conservation and the 2007 Farm Bill

Description: This report introduces some of the issues that are influencing the development of a conservation title. It then reviews the contents of the House-passed bill, H.R. 2419. Some alternative proposals that the House considered are summarized in an appendix. The House-passed bill includes some elements of the alternative proposals (usually in modified form). This report is limited to the conservation title. However, conservation topics in recent farm bills have been increasingly addressed in other titles, and that trend continues with the House-passed version, which contains conservation provisions in the energy, forestry, and research titles, and others as well.
Date: August 27, 2007
Creator: Zinn, Jeffrey A.

Selected Small Business Statistics

Description: This report gathers selected statistics on the role of small businesses in the national economy that Congress has frequently asked the Congressional Research Service (CRS) to provide. Most of the statistics are calculated by CRS from Census data. The report uses the widely accepted research definition that a small business has fewer than 500 employees.
Date: July 3, 2007
Creator: Weiss, N. E.

The American Steel Industry: A Changing Profile

Description: The U.S. steel industry has faced increasing difficulties since the late 1990s. More than 30 U.S. steel producers have gone into bankruptcy. While different companies and parts of the industry have been affected to different degrees, the two types of domestic producers of raw steel, integrated mills and minimills, have both supported restrictions on imports, which they say have undermined the ability of the U.S. industry to produce steel economically. This report reviews industry developments and the economic situation of the steel industry, including legacy cost aspects of its problems.
Date: February 14, 2003
Creator: Cooney, Stephen

Republic of the Marshall Islands Changed Circumstances Petition to Congress

Description: This report summarizes U.S. nuclear testing on the Marshall Islands, U.S. compensation efforts to date, relevant provisions in the Compact of Free Association, and the Changed Circumstances Petition. It analyzes several issues related to the personal injury, health care, and property damages claims in the Petition.
Date: March 14, 2005
Creator: Lum, Thomas; Thomas, Kenneth R.; Redhead, C. Stephen; Bearden, David M.; Holt, Mark & Lazzari, Salvatore

Ocean Dumping Act: A Summary of the Law

Description: The Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act has two basic aims: to regulate intentional ocean disposal of materials, and to authorize related research. Permit and enforcement provisions of the law are often referred to as the Ocean Dumping Act. The basic provisions of the act have remained virtually unchanged since 1972, when it was enacted to establish a comprehensive waste management system to regulate disposal or dumping of all materials into marine waters that are within U.S. jurisdiction, although a number of new authorities have been added. This report presents a summary of the law, describing the essence of the statute.
Date: August 25, 2008
Creator: Copeland, Claudia

Ocean Dumping Act: A Summary of the Law

Description: The Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act of 1972 (MPRSA, P.L. 92-532) has two basic aims: to regulate intentional ocean disposal of materials, and to authorize related research. This report presents a summary of the law, describing the essence of the statute.
Date: November 17, 2008
Creator: Copeland, Claudia

Oil Industry Profits: Analysis of Recent Performance

Description: This report analyzes the profit performance of firms in the oil industry, evaluates factors that might have affected profitability in the oil industry, and examines the use of profits by the industry and the implications for the development of the oil market.
Date: August 4, 2005
Creator: Pirog, Robert

Open Access Publishing and Citation Archives: Background and Controversy

Description: This report begins with an inventory of basic information: definitions and guides to histories of the growth of open access publishing and citation archives and descriptions of selected major open access activities. It moves on to summarize major points of difference between proponents and opponents of nongovernmental open access publishing and databases, and then highlights federal, including National Institutes of Health (NIH), open access activities and contentious issues surrounding these developments. The report also briefly describes open access developments in the United Kingdom (where a number of governmental and nongovernmental initiatives have occurred) and in the international arena. Finally, controversial issues which could receive attention in the 109th Congress are summarized.
Date: July 26, 2005
Creator: Knezo, Genevieve J.

Open Access Publishing and Citation Archives: Background and Controversy

Description: This report begins with an inventory of basic information: definitions and guides to histories of the growth of open access publishing and citation archives and descriptions of selected major open access activities. It moves on to summarize major points of difference between proponents and opponents of nongovernmental open access publishing and databases, and then highlights federal, including National Institutes of Health (NIH), open access activities and contentious issues surrounding these developments. The report also briefly describes open access developments in the United Kingdom (where a number of governmental and nongovernmental initiatives have occurred) and in the international arena. Finally, controversial issues which could receive attention the 110th Congress are summarized.
Date: December 12, 2006
Creator: Knezo, Genevieve J.

Environmental Protection Agency: FY2006 Appropriations Highlights

Description: This report discusses issues regarding the funding of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). As enacted in August 2005, Title II of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for FY2006 (P.L. 109-54, H.R. 2361) provided $7.73 billion for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), subject to an across-the-board rescission of 0.476%.
Date: January 20, 2006
Creator: Bearden, David & Esworthy, Robert

Access to Government Information In the United States

Description: The Constitution of the United States makes no specific allowance for any one of the co-equal branches to have access to information held by the others and contains no provision expressly establishing a procedure for, or a right of, public access to government information. Nonetheless, Congress has legislated various public access laws. These include two records access statutes — the Freedom of Information Act and the Privacy Act — and two meetings access statutes — the Federal Advisory Committee Act and the Government in the Sunshine Act. This report provides background on the issue of government transparency.
Date: January 7, 2005
Creator: Relyea, Harold C.

Introduction to the Federal Budget Process

Description: Budgeting for the federal government is an enormously complex process. It entails dozens of subprocesses, countless rules and procedures, the efforts of tens of thousands of staff persons in the executive and legislative branches, millions of work hours each year, and the active participation of the President and congressional leaders, as well as other Members of Congress and executive officials.
Date: March 7, 2008
Creator: Keith, Robert

Copyright Term Extension: Estimating the Economic Values

Description: This report considers proposals to extend the duration of copyrights by 20 years (as in H.R. 2589 and other bills) and related proposals to charge a fee to the owners in order to receive the extension. The method of analysis is economic rather than legal. The report reviews the basic economic principals involved in copyright law and gives rough estimates of the value of copyrights on books, music, and movies produced in the 1920s and 1930s — those that would be most immediately affected by an extension of copyright terms.
Date: May 11, 1998
Creator: Rappaport, Edward

Federal Regulation of Working Hours: The Ballenger and Ashcroft Proposals (H.R. 1 and S. 4)

Description: During the 104 Congress, legislation was considered that would have altered the 40-hour workweek and overtime pay requirements for private sector workers. In somewhat altered form, such legislation [H.R. 1 (Ballenger) and S. 4 (Ashcroft)] has been reintroduced in the 105 Congress. This report, very briefly, summarizes the issues presented by H.R. 1 and S. 4.
Date: April 16, 1998
Creator: Whittaker, William G.

Access to Government Information In the United States

Description: The Constitution of the United States makes no specific allowance for any one of the co-equal branches to have access to information held by the others and contains no provision expressly establishing a procedure for, or a right of, public access to government information. Nonetheless, Congress has legislated various public access laws. These include two records access statutes — the Freedom of Information Act and the Privacy Act — and two meetings access statutes — the Federal Advisory Committee Act and the Government in the Sunshine Act. This report provides background on the issue of government transparency and examines relevant litigation.
Date: January 23, 2003
Creator: Relyea, Harold C.