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Food Labeling: Allergy Information

Description: Media attention to food allergies is the result of the recent tracking of food allergy sufferers and a clear rise in the number of affected individuals. Several efforts are underway to improve the ability of individuals who have a food allergy to avoid products that cause symptoms that can range from mild to serious. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Food Allergy Issues Alliance each have released guidelines to address the issues of labeling and cross-contamination. Nine state attorneys general have petitioned FDA for stricter rules, which are also supported by some consumer groups. The FY2002 agriculture appropriations bill directed FDA to address and report on cross-contamination; however, this report had not yet been submitted. Most recently, the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004 (P.L. 108-282) was enacted on August 2, 2004. This report will provide background on food allergies and review efforts to provide improved labeling information for food allergy sufferers; it will be updated to reflect legislative or other activity.
Date: September 19, 2005
Creator: Porter, Donna V.

Campaign Finance Reform: Regulating Political Communications on the Internet

Description: In October 2002, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) promulgated regulations exempting from the definition of “public communication” those communications that are made over the Internet. In response to the FEC’s final rules, the two primary House sponsors of BCRA filed suit in U.S. district court against the FEC seeking to invalidate the regulations as opening a new avenue for circumvention of federal campaign finance law. In September 2004, in Shays v. FEC, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia overturned some of the FEC’s new regulations. In response to the district court’s decision, in April 2005, the FEC published proposed new rules in order to conform to the Shays ruling. The proposed regulations reflect an attempt by the FEC to leave web logs, or “blogs,” created and wholly maintained by individuals, free of regulations under FECA, while extending limited regulation only to uses of the Internet involving substantial monetary transactions.
Date: September 20, 2005
Creator: Whitaker, L. Paige & Cantor, Joseph E.

Congress and the Courts: Current Policy Issues

Description: The purposes of this report are to examine the Congress-court connection along several discrete, but overlapping, dimensions. First, the constitutional authority of Congress and the judiciary is summarized briefly. Second, the report highlights the court’s role as legislative-executive “umpire” and federal-state “referee” in our constitutional system. Third, the report discusses the court’s part in statutory interpretation as well as the diverse ways Congress may “check and balance” the judiciary. Fourth, the paper reviews several current controversies associated with the judicial nominations process. Fifth, the state of play with respect to the so-called “nuclear” or “constitutional” option for ending judicial filibusters is discussed along with the compromise that so far has averted use of this procedural maneuver in the Senate. Finally, the report closes with several observations about the judicial nominations process.
Date: September 20, 2005
Creator: Oleszek, Walter J.

Emergency Contracting Authorities

Description: Hurricane Katrina has given rise to many emergency contracting situations. This report will attempt to identify and summarize the primary emergency contracting authorities which might be available to facilitate response to these situations. Generally, these authorities may be divided into two categories, general emergency authority, and emergency (or national interest) exceptions to general procurement statutes or regulations.
Date: September 20, 2005
Creator: Luckey, John R.

Egypt: Background and U.S. Relations

Description: This report provides an overview of Egyptian politics and current issues in U.S.-Egyptian relations. It briefly provides a political history of modern Egypt, an overview of its political institutions, and a discussion of the prospects for democratization in Egypt, U.S.-Egyptian relations are complex and multi-faceted, and this report addresses the following current topics: the Arab-Israeli peace process, Iraq, terrorism, democratization and reform, human rights, trade, and military cooperation.
Date: September 21, 2005
Creator: Sharp, Jeremy M.