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527 Political Organizations: Legislation in the 109th Congress

Description: The 109th Congress is examining the role of groups organized under section 527 of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) that are involved in federal elections but are not operating under the requirements and restrictions of federal election law. Although such groups only recently emerged into public awareness, in 2004, they were widely seen as major players in the presidential election, with more than $400 million spent seeking to influence the outcome. Strictly speaking, the term “527” refers to a section of the Internal Revenue Code, which was added in 1975 to provide tax-exempt status to federal, state, and local political organizations, as defined in that statute. The controversy over these 527 groups arises from two factors: the different definitions used in federal election law and tax law as to what constitutes election-related activity and, further, the lack of certainty as to what election law itself regulates or may permissibly regulate. This report discusses these groups in detail, as well as related legislation.
Date: March 31, 2006
Creator: Cantor, Joseph E. & Lunder, Erika

Bringing Peace to Chechnya?: Assessments and Implications

Description: A consistent theme of U.S. and other international criticism of Russia is that Russian troops use excessive and indiscriminate force to quell separatism in Chechnya and commit serious human rights abuses. There appeared to be fewer Administration suggestions to Russia that it should open peace talks with “moderate” separatists, more tolerance for Russia’s argument that it primarily was battling terrorism in Chechnya, and some hope that elections and rebuilding in Chechnya could contribute to a “political settlement.” But some in the Administration also argue that Russia is showing declining interest in the adoption of Western democratic and human rights “values,” and that such slippage could ultimately harm bilateral relations.
Date: March 31, 2006
Creator: Nichol, Jim

Federally Supported Water Supply and Wastewater Treatment Programs

Description: This report provides background information on the types of water supply and wastewater treatment projects traditionally funded by the federal government and the several existing programs to assist communities with water supply and wastewater recycling and treatment.
Date: March 31, 2006
Creator: Library of Congress. Congressional Research Service. Resources, Science, and Industry Division.

Japan-U.S. Relations: Issues for Congress

Description: This report discusses the Japan - U.S. relations. The alliance, with its access to bases in Japan, where about 53,000 U.S. troops are stationed, facilitates the forward deployment of U.S. military forces in the Asia-Pacific, thereby undergirding U.S. national security strategy.
Date: March 31, 2006
Creator: Chanlett-Avery, Emma; Manyin, Mark E. & Cooper, William H.

Medicare: FY2007 Budget Issues

Description: This report discusses President's budget request to Congress for Medicare, for the following federal fiscal year, along with projections for the five-year budget window. The President’s 2007 budget includes Medicare legislative proposals for Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Part B (Supplementary Medical Insurance) spending with estimated savings of $2.5 billion in 2007 and $35.9 billion over the five-year budget window.
Date: March 31, 2006
Creator: Chaikind, Hinda; Morgan, Paulette C.; O’Shaughnessy, Carol; O’Sullivan, Jennifer; Stone, Julie & Tilson, Sibyl

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: April 3, 2006
Creator: Sharp, Jeremy M.

Emergency Funding for Agriculture: A Brief History of Supplemental Appropriations, FY1989-FY2006

Description: From FY1989 through FY2006, 33 appropriations, authorization, or farm disaster acts added approximately $55.4 billion in supplemental funding for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs. The two most recent supplemental appropriations were provided in response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in the Gulf of Mexico and in preparation for a possible U.S. outbreak of avian influenza. Some FY1989, the vast majority of the total supplemental funding has been paid directly to farmers, primarily through two mechanisms: "market loss payments" and crop disaster payments. This report includes the total annual funding additions in the 33 acts providing economic and farm disaster assistance through USDA programs since FY1989.
Date: April 3, 2006
Creator: Chite, Ralph M.

The Exon-Florio National Security Test for Foreign Investment

Description: The proposed acquisition of major operations in six major U.S. ports by Dubai Ports World and of Unocal by the China National Offshore Oil Corporation sparked intense concerns among some Members of Congress and the public and has reignited the debate over what role foreign acquisitions play in U.S. national security. The United States actively promotes internationally the national treatment of foreign firms. Several Members of Congress have introduced various measures during the 2nd Session of the 109th Congress that can be grouped into four major areas: those that deal specifically with the proposed Dubai Ports World acquisition; those that focus more generally on foreign ownership of U.S. ports; those that would amend the CFIUS process; and those that would amend the Exon-Florio process.
Date: April 3, 2006
Creator: Jackson, James K.