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Disconnected Youth: A Look at 16- to 24-Year Olds Who Are Not Working or In School

Description: A young person's detachment from both the labor market and school is an indicator that he or she may not be adequately making the transition to adulthood. Referred to as "disconnected" in the social science literature, youth who are not working or in school may have difficulty gaining the skills and knowledge needed to attain self-sufficiency. The purpose of the report is to provide context for Congress about the characteristics of youth who are not working or in school, and the circumstances in which they live.
Date: April 22, 2009
Creator: Fernandes, Adrienne L. & Gabe, Thomas
Item Type: Report

Iraq: Politics, Elections, and Benchmarks

Description: This report discusses Iraq's political system, which has been restructured through a U.S.-supported election process. The Iraqi government is increasingly characterized by peaceful competition rather than violence, but sectarianism and ethnic and factional infighting still remain. This report discusses issues relating to opponents of the Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and also discusses the atmosphere of nationwide provincial elections.
Date: April 22, 2009
Creator: Katzman, Kenneth
Item Type: Report

The Year 2000 Computer Problem: Congressional Issues

Description: Many computers were designed to store a two-digit number for the year, which makes the year 2000 indistinguishable from 1900. Unless they are corrected, many computers will not be able to process dates beyond the year 2000, and may cause many costly problems in commerce and government. In the 106th Congress, hearings are being held and will continue to provide the public with the most accurate information available on the status of Y2K remediations at federal agencies, state and local agencies, private sector entities, and international organizations. Congress may also consider additional legislation to ensure that private sector systems are compliant, to establish emergency preparedness measures to address problems that might occur, and to limit liability associated with Y2K failures for manufacturers and industry groups.
Date: April 22, 2009
Creator: Nunno, Richard M
Item Type: Report

Afghanistan: Government Formation and Performance

Description: This report discusses the current political state of Afghanistan, as well as the Afghan government. This report also discusses Afghanistan's relationship with the United States, particularly U.S. efforts to urge President Hamid Karzai to address corruption within the Afghan government.
Date: April 21, 2009
Creator: Katzman, Kenneth
Item Type: Report

Afghanistan: Government Formation and Performance

Description: The Afghan central government's limited writ and widespread official corruption are helping sustain a Taliban insurgency, and have fed pessimism about the Afghanistan stabilization effort. President Hamid Karzai is working with U.S. and international donors on how to improve governance and delivery of public services, and on winning re-election in presidential elections slated for August 20, 2009. Many agree that the country has made substantial progress on personal and political freedoms since the fall of the Taliban regime. Over the past year U.S. officials have been shifting away from reliance on building the central government and toward promoting local governing bodies and security initiatives as a complement to efforts to build central government capabilities. The United States will increase economic development efforts, and develop benchmarks with which to judge the performance and legitimacy of the Afghan government, including its efforts to curb official corruption.
Date: April 21, 2009
Creator: Katzman, Kenneth
Item Type: Report

Afghanistan: Narcotics and U.S. Policy

Description: This report provides current statistical information, profiles the Afghanistan narcotics trade's participants, explores linkages between narcotics, insecurity, and corruption, and reviews U.S. and international policy responses since late 2001. The report also considers ongoing policy debates regarding the counternarcotics role of coalition military forces, poppy eradication, alternative livelihoods, and funding issues for Congress.
Date: April 21, 2009
Creator: Blanchard, Christopher M.
Item Type: Report

Department of Homeland Security Assistance to States and Localities: A Summary and Issues for the 111th Congress

Description: This report summarizes several emergency management and homeland security programs, and identifies and analyzes potential issues for the 111th Congress. These issues include the purpose and number of assistance programs; the evaluation of the use of grant funding; the determination of eligible grant recipients; the programs' funding amounts; and the programs; funding distribution methodologies.
Date: April 21, 2009
Creator: Reese, Shawn
Item Type: Report

Piracy off the Horn of Africa

Description: This report discusses recent attacks -- including those on U.S.-flagged vessels -- in the waters off the Horn of Africa, which have brought new U.S. and international attention to the long-standing problem of piracy in the region.
Date: April 21, 2009
Creator: Ploch, Lauren; Blanchard, Christopher M.; O'Rourke, Ronald; Mason, R. C. & King, Rawle O.
Item Type: Report

The President's Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP): Issues for Congress

Description: This report discusses the role of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), including an overview of the history of science and technology advice to the President, issues and options for Congress regarding (OSTP) Director, OSTP management and operations, the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), and the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC). The report also discusses actions taken by the Obama Administration regarding OSTP.
Date: April 21, 2009
Creator: Stine, Deborah D.
Item Type: Report

The U.S. Mental Health Delivery System Infrastructure: A Primer

Description: This report begins with a historical perspective on delivery of mental health care services. Next, it describes the health care delivery system within which mental health care is currently provided and presents the various mechanisms that finance the current system. In describing the mental health system, this report considers three aspects: Who provides care? Where is the care provided? Who pays for the care? Finally, this report analyzes the barriers to receiving mental health treatment and workforce training issues, and presents possible options for Congress to address these barriers.
Date: April 21, 2009
Creator: Sundararaman, Ramya
Item Type: Report

Cars and Climate: What Can EPA Do to Control Greenhouse Gases from Mobile Sources?

Description: This report discusses legislation being considered by congress to reduce the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that contribute to climate change. It discusses the EPA's authority under Title II and provides information regarding the mobile sources that might be regulated under this authority. Among these sources, motor vehicles (passenger cars and light trucks, including SUVs) are assumed to be the most likely initial targets for regulation, both because a petition addressing these sources began EPA's consideration of the endangerment issue, and because these are the most significant GHG emission sources among those covered by Title II.
Date: April 20, 2009
Creator: McCarthy, James E.
Item Type: Report

Controversies over Redefining “Fill Material” Under the Clean Water Act

Description: This report discusses the Clean Water Act that contains two different permitting regimes: (1) Section 402 permits (called the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System, or NPDES, permit program) address the discharge of most pollutants, and (2) Section 404 permits address the discharge of dredged or fill material into navigable waters of the United States at specified sites. These permit programs differ in nature and approach.
Date: April 20, 2009
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Item Type: Report

Controversies over Redefining "Fill Material" Under the Clean Water Act

Description: On May 3, 2002, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (the Corps) announced a regulation redefining two key terms, "fill material" and "discharge of fill material," in rules that implement Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. This report discusses the 2002 rule, focusing on how it changes which material and types of activities are regulated under Section 404 and the significance of these issues, especially for the mining industry.
Date: April 20, 2009
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Item Type: Report

Insolvency of Systemically Significant Financial Companies: Bankruptcy vs. Conservatorship/Receivership

Description: This report first discusses the purposes behind the creation of a separate insolvency regime for depository institutions. The report then compares and contrasts the characteristics of depository institutions with systemically significant financial companies (SSFCs). Next, the report provides a brief analysis of some important differences between the FDIC's conservatorship/receivership authority and that of the Bankruptcy Code.
Date: April 20, 2009
Creator: Carpenter, David H.
Item Type: Report

Intelligence Issues for Congress

Description: This report explores the various issues currently facing Congress in regards to intelligence and counterterrorism activities, including the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act (P.L. 108-458), signed in December 2004; the position of Director of National Intelligence (DNI), which that act created; the importance of collaborative efforts between various intelligence agencies to successfully carry out counterterrorism measures; and other pieces of legislation relevant to such matters.
Date: April 20, 2009
Creator: Best, Richard A., Jr.
Item Type: Report

Mountaintop Mining: Background on Current Controversies

Description: Mountaintop removal mining involves removing the top of a mountain in order to recover the coal seams contained there. This practice occurs in several Appalachian states. It creates an immense quantity of excess spoil (dirt and rock that previously composed the mountaintop), which is typically placed in valley fills on the sides of the former mountains, burying streams that flow through the valleys. Critics say that, as a result of valley fills, stream water quality and the aquatic and wildlife habitat that streams support are destroyed by tons of rocks and dirt. The mining industry argues that mountaintop mining is essential to conducting surface coal mining in the Appalachian region and that surface coal mining would not be economically feasible there if producers were restricted from using valleys for the disposal of mining overburden. Mountaintop mining is regulated under several laws, including the Clean Water Act and the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act. This report provides background on regulatory requirements, controversies, and legal challenges to regulation of mountaintop mining. Congressional attention to these issues, including legislation that would restrict the practice (H.R. 1310, the Clean Water Protection Act, and S. 696, the Appalachia Restoration Act), also is discussed.
Date: April 20, 2009
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Item Type: Report

The United Arab Emirates (UAE): Issues for U.S. Policy

Description: This report describes the open economy and society of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), as well as U.S. concern over proliferation of advanced technology due to said open economy and the UAE's lax export controls. This report describes these issues in relation to a recently-signed U.S.-UAE civilian nuclear agreement. It also provides a general description of the UAE's government and political structure, as well as the effects of the recent global economic downturn on the UAE in general and on the city of Dubai in particular.
Date: April 20, 2009
Creator: Katzman, Kenneth
Item Type: Report

America COMPETES Act: Programs, Funding, and Selected Issues

Description: This report explores and describes in detail the America COMPETES Act (P.K. 110-69), which became law on August 9, 2007. The act responds to concerns that the United States may not be able to compete economically with other nations in the future due to insufficient investment today in science and technology research and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and workforce development. This report explains the aims and design of the America COMPETES Act, what funding developments the act authorizes, what education activities the act involves, and related legislation and government programs.
Date: April 17, 2009
Creator: Stine, Deborah D.
Item Type: Report

Central Asia: Regional Developments and Implications for U.S. Interests

Description: This report discusses contemporary issues regarding U.S. policy in Central Asia. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the United States recognized the independence of all the former Central Asian republics, supported their admission into Western organizations, and elicited regional support to counter Iranian influence in the region.
Date: April 17, 2009
Creator: Nichol, Jim
Item Type: Report

NATO in Afghanistan: A Test of the Transatlantic Alliance

Description: This report discusses the mission of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in Afghanistan, the purpose of which is to stabilize and reconstruct Afghanistan by combating emerging threats such as terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. This report also discusses how the Obama Administration has made the Afghanistan conflict a policy priority, and what this stance could mean for potential future endeavors.
Date: April 17, 2009
Creator: Morelli, Vincent & Belkin, Paul
Item Type: Report