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Citizens' Health Care Working Group

Description: Congress authorized the Citizen’s Health Care Working Group as a provision of the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act Of 2003. This provision was sponsored by Senators Ron Wyden of Oregon and Orrin Hatch of Utah. The mission of the Working Group has been to provide a nationwide public debate about improving the American health care system so that health care “works for all Americans” and to use the results of that debate to provide recommendations for Congress and the President to consider as they work to achieve high quality, affordable health care. Working Group members were named February 28, 2005 and released various sets of recommendations.
Date: September 29, 2006
Creator: Citizens' Health Care Working Group

Iran: U.S. Concerns and Policy Responses

Description: This report discusses the reasons that Iran is considered a threat to U.S. security, including Iran's nuclear program, involvement with terrorist organizations, and involvement with neighboring countries' local governments. The report also discusses ways which the U.S. hopes to modify Iran's behavior with sanctions, and the effectiveness of these sanctions.
Date: September 4, 2008
Creator: Katzman, Kenneth

Iran: U.S. Concerns and Policy Responses

Description: This report discusses the reasons that Iran is considered a threat to U.S. security, including Iran's nuclear program, involvement with terrorist organizations, and involvement with neighboring countries' local governments. The report also discusses ways which the U.S. hopes to modify Iran's behavior with sanctions, and the effectiveness of these sanctions.
Date: September 24, 2008
Creator: Katzman, Kenneth

Spectrum Policy in the Age of Broadband: Issues for Congress

Description: This report considers the possibility of modifying spectrum policy: (1) to support national goals for broadband deployment by placing more emphasis on attracting new providers of wireless broadband services; and (2) to accommodate the wireless broadband needs of industries that are considered by many to be the economic drivers of the future, not only communications, but also areas such as energy, health care, transportation, and education.
Date: September 22, 2009
Creator: Moore, Linda K.

The Department of Defense's Use of Private Security Contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan: Background, Analysis, and Options for Congress

Description: This report examines current private security contractor (PSC) trends in Iraq and Afghanistan, steps Department of Defense (DOD) has taken to improve oversight and management, and the extent to which DOD has incorporated the role of security contractors into its doctrine and strategy. It also reviews steps Congress has taken to exercise oversight over the use of PSCs and includes options for Congress.
Date: September 29, 2009
Creator: Schwartz, Moshe

"Don't Ask, Don't Tell": A Legal Analysis

Description: In 1993, after many months of study, debate, and political controversy, Congress passed and President Clinton signed legislation establishing a revised "[p]olicy concerning homosexuality in the armed forces." The new legislation reflected a compromise regarding the U.S. military's policy toward members of the armed forces who engage in homosexual conduct. This compromise, colloquially referred to as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT)," holds that "[t]he presence in the armed forces of persons who demonstrate a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts would create an unacceptable risk to the high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion which are the essence of military capability." Service members are not to be asked about, nor allowed to discuss, their sexual orientation. This compromise notwithstanding, the issue has remained both politically and legally contentious. This report provides a legal analysis of the various constitutional challenges that have been brought against DADT.
Date: September 2, 2009
Creator: Feder, Jody

Department of Defense Contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan: Background and Analysis

Description: The Department of Defense (DOD) increasingly relies upon contractors to support operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, which has resulted in a DOD workforce in those countries comprising approximately a comparable number of contractors (218,000) as uniformed personnel (195,000). This report discusses the issues raised by this fact including (1) what role contractors should play in contingency operations, (2) whether DOD is gathering and analyzing the right data on the use of contractors, (3) what steps DOD is taking to improve contract management and oversight, and (4) the extent to which contractors are being effectively included into military doctrine and strategy. The report examines current contractor trends in Iraq and Afghanistan, the steps DOD has taken to improve contractor oversight and management, and the extent to which DOD has incorporated the role of contractors into its doctrine and strategy. The report also reviews steps Congress has taken to exercise oversight over DOD contracting, including contracting issues that have been the focus of hearings and legislation.
Date: September 21, 2009
Creator: Schwartz, Moshe

Brazil-U.S. Relations

Description: This report analyzes Brazil's political, economic, and social conditions, and how those conditions affect its role in the region and its relationship with the United States. It then discusses a number of key issues in Brazil-U.S. relations.
Date: September 18, 2008
Creator: Seelke, Clare Ribando & Durand, Alessandra

Worker Safety in the Construction Industry: The Crane and Derrick Standard

Description: This report first examines the incidence of fatal and nonfatal on-the-job injuries in the private sector. It next analyzes the causes of fatalities in the construction industry and the involvement of cranes in those deaths. The report then addresses the status of a proposed rule to update the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) crane and derrick standard. It closes with an overview of jurisdictions having safety regulations for cranes more stringent, in whole or part, than the existing federal standard.
Date: September 9, 2008
Creator: Levine, Linda

Nuclear Energy Policy

Description: This report discusses the nuclear energy policy issues facing Congress that include the implementation of federal incentives for new commercial reactors, radioactive waste management policy, research and development priorities, power plant safety and regulation, nuclear weapons proliferation, and security against terrorist attacks.
Date: September 2, 2008
Creator: Holt, Mark

Congressional Oversight of Intelligence: Current Structure and Alternatives

Description: This report first describes the current select committees on intelligence and then the former Joint Committee on Atomic Energy, often cited as a model for a counterpart on intelligence. The study also sets forth proposed characteristics for a joint committee on intelligence, differences among these, and their pros and cons. The report examines other actions and alternatives affecting congressional oversight in the field.
Date: September 16, 2008
Creator: Kaiser, Frederick M.

U.S.-Russian Civilian Nuclear Cooperation Agreement: Issues for Congress

Description: This report discusses key policy issues related to the civilian nuclear cooperation agreement signed by the United States and Russia on May 6, 2008, including future nuclear energy cooperation with Russia, U.S.-Russian bilateral relations, nonproliferation cooperation, and Russia's policies toward Iran. These issues were relevant to the debate when the agreement was being considered in the 110th Congress.
Date: September 9, 2008
Creator: Nikitin, Mary Beth

Peacekeeping/Stabilization and Conflict Transitions: Background and Congressional Action on the Civilian Response/Reserve Corps and other Civilian Stabilization and Reconstruction Capabilities

Description: This report provides background information relating to the Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization (S/CRS) in the Office of the Secretary of State. This office was created in mid-2004 as part of the Bush Administration's efforts to develop adequate civilian organizational structures, procedures, and personnel to respond effectively to post-conflict, "stabilization and reconstruction" situations, most especially in Afghanistan and Iran. This report also discusses proposals and tracks related legislative action.
Date: September 18, 2008
Creator: Serafino, Nina M. & Weiss, Martin A.

Generalized System of Preferences: Background and Renewal Debate

Description: This report presents, first, a brief history, economic rationale, and legal background leading to the establishment of the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program, which provides non-reciprocal, duty-free tariff treatment to certain products imported from designated beneficiary developing countries (BDC's). A brief comparison of GSP programs worldwide, especially as they compare to the U.S. system, is also presented. Second, the report presents a discussion of U.S. implementation of the GSP, along with the present debate surrounding its renewal and legislative developments to date. Third, an analysis of the U.S. program's effectiveness and the positions of various stakeholders is presented. Fourth, implications of the expiration of the U.S. program and possible options for Congress are discussed.
Date: September 25, 2008
Creator: Jones, Vivian C.

Implementing the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for Disaster Response, Recovery, and Mitigation Projects

Description: This report discusses the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) as it applies to projects for which federal funding to recover from or prepare for a disaster has been requested by local, tribal, or state grant applicants. Specifically, the report provides an overview of the NEPA process as it applies to such projects, identifies the types of projects (categorized by federal funding source) likely to require environmental review, and delineates the types of projects for which no or minimal environmental review is required (i.e., those for which statutory or regulatory exemptions apply) and those likely to require more in-depth review.
Date: September 8, 2008
Creator: Luther, Linda

Navy Ship Names: Background for Congress

Description: This report discusses the process of naming Navy ships, which have traditionally been chosen and announced by the Secretary of the Navy. Congress in recent years has proposed, and sometimes passed, legislation regarding the naming of specific ships.
Date: September 23, 2009
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald