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Federal Tax Benefits for Families’ K-12 Education Expenses in the Context of School Choice

Description: This report focuses on proposals offered to amend the federal income tax code to subsidize the expenses of families with children enrolled in the K-12 school of their choice. It begins with a discussion of K-12 education reform efforts to provide a context for the proposed tax subsidies. Next, it reviews existing federal tax provisions that could help families pay for the cost of their children’s K-12schooling. The report then analyzes the kind of proposals that have been introduced to expand existing federal tax benefits or to authorize new ones for families incurring K-12 education expenses.
Date: January 27, 2006
Creator: Levine, Linda & Smole, David P.

Distribution of Child Support Collections

Description: This report discusses child support distribution policy. The general rules in effect as of October 1, 2000 are that child support collected during the time a family receives cash welfare belongs to the state; current child support and arrearages (past-due payments) that are owed to a family that is no longer receiving welfare belongs to the family; and child support owed to a family that never received welfare belongs to the family.
Date: March 4, 2003
Creator: Solomon-Fears, Carmen

Private Bills: Procedure in the House

Description: This report briefly discusses private bills, which are bills providing benefits to specified individuals (including corporate bodies). Individuals sometimes request relief through private law when administrative or legal remedies are exhausted, but Congress seems more often to view private legislation as appropriate when no other remedy is available, and when enactment would, in a broad sense, afford equity.
Date: October 21, 2004
Creator: Beth, Richard S.

Senate Rules Affecting Committees

Description: This report identifies and summarizes the provisions of the Senate's standing rules, standing orders, precedents, and other directives that relate to legislative activity in the Senate's standing committees. It covers four main issues: committee organization, committee meetings, hearings, and reporting.
Date: February 28, 2003
Creator: Bach, Stanley & Palmer, Betsy

Federalism Jurisprudence: The Opinions of Justice O'Connor

Description: This report examines the opinions of Justice O'Connor related to limits on federal power. In majority opinions regarding the Tenth Amendment, sovereign immunity, and the power of Congress under the 14th Amendment, she has emphasized the dictates of the Founding Fathers and noted the policies underlying federalism such as the promotion of state accountability.
Date: July 19, 2005
Creator: Thomas, Kenneth R. & Tatelman, Todd B.

Automatic Enrollment in Section 401(k) Plans

Description: This report discusses enrollment practices for 401k retirement plans. Historically, most employers that have sponsored retirement savings plans under §401(k) of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) have required employees to decide whether to enroll in the plan. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has issued rulings to inform employers that current law allows them to enroll employees automatically, provided that the employee is notified in advance and is permitted to leave the plan.
Date: October 14, 2004
Creator: Purcell, Patrick

Health Care Spending: Past Trends and Projections

Description: This report focuses on trends in personal health care spending, which includes spending on health care goods and services provided to individuals and excludes expenditures for administrative costs, research, and public health activities. Personal health care expenditures have grown considerably over the past 40 years. It is estimated that personal health spending will exceed $2.9 trillion in 2013.
Date: April 8, 2004
Creator: Morgan, Paulette C.

Trade Negotiations During the 109th Congress

Description: This report discusses trade issues in the 109th Congress. For over 50 years, U.S. trade officials have negotiated multilateral trade agreements to achieve lower trade barriers and rules to cover international trade. During the 108th Congress, U.S. officials negotiated and Congress approved four bilateral free-trade agreements with Australia, Chile, Morocco, and Singapore.
Date: August 3, 2005
Creator: Fergusson, Ian F. & Sek, Lenore M.

The Retirement Savings Tax Credit: A Fact Sheet

Description: This report discusses the saver's tax credit, under which eligible individuals receive a non-refundable tax credit of up to $1,000 for contributing to a traditional IRA or an employer-sponsored retirement plan that is qualified under §401, §403 or §457 of the Internal Revenue Code. The credit was first available in 2002 but will expire after 2006 unless extended by Congress.
Date: April 1, 2004
Creator: Purcell, Patrick

Abortion: Justice O'Connor's Opinions

Description: This report examines Justice O'Connor's notable opinions on abortion, and explores her role in the development of the undue burden standard, adopted in 1992. Under the new standard, a reviewing court would consider whether an abortion restriction has the effect of imposing an "undue burden" on a woman's right to obtain an abortion.
Date: July 15, 2005
Creator: Shimabukuro, Jon O.

Detection of Explosives on Airline Passengers: Recommendation of the 9/11 Commission and Related Issues

Description: This report discusses options for airline passenger explosives trace detection, ongoing federal R&D efforts and pilot equipment deployments, and policy issues related to the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (P.L. 108-458). The legislation directs the Department of Homeland Security to place high priority on developing and deploying equipment for passenger explosives screening; requires TSA to submit a strategic plan for deploying such equipment; and authorizes additional research funding.
Date: February 7, 2005
Creator: Shea, Dana A. & Morgan, Daniel

Iraq: Elections, Government, and Constitution

Description: This report discusses the Iraqi government in the wake of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). Elections for a transitional National Assembly and government (January 30, 2005), a permanent constitution (October 15), and a permanent (four year) Council of Representatives and government (December 15) have been concluded despite insurgent violence. U.S. officials hope that the high turnout among Sunni Arabs in the December 15 elections -- and post-election bargaining among all factions -- will produce an inclusive government that reduces insurgent violence.
Date: January 20, 2006
Creator: Katzman, Kenneth