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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.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Surface Transportation: Reauthorization of TEA-21

Description: This report briefly examines the debate regarding spending levels to reauthorize federal highway, highway safety, and transit programs.
Date: January 3, 2005
Creator: Fischer, John W.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Agricultural Export and Food Aid Programs

Description: This report discusses projected agricultural imports and exports for FY2006, as well as legislation that deals with federal programs in support of agricultural exports and federal aid dedicated to farms and agricultural reform.
Date: January 23, 2006
Creator: Hanrahan, Charles E.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Safe Drinking Water Act: Implementation and Issues

Description: This report discusses key drinking water issues in the 109th Congress, which have included problems caused by specific contaminants, such as methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) and perchlorate, as well as the related issue of the appropriate federal role in providing financial assistance for water infrastructure projects. Congress last reauthorized the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) in 1996, and although funding authority for most SDWA programs expired in FY2003, broad reauthorization bills have not been proposed, as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), states, and water systems remain busy implementing the 1996 amendments.
Date: May 3, 2006
Creator: Tiemann, Mary
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Endangered Species: Difficult Choices

Description: This report discusses various measures being considered by Congress that propose to amend the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA). Major issues in recent years have focused on whether to incorporate further protection for property owners and reduce regulatory impacts, whether to increase the protection afforded listed species, or whether to modify various aspects of the ESA, such as the role of science in decision-making.
Date: December 9, 2003
Creator: Buck, Eugene H.; Corn, M. L. & Baldwin, Pamela
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Higher Education Act: Reauthorization Status and Issues

Description: This report provides an overview of postsecondary education (institutions and students), an overview of the Higher Education Act (HEA) with a focus on its most significant programs and provisions, and a discussion of major issues that have been, or may be, of interest to the Congress during the HEA reauthorization process.
Date: October 29, 2003
Creator: Stedman, James B.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Middle East Peace Talks

Description: This report examines the current climate regarding peace talks in the Middle East. Congress is interested in the peace talks because of its oversight role in the conduct of U.S. foreign policy, its support for Israel, and keen constituent interest. It is concerned about U.S. financial and other commitments and the Palestinians' fulfillment of their commitments to Israel.
Date: February 9, 2006
Creator: Migdalovitz, Carol
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Clean Water Act Issues in the 109th Congress

Description: This report discusses various issues in the 109th Congress pertaining to water infrastructure and water quality standards. Legislative initiatives to comprehensively amend the Clean Water Act (CWA) have stalled for some time as interested parties have debated whether and exactly how to change the law. Congress has recently focused legislative attention on narrow bills to extend or modify selected CWA programs, rather than taking up comprehensive proposals.
Date: January 24, 2005
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Endangered Species: Difficult Choices

Description: This report discusses various measures being considered by Congress that propose to amend the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA). Major issues in recent years have focused on whether to incorporate further protection for property owners and reduce regulatory impacts, whether to increase the protection afforded listed species, or whether to modify various aspects of the ESA, such as the role of science in decision-making.
Date: June 14, 2004
Creator: Buck, Eugene H.; Corn, M. L. & Baldwin, Pamela
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Amtrak: Budget and Reauthorizaton

Description: This issue brief discusses reform proposals from both the Administration and Amtrak in the 109th Congress. It addresses the appropriations requested by Amtrak, the reluctance of the Administration to provide aid, and its willingness to let Amtrak enter bankruptcy, resulting in restructuring and reform of inefficient operations.
Date: February 24, 2005
Creator: Peterman, David R. & Harrison, Glennon J.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Broadband Internet Regulation and Access: Background and Issues

Description: This report discusses broadband Internet, examining what it is and the various technologies that allow for its transmission. Broadband or high-speed Internet access is provided by technologies that give users the ability to send and receive data at volumes and speeds far greater than access over traditional telephone lines; it also provides a continuous, "always on" connection (no need to dial-up) and a "twoway" capability, that is, the ability to both receive (download) and transmit (upload) data at high speeds.
Date: June 14, 2006
Creator: Gilroy, Angele A. & Kruger, Lennard G.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Military Retirement: Major Legislative Issues

Description: This report discusses various proposed changes to the military retirement system, which includes benefits for retirement after an active or reserve military career, disability retirement, and survivor benefits for eligible survivors of deceased retirees. Major issues include whether some or all military retirees should be allowed to receive both military retired pay and any VA disability compensation to which they are otherwise entitled -- referred to as "concurrent receipt" -- whether some military personnel should be entitled to military retired pay with less than 20 years of service, and whether many more personnel should serve well past the 20-year point before retiring.
Date: October 21, 2003
Creator: Goldich, Robert L.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Space Launch Vehicles: Government Activities, Commercial Competition, and Satellite Exports

Description: This report various sides of the debate related to domestic launch services, such as satellite export issues, the development of new launch vehicles by the private sector, and whether tax incentives or loan guarantees should be created for companies attempting to develop lower-cost launch vehicles.
Date: March 20, 2006
Creator: Behrens, Carl E.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

War On Drugs: Legislation in the 108th Congress and Related Developments

Description: This report covers significant legislative and oversight activities of the 108th Congress that concern domestic law enforcement aspects of federal anti-drug policy. It also includes an overview of significant executive branch actions and other current developments of likely interest to the congressional audience that follows this issue.
Date: January 10, 2005
Creator: Eddy, Mark
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Surface Transportation: Reauthorization of TEA-21

Description: This report briefly examines the debate regarding spending levels to reauthorize federal highway, highway safety, and transit programs.
Date: March 4, 2005
Creator: Fischer, John W.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

School Choice: Current Legislation

Description: This report provides an overview of current local, state, and federal policies and programs that support school choice and identifies and summarizes recent federal school choice legislation.
Date: May 5, 2006
Creator: Smole, David P.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Global Climate Change

Description: This report briefly reviews the status of climate science, international negotiations, and congressional activity focused specifically on climate change.
Date: May 12, 2006
Creator: Justus, John R. & Fletcher, Susan R.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Campaign Finance

Description: This report discusses campaign finance practices and related issues. Concerns over financing federal elections have become a seemingly perennial aspect of our political system, centered on the enduring issues of high campaign costs and reliance on interest groups for needed campaign funds. The report talks about the today's paramount issues such as perceived loopholes in current law and the longstanding issues: overall costs, funding sources, and competition.
Date: April 20, 2005
Creator: Cantor, Joseph E.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Drug Control: International Policy and Approaches

Description: This report discusses various U.S. international narcotics policy approaches meant to achieve two main goals: to reduce the supply of illicit narcotics flowing into the United States, and to reduce the amount of illicit narcotics cultivated, processed, and consumed worldwide.
Date: March 6, 2003
Creator: Perl, Raphael
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Energy Tax Policy

Description: This report discusses the history, current posture, and outlook for federal energy tax policy. It also discusses recent energy tax proposals, focusing on the major energy tax provisions that were debated as part of omnibus energy legislation in the 108th Congress (e.g., H.R. 6), which may be reintroduced in the 109th Congress.
Date: April 22, 2005
Creator: Lazzari, Salvatore
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Postal Reform

Description: This report examines the U.S. Postal Service's (USPS's) financial crisis and the resulting legislative action. Although its short-term financial performance has improved, the USPS faces severe long-term financial straits, largely due to digital alternatives. USPS has a negative net worth and mounting obligations for retiree health benefits.
Date: March 25, 2005
Creator: Stevens, Nye
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Space Stations

Description: This report looks into Congress' continued debate regarding NASA's International Space Station (ISS) program to build a permanently-occupied space station in Earth orbit where astronauts live and conduct research. NASA expects that research performed in the near-zero gravity environment of the space station will result in new discoveries in life sciences, biomedicine, and materials sciences. Current congressional space station debate focuses on the impact of the space shuttle Columbia tragedy on the ISS program; the possibility that portions of the space station may not be built for cost reasons; and whether Russia can fulfill its commitments to ISS.
Date: November 3, 2003
Creator: Smith, Marcia S.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Renewable Energy: Tax Credit, Budget, and Electricity Production Issues

Description: This report discusses budget issues regarding renewable energy programs. In the 108th Congress, debate over renewable energy programs has focused on tax credits, incentives, budget, and provisions of the omnibus energy policy bill H.R. 6.
Date: December 1, 2004
Creator: Sissine, Fred
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department