Child Welfare: An Overview of Federal Programs and Their Current Funding

Child Welfare: An Overview of Federal Programs and Their Current Funding. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Emilie Stoltzfus. September 16, 2014.

Child welfare services are intended to prevent the abuse or neglect of children; ensure that children have safe, permanent homes; and promote the well-being of children and their families. As the U.S. Constitution has been interpreted, states bear the primary responsibility for ensuring the welfare of children and their families. In recent years, Congress has appropriated just above or below $8 billion in federal support dedicated to child welfare purposes.

[PDF format, 37 pages, 489.24 KB].

How to Fund the Ebola Fight

How to Fund the Ebola Fight. YaleGlobal. Paula Kavathas. September 18, 2014.

Ebola is spreading quickly in West Africa and, with global air travel, could quickly hop new borders. The health infrastructure of West Africa is weak, with limited resources and trained personnel. Prevention is the goal for a virus with no approved vaccine or therapeutic. Funding is scarce, even for premier researchers with the World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Nations with advanced health systems could take the lead by imposing a small tax on international air tickets, argues Paula Kavathas. A $3 tax could raise $500 million per year, funding research and development for vaccines, therapeutics or diagnostics for Ebola and other emerging infectious diseases. Infectious diseases leave behind a trail of death and economic harm, and a massive, well-funded response is in the interest of all. As Kavathas concludes, Ebola won’t be the last epidemic. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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Separating Power: Friction

Separating Power: Friction. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. September 17, 2014.

Many have blamed partisan gridlock for the possibility that the 113th Congress will be deemed the least “productive” Congresses ever. Setting aside what constitutes productivity and how productivity should be measured, the President too has repeatedly cited congressional inaction in defending a series of unilateral executive actions that have only deepened existing divides between the two branches. Thus a situation has developed in which the President criticizes what he considers to be a “Do Nothing” Congress, while some Members of the House and Senate, in turn, condemn what they consider to be an “Imperial Presidency.” Although it admittedly can be difficult to distinguish institutional conflicts from political ones, the result, some would argue, has nevertheless been legislative stagnation. Was it meant to be this way?

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A Sign of Things to Come?

A Sign of Things to Come? Oxfam International. September 19, 2014.

The report identifies cases where extreme weather events exacerbated existing unfavorable conditions, and considers the roles of governance in state and non-state responses to each emergency. The relevance of climate change is also discussed, through an examination of scientific evidence about the influence of human emissions on extreme weather events, and explorative scenario analysis to consider the potential impacts of increased extreme weather severity on food security. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 44 pages, 1.0 MB].

The Struggle for the Levant: Geopolitical Battles and the Quest for Stability

The Struggle for the Levant: Geopolitical Battles and the Quest for Stability. Center for Strategic & International Studies. Aram Nerguizian. September 18, 2014.

The United States and its allies compete with Iran in a steadily more unsettled and uncertain Levant. The political upheavals in the Middle East, economic and demographic pressures, sectarian struggles and extremism, ethnic and tribal conflicts and tensions all combine to produce complex patterns of competition. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 357 pages, 6.06 MB].

Kids’ Share 2014: Report on Federal Expenditures on Children Through 2013

Kids’ Share 2014: Report on Federal Expenditures on Children Through 2013. Urban Institute. Heather Hahn et al. September 18, 2014.

Kids’ Share 2014: Report on Federal Expenditures on Children Through 2013, an eighth annual report, looks comprehensively at federal spending and tax expenditures on children. Total federal expenditures on children were up from 2012, but below spending in 2010. Broader budgetary forces will continue to restrict spending on children over the next ten years, despite an overall projected growth of over $1.4 trillion in federal spending. Over the next decade, outlays on children are projected to decline from 10 to 8 percent of the federal budget. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 60 pages, 1.87 KB].

War in Ukraine Exposes Russia’s Weakness

War in Ukraine Exposes Russia’s Weakness. YaleGlobal. Chris Miller. September 16, 2014.

The Eurasian Union, as conceived by Russia, was supposed to rival the European Union as a trade and economic force. “Most notable about the Eurasian Union is not the geopolitical vision that motivates it, but how badly the entire project has gone,” argues Chris Miller. Russian aggression is unnerving former members of the Soviet bloc. Neighboring Ukraine long had close ties with Russia, but with the takeover in Crimea and war along the eastern border, disagreements run deep and regional distrust spreads. Former Soviet states gradually expand their ties with economies that offer more than energy: “The appeal of European Union on the west and that of a resurgent China in the east continues to nibble away at Russian power and influence,” Miller explains. Aggression may deter nations like Georgia or Ukraine from joining NATO, but weakens Russian influence in other areas. Russia’s ready reliance on military force encourages other neighboring nations to diversify political, economic and cultural relations and better withstand bullying. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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