The Net Neutrality Debate: Access to Broadband Networks

The Net Neutrality Debate: Access to Broadband Networks. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Angele A. Gilroy.  June 22, 2018

 As congressional policymakers continue to debate telecommunications reform, a major discussion point revolves around what approach should be taken to ensure unfettered access to the internet. The move to place restrictions on the owners of the networks that compose and provide access to the internet, to ensure equal access and nondiscriminatory treatment, is referred to as “net neutrality.” There is no single accepted definition of “net neutrality,” but most agree that any such definition should include the general principles that owners of the networks that compose and provide access to the internet should not control how consumers lawfully use that network, and they should not be able to discriminate against content provider access to that network.

 [PDF format, 29 pages].

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Blending Climate Funds to Finance Low-Carbon, Climate-Resilient Infrastructure

Blending Climate Funds to Finance Low-Carbon, Climate-Resilient Infrastructure. Brookings Institution. Joshua P. Meltzer.  June 20, 2018

 The world’s core infrastructure—including our transport and energy systems, buildings, industry, and land-related activities—produce more than 60 percent of all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions globally.

By 2030 the world will need to build approximately $85 trillion in low-carbon climate-resilient (LCR) infrastructure in order to meet the Paris climate change agreement’s goal of keeping the global average temperature increase well below 2 degrees Celsius by 2050. Meeting this infrastructure investment need will require doubling today’s global capital stock. This paper defines LCR infrastructure as including renewable energy, more compact cities, and suitable mass transit as well as energy efficiency measures. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 53 pages].

Small Business Administration: A Primer on Programs and Funding

Small Business Administration: A Primer on Programs and Funding.  Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Robert Jay Dilger, Sean Lowry.  June 27, 2018.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) administers several types of programs to support small businesses, including loan guaranty and venture capital programs to enhance small business access to capital; contracting programs to increase small business opportunities in federal contracting; direct loan programs for businesses, homeowners, and renters to assist their recovery from natural disasters; and small business management and technical assistance training programs to assist business formation and expansion.

 [PDF format, 39 pages].

The Nature of Work and the Social Safety Net

The Nature of Work and the Social Safety Net. Urban Institute. Pamela J. Loprest, Demetra Smith Nightingale. July 23, 2018

 Work is at the core of the American dream, bringing to people the promise of income, dignity, and security. The US social safety net has historically reinforced this work ethic, premised on employer-provided benefits in combination with public programs, policies, and workplace laws and regulations.

Yet shifts in the economy and the nature of work have created challenges for the social safety net. There is growing concern that the safety net is increasingly at odds with current and future labor market realities. This report examines these changes, discusses the implications for the social safety net, and offers potential policy solutions. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 19 pages].

Supreme Court Appointment Process: President’s Selection of a Nominee

Supreme Court Appointment Process: President’s Selection of a Nominee. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Barry J. McMillion. June 27, 2018

 The appointment of a Supreme Court Justice is an event of major significance in American politics. Each appointment is of consequence because of the enormous judicial power the Supreme Court exercises as the highest appellate court in the federal judiciary. Appointments are usually infrequent, as a vacancy on the nine-member Court may occur only once or twice, or never at all, during a particular President’s years in office. Under the Constitution, Justices on the Supreme Court receive what can amount to lifetime appointments which, by constitutional design, helps ensure the Court’s independence from the President and Congress.

 [PDF format, 27 pages].

The 2018 Brown Center Report on American Education

The 2018 Brown Center Report on American Education. Brookings Institution. Michael Hansen et al. June 27, 2018

 This year’s Brown Center Report (BCR) on American Education is the 17th issue overall since its beginning in 2000. The 2018 edition focuses on the state of social studies and civics education in U.S. schools. Like previous editions, which were authored by Tom Loveless, the report comprises three studies: The first chapter examines student performance on the National Assessment of Educational Progress; the second examines state policy related to civics education; and the third provides a look at the nation’s social studies teachers. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 51 pages].

A Social Network Analysis and Qualitative Assessment of Partnerships for Million Hearts®

A Social Network Analysis and Qualitative Assessment of Partnerships for Million Hearts® RAND Corporation. Malcolm V. Williams et al. June 20, 2018.

 The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have implemented Million Hearts (MH), an unprecedented initiative to coordinate efforts across the United States to promote cardiovascular health. In work conducted by RAND Corporation and the University of Colorado at Denver, researchers sought to develop information and a data-informed evidence base regarding the successes and challenges of MH. To accomplish these aims, researchers used a mixed-methods approach that involved an environmental scan, key informant interviews, and a social network analysis to assess the current state of MH and to understand how this initiative might grow and strengthen the goal of decreasing cardiovascular disease (CVD). Based on their analysis, researchers conclude that the MH network has been successful in engaging a diverse set of public and private partners to collaborate together to address CVD issues and become an effective information-sharing network. Further, MH partners placed high levels of trust and value in one another. They also indicated that participation in the network was beneficial to their organizations. It appears that keeping the network intact, as is, can have some tangible benefits without a lot of additional resources or change. However, this research did identify barriers that participants in MH experienced in implementing MH activities or building effective relationships, including a lack of direct funding, difficulties with bringing partners to the table, a lack of experience among partners, and different perspectives on CVD prevention among partners. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 81 pages].