Water Infrastructure Financing: History of EPA Appropriations. Congressional Research Service. Jonathan L. Ramseur, Mary Tiemann. Updated April 10, 2019
The principal federal program to aid municipal wastewater
treatment plant construction is authorized in the Clean Water Act (CWA).
Established as a grant program in 1972, it now capitalizes state loan programs
through the clean water state revolving loan fund (CWSRF) program. Since
FY1972, appropriations have totaled $98 billion. In 1996, Congress amended the Safe Drinking
Water Act (SDWA, P.L. 104-182) to authorize a similar state loan program for
drinking water to help systems finance projects needed to comply with drinking
water regulations and to protect public health. Since FY1997, appropriations
for the drinking water state revolving loan fund (DWSRF) program have totaled
$23 billion. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administers both
SRF programs, which annually distribute funds to the states for implementation.
Funding amounts are specified in the State and Tribal Assistance Grants (STAG)
account of EPA annual appropriations acts. The combined appropriations for
wastewater and drinking water infrastructure assistance have represented
25%-32% of total funds appropriated to EPA in recent years.
[PDF format, 43 pages].
Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act: Understanding Apportionments for States and Territories. Congressional Research Service. R. Eliot Crafton. April 5, 2019
The Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act (16 U.S.C. §§669
et seq.), enacted in 1937 and now known as the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife
Restoration Act, provides funding for states and territories to support
wildlife restoration, conservation, and hunter education and safety programs.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), within the Department of the
Interior, administers Pittman-Robertson. All 50 states (but not the District of
Columbia) as well as the 5 inhabited U.S. territories receive Pittman-Robertson
Funding for FWS to carry out Pittman-Robertson programs
comes from excise taxes on firearms, ammunition, and archery equipment.
Receipts from these excise taxes are deposited into the Federal Aid to Wildlife
Restoration Fund in the Treasury, and monies from the fund are made available
for FWS in the fiscal year following their collection without any further
action by Congress. Between FY1939 and FY2019, FWS disbursed $18.8 billion (in
2018 dollars) for wildlife restoration and hunter education and safety
activities for Pittman-Robertson programs.
[PDF format, 38 pages].
The Federal Communications Commission: Current Structure and Its Role in the Changing Telecommunications Landscape. Congressional Research Service. Patricia Moloney Figliola. April 18, 2019.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is an
independent federal agency established by the Communications Act of 1934 (1934
Act, or “Communications Act”). The agency is charged with regulating interstate
and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite, and
cable. The mission of the FCC is to make available for all people of the United
States, “without discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national
origin, or sex, a rapid, efficient, Nationwide, and worldwide wire and radio
communication service with adequate facilities at reasonable charges.”
The FCC operates under a public interest mandate first laid
out in the 1927 Radio Act (P.L. 632, 69th Congress), but how this mandate is
applied depends on how “the public interest” is interpreted. Some regulators
seek to protect and benefit the public at large through regulation, while
others seek to achieve the same goals through the promotion of market
efficiency. Additionally, Congress granted the FCC wide latitude and
flexibility to revise its interpretation of the public interest standard to
reflect changing circumstances and the agency has not defined it in more
concrete terms. These circumstances, paired with changes in FCC leadership,
have led to significant changes over time in how the FCC regulates the
broadcast and telecommunications industries.
[PDF format, 19 pages].
Presidential Terms and Tenure: Perspectives and Proposals for Change. Congressional Research Service. Thomas H. Neale. Updated April 15, 2019
The President and Vice President’s terms of office are
prescribed by the Constitution and four of its amendments. Additional amendment
proposals to change the conditions of presidential terms and tenure were
regularly introduced during the second half of the 20th century, but much less
frequently to date in the 21st. Two categories of amendment predominated during
this period: one variant proposed repeal of the Twenty-Second Amendment, thus
permitting Presidents to be elected an unlimited number of times. Another
category of proposed amendment would have extended the presidential and
vice-presidential terms to six years, often in combination with a requirement
limiting Presidents to one term. No
measure to repeal the Twenty-Second Amendment or otherwise change the
presidential term of office has been introduced to date in the 116th Congress.
This report will be updated if events warrant.
[PDF format, 35 pages].
Virtual Currencies and Money Laundering: Legal Background, Enforcement Actions, and Legislative Proposals. Congressional Research Service. Jay B. Sykes, Nicole Vanatko. April 3, 2019
Law enforcement officials have described money laundering—the
process of making illegally obtained proceeds appear legitimate—as the
“lifeblood” of organized crime. Recently, money launderers have increasingly
turned to a new technology to conceal the origins of illegally obtained
proceeds: virtual currency. Virtual currencies like Bitcoin, Ether, and Ripple
are digital representations of value that, like ordinary currency, function as
media of exchange, units of account, and stores of value. However, unlike
ordinary currencies, virtual currencies are not legal tender, meaning they
cannot be used to pay taxes and creditors need not accept them as payments for
debt. While virtual currency enthusiasts tout their technological promise, a
number of commentators have contended that the anonymity offered by these new financial
instruments makes them an attractive vehicle for money laundering. Law
enforcement officials, regulators, and courts have accordingly grappled with
how virtual currencies fit into a federal anti-money laundering (AML) regime
designed principally for traditional financial institutions.
[PDF format, 17 pages].
The National Institutes of Health (NIH): Background and Congressional Issues. Congressional Research Service. Judith A. Johnson, Kavya Sekar. April 19, 2019
The National Institutes of Health (NIH), under the
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), is the primary federal agency
charged with performing and supporting biomedical and behavioral research. In
FY2018, NIH used its over $34 billion budget to support more than 300,000 scientists
and research personnel working at over 2,500 institutions across the United
States and abroad, as well as to conduct biomedical and behavioral research and
research training at its own facilities. The agency consists of the Office of
the Director, in charge of overall policy and program coordination, and 27
institutes and centers, each of which focuses on particular diseases or
research areas in human health. A broad range of research is funded through a
highly competitive system of peer-reviewed grants and contracts.
[PDF format, 81 pages].
The Value of Energy Tax Incentives for Different Types of Energy Resources. Congressional Research Service. Molly F. Sherlock. March 19, 2019
The U.S. tax code supports the energy sector by providing a
number of targeted tax incentives, or tax incentives available only for the
energy industry. Some policymakers have expressed interest in understanding how
energy tax benefits are distributed across different domestic energy resources.
For example, what percentage of energy-related tax benefits support fossil
fuels (or support renewables)? How much domestic energy is produced using
fossil fuels (or produced using renewables)? And how do these figures compare?
[PDF format, 16 pages].