Recent CRS reports

Recent Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports from Open CRS:

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC): Summary of Actions in Support of Housing and Financial Markets
, R40413 (pdf, 11pp/260kB), March 5, 2009

Discusses recent FDIC actions to support housing and financial markets, including a temporary increase in deposit insurance as required by the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, resolution of bank failures, and development of the Temporary Liquidity Guarantee Program (TLGP), and FDIC's role in the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan (HASP) to help prevent foreclosures.

The Endangered Species Act (ESA) in the 111th Congress: Conflicting Values and Difficult Choices, R40185 (pdf, 25pp/552kB), Feb. 25, 2009

According to CRS:
The 111th Congress may consider whether to revoke ESA regulations promulgated in the waning days of the Bush Administration that would alter when federal agency consultation is required. In addition, legislation related to global climate change may include provisions that would allocate funds to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s endangered species program and/or to related funds to assist species adaptation to climate change.

End-of-Life Care: Services, Costs, Ethics, and Quality of Care, R40235 (pdf, 30pp/404kB), Feb. 23, 2009

This report addresses six aspects of end-of-life care:
  1. Death and dying: demographic and historical changes
  2. Definitions of end-of-life, palliative, and hospice care
  3. Costs of end-of-life care
  4. End-of-life care laws and ethics
  5. Quality of end-of-life care
  6. Issues for Congress

Broadband Internet Access and the Digital Divide: Federal Assistance Programs, RL30719 (pdf, 30pp/624kB), Feb. 20, 2009

In encouraging broadband deployment, a key issue for Congress is striking "a balance between providing federal assistance for unserved and underserved areas where the private sector may not be providing acceptable levels of broadband service (and) minimizing any deleterious effects that government intervention in the marketplace may have on competition and private sector investment." CRS sees Congress considering such incentives as creating jobs, targeting next-generation broadband technologies, federal assistance to underserved areas with existing broadband providers, and how broadband stimulus provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) might fit into the context of a national broadband policy.

Net Neutrality: The Federal Communications Commission's Authority to Enforce its Network Management Principles, R40234 (13pp/176kB), Feb. 20, 2009

Related to the above, this report covers the ruling of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that Comcast violated FCC's Internet Policy Statement when it blocked peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing programs on its network. Comcast has appealed the ruling to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

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2009 Directory of Hawaii Officials

 Hawaii's Legislative Reference Bureau Library has recently made available its annual, Directory of State, County and Federal Officials. A companion volume to the Guide to Government in Hawaii, the Directory contains department and agency directory listings, including office, title, phone & fax numbers, and mail and email addresses. The information set forth in this publication is current as of February 1, 2009.

Directory of State, County and Federal Officials (online copies available as pdf.)


Just in ... Ben

Ben: A Memoir, From Street Kid to Governor. Former legislator and governor of Hawaii, Benjamin Cayetano has written an "unflinching memoir with no punches pulled, told with warm and candor." Cayetano began his political career in the state House (1975-1978), rose to the Senate (1979-1986), then to lieutenant governor (1986-1994), before being elected the first Filipino American governor in the U.S., serving two terms from 1994 to 2002. Known for his independence and outspokenness, his book has drawn lively interest. 560pp.

DU627.83 C39 C39 2009
ISBN 978-0-9790647-0-8 (softbound)
ISBN 978-0-9821698-0-3 (casebound)

See review, chapter 1 of book, commentaries:
    Advertiser, Feb. 15, 2009
    Chapter 1 (pdf)
    DePledge, Feb. 18, 2009
    Shapiro, Mar. 18, 2009

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Congestion pricing

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) published a study on congestion pricing, which aims to reduce traffic congestion by charging drivers more for using a highway at times or places with heavy traffic and less in opposite circumstances. Congestion pricing is different from tolls and other highway user fees because the charges vary with the amount of traffic. The report presents several policy options for Congress, but "(b)ecause the federal government owns or operates very few highways itself, federal policy must rely on encouraging state and local government to expand the use of congestion pricing."

A table in the study lists congestion-pricing projects in the U.S., both operating and under study. The Appendix details case studies of four different types of congestion pricing: cordon pricing, priced facilities, priced lanes, and high-occupancy toll (HOT) lanes:
  • Central London congestion-charging zone (cordon pricing)
  • Port Authority of New York and New Jersey's bridges and tunnels (priced facilities)
  • State Route 91, Orange County, CA (priced lanes) and
  • I-394 in Minneapolis, MN (HOT lanes)

Using Pricing to Reduce Traffic Congestion (pdf, 39pp/2 MB), March 2009

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Just in ...

The American Journey of Barack Obama, by the Editors of Life Magazine. This is a photographic and narrative journey of Obama's life from his boyhood in Hawaii and Indonesia, his schooling at Columbia and Harvard, his early political years in Chicago and the Senate in Washington, to his campaign and victory in the presidential race. Family photographs trace his roots in Kenya and Kansas to his life with Michelle and their two daughters today. 176pp.

E901.1 O23 S84 2008
ISBN 978-0-316-04560-5

Hot, Flat , and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution--and How It Can Renew America, by Thomas L. Friedman. Friedman says our world is getting "hot, flat, and crowded" because of global warming, the rise of the middle class around the world, and rapid population growth. He sees energy and environmental crises and calls for American leadership in Code Green: "a strategy that can help to ease global warming, biodiversity loss, energy poverty, petrodictatorship, and energy supply shortages--and make America stronger at the same time." 438pp.

GE197 F75 2008
ISBN 978-0-374-16685-4

See New York Times review, Sept. 9, 2008

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Estimating costs

This week the Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a Cost Guide that was developed to "establish a consistent methodology...for developing, managing, and evaluating capital program cost estimates" for federal agencies. Generating reliable cost estimates is also critical to supporting the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) capital programming process. The guide provides principles for government managers and auditors to assess (1) the credibility of a program's cost estimate for budget and decision making purposes, and (2) the program's status using earned value management (EVM), a project management tool.

GAO Cost Estimating and Assessment Guide: Best Practices for Developing and Managing Capital Program Costs
      Report (pdf, 438pp/4.4MB)

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