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2006

Congressional Research Service Reports

Articles 1 - 15 of 15

Full-Text Articles in Political Science

Manipulating Molecules: Federal Support For Nanotechnology Research, Michael E. Davey Jan 2006

Manipulating Molecules: Federal Support For Nanotechnology Research, Michael E. Davey

Congressional Research Service Reports

The Bush Administration has requested $1.277 billion for nanotechnology research for FY2007, $24 million less than the estimated $1.301billion appropriated level for FY2006. (See Table 1.) Nanotechnology is a newly emerging field of science where scientists and engineers are beginning to manipulate matter at the molecular and atomic levels in order to obtain materials and systems with significantly improved properties. Ten nanometers is equal to one-ten thousandths the diameter of a human hair. Proponents of this technology argue that nanotechnology will lead to a new industrial revolution in the 21st century. Scientists note that nanotechnology is still in ...


Space Exploration: Issues Concerning The “Vision For Space Exploration”, Marcia S. Smith Jan 2006

Space Exploration: Issues Concerning The “Vision For Space Exploration”, Marcia S. Smith

Congressional Research Service Reports

On January 14, 2004, President George W. Bush announced new goals for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), directing the agency to focus on returning humans to the Moon by 2020, and eventually sending them to Mars and “worlds beyond.” The President invited other countries to join. Most of the funding for this “Vision for Space Exploration” is to be redirected from other NASA activities, including terminating the space shuttle program in 2010, and ending U.S. participation in the International Space Station by 2016. NASA released an implementation plan for the Vision on September 19, 2005, and estimated ...


Hubble Space Telescope: Should Nasa Proceed With A Servicing Mission?, Daniel Morgan Jan 2006

Hubble Space Telescope: Should Nasa Proceed With A Servicing Mission?, Daniel Morgan

Congressional Research Service Reports

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) estimates that without a servicing mission to replace key components, the Hubble Space Telescope will cease scientific operations in 2008 instead of 2010. In January 2004, then-NASA Administrator Sean O’Keefe announced that the space shuttle would no longer be used to service Hubble. He indicated that this decision was based primarily on safety concerns in the wake of the space shuttle Columbia accident in 2003. Many critics, however, saw it as the result of the new Vision for Space Exploration, announced by President Bush in January 2004, which focuses NASA’s priorities ...


U.S. Military Space Programs: An Overview Of Appropriations And Current Issues, Patricia Moloney Figliola Jan 2006

U.S. Military Space Programs: An Overview Of Appropriations And Current Issues, Patricia Moloney Figliola

Congressional Research Service Reports

The 1958 National Aeronautics and Space Act specified that military space activities be conducted by the Department of Defense (DOD). DOD and the intelligence community manage a broad array of space activities, including launch vehicle development, communications satellites, navigation satellites (the Global Positioning System — GPS), early warning satellites to alert the United States to foreign missile launches, weather satellites, reconnaissance satellites, and developing capabilities to protect U.S. satellite systems and to deny the use of space to adversaries (called “space control” or “counterspace systems”). The 1990-1991 Persian Gulf War is dubbed by some as the first “space war” because ...


Stem Cell Research: State Initiatives, Judith A. Johnson, Erin D. Williams Jan 2006

Stem Cell Research: State Initiatives, Judith A. Johnson, Erin D. Williams

Congressional Research Service Reports

Embryonic stem cells have the ability to develop into virtually any cell in the body. Stem cells are used by scientists to study the growth and differentiation of individual cells into tissues. This work may provide insights into the causes of birth defects, genetic abnormalities, and other disease states, as well as potential treatments. The research is controversial, in the opinion of some, because the stem cells are located within the embryo and the process of removing them destroys the embryo. Some have argued that stem cell research should be limited to adult stem cells obtained from tissues such as ...


Western Water Resource Issues, Betsy A. Cody, Pervaze A. Sheikh Jan 2006

Western Water Resource Issues, Betsy A. Cody, Pervaze A. Sheikh

Congressional Research Service Reports

For more than a century, the federal government has constructed water resource projects for a variety of purposes, including flood control, navigation, power generation, and irrigation. While most municipal and industrial water supplies have been built by non-federal entities, most of the large, federal water supply projects in the West, including Hoover and Grand Coulee dams, were constructed by the Bureau of Reclamation (Department of the Interior) to provide water for irrigation.

Growing populations and changing values have increased demands on water supplies and river systems, resulting in water use and management conflicts throughout the country, particularly in the West ...


Alternative Fuels And Advanced Technology Vehicles: Issues In Congress, Brent D. Yacobucci Jan 2006

Alternative Fuels And Advanced Technology Vehicles: Issues In Congress, Brent D. Yacobucci

Congressional Research Service Reports

Alternative fuels and advanced technology vehicles are seen by proponents as integral to improving urban air quality, decreasing dependence on foreign oil, and reducing emissions of greenhouse gases. However, major barriers — especially economics — currently prevent the widespread use of these fuels and technologies. Because of these barriers, and the potential benefits, there is continued congressional interest in providing incentives and other support for their development and commercialization.

In the 109th Congress, alternative fuels and advanced technology vehicles have received a good deal of attention, especially in the debate over omnibus energy legislation. High fuel prices, especially in response to hurricanes ...


U.S. Space Programs: Civilian, Military, And Commercial, Marcia S. Smith Jan 2006

U.S. Space Programs: Civilian, Military, And Commercial, Marcia S. Smith

Congressional Research Service Reports

The 109th Congress is addressing a broad range of civilian, military, and commercial space issues.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) conducts the most visible space activities. For FY2006, NASA received $16.623 billion when adjusted for two rescissions and an augmentation for hurricane recovery. The FY2007 request is $16.792 billion.

The future of the U.S. human space flight program is dominating debate about NASA. The space shuttle returned to flight in July 2005 after a two and one-half year hiatus following the 2003 Columbia tragedy, but the next launch has been indefinitely postponed because of a ...


Human Cloning, Judith A. Johnson, Erin D. Williams Jan 2006

Human Cloning, Judith A. Johnson, Erin D. Williams

Congressional Research Service Reports

In December 2005, an investigation by Seoul National University, South Korea, found that scientist Hwang Woo Suk had fabricated results on deriving patientmatched stem cells from cloned embryos — a major setback for the field. In May 2005 Hwang had announced a significant advance in creating human embryos using cloning methods and in isolating human stem cells from cloned embryos. These developments have contributed to the debate in the 109th Congress on the moral and ethical implications of human cloning. Scientists in other labs, including Harvard University and the University of California at San Francisco, intend to produce cloned human embryos ...


The Bayh-Dole Act: Selected Issues In Patent Policy And The Commercialization Of Technology, Wendy H. Schacht Jan 2006

The Bayh-Dole Act: Selected Issues In Patent Policy And The Commercialization Of Technology, Wendy H. Schacht

Congressional Research Service Reports

Congressional interest in facilitating U.S. technological innovation led to the passage of P.L. 96-517, Amendments to the Patent and Trademark Act (commonly referred to as the Bayh-Dole Act after its two main sponsors). The act grants patent rights to inventions arising out of government- sponsored research and development (R&D) to certain types of entities with the expressed purpose of encouraging the commercialization of new technologies through cooperative ventures between and among the research community, small business, and industry.

Patents provide an economic incentive for companies to pursue further development and commercialization. Studies have shown that research funding ...


Federal R&D, Drug Discovery, And Pricing: Insights From The Nih-University-Industry Relationship, Wendy H. Schacht Jan 2006

Federal R&D, Drug Discovery, And Pricing: Insights From The Nih-University-Industry Relationship, Wendy H. Schacht

Congressional Research Service Reports

Public interest in approaches that might provide prescription drugs at lower cost, particularly for the elderly, has rekindled discussion over the role the federal government plays in facilitating the creation of new pharmaceuticals for the marketplace. In the current debate, some argue that the government’s financial, scientific, and/or clinical support of health-related research and development (R&D) entitles the public to commensurate considerations in the prices charged for any resulting drugs. Others view government intervention in price decisions based upon initial federal funding as contrary to a long-term trend of government promotion of innovation, technological advancement, and the ...


Mtbe In Gasoline: Clean Air And Drinking Water Issues, James E. Mccarthy, Mary Tiemann Jan 2006

Mtbe In Gasoline: Clean Air And Drinking Water Issues, James E. Mccarthy, Mary Tiemann

Congressional Research Service Reports

As gasoline prices have risen in March and April 2006, renewed attention has been given to methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), a gasoline additive being phased out of the nation’s fuel supply. Many argue that the phaseout of MTBE and its replacement by ethanol have been a major factor in driving up prices.

MTBE has been used by refiners since the late 1970s. It came into widespread use when leaded gasoline was phased out — providing an octane boost similar to that of lead, but without fouling the catalytic converters used to reduce auto emissions since the mid-1970s. MTBE has ...


Science And Technology Policy: Issues For The 109th Congress, Frank Gottron Jan 2006

Science And Technology Policy: Issues For The 109th Congress, Frank Gottron

Congressional Research Service Reports

Science and technology have a pervasive influence over a wide range of issues confronting the nation. Decisions on how much federal funding to invest in research and development (R&D), and determining what programs have the highest priority, for example, may have implications for homeland security, new high technology industries, government/private sector cooperation in R&D, and myriad other areas.

This report indicates the sweep of science and technology in many public policy issues, although it cannot provide a comprehensive examination of every science or technology issue which may be of interest to Congress. In some areas, such as ...


Oversight Of Dual-Use Biological Research: The National Science Advisory Board For Biosecurity, Dana A. Shea Jan 2006

Oversight Of Dual-Use Biological Research: The National Science Advisory Board For Biosecurity, Dana A. Shea

Congressional Research Service Reports

Policymakers have addressed the threat of biological weapons and biosecurity issues for many years. An issue garnering increased attention is the potential for life sciences research intended to enhance scientific understanding and public health to generate results that could be misused to advance biological weapon effectiveness. Such research has been called “dual-use” research because of its applicability to both biological countermeasures and biological weapons.

The federal government is a major source of life sciences research funding. Tension over the need to maintain homeland security and support scientific endeavor has led to renewed consideration of federal policies of scientific oversight. Balancing ...


Water Quality: Implementing The Clean Water Act, Claudia Copeland Jan 2006

Water Quality: Implementing The Clean Water Act, Claudia Copeland

Congressional Research Service Reports

Congress enacted the last major amendments to the Clean Water Act in 1987 (P.L. 100-4). Since then, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), states, and others have been working to implement the many program changes and additions mandated in the law. At issue today — more than 30 years after enactment of the core law — is what progress is being made to achieve its goals. In general, states and environmental groups fault EPA for delays in issuing guidance and providing assistance to carry out the law. EPA and others are critical of states, in turn, for not reaching beyond conventional knowledge ...