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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Contract Types: An Overview of the Legal Requirements and Issues

Contract Types: An Overview of the Legal Requirements and Issues

Date: August 24, 2010
Creator: Manuel, Kate M.
Description: This report provides an overview of the various contract types (e.g., fixed-price, cost-reimbursement) used in federal procurement and the legal requirements and issues pertaining to each. Current congressional and public interest in contract types is, in part, an outgrowth of the reported increase in the use of cost-reimbursement contracts during the George W. Bush Administration and the Obama Administration's proposal to reduce by at least 10% the funds obligated by "high risk-contracting authorities," such as cost-reimbursement, time-and-materials, and labor-hour contracts, in FY2010.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The Role of Trade Secrets in Innovation Policy

The Role of Trade Secrets in Innovation Policy

Date: August 31, 2010
Creator: Thomas, John R.
Description: This report provides an overview of the law and policy of trade secrets. It discusses the role of trade secrets in U.S. innovation policy. It then reviews the sources of trade secret law and the substantive rules that they provide. The report then provides a more detailed review of existing federal legislation that pertains to trade secrets. In its next section, the report then discusses the relationship between patent law and trade secret law. The report closes with an identification of congressional issues and options within this field.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Small Business: Access to Capital and Job Creation

Small Business: Access to Capital and Job Creation

Date: September 1, 2010
Creator: Dilger, Robert J. & Gonzales, Oscar R.
Description: The Small Business Administration’s (SBA) authorization is due to expire on September 30, 2010. The SBA administers several programs to support small businesses, including loan guarantees to help small businesses gain access to capital. This report addresses a core issue facing Congress during the SBA’s reauthorization process: what, if any, additional action should the federal government take to enhance small business access to capital?
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The Debt Limit: History and Recent Increases

The Debt Limit: History and Recent Increases

Date: September 8, 2010
Creator: Austin, D. Andrew & Levit, Mindy R.
Description: This report discusses how the total debt of the federal government can increase, an historical overview of debt limits, and how the current economic slowdown has led to higher deficits and thereby a series of debt limit increases, as well as legislation related to these increases.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The Mexican Economy After the Global Financial Crisis

The Mexican Economy After the Global Financial Crisis

Date: September 9, 2010
Creator: Villarreal, M. Angeles
Description: This report provides an overview of Mexico's economy post-financial crisis, effects of the global economic downturn, structural and other challenges in the Mexican economy, and implications for the United States.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Running Deficits: Positives and Pitfalls

Running Deficits: Positives and Pitfalls

Date: September 14, 2010
Creator: Austin, D. Andrew
Description: The FY2009 federal deficit swelled to $1.414 trillion, or nearly 10% of gross domestic product (GDP), due to the economic recession. The size of recent deficits has added to longstanding concerns regarding the federal government's long-term fiscal condition. However, deficit finance can serve as an important policy tool. This report discusses how deficit finance can help governments manage their economies and how large and persistent deficits can lead to severe economic problems.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The Mexican Economy After the Global Financial Crisis

The Mexican Economy After the Global Financial Crisis

Date: September 16, 2010
Creator: Villarreal, M. Angeles
Description: This report provides an overview of Mexico's economy post-financial crisis, effects of the global economic downturn, structural and other challenges in the Mexican economy, and implications for the United States.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The TANF Emergency Contingency Fund

The TANF Emergency Contingency Fund

Date: September 20, 2010
Creator: Falk, Gene
Description: The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 created an Emergency Contingency Fund (ECF) within the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant. The fund expired on September 30, 2010. It helped states, Indian tribes, and territories pay for additional costs of providing economic aid to families during the current economic downturn for FY2009 and FY2010. This report describes the TANF ECF as well as proposals offered in 2010 to extend and modify TANF emergency funding.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
China's Steel Industry and Its Impact on the United States: Issues for Congress

China's Steel Industry and Its Impact on the United States: Issues for Congress

Date: September 21, 2010
Creator: Tang, Rachel
Description: This report provides an overview of China's steel industry and discusses the issues and implications with regard to the U.S. steel sector.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Managing Electronic Waste: Issues with Exporting E-Waste

Managing Electronic Waste: Issues with Exporting E-Waste

Date: September 27, 2010
Creator: Luther, Linda
Description: Electronic waste (e-waste) is a term that is used loosely to refer to obsolete, broken, or irreparable electronic devices like televisions, computer central processing units (CPUs), and computer monitors. There are various issues of concern with regard to e-waste disposal and recycling. This report looks at issues specifically related to its export for recycling. Particularly, it discusses documented impacts to human health and the environment that have been tied to unsafe recycling practices in developing countries, as well as issues that have motivated certain stakeholders to divert e-waste from landfill disposal and, hence, increase recycling. It also provides an overview of various factors necessary to understand why e-waste disposal has become a concern in the United States, and it also discusses waste management requirements in the United States.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
DOD Leases of Foreign-Built Ships: Background for Congress

DOD Leases of Foreign-Built Ships: Background for Congress

Date: September 28, 2010
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald
Description: The Department of Defense (DOD) in recent years has leased some foreign-built cargo ships for total periods, including options and renewals, of almost 10 years -- a length of time that some observers argue effectively circumvents a legal requirement that U.S. military ships be built in U.S. shipyards. These observers, particularly the American Shipbuilding Association (ASA), have proposed reducing the current five-year legal limit on ship leases to two years for foreign-built ships. DOD has opposed the idea, arguing that its ship leases are the most cost-effective way to meet its needs for the ships in question. This report briefly discusses this issue, as well as related legislation.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Job Growth During the Recovery

Job Growth During the Recovery

Date: September 30, 2010
Creator: Levine, Linda
Description: Congress in recent years passed a number of bills intended in part to jump-start a recovery in the labor market from the recession that began in December 2007. Policymakers are interested in how employment has responded to stimulus measures to determine how effective the legislation has been and to decide whether additional job creation legislation is warranted. This report discusses this topic in brief.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Contract Types: An Overview of the Legal Requirements and Issues

Contract Types: An Overview of the Legal Requirements and Issues

Date: October 1, 2010
Creator: Manuel, Kate M.
Description: This report provides an overview of the various contract types (e.g., fixed-price, cost-reimbursement) used in federal procurement and the legal requirements and issues pertaining to each. Current congressional and public interest in contract types is, in part, an outgrowth of the reported increase in the use of cost-reimbursement contracts during the George W. Bush Administration1 and the Obama Administration's proposal to reduce by at least 10% the funds obligated in FY2010 by "high risk-contracting authorities," such as cost-reimbursement, time-and-materials, and labor-hour contracts.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Location-Based Preferences in Federal and Federally Funded Contracting: An Overview of the Law

Location-Based Preferences in Federal and Federally Funded Contracting: An Overview of the Law

Date: October 1, 2010
Creator: Luckey, John R. & Manuel, Kate M.
Description: This report discusses constitutional and other legal issues related to the creation and implementation of location-based preferences in federal contracting, as well as summarizes key authorities requiring or allowing federal agencies to "favor" contractors located in specific places. The report does not address federal preferences for domestic products or provisions of federal law that could, depending upon their implementation, effectively prefer local contractors, such as project labor agreements.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Responsibility Determinations Under the Federal Acquisition Regulation: Legal Standards and Procedures

Responsibility Determinations Under the Federal Acquisition Regulation: Legal Standards and Procedures

Date: October 1, 2010
Creator: Manuel, Kate M.
Description: This report discusses the standards and procedures that federal agencies use in making responsibility determinations under the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR). It discusses (1) how responsibility determinations relate to other mechanisms that the government relies upon to ensure that contractors are responsible and otherwise eligible for federal contracts; (2) the performance-related and collateral standards used in making responsibility determinations; (3) the procedures for making responsibility determinations; and (4) recently enacted or proposed amendments to the standards or procedures for responsibility determinations.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The 2007-2009 Recession: Similarities to and Differences from the Past

The 2007-2009 Recession: Similarities to and Differences from the Past

Date: October 6, 2010
Creator: Labonte, Marc
Description: According to the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), the U.S. economy was in a recession for 18 months from December 2007 to June 2009. It was the longest and deepest recession of the post-World War II era. This report provides information on the patterns found across past recessions since World War II to gauge whether and how this recession might be different.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Biomass Feedstocks for Biopower: Background and Selected Issues

Biomass Feedstocks for Biopower: Background and Selected Issues

Date: October 6, 2010
Creator: Bracmort, Kelsi
Description: The production of bioenergy - renewable energy derived from biomass - could potentially increase national energy security, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and contribute to rural economic growth. This report provides analyses of commonly discussed biomass feedstocks and their relative potential for power generation. Additional biopower issues - feedstock accessibility, the biomass power plant carbon-neutrality debate, and unintended consequences of legislative activities to promote bioenergy - are also discussed.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The Inapplicability of Limitations on Subcontracting to "Preference Contracts" for Small Businesses: Washington-Harris Group

The Inapplicability of Limitations on Subcontracting to "Preference Contracts" for Small Businesses: Washington-Harris Group

Date: October 6, 2010
Creator: Manuel, Kate M.
Description: This report discusses Washington-Harris Group, a protest filed with the Government Accountability Office (GAO) alleging, among other things, that an agency improperly awarded a "preference contract" to a service-disabled veteran-owned small business that proposed to subcontract a greater percentage of work on the contract than allowed under the Small Business Administration's limitations on subcontracting.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Legal Protections for Subcontractors on Federal Prime Contracts

Legal Protections for Subcontractors on Federal Prime Contracts

Date: October 6, 2010
Creator: Manuel, Kate M.
Description: This report provides an overview of the payment and other protections for subcontractors on certain federal prime contracts under the Miller Act, the 1988 amendments to the Prompt Payment Act, and the Small Business Act. Congress enacted these statutes to give subcontractors rights and remedies they would not otherwise have because of legal doctrines relating to sovereign immunity, privity of contract, and freedom to contract. The report also discusses legislation introduced in the 111th Congress that would provide additional protections for subcontractors.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The TANF Emergency Contingency Fund

The TANF Emergency Contingency Fund

Date: October 6, 2010
Creator: Falk, Gene
Description: The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 created an Emergency Contingency Fund (ECF) within the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant. The fund expired on September 30, 2010. It helped states, Indian tribes, and territories pay for additional costs of providing economic aid to families during the current economic downturn for FY2009 and FY2010. This report describes the TANF ECF as well as proposals offered in 2010 to extend and modify TANF emergency funding.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Small Business Administration HUBZone Program

Small Business Administration HUBZone Program

Date: October 15, 2010
Creator: Dilger, Robert Jay
Description: The Small Business Administration (SBA) administers several programs to support small businesses, including the Historically Underutilized Business Zone Empowerment Contracting (HUBZone) program. The HUBZone program is a small business federal contracting assistance program "whose primary objective is job creation and increasing capital investment in distressed communities." This report examines the arguments presented both for and against targeting assistance to geographic areas with specified characteristics, such as low income, high poverty, or high unemployment, as opposed to providing assistance to people or businesses with specified characteristics. It then assesses the arguments presented both for and against the creation and continuation of the HUBZone program.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
U.S. International Trade: Trends and Forecasts

U.S. International Trade: Trends and Forecasts

Date: October 15, 2010
Creator: Nanto, Dick K. & Donnelly, J. Michael
Description: This report discusses the U.S. trade deficit in light of the 2008 global financial crisis, with emphasis on international trade and U.S. trade policy, most recent developments in trade of goods and service, trade forecasts for the future, and how issues such as the U.S. trade deficit and international trade, particularly with China, are commonly perceived.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Tariff Modifications: Miscellaneous Tariff Bills

Tariff Modifications: Miscellaneous Tariff Bills

Date: October 20, 2010
Creator: Jones, Vivian C.
Description: This report discusses the current process by which duty suspension bills and other provisions are introduced, reviewed by several government agencies and committee staff, made available for public comment, and finally included in omnibus miscellaneous trade and technical corrections bills (MTBs) legislation reported out by the committees of jurisdiction.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA): Congressional Interest and Executive Enforcement

Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA): Congressional Interest and Executive Enforcement

Date: October 21, 2010
Creator: Seitzinger, Michael V.
Description: This report briefly discusses the Foreign Corrupt Practice Act of 1977 (FCPA), which was intended to prevent corporate bribery of foreign officials. Criticisms of the act's operation and scope began almost immediately after its passage and have continued. This report discusses these criticisms.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department