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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Why is the Household Saving Rate So Low?

Why is the Household Saving Rate So Low?

Date: January 9, 2008
Creator: Cashell, Brian W.
Description: This report begins by showing how much the household saving rate has declined in recent years. Next, it explains how household saving is measured, and provides some detail on how saving varies across the income distribution. Finally, it discusses factors that may account for the decline in household saving, as well as how much of a policy concern the decline in household saving may be.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Financial Services and General Government (FSGG): FY2008 Appropriations

Financial Services and General Government (FSGG): FY2008 Appropriations

Date: December 20, 2007
Creator: Hatch, Garrett L.
Description: This report is a guide to one of the regular appropriations bills that Congress considers each year. It is designed to supplement the information provided by the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees on Defense. For both defense authorization and appropriations, this report summarizes the status of the bills, their scope, major issues, funding levels, and related congressional activity.
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Understanding Mortgage Foreclosure: Recent Events, the Process, and Costs

Understanding Mortgage Foreclosure: Recent Events, the Process, and Costs

Date: November 5, 2007
Creator: Getter, Darryl E.
Description: This report provides a general analysis and overview of current foreclosure issues addressed in the bills cited above. It begins with a description of the behavior of aggregate foreclosure rates. The behaviors of foreclosure rates are placed in the context of activity in the housing and mortgage market to illustrate any relationships. The foreclosure process is then explained, first from the point of view of a traditional financial lending institution, and then from the viewpoint of securitization when loans are sold in secondary markets. Finally, this report collects information from other studies to obtain an estimate of the average foreclosure costs. A brief discussion of the effect uniform foreclosure legislation may have on costs follows.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Housing Issues in the 110th Congress

Housing Issues in the 110th Congress

Date: November 1, 2007
Creator: Perl, Libby; McCarty, Maggie; Foote, Bruce E.; Boyd, Eugene; Getter, Darryl E.; Jackson, Pamela J. et al.
Description: This report examines housing-related issues that have become prominent in the 110th Congress. Possibly the most visible issue is the prevalence of subprime loans and growing mortgage default and foreclosure rates. Congress has responded with numerous hearings and legislative proposals both to change the way in which the lending and home-buying industry is regulated and to assist borrowers who are facing default and foreclosure.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Student Loans, Student Aid, and FY2008 Budget Reconciliation

Student Loans, Student Aid, and FY2008 Budget Reconciliation

Date: October 23, 2007
Creator: Stoll, Adam; Smole, David P. & Mercer, Charmaine
Description: This report reviews and briefly describes the major proposals contained in both the House-passed and Senate-passed versions of H.R. 2669 to achieve savings in mandatory spending through changes to federal student loan programs and to enhance student aid benefits or make other changes to existing federal student aid programs. It also reviews and describes the major changes enacted under P.L. 110-84 that are projected to achieve savings in mandatory spending and those that establish new or enhanced student aid benefits or that otherwise amend pre-existing federal student aid programs.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Financial Services and General Government (FSGG): FY2008 Appropriations

Financial Services and General Government (FSGG): FY2008 Appropriations

Date: July 20, 2007
Creator: Hatch, Garrett L.
Description: This report is a guide to a new appropriations bill that Congress is considering for the first time this year. It is designed to supplement the information provided by the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees on Financial Services and General Government. It summarizes the status of the bill, its scope, major issues, funding levels, and related congressional activity.
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Student Loans, Student Aid, and FY2008 Budget Reconciliation

Student Loans, Student Aid, and FY2008 Budget Reconciliation

Date: July 18, 2007
Creator: Stoll, Adam; Smole, David P. & Mercer, Charmaine
Description: This report reviews and briefly describes the major proposals that would change the federal student loan programs to achieve savings in mandatory spending and the proposals that would enhance student aid benefits or result in changes to existing federal student aid programs.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Risk Management and Critical Infrastructure Protection: Assessing, Integrating, and Managing Threats, Vulnerabilities and Consequences

Risk Management and Critical Infrastructure Protection: Assessing, Integrating, and Managing Threats, Vulnerabilities and Consequences

Date: July 17, 2007
Creator: Moteff, John
Description: This report is meant to support congressional oversight by discussing, in more detail, what this task entails and issues that need to be addressed. In particular, the report defines terms (e.g., threat, vulnerability, and risk), discusses how they fit together in a systematic analysis, describes processes and techniques that have been used to assess them, and discusses how the results of that analysis can inform resource allocation and policy.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Social Security Administration: Administrative Budget Issues

Social Security Administration: Administrative Budget Issues

Date: July 17, 2007
Creator: Romig, Kathleen
Description: The Social Security Administration (SSA) administers the Social Security program (Old-Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance, or OASDI) and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, and provides administrative support to Medicare and several other federal programs. Total SSA spending in FY2006 was about $597 billion, 98% of which was mandatory spending on benefit payments. This report focuses on SSA’s spending for administrative expenses, which is discretionary and amounts to 2% of SSA’s total spending. This funding is provided in the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies appropriations bill.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Student Loans, Student Aid, and FY2008 Budget Reconciliation

Student Loans, Student Aid, and FY2008 Budget Reconciliation

Date: July 6, 2007
Creator: Stoll, Adam; Smole, David P. & Mercer, Charmaine
Description: This report reviews and briefly describes the major changes proposed in H.R. 2669 to federal student loan and other federal student aid programs that would achieve savings in mandatory spending or that would result in changes to existing federal student aid programs.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Taxation of Hedge Fund and Private Equity Managers

Taxation of Hedge Fund and Private Equity Managers

Date: July 5, 2007
Creator: Jickling, Mark & Marples, Donald J.
Description: This report provides background on hedge funds and private equity and summarizes the tax issues.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Hedge Funds: Should They Be Regulated?

Hedge Funds: Should They Be Regulated?

Date: July 2, 2007
Creator: Jickling, Mark
Description: In view of the growing impact of hedge funds on a variety of financial markets, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in October 2004 adopted a regulation that requires hedge funds to register as investment advisers, disclose basic information about their operations, and open their books for inspection. The regulation took effect in February 2006, but on June 23, 2006, a court challenge was upheld and the rule was vacated. S. 1402 and H.R. 2586 would reinstate the SEC's authority. H.R. 2683 would require defined benefit pension plans to disclose investments in hedge funds. In December 2006, the SEC proposed raising the "accredited investor" standard - to be permitted to invest in hedge funds, an investor would need $2.5 million in assets, instead of $1 million.
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China’s Currency: Economic Issues and Options for U.S. Trade Policy

China’s Currency: Economic Issues and Options for U.S. Trade Policy

Date: June 28, 2007
Creator: Morrison, Wayne M. & Labonte, Marc
Description: The continued rise in China’s trade surplus with the United States and the world, and complaints from U.S. manufacturing firms and workers over the competitive challenges posed by Chinese imports have led several Members to call for a more aggressive U.S. stance against certain Chinese trade policies they deem to be unfair. This report examines China's currency policy its implications.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Pension Funds Investing in Hedge Funds

Pension Funds Investing in Hedge Funds

Date: June 15, 2007
Creator: Klunk, William
Description: The proportion of U.S. corporate-defined benefit pension funds investing in hedge funds has increased to 24% in 2006, up from 19% in 2004 and 12% in 2000. Although statistics vary, total corporate pension fund assets allocated to hedge funds in 2006 was 2.1%. Because of hedge funds’ risky nature, rapid growth, lack of oversight, and recent losses, some wonder if they are appropriate investments for workers’ retirement funds. This report discusses concerns regarding hedge funds and examines possible policy options.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Social Security Administration: Administrative Budget Issues

Social Security Administration: Administrative Budget Issues

Date: June 13, 2007
Creator: Romig, Kathleen
Description: The Social Security Administration (SSA) administers the Social Security program (Old-Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance, or OASDI) and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, and provides administrative support to Medicare and several other federal programs. Total SSA spending in FY2006 was about $597 billion, 98% of which was mandatory spending on benefit payments. This report focuses on SSA’s spending for administrative expenses, which is discretionary and amounts to 2% of SSA’s total spending. This funding is provided in the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies appropriations bill.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Campus-Based Student Financial Aid Programs Under the Higher Education Act

Campus-Based Student Financial Aid Programs Under the Higher Education Act

Date: May 14, 2007
Creator: Smole, David P.
Description: This report begins by providing a brief description of each of the campus-based programs, including the terms under which financial aid is awarded to students and the procedures under which federal funds are allocated to institutions for that purpose. It then provides historical information on federal funds appropriated for each of the programs, an analysis of the number and types of students served, and selected program statistics.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Subprime Mortgages: Primer on Current Lending and Foreclosure Issues

Subprime Mortgages: Primer on Current Lending and Foreclosure Issues

Date: March 19, 2007
Creator: Murphy, Edward Vincent
Description: This report discusses the issue of subprime mortgages, which are loans extended to borrowers with weak credit profiles. Subprime mortgages entail higher risk of delinquency and default. Recent increases in subprime borrower foreclosures and lender bankruptcies have prompted concerns that some lenders’ underwriting guidelines are too loose and that some borrowers may not have fully understood the risks of the mortgage products they chose. Regulatory agencies are revisiting the guidance they provide lenders and are reevaluating required disclosures to consumers. In addition, Congress is holding hearings on the subject and may consider consumer protection legislation.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Agricultural Credit: Institutions and Issues

Agricultural Credit: Institutions and Issues

Date: March 8, 2007
Creator: Monke, Jim
Description: The federal government has a long history of providing credit assistance to farmers by issuing direct loans and guarantees, and creating rural lending institutions. These institutions include the Farm Service Agency (FSA) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which makes or guarantees loans to farmers who cannot qualify at other lenders, and the Farm Credit System (FCS), which is a network of borrower-owned lending institutions operating as a government-sponsored enterprise. This report discusses legislation regarding this credit assistance expected in the the 110th Congress. Appropriators will consider funding for FSA’s farm loan programs, and the agriculture committees may consider changes to FSA and FCS lending programs. The 2007 farm bill is expected to be the venue for many of the authorizing issues, although stand-alone legislation may be used for extensive reforms.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Selected International Depreciation Rates by Asset and Country

Selected International Depreciation Rates by Asset and Country

Date: January 30, 2007
Creator: Mast, Brent W.
Description: The depreciation provisions in the U.S. tax system are of recurring interest to Congress. More than 100 bills were introduced in the 109th Congress that addressed some aspect of depreciation. Concerns about the U.S. depreciation system tend to begin with the criticism that updates to the system have not kept pace with technological advancements of the assets for which it is utilized to account. This report provides information on the depreciation systems of selected European Union countries (France, Germany, Ireland, Spain, and the United Kingdom) by presenting depreciation rates for buildings; computers; expensable assets; motor vehicles; patents; plant, equipment, machinery, and tools; and software.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
National Flood Insurance Program: Treasury Borrowing in the Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina

National Flood Insurance Program: Treasury Borrowing in the Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina

Date: January 25, 2007
Creator: King, Rawle O.
Description: This report discusses the the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which has been financially overwhelmed by claims and expenses related to the massive flooding caused by Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
U.S. Direct Investment Abroad: Trends and Current Issues

U.S. Direct Investment Abroad: Trends and Current Issues

Date: January 19, 2007
Creator: Jackson, James K
Description: None
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Derivatives, Risk Management, and Policy in the Energy Markets

Derivatives, Risk Management, and Policy in the Energy Markets

Date: December 11, 2006
Creator: Pirog, Robert
Description: This report provides a systematic guide to understanding the use of financial derivative contracts in the energy industry, focusing specifically on the petroleum and natural gas sectors.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Agricultural Disaster Assistance

Agricultural Disaster Assistance

Date: October 6, 2006
Creator: Chite, Ralph M.
Description: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) offers several permanently authorized programs to help farmers recover financially from a natural disaster, including federal crop insurance, the non-insured assistance program and emergency disaster loans. In recent years, Congress frequently has made supplemental financial assistance available to farmers and ranchers on an ad-hoc basis, most notably in the form of direct crop disaster payments and emergency livestock assistance. Congress provided an estimated $3.1 billion of such assistance in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2003 (P.L. 108-7) for 2001 and 2002 crop and livestock losses. Some farm groups would like to see similar assistance provided for 2003 losses, particularly in regions of the Midwest and West that have experienced prolonged drought conditions. To date, no ad-hoc assistance has been made available for 2003 losses.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Regulation of Naked Short Selling

Regulation of Naked Short Selling

Date: October 3, 2006
Creator: Jickling, Mark
Description: None
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