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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
The Enron Loophole

The Enron Loophole

Date: July 7, 2008
Creator: Jickling, Mark
Description: The Commodity Exchange Act exempts certain energy derivatives contracts from regulation by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). These exemptions are popularly known as the "Enron loophole." Soaring energy prices have raised concerns about whether the CFTC has enough information about these unregulated markets to monitor energy trading in a comprehensive manner. A number of other bills in the 110th Congress would impose new reporting or regulatory requirements on the bilateral energy swaps market, which was not addressed by the Farm Bill.
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Community Development Block Grants: Legislative Proposals to Assist Communities Affected by Home Foreclosures

Community Development Block Grants: Legislative Proposals to Assist Communities Affected by Home Foreclosures

Date: July 15, 2008
Creator: Boyd, Eugene & Gonzales, Oscar R.
Description: In response to the rising number of home mortgage foreclosures, several bills have been introduced during the 110th Congress that would provide additional federal assistance to state and local governments with high concentrations of foreclosed homes, subprime mortgage loans, and delinquent home mortgages. At least one of these proposals, H.R. 3221, as passed by the Senate, includes provisions that would use the framework of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program to channel an additional $4 billion in assistance to state and local governments. This provision faces an uncertain future; objections to it have been raised by the Bush Administration and others, contending that the assistance will result in the rescue of lenders and speculators.
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Flood Insurance Requirements for Stafford Act Assistance

Flood Insurance Requirements for Stafford Act Assistance

Date: September 5, 2008
Creator: Liu, Edward C.
Description: The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (the Stafford Act) imposes flood insurance requirements upon eligibility for disaster assistance in two general cases: (1) if the entity seeking disaster assistance has received disaster assistance in the past, or (2) if the entity seeking disaster assistance is a state or local government or private nonprofit located in a federally designated special flood hazard area (SFHA) as determined under the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968. The requirements imposed by the Stafford Act operate independently of each other, and a potential applicant for disaster assistance may fall into both categories. This report will discuss the specific requirements imposed in each situation after briefly discussing the history of flood insurance and the relevant types of disaster assistance.
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Trade in Services: The Doha Development Agenda Negotiations and U.S. Goals

Trade in Services: The Doha Development Agenda Negotiations and U.S. Goals

Date: March 10, 2011
Creator: Cooper, William H.
Description: The United States and the other 153 members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) have been engaged in a set or "round" of negotiations called the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) since December 2001. The DDA's main objective is to refine and expand the rules by which WTO members conduct foreign trade with one another. This report is designed to assist the 112th Congress to understand and monitor progress of the negotiations and the major issues that the negotiators are addressing. The report provides a brief background section on the significance of services to the U.S. economy. It then explains briefly the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) and the structure and agenda of the services negotiations in the DDA round, including U.S. objectives in the negotiations. The report concludes with a status report on the negotiations and an examination of potential results.
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International Climate Change Financing: Needs, Sources, and Delivery Methods

International Climate Change Financing: Needs, Sources, and Delivery Methods

Date: May 5, 2011
Creator: Lattanzio, Richard K. & Leggett, Jane A.
Description: This report discusses the domestic and international efforts to increase foreign assistance to address climate change. Proponents maintain that such assistance could help promote low-emissions and high-growth economic development in lower-income countries, while simultaneously protecting the more vulnerable countries from the effects of a changing climate. The fundamental dispute concerning international financing for climate change centers upon who should pay for it and how.
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Social Security: How is it Treated in Determining the Federal Budget?

Social Security: How is it Treated in Determining the Federal Budget?

Date: December 11, 1987
Creator: Koitz, David
Description: None
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Small Business Administration: A Primer on Programs

Small Business Administration: A Primer on Programs

Date: January 20, 2006
Creator: Weiss, N. Eric
Description: None
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The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS)

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS)

Date: July 28, 2006
Creator: Jackson, James K
Description: The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) is an interagency committee that serves the President in overseeing the national security implications of foreign investment in the economy. Since it was established by an Executive Order of President Ford in 1975, the committee has operated in relative obscurity.1 According to a Treasury Department memorandum, the Committee originally was established in order to placate Congress, which had grown concerned over the rapid increase in Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) investments in American portfolio assets (Treasury securities, corporate stocks and bonds), and to respond to concerns of some that much of the OPEC investments were being driven by political, rather than by economic, motives.
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Executive Compensation in Bankruptcy: The Fairness and Accountability in Reorganizations Act

Executive Compensation in Bankruptcy: The Fairness and Accountability in Reorganizations Act

Date: April 20, 2006
Creator: Jeweler, Robin
Description: S. 2556 and its companion bill, H.R. 5113, 109th Congress, 2nd Sess. (2006), introduced by Senator Bayh and Representative Conyers, respectively, are entitled the Fairness and Accountability in Reorganizations Act of 2006. The legislation, according to its sponsors, is intended to “ensure that workers are treated more fairly during [bankruptcy] reorganizations by limiting executive compensation deals and requiring corporations to provide a more accurate picture of their holdings before attempting to modify collective bargaining agreements or promised health benefits.” This report surveys the bill’s provisions.
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The Exon-Florio National Security Test for Foreign Investment

The Exon-Florio National Security Test for Foreign Investment

Date: March 21, 2006
Creator: Jackson, James K
Description: The proposed acquisition of major operations in six major U.S. ports by Dubai Ports World and of Unocal by the China National Offshore Oil Corporation sparked intense concerns among some Members of Congress and the public and has reignited the debate over what role foreign acquisitions play in U.S. national security. The United States actively promotes internationally the national treatment of foreign firms. Several Members of Congress have introduced various measures during the 2nd Session of the 109th Congress that can be grouped into four major areas: those that deal specifically with the proposed Dubai Ports World acquisition; those that focus more generally on foreign ownership of U.S. ports; those that would amend the CFIUS process; and those that would amend the Exon-Florio process.
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