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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Social Security Administration: Administrative Budget Issues
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc808292/
Social Security Administration: Administrative Budget Issues
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 FY2008 was about $658 billion, about 99% of which was mandatory spending on benefit payments. This report focuses on SSA’s administrative spending, which is discretionary and amounts to about 1% of SSA’s total spending. This funding is provided in the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies appropriations bill. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc814822/
Social Security Administration: Administrative Budget Issues
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 FY2008 was about $658 billion, about 99% of which was mandatory spending on benefit payments. This report focuses on SSA’s administrative spending, which is discretionary and amounts to about 1% of SSA’s total spending. This funding is provided in the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies appropriations bill. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc817843/
Social Security Administration: Administrative Budget Issues
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 FY2007 was about $624 billion, about 99% of which was mandatory spending on benefit payments. This report focuses on SSA’s spending for administrative expenses, which is discretionary and amounts to about 1% of SSA’s total spending. This funding is provided in the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies appropriations bill. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc812806/
The State of Campaign Finance Policy: Recent Developments and Issues for Congress
This report includes updated material that emphasizes the issues most prominently before the 113th Congress. It also discusses foundational information about major elements of campaign finance policy. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc822564/
Enron and Stock Analyst Objectivity
Stock analysts provide research on companies and make recommendations on their stocks. When analysts are employed by brokerage firms and provide information for the firms’ retail and institutional clients, they are called sell-side analysts. Analysts who work specifically for institutional investors like mutual and pension funds are known as buy-side analysts. Because of their widespread presence in the national media, sell-side analysts’ recommendations have become part of the public domain and they can have significant influence on stock prices. This report examines the performance of the stock analysts in the Enron case. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc821612/
Selected International Depreciation Rates by Asset and Country
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc821611/
Mutual Fund Reform Bills in the 108th Congress: A Side-by-Side Comparison
This report compares the provisions of these legislative proposals. It serves as an historical record of legislative activity in the 108th Congress. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc821627/
Derivatives, Risk Management, and Policy in the Energy Markets
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc847726/
China's Currency: A Summary of the Economic Issues
This report summarizes the main findings of CRS Report RL32165, China's Currency: Economic Issues and Options for U.S. Trade Policy. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc847670/
National Flood Insurance Program: Treasury Borrowing in the Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc847589/
Electronic Banking: The Check Truncation Issue
This report discusses legislative issues regarding check truncation, which occurs when the check is stopped before it reaches the paying bank and the check clearing process is completed electronically. The United States banking system processes approximately 42.5 billion checks annually, but only a fraction of these checks is processed electronically by check truncation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc822471/
The World Bank: Changing Leadership and Issues for the United States and Congress
The decision of World Bank President James Wolfensohn to resign in May 2005 has triggered the search for a successor. This report discusses the process for choosing a successor and the implications for U.S. policy. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc822461/
Small Business: Access to Capital and Job Creation
This report addresses a core issue facing Congress during the 112th Congress: what, if any, additional action should the federal government take to enhance small business access to capital? After briefly discussing the role of small business in job creation and retention, this report provides an assessment of the supply and demand for small business loans. It also examines selected laws enacted during the 110th and 111th Congresses that were designed to enhance small business access to capital by increasing the supply of small business loans and/or the demand for small business loans. This report also includes empirical evidence concerning small business lending and borrowing, including the number and amount of small business loans guaranteed by the SBA. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc822668/
Taxation of Hedge Fund and Private Equity Managers
This report discusses the major issues surrounding the tax treatment of hedge fund and private equity managers. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc822410/
The State of Campaign Finance Policy: Recent Developments and Issues for Congress
This report provides an overview of the campaign finance landscape and policy issues that may confront Congress. It includes information about the development of campaign finance law with selected litigation as well as potential policy considerations and emerging issues. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc855922/
Corporate Expatriation, Inversions, and Mergers: Tax Issues
This report begins with a brief discussion of relevant portions of the U.S. corporate income tax system before examining how inversions were commonly structured. It then looks at how Congress and the Department of the Treasury have reduced the benefits of inversions, and concludes with an examination of methods that remain to invert and policy options available to prevent or limit these inversions. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc855776/
Campaign Financing
This report discusses various issues regarding campaign finance law and potential options for policy responses. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc855787/
Military Lending Act: Timeline, New Rules, and Issues
This report briefly discusses new rules under the Military Lending Act (MLA) that change the definition of consumer credit for covered servicemembers and dependents; it will apply to transactions or accounts that are established on or after October 3, 2016. These rules may have an impact on the regulatory burdens for businesses that provide credit products to the military and may also affect military readiness. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc855896/
FHFA's Administrative Reform of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Housing Finance System
This report discusses housing finance reform and structural changes enacted by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), particularly in relation to government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs). It includes sections on GSEs and conservatorship; FHFA reforms broken down into information about risk-sharing transactions, a common securitization platform, and single security; and Congressional action on GSE reform. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc855808/
U.S.-EU Data Privacy: From Safe Harbor to Privacy Shield
This report describes the financial harm caused by data breaches, explains how those breaches are carried out, discusses resolved and remaining impediments to completing the EMV (Europay, MasterCard, and Visa) transition in the United States, and identifies areas of potential Congressional interest. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc855893/
Campaign Finance: Potential Legislative and Policy Issues for the 111th Congress
This report provides an overview of selected campaign finance policy issues that have received recent legislative attention, or have otherwise been prominent, and which could receive attention during the 111th Congress. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc821542/
Selected Legislative Proposals to Reform the Housing Finance System
The 113th Congress has seen several developments in the effort to reform the housing finance system. In the House, the Protecting American Taxpayers and Homeowners Act of 2013 (PATH Act; H.R. 2767) was ordered to be reported out of the House Financial Services Committee on July 24, 2013. This report will briefly explain the different approaches to housing finance reform offered by these legislative proposals, focusing on efforts to replace Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and reform FHA. The report does not describe every provision of the proposals but discusses major concepts and themes. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc821545/
Small Business: Access to Capital and Job Creation
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? digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc820914/
Iceland's Financial Crisis
This report discusses the banking collapse in Iceland. Iceland's banking system had collapsed as a result of a culmination of a series of decisions the banks made that left them highly exposed to disruptions in financial markets. The collapse of the banks raised questions for U.S. leaders and others about supervising banks that operate across national borders, especially as it has become increasingly difficult to distinguish the limits of domestic financial markets. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc503428/
Argentina's Defaulted Sovereign Debt: Dealing with the "Holdouts"
In December 2001, following an extended period of economic and political instability, Argentina suffered a severe financial crisis, leading to the largest default on sovereign debt in history. This report discusses efforts Argentina has made over the past decade, since that financial crisis, to restructure its debt. The report also includes discussion of the Argentine 2010 Bond Exchange and an outlook of Argentina's economic future. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31348/
The Global Financial Crisis: Analysis and Policy Implications
The world has entered a global recession that is causing widespread business contraction, increases in unemployment, and shrinking government revenues. The process for coping with the crisis by countries across the globe has been manifest in four basic phases. The first has been intervention to contain the contagion and restore confidence in the system. The second has been coping with the secondary effects of the crisis, particularly the global recession and flight of capital from countries in emerging markets and elsewhere that have been affected by the crisis. The third phase of this process is to make changes in the financial system to reduce risk and prevent future crises. The fourth phase of the process is dealing with political, social, and security effects of the financial turmoil. The role for Congress in this financial crisis is multifaceted. This report describes this role, as well as the financial crisis in general, in detail. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26285/
Hedge Funds: Should They Be Regulated?
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26047/
The Abandoned Mine Land Fund: Grants Distribution and Issues
The Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA, P.L. 95-87), enacted in 1977, established reclamation standards for all coal surface mining operations, and for the surface effects of underground mining. It also established the Abandoned Mine Land (AML) program to promote the reclamation of sites mined and abandoned prior to the enactment of SMCRA. To finance reclamation of abandoned mine sites, the legislation established fees on coal production. These collections are divided into federal and state shares; subject to annual appropriation, AML funds are distributed annually to states with approved reclamation programs. This report describes the distribution of these funds and the various issues that arise from said distribution. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs398/
Effects of Flat Taxes and Other Proposals on Housing: An Overview
Studies have estimated that some of these revisions would cause a decline in demand for houses and significant reduction in house prices--perhaps in excess of 15 percent. These studies, however, presumed a fixed supply of housing; even a limited supply response would greatly decrease predicted asset price effects. Supply response is likely to be large in the long run and not insignificant in the short run. Effects on housing demand might also be mitigated by increases in savings rates and lower interest rates. Thus, effects of the flat tax on housing prices are likely to be limited in the short run and very small in the long run. Rental housing demand, on the other hand, would be encouraged with a shift to a consumption tax base. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs359/
The Status of the Basel III Capital Adequacy Accord
The new Basel Capital Adequacy Accord (Basel III) is an agreement among countries' central banks and bank supervisory authorities on the amount of capital banks must hold as a cushion against losses and insolvency. Basel III is of concern to Congress mainly because it could put U.S. financial institutions at a competitive disadvantage in world financial markets. This report follows the basic elements of the Basel III documents on the types of capital requirements and their phase-in schedule, which were approved by the Basel member central bank governors on September 12, 2010. The elements are the new definition of Tier 1 capital, the minimum common equity capital, the capital conservation buffer, countercyclical capital buffer, liquidity coverage ratio, global leverage ratio, and wind-down government capital injections. The report concludes with some implications drawn from its content. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29623/
The Stability of the International Banking System
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The Stability of the International Banking System
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The Global Financial Crisis: Increasing IMF Resources and the Role of Congress
This report provides information on the role the IMF has played in the financial crisis, international agreement to increase the financial resources of the IMF, and the role of Congress in increasing the Fund's resources. As will be discussed in detail at the end of the report, congressional authorization, and perhaps appropriation, would be required to increase U.S. contributions to the IMF. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc700864/
U.S. Direct Investment Abroad: Trends and Current Issues
The United States is the largest investor abroad and the largest recipient of direct investment in the world. Some observers believe U.S. firms invest abroad to avoid U.S. labor unions or high U.S. wages, however, 70% of U.S. foreign direct investment is concentrated in high income developed countries. Even more striking is the fact that the share of investment going to developing countries has fallen in recent years. Most economists conclude that direct investment abroad does not lead to fewer jobs or lower incomes overall for Americans and that the majority of jobs lost among U.S. manufacturing firms over the past decade reflect a broad restructuring of U.S. manufacturing industries. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc84103/
Iceland's Financial Crisis
On November 19, 2008, Iceland and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) finalized an agreement on a $6 billion economic stabilization program supported by a $2.1 billion loan from the IMF. Iceland's banking system had collapsed as a culmination of a series of decisions the banks made that left them highly exposed to disruptions in financial markets. The collapse of the banks also raises questions for U.S. leaders and others about supervising banks that operate across national borders, especially as it becomes increasingly difficult to distinguish the limits of domestic financial markets. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10825/
The Global Financial Crisis: The Role of the International Monetary Fund (IMF)
This report discusses two potential roles the International Monetary Fund (IMF) may have in helping to resolve the current global financial crisis: (1) immediate crisis control through balance of payments lending to emerging market and less-developed countries and (2) increased surveillance of the global economy through better coordination with the international financial regulatory agencies. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10812/
The Global Financial Crisis: The Role of the International Monetary Fund (IMF)
This report discusses two potential roles the International Monetary Fund (IMF) may have in helping to resolve the current global financial crisis: (1) immediate crisis control through balance of payments lending to emerging market and less-developed countries and (2) increased surveillance of the global economy through better coordination with the international financial regulatory agencies. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10813/
U.S. Direct Investment Abroad: Trends and Current Issues
The United States is the largest investor abroad and the largest recipient of direct investment in the world. Some observers believe U.S. firms invest abroad to avoid U.S. labor unions or high U.S. wages, however, 70% of U.S. foreign direct investment is concentrated in high income developed countries. Even more striking is the fact that the share of investment going to developing countries has fallen in recent years. Most economists conclude that direct investment abroad does not lead to fewer jobs or lower incomes overall for Americans and that the majority of jobs lost among U.S. manufacturing firms over the past decade reflect a broad restructuring of U.S. manufacturing industries. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10574/
Multilateral Development Banks: U.S. Contributions FY1998-2009
This report shows in tabular form how much the Administration requested and how much Congress appropriated during the past 11 years for U.S. payments to the multilateral development banks (MDBs). It also provides a brief description of the MDBs and the ways they fund their operations. It will be updated periodically. Three companion reports provide further information on the MDBs. See CRS Report RS20793, Multilateral Development Banks: Basic Background, CRS Report RS20791, Multilateral Development Banks: Procedures for U.S. Participation, and CRS Report RS22134 International Financial Institutions: Funding U.S. Participation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10562/
China's Currency Devaluation
This report discusses China's recent changes to its method for determining the value of its currency (the renminbi). On Tuesday, August 11, 2015, the People's Bank of China (PBC), China's central bank, surprised global financial markets by lowering the reference rate of the renminbi, effectively depreciating the currency. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc743421/
Glass-Steagall Act: Commercial vs. Investment Banking
This report discusses debate over reform of the Nation's financial structure in the 100th Congress includes re-examination of "the separation of banking and commerce." This separation was mandated by the Glass-Steagall Act (part of the Banking Act of 1933); and was carried forward into the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956, as amended in 1970 and thereafter. The resulting isolation of banking from securities was designed to (1) maintain the integrity of the banking system; (2) prevent self-dealing and other financial abuses; and (3) limit stock market speculation. By half a century later, the "wall" it created seemed to be crumbling, as bankers created new financial products resembling securities, and securities firms innovated new financial products resembling loans and deposits. The ongoing process of "financial deregulation" has evoked calls for Congress to give depository institutions new powers, especially in the securities field. Financial deregulation in the United Kingdom, Canada, and Japan has put additional pressure on Congress to re-examine this Act. Concerns over a seemingly fragile system of depository institutions persist, however, tending to place counter-pressure on Congress to maintain the Act. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9065/
Financing the U.S. Trade Deficit
The U.S. merchandise trade deficit is a part of the overall U.S. balance of payments, a summary statement of all economic transactions between the residents of the United States and the rest of the world, during a given period of time. Some Members of Congress and other observers have grown concerned over the magnitude of the growing U.S. merchandise trade deficit and the associated increase in U.S. dollar-denominated assets owned by foreigners. This report provides an overview of the U.S. balance of payments, an explanation of the broader role of capital flows in the U.S. economy, an explanation of how the country finances its trade deficit or a trade surplus, and the implications for Congress and the country of the large inflows of capital from abroad. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9158/
Foreign Investment in U.S. Securities
Foreign capital inflows are playing an important role in the U.S. economy by bridging the gap between domestic supplies of and demand for capital. Foreign investors now hold more than 55% of the publicly-held and -traded U.S. Treasury securities. This report relies on a comprehensive set of data on capital flows, represented by purchases and sales of U.S. government securities and U.S. and foreign corporate stocks, bonds, into and out of the United States, that is reported by the Treasury Department on a monthly basis. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9160/
The U.S. Financial Crisis: The Global Dimension with Implications for U.S. Policy
This report examines the global ramifications of the financial crisis, which exposed fundamental weaknesses in financial systems worldwide, and despite coordinated easing of monetary policy by governments and trillions of dollars in intervention by governments and the International Monetary Fund, the crisis continues. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc795679/
Federal-Aid Highway Program (FAHP): In Brief
This report discusses the major characteristics of the federal highway program that have been constant since the early 1920s. Generally, federal money can be spent only on designated federal-aid highways, which make up roughly a quarter of U.S. public roads. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc272036/
Monetary Policy and the Federal Reserve: Current Policy and Conditions
This report discusses how the Federal Reserve (Fed) handles monetary policy, including background information about the execution of monetary policy, the recent and current stance of monetary policy, and current legislation and Congressional oversight that would affect the Fed's practices. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc272078/
Financing the U.S. Trade Deficit
This report provides an overview of the U.S. balance of payments, an explanation of the broader role of capital flows in the U.S. economy, an explanation of how the country finances its trade deficit or a trade surplus, and the implications for Congress and the country of the large inflows of capital from abroad. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc272094/
Proposals to Eliminate Public Financing of Presidential Campaigns
This report discusses the Presidential campaign funding and provides a brief policy overview and raises potential issues for congressional consideration. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc272015/
Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP): Implementation and Status
This report provides a brief outline of the programs created under the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), changes made by Congress, and a summary of the current status and estimated costs of the program. It also provides an Appendix that contains detailed discussions of the individual TARP programs. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc276901/