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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Tolling U.S. Highways
This report provides a brief history of tolling on federal roads and relevant current law. It also discusses financial realities on toll roads and tolling policy issues. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc944767/
Funding and Financing Highways and Public Transportation
This report begins with a discussion of the problems associated with the trust fund financing system (which supports both federal highway and public transportation programs) and then explores possible options for financing surface transportation infrastructure. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc944716/
Commodity Futures Trading Commission: Proposed Reauthorization in the 114th Congress
This report provides information about the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), which regulates futures, most options, and swaps markets. It includes background information, a description of the CFTC reauthorization process, and more extensive explanations of selected provisions in H.R. 2289 and S. 2917 that were recently reauthorized or changed. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc944738/
The 2016 G-20 Summit
This report discusses the 2016 G-20 summit where the leaders of the Group of Twenty (G-20) countries met in Hangzhou, China. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc944798/
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/
Social Security Reform: Current Issues and Legislation
This report discusses The Social Security reform, which is an issue of interest to policy makers that arises in various contexts, from improving retirement security to reducing federal budget deficits. The report looks at the Social Security debate, Social Security future projections, and public opinion on Social Security reform. It also looks at past reform measures, from the 109th-112th Congress, none of which received congressional action. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc276922/
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/metadc284475/
Social Security: Calculation and History of Taxing Benefits
This report discusses the Social Security system that provides monthly benefits to qualified retirees, disabled workers, and their spouses and dependents. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc287901/
Small Business Administration: A Primer on Programs and Funding
This report provides an overview of the Small Business Administration (SBA) business loan guaranty programs. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc284448/
The Volcker Rule: A Legal Analysis
This report provides an introduction to the Volcker Rule, which is the regulatory regime imposed upon banking institutions and their affiliates under Section 619 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-203). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc284450/
Foreign Investment in U.S. Securities
This report analyzes the extent of foreign portfolio investment in the U.S. economy, assesses the economic conditions that are attracting such investments, and discusses the impact such investments are having on the economy. This report relies on a comprehensive set of data regarding capital flows represented by purchases and sales of U.S. government securities and U.S. and foreign corporate stocks and bonds into and out of the United States; the data is reported by the Treasury Department on a monthly basis. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc284489/
The Global Climate Change Initiative (GCCI): Budget Authority and Request, FY2010-FY2015
This report discusses financial assistance for global climate change initiatives in developing countries. The Global Climate Change Initiative (GCCI) -- one of the three main pillars to the 2010 directive -- aims to integrate climate change considerations into relevant foreign assistance, from FY2008 enacted funding request for FY2010 through the FY2014. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc306547/
The American Opportunity Tax Credit: Overview, Analysis, and Policy Options
This report provides both an in-depth description of the American Opportunity Tax Credit, an analysis of its economic impact, and an overview of various policy options. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc332894/
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/metadc332938/
Foreign Holdings of Federal Debt
This report presents current data on estimated ownership of U.S. Treasury securities and major holders of federal debt by country. Federal debt represents the accumulated balance of borrowing by the federal government. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc332921/
Proposals to Eliminate Public Financing of Presidential Campaigns
This report discusses Presidential campaign funding and provides a brief policy overview and raises potential issues for congressional consideration. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc463489/
Proposals to Eliminate Public Financing of Presidential Campaigns
This report discusses Presidential campaign funding and provides a brief policy overview and raises potential issues for congressional consideration. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc463132/
An Analysis of the Geographic Distribution of the Mortgage Interest Deduction
This report analyzes variation in the mortgage interest deduction tax expenditure across states. Tax expenditures, such as the mortgage interest deduction, can generally be viewed as government spending administered via the tax code, or as tax incentives that are intended to achieve particular policy objectives. Regardless of the interpretation, tax expenditures provide a benefit to qualifying taxpayers by lowering their federal tax liabilities. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc463404/
The "Volcker": Proposals to Limit "Speculative" Proprietary Trading by Banks
This report briefly discusses the permissible proprietary trading activities of commercial banks and their subsidiaries under current law. It then analyzes the Volcker Rule proposals under the House- and Senate-passed financial reform bills and under the Conference Report, which would limit the ability of commercial banking institutions and their affiliated companies and subsidiaries to engage in trading unrelated to customer needs and investing in and sponsoring hedge funds or private equity funds. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491215/
Tax Credit Bonds: Overview and Analysis
Almost all state and local governments sell bonds to finance public projects and certain qualified private activities. Most of the bonds issued are tax-exempt bonds because the interest payments are not included in the bondholder's (purchaser's) federal taxable income. In contrast, Tax Credit Bonds (TCBs) are a type of bond that offers the holder a federal tax credit instead of interest. This report explains the tax credit mechanism and describes the market for the bonds. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491320/
Coordinated Party Expenditures in Federal Elections: An Overview
This report examines campaign finance law in the context of political party committee expenditures. It discusses relevant Supreme Court precedent and recent legislative activity. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491338/
Who Regulates Whom? An Overview of U.S. Financial Supervision
This report provides an overview of current U.S. financial regulation: which agencies are responsible for which institutions, activities, and markets, and what kinds of authority they have. Some agencies regulate particular types of institutions for risky behavior or conflicts of interest, some agencies promulgate rules for certain financial transactions no matter what kind of institution engages in it, and other agencies enforce existing rules for some institutions, but not for others. These regulatory activities are not necessarily mutually exclusive. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491273/
The European Union's Response to the 2007-2009 Financial Crisis
This report examines the EU responses to the financial crisis through changes to the financial regulatory structure at the EU level as well as the member country level. The countries examined are Germany and the United Kingdom, which have single financial regulators; the Netherlands, which has a twin peaks regulatory structure; and Spain, which has a functional structure. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491275/
"Living Wills": The Legal Regime for Constructing Resolution Plans for Certain Financial Institutions
One of the chief objectives of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (DFA) is to promote financial stability within the United States, without the need for emergency governmental assistance to troubled firms. To achieve this goal, the DFA establishes a heightened regulatory regime for certain, generally large "covered financial institutions." A pillar of this heightened regulatory regime is that each covered financial institution must submit "credible" plans to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (FRB) and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) detailing how the firm could be quickly resolved in an orderly fashion under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code or other applicable insolvency regime "in the event of a material financial distress or failure." These resolution plans are commonly referred to as "living wills." This report reviews the legal structure of the DFA's living will requirements, pursuant to both DFA Section 165(d) and the regulations and guidance issued jointly by the FRB and FDIC, and explains the August 2014 joint announcement of the FRB and FDIC regarding the inadequacies of the 2013 living wills filed by the 11 largest, most complex financial institutions in the country. This report also examines some of the steps that these institutions might voluntarily take. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491021/
The "Volcker": Proposals to Limit "Speculative" Proprietary Trading by Banks
This report briefly discusses the permissible proprietary trading activities of commercial banks and their subsidiaries under current law. It then analyzes the Volcker Rule proposals under both the House- and Senate-passed financial reform bills. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491207/