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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Monetary Policy and the Federal Reserve: Current Policy and Conditions
The Federal Reserve (Fed) defines monetary policy as the actions it undertakes to influence the availability and cost of money and credit. Since the expectations of market participants play an important role in determining prices and growth, monetary policy can also be defined to include the directives, policies, statements, and actions of the Fed that influence how the future is perceived. In addition, the Fed acts as a “lender of last resort” to the nation's financial system, meaning that it ensures continued smooth functioning of financial intermediation by providing financial markets with adequate liquidity. This role has become of great importance following the onset of the recent financial crisis. Congress has delegated responsibility for monetary policy to the Fed, but retains oversight responsibilities to ensure that the Fed is adhering to its statutory mandate “maximum employment, stable prices, and moderate long-term interest rates.” This report looks at the background and influences of current legislation that would affect the Fed's practices. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc87249/
The Labor Market during the Great Depression and the Current Recession
This report analyzes the labor market experiences of workers during the 1930s, which encompassed the almost five years of the Great Depression. Because it was a period very distant and different from today, considerable time is devoted to examining the employment and unemployment measures available at that time. The report ends by comparing the labor market conditions of the 1930s with those encountered by workers thus far during the recession that began in December 2007. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26169/
Outsourcing and Insourcing Jobs in the U.S. Economy: An Overview of Evidence Based on Foreign Investment Data
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U.S. Taxation of Overseas Investment and Income: Background and Issues in 2005
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Proposed Bankruptcy Legislation to Address Natural Disaster Victims
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Federal Financial Services Regulatory Consolidation: An Overview
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The Government's Long-Term Fiscal Shortfall: How Much is Attributable to Social Security?
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Katrina's Wake: Restoring Financial Services
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Social Security Reform: Growing Real Ownerships for Workers (GROW) Act of 2005, H.R. 3304
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Trade Remedies: "New Shipper" Reviews
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Tax Deductions for Catastrophic Risk Insurance Reserves: Explanation and Economic Analysis
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Costs and Benefits of Clear Skies: EPA's Analysis of Multi-Pollutant Clean Air Bills
This report examines EPA's analysis and adjusts some of its assumptions to reflect current regulations. The most important adjustment is the choice of baseline. The agency’s analysis assumes as a baseline that, in the absence of new federal legislation, EPA and the states will take no additional action to control SO2, NOx, Hg, or CO2 emissions beyond those actions finalized by mid-2004. This baseline is put forth despite three rules recently promulgated by EPA that limit SO2, NOx, and Hg emissions on a timeframe similar to that proposed by the Clear Skies legislation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs7944/
The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act: Executive Compensation
This report discusses the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (H.R. 4173), which was implemented as part of financial regulatory reform initiatives undertaken by Congress in light of the recent global economic crisis. The legislation focuses on executive compensation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29597/
Capital Gains and Securities Transactions Taxation in Japan: Fact Sheet
This fact sheet provides information on the taxation of securities transactions and capital gains income in Japan at the national level. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs155/
The Commodity Futures Modernization Act (P.L. 106-554)
The Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000 (CFMA) enacted the most sweeping amendments to derivatives law since the creation of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) in 1974. Provisions included major changes in the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) regarding the regulation of exchange-traded futures contracts, over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives, and “security futures,” contracts based on individual stocks (which were previously prohibited). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9288/
Community Services Block Grants (CSBG): Background and Funding
This report looks at the purpose and background of Community Services Block Grants (CSBG), which provide federal funds to states, territories, and tribes for distribution to local agencies to support a wide range of community-based activities to reduce poverty. CSBG was last reauthorized in 1998, although and related programs have been funded by Congressional approval since then. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc94004/
Terrorism Risk Insurance: An Overview
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Farm Disaster Assistance
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Postal Service Financial Problems and Stakeholder Proposals
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Insurance Regulation: Background and Issues
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The Russian Financial Crisis: An Analysis of Trends, Causes, and Implications
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Insurance Regulation and Competition: Background and Issues
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Insurance Regulation and Competition: Background and Issues
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Insurance Regulation and Competition: Background and Issues
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Insurance Regulation: Background and Issues
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Insurance Regulation: Background and Issues
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The Enron Bankruptcy and Employer Stock in Retirement Plans
This report describes the current laws governing the holding of employer stock in employee retirement plans and summarizes some key policy questions that pension analysts have raised about holding such stock in defined contribution retirement plans. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs2829/
Enron: Selected Securities, Accounting, and Pension Laws Possibly Implicated in its Collapse
This report takes a brief look at some of the federal statutes concerning finance that the Congress and the Executive branch may focus on in their investigations. The report considers three major areas: the federal securities laws, the federal pension laws, and accounting standards. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs2816/
Employer Stock in Retirement Plans: Bills in the 107th Congress
In the wake of the bankruptcy of Enron Corporation, numerous bills have been introduced in the 107th Congress with the intent of protecting workers from the financial losses that employees risk when they invest a large proportion of their retirement savings in securities issued by their employers. Legislative proposals include some that would directly regulate the proportion of employees’ retirement savings that can be comprised of employer securities, and others that would encourage education of employees on financial matters without imposing a cap on employee investment in employer securities. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs2817/
Employer Stock in Retirement Plans: Investment Risk and Retirement Security
This CRS Report begins by describing the shift from traditional defined benefit pensions to defined contribution plans – like the 401(k) – that has occurred over the last 20 to 25 years. It then summarizes recent research findings on the extent to which employees’ retirement savings are invested in employer stock. The third section of the report outlines the provisions of federal law that define an employer’s duty to manage its retirement plan in the best interest of the plan’s participants. The report concludes with a summary of pension reform legislation passed by the House of Representatives in April 2002 and a description of several pension reform bills that have been introduced in the Senate in 2002. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs2821/
Employer Stock in Retirement Plans: Investment Risk and Retirement Security
This CRS Report begins by describing the shift from traditional defined benefit pensions to defined contribution plans – like the 401(k) – that has occurred over the last 20 to 25 years. It then summarizes recent research findings on the extent to which employees’ retirement savings are invested in employer stock. The third section of the report outlines the provisions of federal law that define an employer’s duty to manage its retirement plan in the best interest of the plan’s participants. The report concludes with a summary of pension reform legislation passed by the House of Representatives in April 2002 and a description of several pension reform bills that have been introduced in the Senate in 2002. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs4654/
Electricity Restructuring and Tax-Exempt Bonds: Economic Analysis of Legislative Proposals
Tax-exempt bonds reduce public power's interest cost on debt and enable it to lower the price of electricity. This subsidy makes taxpayers better off only if the private market fails to provide the correct amount of electricity. In general, the private market can provide the correct amount of electricity; in those cases when it can not, the tax-exempt bond subsidy is unlikely to correct the problem. Tax-exempt bond legislation has been consistent with this perspective that an interest subsidy for electricity production does not correct a market failure; its focus has been to prohibit the spread of subsidized public power beyond its traditional service areas. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs1222/
Farm Disaster Assistance
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Farm Disaster Assistance
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Japanese and U.S. Economic Involvement in Asia and the Pacific: Comparative Data and Analysis
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Japanese Trade Balance and Exchange Rate: Seeing Through the Numbers
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Russia's Paris Club Debt: U.S. Interests
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Highway Funding, the States, and New Air Quality Standards
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Sovereign Debt in Advanced Economies: Overview and Issues for Congress
This report discusses sovereign debt, which is also called public debt or government debt, and refers to debt incurred by governments. The first section provides background information on sovereign debt, including why governments borrow, how sovereign debt differs from private debt, why governments repay their debt (or not), and how sovereign debt is measured. The second section examines the shift of concerns over sovereign debt sustainability from emerging markets in the 1990s and 2000s to advanced economies following the global financial crisis of 2008-2009, and the challenges posed by high debt levels. The third section analyzes the different policy options governments have for lowering debt levels. It also discusses the current strategy being used by most advanced economies -- fiscal austerity -- and concerns that have been raised about its global impact. Finally, the fourth section analyzes issues of particular interest to Congress, including comparisons between U.S. and European debt levels, how efforts to reduce debt levels could impact the U.S. economy, and policy options available to Congress for engaging on this issue. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc267837/
Multilateral Development Banks: Overview and Issues for Congress
This report provides an overview of Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) and highlights major issues for Congress. The first section discusses how the MDBs operate, including the history of the MDBs, their operations and organizational structure, and the effectiveness of MDB financial assistance. The second section discusses the role of Congress in the MDBs, including congressional legislation authorizing and appropriating U.S. contributions to the MDBs; congressional oversight; and U.S. commercial interests in the MDBs. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc267797/
Outer Continental Shelf: Oil and Gas Leasing and Revenue
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The Global Climate Change Initiative (GCCI): Budget Authority and Request, FY2010-FY2014
This report discusses the 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/metadc267854/
Financial Management in the Federal Government: Efforts to Improve Performance
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Social Security Reform: Effect on Benefits and the Federal Budget of Plans Proposed by the President's Commission to Strengthen Social Security
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Foreign Holdings of Federal Debt
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One Million Personal Bankruptcies a Year: Economic Implications and Policy Options
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Accounting Problems at Fannie Mae
On September 22, 2004, the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Supervision (OFHEO) made public a report that was highly critical of accounting methods at Fannie Mae, the government-sponsored enterprise that plays a leading role in the secondary mortgage market. OFHEO charged Fannie Mae with not following generally accepted accounting practices in two critical areas: (1) amortization of discounts, premiums, and fees involved in the purchase of home mortgages and (2) accounting for financial derivatives contracts. According to OFHEO, these deviations from standard accounting rules allowed Fannie Mae to reduce volatility in reported earnings, present investors with an artificial picture of steadily growing profits, and, in at least one case, to meet financial performance targets that triggered the payment of bonuses to company executives. On November 15, 2004, Fannie Mae reported that it was unable to file a third-quarter earnings statement because its auditor, KPMG, refused to sign off on the accounting results. On December 15, 2004, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), after finding inadequacies in Fannie’s accounting policies and methodologies, directed Fannie Mae to restate its accounting results since 2001. Shortly thereafter, the company’s CEO and CFO resigned. It is estimated that earnings since 2001 will be revised downwards by as much as $12 billion, but the formal restatement of earnings is not expected before late 2006. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs8305/
Agricultural Disaster Assistance
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs7108/
Agricultural Disaster Assistance
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10134/
Agricultural Disaster Assistance
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 noninsured assistance program (NAP), and emergency disaster loans. This report outlines the various agricultural disaster assistance appropriations included in the FY2007 Iraq war supplemental appropriations act; the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008; the 2008 farm bill; and the FY2008 Supplemental Appropriations Act. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10575/