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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Key Issues in Derivatives Reform
This report provides background related to financial derivatives. It also analyzes market structure and regulation, derivatives reform, legislative proposals and exemptions for end users, safeguards for uncleared over-the-counter (OTC) swaps, and hypothetical examples.
Who Regulates Whom and How? An Overview of U.S. Financial Regulatory Policy for Banking and Securities Markets
This report provides an overview of the regulatory policies of the agencies that oversee banking and securities markets and explains which agencies are responsible for which institutions, activities, and markets. 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 them, and other agencies enforce existing rules for some institutions, but not for others. These regulatory activities are not necessarily mutually exclusive.
International Law and Agreements: Their Effect upon U.S. Law
This report provides an introduction to the roles that international law and agreements play in the United States. This includes the role of different branches of government play in navigating such laws.
Access to Broadband Networks: The Net Neutrality Debate
This report discusses the continued debate amongst congressional policymakers regarding telecommunications reform. A major point of the ongoing discussion is whether action is needed to ensure unfettered access to the Internet.
Foreign Direct Investment: Current Issues
This report presents an overview of current issues related to foreign direct investment in the economy and the development of U.S. policy toward inward and outward direct investment. This report also assesses the role of foreign direct investment in the economy and the costs and benefits of direct investment.
Navy Irregular Warfare and Counterterrorism Operations: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and potential issues for Congress on the Navy's irregular warfare (IW) and counterterrorism (CT) operations. The Navy's IW and CT activities pose a number of potential oversight issues for Congress, including the definition of Navy IW activities and how much emphasis to place on IW and CT activities in future Navy budgets.
Monetary Policy and the Federal Reserve: Current Policy and Conditions
This report provides an overview of monetary policy and recent developments. It discusses issues for Congress, including transparency and proposals to change the Fed's mandate, and ends with a brief overview of the Fed's regulatory responsibilities.
Israel: Background and U.S. Relations
This report describes issues related to U.S. aid provided to Palestine to support prevention/combating against terrorism, creating coexistence with Israel and self-governance, and meeting humanitarian needs. In includes introductory and historical background as well as in-depth analysis of the types of U.S. bilateral aid to Palestine, U.S. contributions to the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the near East (UNRWA), and the issues involved in determining future aid.
State Sponsors of Acts of International Terrorism--Legislative Parameters: In Brief
This brief report provides information on legislation that authorizes the designation of any foreign government as a state sponsor of acts of international terrorism.
Permissible Securities Activities of Commercial Banks Under the Glass-Steagall Act (GSA) and the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA)
This report explains the extent to which commercial banks, their subsidiaries, and affiliates were able to engage in securities activities, including securities underwriting, dealing, and brokerage, under the authorities of the Glass-Steagall Act (GSA) and other pre-GLBA (Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act) banking laws, most notably the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956 (BHCA; 70 Stat. 133). It also discusses how the volume and scope of these securities activities expanded over time, and how the GLBA changed the GSA construct by facilitating affiliations among commercial banks and securities firms..
Trends in Discretionary Spending
This report discusses historical, current, and projected discretionary spending trends. It also describes how current discretionary spending trends reflect national priorities. Discretionary spending is provided in, and controlled by, annual appropriations acts, which fund many of the routine activities commonly associated with such federal government functions as running executive branch agencies, congressional offices and agencies, and international operations of the government.
Ukraine: Current Issues and U.S. Policy
This report offers background information on Ukraine's current political and economic situation. It also discusses U.S. policy, U.S. aid to Ukraine, the congressional response, and related legislation.
Accelerated Vehicle Retirement for Fuel Economy: "Cash for Clunkers"
This report outlines the key provisions of the Consumer Assistance to Recycle and Save (CARS) program established by P.L. 111-32, which provide rebates to prospective purchasers toward the purchase of new, fuel-efficient vehicles, provided the trade-in vehicles are scrapped. It discusses the impact of the program on the economy and also summarizes similar programs in other industrial countries.
Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF): Program Overview and Issues
This report discusses the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) Amendments of 1996, which authorized a drinking water state revolving loan fund (DWSRF) program. It includes an overview of funding, allotments and set-asides, drinking water infrastructure needs, program issues, and legislative activity.
The European Capital Markets Union
This report briefly discusses the implications of the European Commission's recently drafted proposal for a Capital Markets Union (CMU) to complement its current efforts to create a Banking Union. The CMU is intended to strengthen capital markets in the 28-member European Union (EU) in order to provide a viable alternative to the current bank-centered funding model commonly used by European firms.
Prevalence of Mental Illness in the United States: Data Sources and Estimates
This report briefly describes the methodology and selected findings of three large federally funded surveys that provide national prevalence estimates of diagnosable mental illness: the National Comorbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R), the National Comorbidity Survey Replication Adolescent Supplement (NCS-A), and the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). This report presents prevalence estimates of any mental illness and serious mental illness based on each survey and ends with a brief discussion of how these prevalence estimates might inform policy discussions.
Ongoing Government Assistance for American International Group (AIG)
This report discusses government assistance for American International Group (AIG), the future of AIG and the ultimate government cost of the intervention that are unclear. The Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) has been the primary vehicle for most of these actions.
Internet Governance and the Domain Name System: Issues for Congress
This report provides a definition regarding Internet governance and how the Internet is currently governed. The report discusses the role of United States government and future model of Internet governance.
Navy DDG-51 and DDG-1000 Destroyer Programs: Background and Issues for Congress
This report presents background information and potential oversight issues for Congress on the Navy's Arleigh Burke (DDG-51) and Zumwalt (DDG-1000) class destroyer programs. The Navy's proposed FY2015 budget requests funding for the procurement of two DDG-51s. Decisions that Congress makes concerning these programs could substantially affect Navy capabilities and funding requirements, and the U.S. shipbuilding industrial base.
Coast Guard Polar Icebreaker Modernization: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and issues for Congress on the sustainment and modernization of the Coast Guard's polar icebreaker fleet, which performs a variety of missions supporting U.S. interests in polar regions.
U.S.-Mexico Economic Relations: Trends, Issues, and Implications
This report provides an overview of U.S.-Mexico trade and economic trends, the Mexican economy, the effects of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and major trade issues between the United States and Mexico.
Energy Tax Incentives: Measuring Value Across Different Types of Energy Resources
This report presents a comparison of the cost of tax incentives associated with fossil and renewable energy resources, relative to amount of energy produced using each type of resource. The report also reviews other analyses that compare the cost of energy tax incentives relative to production, across different types of energy technologies.
Firearms at Army Corps Water Resource Projects: Proposed Legislation and Issues for Congress
This report discusses issues for Congress regarding public safety and infrastructure security at water resource projects managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Proposed legislation would bar the Secretary of the Army from promulgating or enforcing regulations that prohibit individuals from possessing firearms (including assembled or functional firearms) at Corps projects and instead require that firearms possession comply with state law.
Deficient Bridge Count Drops Again
This report briefly discusses overall decline in the number of deficient bridges in 2014 and the long-term downward trend, particularly among bridges posing structural safety concerns.
Nigeria's Boko Haram and the Islamic State
This report discusses the Nigerian Islamist insurgent group Boko Haram, and their statement pledging loyalty to the leader of the Syria/Iraq-based Islamic State (IS/ISIL) organization and the implication for U.S. foreign policy and national security.
Information Warfare: The Role of Social Media in Conflict
This report briefly discusses the use if social media as a tool of information warfare. The ability to rapidly disseminate graphic images and ideas to shape the public narrative transforms social media into a strategic weapon in the hands of terrorists, insurgent groups, or governments engaged in conflict.
The Unemployment Trust Fund (UTF): State Insolvency and Federal Loans to States
This report summarizes how insolvent states may borrow funds from the federal account within the Unemployment Trust Fund (UTF) to meet their unemployment compensation (UC) benefit obligations.
FEMA's Pre-Disaster Mitigation Program: Overview and Issues
This report discusses Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM), "Project Impact," and related legislative issues that Congress currently faces. PDM, as federal law and a program activity, began in 1997. Congress established a pilot program, which FEMA named "Project Impact," to test the concept of investing prior to disasters to reduce the vulnerability of communities to future disasters. From its beginnings as "Project Impact" to its current state, the PDM program has grown in its level of appropriated resources and the scope of participation nationwide.
Defense: FY2015 Authorization and Appropriations
This report discusses the Department of Defense (DOD) budget plan for FY2015. It includes an overview of the budget, historic context, and highlights in the base budget, as well as budget items that fall under the FY2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and the FY2015 DOD Appropriations Bill (H.R. 4870; H.R. 83, Division C).
Automatic Cost of Living Adjustments: Some Economic and Practical Considerations
This report looks at how automatic cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) influence the budget and identifies major programs that have indexing provisions. It also explains what price indexes attempt to measure and discusses some of their weaknesses. Finally, it points out some practical things to keep in mind when establishing an indexing provision.
The Army's Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV): Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information on the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV) and it discusses the Army's proposed replacement to the Vietnam-era M-113 personnel carriers, which are still in service in a variety of support capacities in Armored Brigade Combat Teams (ABCTs).
Long-Term Unemployment and Recessions
This report analyzes the trend in long-term unemployment over the postwar period and offers explanations for its unusually high incidence during the most recent recession. It compares the individual, job, and household characteristics of the long-term unemployed during the latest recession (2007-2009) with the long-term unemployed at the end of the two previous recessions (1990-1991 and 2001).
Industrial Competitiveness and Technological Advancement: Debate Over Government Policy
This report discusses congressional interest in the pace of U.S. technological advancement due to its influence on U.S. economic growth, productivity, and international competitiveness. The proper role of the federal government in technology development and the competitiveness of U.S. industry continues to be a topic of congressional debate.
Pipeline Safety and Security: Federal Programs
This report discusses congressional interest in securing the nation's pipelines. Nearly half a million miles of oil and natural gas transmission pipeline crisscross the United States. While an efficient and fundamentally safe means of transport, many pipelines carry hazardous materials with the potential to cause public injury and environmental damage.
The Help America Vote Act and Election Administration: Overview and Issues
This report discusses the Help America Vote Act (HAVA; P.L. 107-252) enacted in 2002. It provides background information about HAVA and its provisions, the Election Assistance Commission (EAC), funding for the agency and for state programs to improve elections, and a number of enduring election administration issues.
Body Armor for Law Enforcement Officers: In Brief
This report contains an overview of the Matching Grant Program for Law Enforcement Armor Vests (BPV program). It also provides a discussion of data on law enforcement agencies that require their officers to wear armor vests while on duty, research on why officers may choose to wear armor vests, research on the life cycle for armor vests, data on the use of body armor by law enforcement officers who were killed with a firearm, and research on the effectiveness of armor vests.
Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program: An Overview
This report provides a general overview of the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB). It describes the structure of FEHB, including eligibility for the program and coverage options available to enrollees, as well as premiums, benefits and cost sharing, and general financing of FEHB. The report also describes the role of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) in administering the program.
House Committee Markups: Manual of Procedures and Procedural Strategies
This manual examines procedures and strategy related to committee markups and provides sample procedural scripts.
Universal Service Fund: Background and Options for Reform
This report discusses the idea that all Americans should be able to afford access to the telecommunications network; this is commonly called the "universal service concept" and can trace its origins back to the 1934 Communications Act.
Outsourcing and Insourcing Jobs in the U.S. Economy: An Overview of Evidence Based on Foreign Investment Data
This report provides an overview of evidence based on roreign investment data that analyzes the extent of direct investment into and out of the economy, as well as the relationship between direct investment and the broader economic changes that are occurring in the U.S. economy.
Foreign Heads of State Addressing Congress
This report discusses the historical precedent for an addresses Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made before a joint meeting of Congress on March 3, 2015.
Organized Crime in the United States: Trends and Issues for Congress
This report provides a background on organized crime in the United States as well as the tools that Congress has afforded for the federal government to combat it.
Singapore: Background and U.S. Relations
This report discusses the current economic and political state of the island nation of Singapore, focusing in particularly on its economic success and its relationship with the United States.
Legislative Actions to Repeal, Defund, or Delay the Affordable Care Act
This report summarizes legislative actions taken to repeal, defund, delay, or otherwise amend the Affordable Care Act (ACA) since it was signed into law. The report is divided into two sections. The first section focuses on authorizing legislation, and the second section discusses appropriations bills.
U.S. Solar Photovoltaic Manufacturing: Industry Trends, Global Competition, Federal Support
This report looks at the solar photovoltaic manufacturing industry and its supply chain; employment trends; international trade flows; and federal policy efforts aimed at supporting the industry. It does not cover other methods of solar-power generation, such as concentrating solar power plants.
What's the Difference?--Comparing U.S. and Chinese Trade Data
This report provides a comparison of U.S. and Chinese trade data. The U.S. trade deficit with the People's Republic of China (China) remains a major source of bilateral tension. Members of Congress and other U.S. government officials often point to the bilateral trade imbalance as evidence that China is not competing fairly in the global market.
Use of Trademarks as Keywords to Trigger Internet Search Engine Advertisements
This report provides a summary and analysis of judicial opinions that have developed the current state of trademark law governing keyword-triggered advertising. It discusses background of the issue, keyword advertising, and litigation related to keyword advertising.
Terminating Contracts for the Government's Convenience: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
This report provides answers to 12 questions regarding termination for convenience -- the exercise of the government's right to bring to an end the performance of all or part of the work provided for under a contract prior to the expiration of the contract "when it is in the Government's interest" to do so -- frequently asked by congressional committees and staff. These questions and their answers address everything from the contractual and other bases for the government's right to terminate to posttermination settlements between the government and the contractor. They also address differences between termination for convenience and termination for default, cancellation, and certain other actions that the government may take (e.g., "de-scoping" pursuant to a Changes clause).
FY2011 Budget Documents: Internet and GPO Availability
This report provides brief descriptions of the budget volumes and related documents, together with Internet addresses, Government Printing Office (GPO) stock numbers, and prices to obtain these publications. It also tells how to find locations of government depository libraries, which can provide both printed copies for reference use and Internet access to the text.
Ozone Air Quality Standards: EPA's Proposed January 2010 Revisions
This report discusses the standard-setting process for ambient air, the specifics of the new standard, and issues raised by the Administrator's choice; and it describes the steps that will follow EPA's promulgation.