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International Monetary Fund: Background and Issues for Congress

Description: This report evaluates the purpose, membership, financing, and focus of the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) activities. It also discusses the role of Congress in shaping U.S. policy at the IMF and concludes by addressing key issues, both legislative and oversight-related, that Congress may wish to consider, including: the role of the IMF as a lender of last resort; the adequacy of IMF resources; and the effectiveness of IMF surveillance.
Date: September 19, 2011
Creator: Weiss, Martin A.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Export-Import Bank: Background and Legislative Issues

Description: The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank), an independent federal government agency, is the official export credit agency of the United States. It helps finance American exports of manufactured goods and services, with the objective of contributing to the employment of U.S. workers, primarily in circumstances when alternative financing is not available. Ex-Im Bank also may assist U.S. exporters to meet foreign, officially sponsored, export credit competition. Ex-Im Bank's main programs are direct loans, loan guarantees, working capital guarantees, and export credit insurance. Ex-Im Bank transactions are backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government. The Bank operates under a renewable charter, the Export-Import Bank Act of 1945, which requires that all of the Bank's financing have a reasonable assurance of repayment and directs the Bank to supplement, and to not compete with, private capital.
Date: February 9, 2011
Creator: Ilias, Shayerah
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Depreciating Dollar: Economic Effects and Policy Response

Description: This report discusses the trend of depreciation of the dollar since 2002. This raises concern among some in Congress and the public that the dollar's decline is a symptom of broader economic problems, such as a weak economic recovery, rising public debt, and a diminished standing in the global economy. However, a falling currency is not always a problem, but possibly an element of economic adjustments that are, on balance, beneficial to the economy.
Date: April 15, 2011
Creator: Elwell, Craig K.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Conflicts of Interest in Derivatives Clearing

Description: This report examines how conflicts of interest may arise regarding derivatives clearing and analyzes the measures that the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) proposed to address them. It discusses what effect, if any, ownership and control limits may have on derivatives clearing; and whether such limits effectively address the types of conflicts of interest that are of concern to some in the 112th Congress. These rulemakings may interest the 112th Congress as part of its oversight authority for the CFTC and SEC. Trends in clearing and trading derivatives, and the ownership of swap clearinghouses, are discussed in the Appendix.
Date: March 22, 2011
Creator: Miller, Rena S.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Standard & Poor's Downgrade of U.S. Government Long-Term Debt

Description: This report discusses the lowering of the U.S. government debt credit rating by Standard & Poor's (S&P) on August 5, 2011. It discusses the reasons behind the lowered credit rating and implications for the U.S. economy, other debt markets, and banking regulations.
Date: August 9, 2011
Creator: Jickling, Mark
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Regulation of Debit Interchange Fees

Description: This report provides a description of the debit payments process and network pricing, as well as an overview of the effects of the Durbin Amendement implemented by the Federal Reserve which includes a cap on the interchange fee for large issuers. In particular, the Durbin Amendment is discussed in light of comments by Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke.
Date: July 12, 2011
Creator: Getter, Darryl E.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Multilateral Development Banks: How the United States Makes and Implements Policy

Description: This report analyzes how the United States makes policy towards the multilateral development banks (MDBs) and identifies ways by which Congress can shape U.S. policy and influence the activities of the banks themselves.
Date: March 14, 2011
Creator: Nelson, Rebecca M. & Weiss, Martin A.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Small Business Administration Microloan Program

Description: This report describes the Microloan program's eligibility standards and operating requirements for lenders and borrowers and examines the arguments presented by the program's critics and advocates. It also examines changes to the program authorized by P.L. 111-240, the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010.
Date: August 9, 2011
Creator: Dilger, Robert J.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Greece's Debt Crisis: Overview, Policy Responses, and Implications

Description: This report covers the sovereign debt crisis currently faced by the Eurozone which has culminated with Greece, which is at the center of the crisis, Ireland, and Portugal borrowing money from other European countries and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in order to avoid default. Topics covered include: the build-up of Greece's debt crisis, policy responses with limited success, and broader implications. Specific issues for Congress include how the U.S. economy and banking industry will be affect by these recent events.
Date: August 18, 2011
Creator: Nelson, Rebecca M.; Belkin, Paul & Mix, Derek E.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Currency Manipulation: The IMF and WTO

Description: This report describes how the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Trade Organization (WTO) deal with the issue of currency manipulation. It also discusses apparent discrepancies in their charters and ways those differences might be addressed.
Date: January 28, 2011
Creator: Sanford, Jonathan E.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

A Balanced Budget Constitutional Amendment: Background and Congressional Options

Description: This report provides an overview of the issues and options that have been raised during prior consideration of proposals for an amendment to the constitution regarding the balancing of the U.S. government.
Date: August 3, 2011
Creator: Saturno, James V. & Lynch, Megan Suzanne
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Treasury Securities and the U.S. Sovereign Credit Default Swap Market

Description: This report explains how the sovereign credit default swap (CDS) market works and how such CDS price trends may illuminate fiscal stresses facing sovereign governments. Although CDS prices may be imperfect measures of the federal government's fiscal condition, some investors may try to glean information from those price trends. CDS prices have been playing an important role in the European government debt markets and could potentially affect U.S debt markets in the future. European policymakers have debated certain restrictions on types of sovereign CDS trading, and such calls for reform may be of interest to U.S. lawmakers.
Date: July 25, 2011
Creator: Austin, D. Andrew & Miller, Rena S.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Changing the Federal Reserve's Mandate: An Economic Analysis

Description: This report discusses a number of implementation issues surrounding an economic inflation target. These include what rate of inflation to target, what inflation measure to use, whether to set a point target or range, and what penalties to impose if a target is missed.
Date: February 25, 2011
Creator: Labonte, Marc
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Finance and the Economy: Occupy Wall Street in Historical Perspective

Description: This report presents examples of political statements about the fundamental costs and benefits of finance and recent economic research that points to aspects of financial activity that may not be advantageous to the real economy. The report does not attempt a comprehensive survey of either literature, but provides a reminder of the breadth of the historical debates that have shaped congressional oversight of financial institutions and markets.
Date: November 14, 2011
Creator: Jickling, Mark & Hoskins, Sean M.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Iraq’s Debt Relief: Procedure and Potential Implications for International Debt Relief

Description: This report discusses the Iraqi debt problem in three parts: [1] overview of the Iraq debt situation following the ouster of the Saddam regime; [2] subsequent debt relief negotiations and their resolution; [3] possible implications for future debt relief cases that arise from Iraq's experience. The implications are: a willingness by the international community to grant a stay on the enforcement of creditor rights; an increased flexibility in Paris Club debt relief decisions; and an unwillingness by successor regimes to claim that their debt is odious and repudiate it.
Date: March 29, 2011
Creator: Weiss, Martin A.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Foreign Direct Investment in the United States: An Economic Analysis

Description: Foreign direct investment in the United States declined sharply after 2000, when a record $300 billion was invested in U.S. businesses and real estate. [Note: The United States defines foreign direct investment as the ownership or control, directly or indirectly, by one foreign person (individual, branch, partnership, association, government, etc.) of 10% or more of the voting securities of an incorporated U.S. business enterprise or an equivalent interest in an unincorporated U.S. business enterprise. 15 CFR § 806.15 (a)(1).]
Date: February 1, 2011
Creator: Jackson, James K.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Globalization, Worker Insecurity, and Policy Approaches

Description: This report discusses the trends driving global economic integration, sources of worker insecurity and policy approaches. There appears to be a range of views on the merits of each of these policy approaches and the extent to which they can be designed and implemented in a way that would reduce worker insecurity without undermining the benefits of globalization.
Date: December 22, 2011
Creator: Ahearn, Raymond J.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Globalization, Worker Insecurity, and Policy Approaches

Description: Today's global economy, or what many call globalization, has a growing impact on the economic futures of American companies, workers, and families. The current wave of globalization is supported by three broad trends: technology, increase in world supply of labor, and reduced government policies to international trade and investment.
Date: December 22, 2011
Creator: Ahearn, Raymond J.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Community Services Block Grants (CSBG): Background and Funding

Description: The Administration's FY2012 budget would zero-out certain national activities related to Community Service Block Grant (CSBG), including Rural Community Facilities and Job Opportunities for Low-Income Individuals (JOLI). The budget requests $20 million for Community Economic Development (down from the FY2010 level of $36 million but more than the final FY2011 level of $18 million), and would target these funds toward the multiagency Healthy Food Financing Initiative. The Administration would fund Individual Development Accounts (IDAs, also known as Assets for Independence) at $24 million in FY2012, which is the same level as in FY2010 and FY2011.
Date: May 26, 2011
Creator: Spar, Karen
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Multilateral Development Banks: How the United States Makes and Implements Policy

Description: This report analyzes how the United States makes policy towards the multilateral development banks (MDBs) and identifies ways by which Congress can shape U.S. policy and influence the activities of the banks themselves.
Date: January 26, 2011
Creator: Sanford, Jonathan E.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Multilateral Development Banks: U.S. Contributions FY2000-FY2011

Description: This report shows in tabular form how much the Administration has requested and how much Congress has appropriated for U.S. payments to the multilateral development banks (MDBs) since 2000. It also provides a brief description of the MDBs and the ways they fund their operations. It will be updated periodically as annual appropriation figures are known.
Date: March 11, 2011
Creator: Nelson, Rebecca M.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department