Congressional Research Service Reports - Browse

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Privileged Business on the House Floor
This report discusses privileged business, which relates to the order or priority of business before the House and is defined in House rules and precedents as business that has precedence over the regular order of business.
Brazil in Crisis
This report briefly examines the political situation and discusses public opinion regarding the Rousseff Administration.
Corporate Inversions: Frequently Asked Legal Questions
This report answers frequently-asked legal questions about corporate inversions. It answers questions relating to the scope and operation of Section 7874, including how key statutory terms have been interpreted by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). It discusses important Department of Treasury regulations that were finalized in 2015 and 2016, and answers questions about the IRS's authority to issue these regulations. Other questions that are answered relate to legislation introduced in the 114th Congress, the interaction of Section 7874 with tax treaties, and the imposition of an excise tax on corporate insiders who benefit from an inversion.
The European Union's Small Business Act: A Different Approach
This report provides information and analysis useful to Congress as it crafts small business policy for the United States. The Small Business Act for Europe (2008) is not an act, per se, as understood in the United States.
Stealing Trade Secrets and Economic Espionage: An Overview of the Economic Espionage Act
This report discusses the theft of trade secrets, which is considered a federal crime when the information relates to a product in interstate or foreign commerce. Offenders face lengthy prison terms as well as heavy fines, and they must pay restitution.
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.
Brazil in Crisis
This report examines the current political and economic climate in Brazil, which is in the midst of severe economic and political crises that are closely intertwined and unlikely to be resolved quickly.
Job Creation in the Manufacturing Revival
This report examines the current status of the manufacturing sector in the U.S., which is a subject of ongoing interest in Congress. After rebounding from the 2007-09 recession, U.S. manufacturing output has grown little since the second half of 2014. Over the same period, employment in the U.S. manufacturing sector has been flat. These trends defy expectations that forces such as higher labor costs in the emerging economies of Asia, heightened concern about the risk of disruptions to long, complex supply chains, and the development of inexpensive domestic supplies of natural gas would increase the relative attractiveness of the United States as a location for factory production.
Slow Growth in the Current U.S. Economic Expansion
This report summarizes the U.S. economic growth record and reviews a number of explanations forwarded by economists for why this expansion has featured slow growth. Some explanations focus on short-term factors that would not be expected to persist, while others focus on long-term changes to the economy. The report does not discuss labor market conditions, except in the context of how they contribute to the pace of GDP growth.
Athletic Footwear for the Military: The Berry Amendment Controversy
This report briefly examines issues regarding the Berry Amendment, which is a 1941 federal law (10 U.S.C. §2533a) requiring the Department of Defense (DOD) to purchase only wholly American-made clothing, textiles, and other essential items for the military.
The Buy American Act--Preferences for "Domestic" Supplies: In Brief
This report discusses the Buy American Act of 1933, which is the earliest and arguably the best known of various statutes regarding federal procurement of domestic products. The act attempts to protect U.S. businesses and labor by restricting the acquisition and use of end products or construction materials that are not "domestic."
Protection of Trade Secrets: Overview of Current Law and Legislation
This report provides an overview of existing federal, state, and international laws governing trade secret protection, describes the limitations of these legal regimes, and reviews pending legislation, the Defend Trade Secrets Act (S. 1890), that is intended to address such deficiencies.
Brazil in Crisis
Brazil is in the midst of deepening economic and political crises that are closely intertwined and unlikely to be resolved quickly. This report briefly examines the political situation and discusses public opinion regarding the Rousseff Administration.
Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA): Congressional Interest and Executive Enforcement, In Brief
This report briefly discusses the Foreign Corrupt Practice Act of 1977 (FCPA), which was intended to prevent corporate bribery of foreign officials. Criticisms of the act's operation and scope began almost immediately after its passage and have continued. This report addresses these criticisms.
Local Food Systems: Selected Farm Bill and Other Federal Programs
This report examines the federal support of local food systems, such as sales of locally-produced foods which comprise a small but growing part of U.S. agricultural sales.
What Does the Gig Economy Mean for Workers?
This report provides an overview of the gig economy -- i.e., the collection of markets that match providers to consumers on a gig (or job) basis in support of on-demand commerce (e.g., Uber, TaskRabbit) -- and identifies legal and policy questions relevant to its workforce.
Methods of Estimating the Total Cost of Federal Regulations
This report analyzes these two approaches for estimating the total cost of federal regulations. In discussing each approach, the report provides an overview of the advantages, a brief case study, and an analysis of the potential issues or inherent problems using the case study to illustrate the concepts.
GAO Bid Protests: An Overview of Time Frames and Procedures
This report provides an overview of the time frames and procedures in a Government Accountability Office (GAO) bid protest, including (1) what issues can be protested with GAO; (2) who can file or be a party to a GAO protest; (3) the procedures for bringing and resolving GAO protests; (4) the time frames involved in GAO protests; (5) the automatic stay of contract award or performance triggered by a GAO protest, as well as the basis for agency overrides of automatic stays and judicial review of agency override determinations; (6) the basis and effects of GAO decisions; and (7) reconsideration and "appeal" of GAO decisions.
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, and the second section discusses the role of Congress in the MDBs.
Small Business: Access to Capital and Job Creation
This report discusses the role of small business in job creation and retention, then provides an assessment of the supply and demand for small business loans and recently enacted laws designed to enhance small business access to capital. It also examines recent actions concerning the SBA's budget and concludes with a brief overview of legislative options available to address small business access to capital issues during the 114th Congress.
The Internet Tax Freedom Act: In Brief
This report discusses the Internet Tax Freedom Act (ITFA; P.L. 105-277), which enacted in 1998, implemented a three-year moratorium preventing state and local governments from taxing Internet access, or imposing multiple or discriminatory taxes on electronic commerce.
The Debt Limit: History and Recent Increases
This report discusses congressional restrictions on federal debt. The statutory debt limit applies to almost all federal debt. The limit applies to federal debt held by the public (that is, debt held outside the federal government itself) and to federal debt held by the government's own accounts.
Selected Legal Mechanisms Whereby the Government Can Hold Contractors Accountable for Failure to Perform or Other Misconduct
This report provides an overview of selected legal mechanisms that the federal government could rely upon in holding contractors accountable for deficiencies in their performance under the contract, or for other misconduct.
GAO Bid Protests: Trends and Analysis
This report is one of two providing Congress with background on the GAO bid-protest process. It analyzes trends in bid protests filed with GAO, why companies protest, the impact bid protests have on acquisitions, the most common grounds for GAO to sustain a protest, and trends in bid protests filed against DOD.
The Internet Tax Freedom Act: In Brief
This report discusses the Internet Tax Freedom Act (ITFA; P.L. 105-277), which enacted in 1998, implemented a three-year moratorium preventing state and local governments from taxing Internet access, or imposing multiple or discriminatory taxes on electronic commerce.
Reform of U.S. International Taxation: Alternatives
This report describes and assesses the principal prescriptions that have been offered for broad reform of the international system. It begins with an overview of current law and possible revisions. It then sets the framework for considering economic efficiency as well as tax shelter activities. Finally, it reviews alternative approaches to revision in light of those issues.
Small Business Administration Microloan Program
The Small Business Administration’s (SBA’s) Microloan program provides direct loans to qualified nonprofit intermediary lenders who, in turn, provide “microloans” of up to $50,000 to small businesses and nonprofit child care centers. It also provides marketing, management, and technical assistance to microloan borrowers and potential borrowers. This report opens with a discussion of the rationale provided for having a Microloan program, describes the program’s eligibility standards and operating requirements for lenders and borrowers, and examines the arguments presented by the program’s critics and advocates. It then discusses P.L. 111-240, the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, which increased the Microloan program’s loan limit for borrowers from $35,000 to $50,000, and the aggregate loan limit for intermediaries after their first year of participation in the program from $3.5 million to $5 million.
Research Tax Credit: Current Law and Policy Issues for the 114th Congress
Technological innovation is a primary engine of long-term economic growth, and research and development (R&D) serves as the lifeblood of innovation. The federal government encourages businesses to invest more in R&D than they otherwise would in several ways, including a tax credit for increases in spending on qualified research above a base amount. This report describes the current status of the credit, summarizes its legislative history, discusses policy issues it raises, and describes legislation to modify and extend it.
Federal Land Ownership: Acquisition and Disposal Authorities
This report describes the primary authorities of the following agencies for acquiring and disposing of federal land. These four federal agencies--the National Park Service (NPS), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), and Bureau of Land Management (BLM), all in the Department of the Interior (DOI), and the U.S. Forest Service (FS) in the Department of Agriculture--administer about 95% of those lands.
Small Business Administration Microloan Program
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.
Cybersecurity and Information Sharing: Legal Challenges and Solutions
While considerable debate exists with regard to the best strategies for protecting America’s various cyber-systems and promoting cybersecurity, one point of general agreement amongst cyber-analysts is the perceived need for enhanced and timely exchange of cyber-threat intelligence both within the private sector and between the private sector and the government. This report examines the various legal issues that arise with respect to the sharing of cybersecurity intelligence, with a special focus on two distinct concepts: (1) sharing of cyberinformation within the government’s possession and (2) sharing of cyber-information within the possession of the private sector.
Research Tax Credit: Current Law and Policy Issues for the 114th Congress
This report describes the current status of the research tax credit, summarizes its legislative history, discusses policy issues it raises, and describes legislation to modify and extend it.
Legal Authorities Governing Federal Contracting and Subcontracting with Small Businesses
This report provides an overview of the various legal authorities governing small business contracting and subcontracting, as well as the relationship between them. It also explains the roles of the Small Business Administration (SBA), procuring activities, Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA), Government Accountability Office (GAO), and other tribunals in implementing and construing the law governing federal contracting and subcontracting with small businesses.
Legislation to Facilitate Cybersecurity Information Sharing: Economic Analysis
This report analyzes the incentives for companies to share information about cybersecurity breaches with other companies and the federal government.
Small Business Administration Trade and Export Promotion Programs
This report begins with the history, role, and scope of the Small Business Administration's (SBA's) export promotion activities, and the creation of the Office of International Trade (OIT). Next, quantitative data from SBA and qualitative data from other sources are used to provide performance analysis of SBA's international programs. This report concludes with a presentation of three issues for consideration during an era where concerns of fiscal responsibility and economic recovery are high priorities for many policy makers.
Trade Adjustment Assistance for Firms: Economic, Program, and Policy Issues
This report discusses the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) programs, which were authorized by Congress in the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 to help workers and firms adjust to import competition and dislocation caused by trade liberalization. It provides information about TAAF program and policy issues, as well as legislation to reauthorize the TAAF program.
Small Business Administration and Job Creation
The Small Business Administration (SBA) administers several programs to support small businesses, including loan guaranty programs, disaster loan programs, management and technical assistance training programs, and federal contracting programs. Congressional interest in these programs has increased in recent years, primarily because they are viewed as a means to stimulate economic activity, create jobs, and assist in the national economic recovery. This report examines the economic research on net job creation to identify the types of businesses that appear to create the most jobs.
The Network for Manufacturing Innovation
This report discusses the Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation Act of 2014 (RAMIA). RAMIA includes provisions authorizing the Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the Department of Energy, and other agencies to support the establishment of centers for manufacturing innovation, as well as establishing and providing for the operation of a Network for Manufacturing Innovation.
Contract Types: Legal Overview
This report provides an overview of the various contract types (e.g., fixed-price, cost-reimbursement) used in federal procurement and the legal requirements and issues pertaining to each. The types of contracts used by federal agencies have long been of interest to Congress and the executive branch, as they have sought to ensure that the most appropriate type of contract is used to acquire particular supplies or services.
Economic Crisis in Russia
This report briefly examines the economic climate in Russia, providing background information and examining key trends. The report also briefly discusses possible next steps for the Kremlin and potential spillover effects for the United States.
Legislation to Facilitate Cybersecurity Information Sharing: Economic Analysis
This report analyzes the incentives for companies to share information about cybersecurity breaches with other companies and the federal government. Data breaches, such as those at Target, Home Depot, Neiman Marcus, and JPMorgan Chase, affecting financial records of tens of millions of households seem to occur regularly. Companies typically respond by trying to increase their cybersecurity by hiring consultants and purchasing new hardware and software. Policy analysts have suggested that sharing information about these breaches could be an effective and inexpensive part of improving cybersecurity. Firms share information directly on an ad hoc basis and through private-sector, nonprofit organizations such as Information Sharing and Analysis Centers (ISACs) that can analyze and disseminate information.
Terrorism Risk Insurance Legislation: Issue Summary and Side-by-Side Analysis
After the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Congress responded to the disruption in the insurance market by passing the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act of 2002 (TRIA; P.L. 107-297). TRIA created a temporary program, to calm the insurance markets through a government reinsurance backstop sharing in terrorism losses. The current TRIA program expires at the end of 2014. This report briefly outlines the issues involved with terrorism insurance, summarizes the extension legislation, and includes a side-by-side of the current TRIA law and the bills that have been passed by the Senate (S. 2244), reported by the House Committee on Financial Services (H.R. 4871), and passed by the House (S. 2244 with a substitute amendment).
The Corporate Income Tax System: Overview and Options for Reform
This report presents information and research on the corporate tax to help policy makers understand and evaluate arguments presented in the tax reform debate. This report first reviews the structure of the corporate income tax. Data on which companies pay the corporate tax, corporate tax revenue, and how the U.S. system compares to the rest of the world are then presented and analyzed. Next, the economic effects of the corporate tax are reviewed--including a discussion of the purpose of the corporate tax, who bears the burden of the tax, and how to evaluate alternative corporate tax systems. The report then reviews broad reform options and concludes with a comparison of specific proposals that have been offered.
"Amazon Laws" and Taxation of Internet Sales: Constitutional Analysis
As more purchases are made over the Internet, states are looking for new ways to collect taxes on online sales. There is a common misperception that the U.S. Constitution prohibits states from taxing Internet sales. This report discusses "Amazon laws", which try to capture uncollected taxes on Internet sales and yet still comply with the Constitution's requirements.
Bankruptcy for Marijuana Businesses?
This legal sidebar discusses recent bankruptcy court cases that suggest that one such risk may be the ultimate unavailability to both debtors and creditors of the protections, benefits, and predictability of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code when state-regulated marijuana businesses fail.
SBA Veterans Assistance Programs: An Analysis of Contemporary Issues
This report opens with an examination of the current economic circumstances of veteran-owned businesses drawn from the Bureau of the Census 2007 Survey of Business Owners, which was administered in 2008 and 2009, and released on May 17, 2011. It also provides a brief overview of veteran employment experiences, describes the employment assistance programs offered by several federal agencies to assist veterans in their transition from the military to the civilian labor force, and examines related Small Business Administration (SBA) initiatives such as business development programs, efforts to assist veterans' access to capital, and veteran contracting programs.
State Small Business Credit Initiative: Implementation and Funding Issues
This report examines the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) and its implementation, including Treasury's response to initial program audits conducted by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) and Treasury's Office of Inspector General (OIG). The SSBCI provides funding, allocated by formula and distributed in one-third increments, to states, territories, and eligible municipalities (hereinafter referred to as states) to expand existing or create new state small business investment programs, including state capital access programs, collateral support programs, loan participation programs, loan guarantee programs, and venture capital programs.
Protection of Trade Secrets: Overview of Current Law and Legislation
This report starts out with background information regarding trade secrets and an overview of current legal landscape for trade secret protection.
Government Assistance for GMAC/Ally Financial: Unwinding the Government Stake
This report explains the governments relationship with Ally Financial (formerly known as General Motors Acceptance Corporation, or GMAC). Under the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) the government purchased preferred shares in Ally Financial, acquiring a 73.8% ownership state. This report discusses the reasoning behind this assistance to Ally and the ultimate costs.
Trade Adjustment Assistance for Firms: Economic, Program, and Policy Issues
This report discusses the Trade Adjustment Assistance for Firms (TAAF) program and policy issues, as well as legislation to reauthorize the TAAF program. It provides technical assistance to help trade-impacted firms make strategic adjustments to improve their global competitiveness.