Congressional Research Service Reports - Browse

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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: June 12, 2012
Creator: Weiss, Martin A.
Item Type: Report
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, EXIM Bank, or the Bank), an independent federal government agency, is the official export credit agency (ECA) of the United States. It helps finance U.S. 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. Members of the 112th Congress may examine issues related to the Ex-Im Bank that center on the economic rationale for the Bank; the impact of the Bank on the federal budget and U.S. taxpayers; the Bank's support for specific types of business or industries; the current balance between the Bank's advancement of U.S. commercial interests and other U.S. policy goals; the competitive position of the Bank compared to foreign ECAs; and the Bank's organizational structure.
Date: April 3, 2012
Creator: Ilias, Shayerah
Item Type: Report
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: February 23, 2012
Creator: Elwell, Craig K.
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Supervision of U.S. Payment, Clearing, and Settlement Systems: Designation of Financial Market Utilities (FMUs)

Description: This report outlines the changes to the supervision of key market infrastructure that are embodied in the Dodd-Frank Act. It is intended to be used as a reference for those interested in the financial system's "plumbing," and how the associated systems are currently overseen and regulated.
Date: September 10, 2012
Creator: Labonte, Marc
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Fannie Mae's and Freddie Mac's Financial Problems

Description: This report discusses the continuing conservatorship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac at a time of uncertainty in the housing, mortgage, and financial markets has raised doubts about the future of these enterprises, which are chartered by Congress as government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) and whose debts are widely believed to be implicitly guaranteed by the federal government.
Date: April 2, 2012
Creator: Weiss, N. Eric
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Reduce, Refinance, and Rent? The Economic Incentives, Risks, and Ramifications of Housing Market Policy Options

Description: This report discusses the background of financial panic in September 2008, precipitated by the housing bubble of 2006. In particular, the report looks at options that the 112th Congress has regarding the housing market: (1) reducing mortgage principal for borrowers who owe more than their homes are worth, (2) refinancing mortgages for borrowers shut out of traditional financing methods, and (3) renting out foreclosed homes.
Date: June 12, 2012
Creator: Hoskins, Sean M.
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s Financial Problems

Description: This report presents, in analytical question and answer form, the issues surrounding the financial conditions of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which are stockholder-owned government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs). Their federal charters give the GSEs special public policy goals aimed at providing liquidity in the mortgage market and to provide access to homeownership for underserved groups and locations. In return, their charters give the GSEs a special relationship with the government.
Date: August 10, 2012
Creator: Weiss, N. Eric
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Ability to Repay, Risk-Retention Standards, and Mortgage Credit Access

Description: This report examines the developments associated with the implementation of mortgage lending reforms. The report begins with a summary of proposed ability to repay and risk-retention standards. Next, the report describes risky underwriting and financing practices that occurred prior to the mortgage crisis, followed by a discussion of how access to mortgage credit might be affected.
Date: June 5, 2012
Creator: Getter, Darryl E.
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The National Flood Insurance Program: Status and Remaining Issues for Congress

Description: This report provides an analysis of flood risk management, summarizes major challenges facing the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), and outlines key reforms in the recently enacted Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012. The report also identifies and presents some key remaining flood management issues for congressional considerations, and it concludes with a discussion of relevant policy options for the future financial management of flood hazards in the United States.
Date: December 10, 2012
Creator: King, Rawle O.
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

What Is Systemic Risk? Does It Apply to Recent JP Morgan Losses?

Description: Systemic risk refers to the possibility that the financial system as a whole might become unstable, rather than the health of individual market participants. Stable financial systems do not transmit or magnify shocks to the broader economy. A firm, person, government, financial utility, or policy might create systemic risk if (1) its failure causes other failures in a domino effect; (2) news about its assets signals that others with similar assets may also be distressed, called contagion; (3) it contributes to fire sales during price declines; or (4) its absence prevents other firms from using an essential service, called critical functions. This report discusses how systemic risk may apply to JP Morgan's recent losses.
Date: May 24, 2012
Creator: Murphy, Edward V.
Item Type: Report
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 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: March 13, 2012
Creator: Labonte, Marc
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Evaluating the Current Stance of Monetary Policy Using a Taylor Rule

Description: Oversight of the Federal Reserve's (Fed's) monetary policy decisions rests with Congress. But oversight is encumbered by the absence of a straightforward relationship between interest rates and economic performance. Further, the Fed's policy decisions are discretionary, meaning there is no objective, transparent “yardstick” for evaluating their decisions. A simple rule of thumb guide to monetary policy decisions called a “Taylor rule” is an intuitive way to judge actual policy against some objective, albeit simplistic, ideal. Taylor rules prescribe a federal funds target based on inflation and the output gap (i.e., the difference between actual gross domestic product [GDP] and potential GDP) and can be adjusted to reflect a variety of policy goals.
Date: January 30, 2012
Creator: Labonte, Marc
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

IMF Reforms: Issues for Congress

Description: Report that provides information about the reforms made by the Board of Governors of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in December 2010, Congress's role in the reform process, and how the reforms could affect U.S. interests at the IMF.
Date: December 12, 2012
Creator: Nelson, Rebecca M. & Weiss, Martin A.
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act: Title VII, Derivatives

Description: This report describes some of the requirements placed on the derivatives market by the Dodd-Frank Act, which provides exceptions to the clearing and trading requirements for commercial end-users, or firms that use derivatives to hedge the risks of their nonfinancial business operations.
Date: November 6, 2012
Creator: Miller, Rena S. & Ruane, Kathleen Ann
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The State of Campaign Finance Policy: Recent Developments and Issues for Congress

Description: This report discusses selected litigation to demonstrate how those events have changed the campaign finance landscape and affected the policy issues that may confront Congress, but it is not a constitutional or legal analysis. Campaign finance data appears throughout the report.
Date: January 4, 2012
Creator: Garrett, R. S.
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

National Mortgage Servicing Standards: Legislation in the 112th Congress

Description: This report analyzes the potential misaligned incentives in the servicer-mortgage holder relationship and the servicing standards that attempt to address each concern, the servicer-borrower relationship and the relevant servicing provisions, as well as the possible implications of reforming the servicing industry.
Date: August 29, 2012
Creator: Hoskins, Sean M.
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The American Opportunity Tax Credit: Overview, Analysis, and Policy Options

Description: This report gives an overview of the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC)—enacted on a temporary basis by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and extended through the end of 2012 by the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010— which is a partially-refundable tax credit that provides financial assistance to taxpayers who are attending college, or whose children are attending college. There are a variety of policy options mentioned in the report regarding the AOTC, including extending the credit, extending a modified AOTC, or repealing the Hope and Lifetime Credits and extending a modified AOTC that includes provisions included in these credits.
Date: June 11, 2012
Creator: Crandall-Hollick, Margot L.
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Foreign Holdings of Federal Debt

Description: 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.
Date: July 3, 2012
Creator: Murray, Justin & Labonte, Marc
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Monetary Policy and the Federal Reserve: Current Policy and Conditions

Description: 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.
Date: July 6, 2012
Creator: Labonte, Marc
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department