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Campaign Finance: Legislative Developments and Policy Issues in the 110th Congress

Description: This report provides an overview of major legislative and policy developments related to campaign finance during the 110th Congress. The report discusses legislative and oversight hearings and floor action during the period. It also explores major policy issues that are relevant for Congress, but have largely occurred away from Capitol Hill. As of this writing, approximately 50 bills devoted primarily to campaign finance have been introduced in the 110th Congress, but none have become law. A new lobbying and ethics law, the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act (HLOGA) contains campaign finance provisions related to "bundled" campaign contributions and campaign travel. That measure is the only campaign finance related bill to become law during the 110th Congress.
Date: January 14, 2008
Creator: Garrett, R. Sam
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Trade in Services: The Doha Development Agenda Negotiations and U.S Goals

Description: This report is designed to assist Congress to understand and monitor progress of the negotiations and the major issues that the negotiators are addressing. The report provides a brief background section on the significance of services to the U.S. economy. It then explains briefly the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) and the structure and agenda of the services negotiations in the DDA round, including U.S. objectives in the negotiations. The report concludes with a status report on the negotiations and an examination of potential results.
Date: January 24, 2008
Creator: Cooper, William H.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Loan Forgiveness for Public Service Employees Under the William D. Ford Direct Loan Program

Description: The College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007 (CCRAA; P.L. 110-84) establishes a new loan forgiveness provision for borrowers of loans made under the William D. Ford Direct Loan (DL) program who are employed in public service jobs for 10 years during the repayment of their loans. This report provides a brief description of the DL program loan forgiveness provision for public service employees and identifies issues that may be addressed as it is implemented.
Date: January 28, 2008
Creator: Smole, David P.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Recovery Rebates and Economic Stimulus for the American People Act of 2008 and Jumbo Mortgages

Description: This report discusses the H.R. 5140, the Recovery Rebates and Economic Stimulus for the American People Act of 2008, which would temporarily increase the maximum size of loans that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac can purchase, and that the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) can insure.
Date: February 1, 2008
Creator: Weiss, N. Eric
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Social Security Administration: Administrative Budget Issues

Description: The Social Security Administration (SSA) administers the Social Security program (Old-Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance, or OASDI) and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, and provides administrative support to Medicare and several other federal programs. Total SSA spending in FY2007 was about $624 billion, about 99% of which was mandatory spending on benefit payments. This report focuses on SSA’s spending for administrative expenses, which is discretionary and amounts to about 1% of SSA’s total spending. This funding is provided in the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies appropriations bill.
Date: February 13, 2008
Creator: Romig, Kathleen
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

China's Holdings of U.S. Securities: Implications for the U.S. Economy

Description: This report examines the importance to the U.S. economy of China's investment in U.S. securities, as well as U.S. concerns over the possibility that China might unload a large share of those holdings, including the likelihood that this would occur, and the potential implications such action could have for the U.S. economy. The report concludes that a large sell-off of Chinese Treasury securities holdings could negatively affect the U.S. economy, at least in the short-run. As a result, such a move could diminish U.S. demand for Chinese products and thus could lower China's economic growth as well.
Date: February 27, 2008
Creator: Morrison, Wayne M. & Labonte, Marc
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

China’s Holdings of U.S. Securities: Implications for the U.S. Economy

Description: This report examines the importance to the U.S. economy of China's investment in U.S. securities, as well as U.S. concerns over the possibility that China might unload a large share of those holdings, including the likelihood that this would occur, and the potential implications such action could have for the U.S. economy. The report concludes that a large sell-off of Chinese Treasury securities holdings could negatively affect the U.S. economy, at least in the short-run. As a result, such a move could diminish U.S. demand for Chinese products and thus could lower China's economic growth as well.
Date: February 27, 2008
Creator: Morrison, Wayne M. & Labonte, Marc
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative

Description: In Juen 2005, G8 finance ministers proposed the new Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI). The MDRI proposes to cancel debts of some of the world's poorest countries owed to the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and African Development Bank. This report discusses MDRI's implementation and raises some issues regarding debt relief's effectiveness as a form of foreign assistance for possible congressional consideration.
Date: April 1, 2008
Creator: Weiss, Martin A.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Exon-Florio National Security Test for Foreign Investment

Description: This report covers the recent background of the Exon-Florio provision with special regards to issues faced in the 112th Congress. The Exon-Florio provision grants the President the authority to block proposed or pending foreign acquisitions of "persons engaged in interstate commerce in the United States" that threaten to impair the national security.
Date: April 8, 2008
Creator: Jackson, James K.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Monetary Policy and the Federal Reserve: Current Policy and Conditions

Description: Monetary policy can be defined as any policy relating to the supply of money. Since the agency concerned with the supply of money is the nation’s central bank, the Federal Reserve, monetary policy can also be defined in terms of the directives, policies, statements, and actions of the Federal Reserve, particularly those from its Board of Governors that have an effect on national spending. This report discusses current issues regarding monetary policy.
Date: April 30, 2008
Creator: Labonte, Marc & Makinen, Gail E.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Single European Payments Area (SEPA): Implementation Delays and Implications for the United States

Description: This report presents a brief background on the efforts to create the Single European Payments Area (SEPA) by the European government and the banking industry. It assesses the current electronic payments systems from the wholesale (large value) level and the retail (small value) level of payments. The report then examines the attempts to develop the pan- European automated clearinghouse system (PEACH).
Date: May 2, 2008
Creator: Eubanks, Walter W.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

China's Sovereign Wealth Fund

Description: This report discusses China's ruling executive body, the State Council, which establishes the China Investment Corporation (CIC), a sovereign wealth fund, in September 2007 to invest $200 billion of China's then $1.4 trillion in foreign exchange reserves. Congress and financial analysts raised concerns about the CIC after its creation, partly because it was a comparatively large sovereign wealth fund, partly because it was government-owned, and partly because it reported directly to the State Council.
Date: May 5, 2008
Creator: Martin, Michael F.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Pattern of Interest Rates: Does it Signal an Impending Recession?

Description: The cyclical behavior of the economy is of great interest to Congress, yet the onset of an economic downturn is seldom recognized promptly. Policymakers frequently search for reliable recession predictors. The behavior of interest rates may provide advanced warning of an impending downturn. The easing of monetary policy in evidence since September 2007 is consistent with efforts to forestall or minimize an economic downturn. Economic growth has been low since the last quarter of 2007, and some forecasters are now predicting a recession in 2008.
Date: May 5, 2008
Creator: Labonte, Marc & Makinen, Gail
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Dollar Crisis: Prospect and Implications

Description: This report describes the anatomy of dollar crisis, and possible reasons why a dollar crisis won't occur. The report discusses the macroeconomics effects of a dollar crisis, and the response of economic policy.
Date: May 6, 2008
Creator: Elwell, Craig K.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

China's Currency: A Summary of the Economic Issues

Description: Many Members of Congress charge that China's policy of accumulating foreign reserves (especially U.S. dollars) to influence the value of its currency constitutes a form of currency manipulation intended to make its exports cheaper and imports into China more expensive than they would be under free market conditions. Although China made modest reforms to its currency policy in 2005, Members contend the forms have not gone far enough and have warned of potential legislative action. This report summarizes the main findings CRS Report RL32165, China's Currency: Economic Issues and Options for U.S. Trade Policy.
Date: May 8, 2008
Creator: Morrison, Wayne M. & Labonte, Marc
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Currency Manipulation: The IMF and WTO

Description: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Trade Organization (WTO) approach the issue of "currency manipulation" differently. The IMF Articles of Agreement prohibit countries from manipulating their currency for the purpose of gaining unfair trade advantage, but the IMF cannot force a country to change its exchange rate policies. The WTO has rules against subsidies, but these are very narrow and specific and do not seem to encompass currency manipulation. Several options might be considered for addressing this matter in the future, if policymakers deem this a wise course of action.
Date: May 8, 2008
Creator: Sanford, Jonathan E.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Regulation of Energy Derivatives

Description: After the collapse of Enron Corp. in late 2001, that company's activities came under intense scrutiny. Much of its business consisted of trading financial contracts whose value was derived from changes in energy prices. Enron's derivatives trading was largely "over-the-counter" (OTC) and unregulated: little information about transactions was available. This incident has sparked interest in reform of energy derivatives regulation. This report summarizes energy derivatives regulation and proposed legislation.
Date: May 12, 2008
Creator: Jickling, Mark
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

U.S. Taxation of Overseas Investment and Income: Background and Issues

Description: This report analyzes how the current U.S. tax system applies to foreign investment undertaken by U.S. firms abroad, and how that application was changed by recent legislation. It also assesses the impact of the tax system and legislation, and concludes by discussing a variety of issues in international taxation that Congress may face in 2008 and beyond. It begins with a brief examination of the data on international investment.
Date: May 21, 2008
Creator: Marples, Donald J.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

China's Currency: Economic Issues and Options for U.S. Trade Policy

Description: This paper reviews the various economic issues raised by China's present currency policy, including: the economic concerns raised by the United States over China's currency policy and China's concerns over changing that policy; how China's fixed exchange rate regime works and the various economic studies that have attempted to determine China's real, or market, exchange rate; trends and factors in the U.S.-China trade imbalance; economic consequences of China's currency policy for both China and the United States; China's massive accumulation of foreign exchange reserves and purchases of U.S. federal debt instruments; and policy options on how the United States might induce China to reform its present currency policy, including current legislation introduced in Congress.
Date: May 22, 2008
Creator: Morrison, Wayne M. & Labonte, Marc
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Overseas Private Investment Corporation: Background and Legislative Issues

Description: This report outlines challenges faced by Tajikistan since its five-year civil war ended in 1997. It discusses U.S. policy and assistance. Basic facts and biographical information are provided. This report may be updated. Related products include CRS Report RL33458, Central Asia: Regional Developments and Implications for U.S. Interests, updated regularly.
Date: May 22, 2008
Creator: Langton, Danielle
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Social Security Administration: Administrative Budget Issues

Description: The Social Security Administration (SSA) administers the Social Security program (Old-Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance, or OASDI) and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, and provides administrative support to Medicare and several other federal programs. Total SSA spending in FY2007 was about $624 billion, about 99% of which was mandatory spending on benefit payments. This report focuses on SSA’s spending for administrative expenses, which is discretionary and amounts to about 1% of SSA’s total spending. This funding is provided in the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies appropriations bill.
Date: May 27, 2008
Creator: Romig, Kathleen
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Foreign Investment and National Security: Economic Considerations

Description: This report assesses recent international developments as the leaders from a number of nations work to reach a consensus on an informal set of best practices regarding national restrictions on foreign investment for national security purposes. This report also provides one possible approach for assessing the costs and benefits involved in using national policies to direct, or to restrict, foreign direct investment for national security reasons.
Date: June 27, 2008
Creator: Jackson, James K.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department