Congressional Research Service Reports - Browse

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Funding and Financing Highways and Public Transportation
This report begins with a discussion of the problems associated with the trust fund financing system (which supports both federal highway and public transportation programs) and then explores possible options for financing surface transportation infrastructure.
Regulation of Debit Interchange Fees
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.
Federal Advisory Committees: An Introduction and Overview
This report offers a history of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), examines its current requirements, and provides data on federal advisory committees' operations and costs.
Social Security: Calculation and History of Taxing Benefits
This report discusses the calculations that go into taxing Social Security benefits, which prior to 1984 were exempt from taxation but have since been taxed at gradually increasing levels.
Ex-Im Bank: No Quorum, No Problem?
This report discusses the operation on a limited basis of the Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im Bank) despite a renewal of its general statutory charter through FY2019 (P.L. 114-94,
The 2016 G-20 Summit
This report discusses the 2016 G-20 summit where the leaders of the Group of Twenty (G-20) countries met in Hangzhou, China.
Tolling U.S. Highways
This report provides a brief history of tolling on federal roads and relevant current law. It also discusses financial realities on toll roads and tolling policy issues.
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.
The Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA; H.R. 5278, S. 2328)
The report presents a brief description of Puerto Rico, its relationship with the federal government, and its fiscal challenges. The body of the report provides a section-by-section description of H.R. 5278, including a short overview of the bill, along with a comparison with previous legislation involving control boards.
The State of Campaign Finance Policy: Recent Developments and Issues for Congress
This report provides an overview of the campaign finance landscape and policy issues that may confront Congress. It includes information about the development of campaign finance law with selected litigation as well as potential policy considerations and emerging issues.
Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) FY2017 Appropriations: Overview
This report discusses the Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) appropriations bill, which includes funding for the Department of the Treasury, the Executive Office of the President (EOP), the judiciary, the District of Columbia, and more than two dozen independent agencies.
Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) FY2017 Appropriations: Overview
This report discusses the Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) appropriations bill, which includes funding for the Department of the Treasury (Title I), the Executive Office of the President (EOP, Title II), the judiciary (Title III), the District of Columbia (Title IV), and more than two dozen independent agencies (Title V). The bill typically funds mandatory retirement accounts in Title VI, which also contains additional general provisions applying to the funding provided agencies through the FSGG bill. Title VII contains general provisions applying government-wide. The FSGG bills have often also contained provisions relating to U.S. policy toward Cuba.
FinCEN Seeks Shell-Company Transparency
This legal sidebar discusses the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network's (FinCEN) rules outlining anti-money laundering due diligence requirements. These rules require certain financial institutions to identify and verify beneficial owners of legal entity customers.
Military Lending Act: Timeline, New Rules, and Issues
This report briefly discusses new rules under the Military Lending Act (MLA) that change the definition of consumer credit for covered servicemembers and dependents; it will apply to transactions or accounts that are established on or after October 3, 2016. These rules may have an impact on the regulatory burdens for businesses that provide credit products to the military and may also affect military readiness.
Federal Reserve: Oversight and Disclosure Issues
This report provides an overview of existing Federal Reserve (Fed) oversight and disclosure practices, highlighting recent legislative changes and proposals. It also considers the potential impact of greater oversight and disclosure on the Fed's independence and its ability to achieve its macroeconomic and financial stability goals.
FHFA's Administrative Reform of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Housing Finance System
This report discusses housing finance reform and structural changes enacted by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), particularly in relation to government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs). It includes sections on GSEs and conservatorship; FHFA reforms broken down into information about risk-sharing transactions, a common securitization platform, and single security; and Congressional action on GSE reform.
Treasury Issues White Paper on Fintech and Marketplace Lending
This report briefly discusses the context and contents of a white paper issued on May 10, 2016 by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. The paper analyzes regulatory issues for the marketplace lending industry and offers several recommendations for industry and government responses.
Federal Reserve: Legislation in the 114th Congress
This report analyzes provisions and the policy debate surrounding a number of bills that would affect the Federal Reserve's (Fed's) monetary policy, lender of last resort, and regulatory responsibilities. The Fed's responsibilities as the nation's central bank fall into four main categories: monetary policy, provision of emergency liquidity through the lender of last resort function, supervision of certain types of banks and other financial firms for safety and soundness, and provision of payment system services to financial firms and the government.
U.S.-EU Data Privacy: From Safe Harbor to Privacy Shield
This report describes the financial harm caused by data breaches, explains how those breaches are carried out, discusses resolved and remaining impediments to completing the EMV (Europay, MasterCard, and Visa) transition in the United States, and identifies areas of potential Congressional interest.
Overview of Commercial (Depository) Banking and Industry Conditions
This report begins with a general overview of the banking industry. It describes how banks facilitate the financial intermediation process as well as the associated financial risks. It also explains the market structure of the banking industry, referring primarily to the asset distribution. Next, this report summarizes profitability and lending activity levels in the banking industry. Particular attention is paid to metrics related to capitalization levels, asset performance, and earnings of depository banks.
Corporate Expatriation, Inversions, and Mergers: Tax Issues
This report begins with a brief discussion of relevant portions of the U.S. corporate income tax system before examining how inversions were commonly structured. It then looks at how Congress and the Department of the Treasury have reduced the benefits of inversions, and concludes with an examination of methods that remain to invert and policy options available to prevent or limit these inversions.
Negative Interest Rates
In a few foreign economies, including the euro area, Switzerland, and Japan, central banks have purposely set some short-term interest rates used to carry out monetary policy at negative levels. This report briefly discusses the reasons behind this phenomenon.
Foreign Holdings of Federal Debt
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.
Federal Securities Law: Insider Trading
This report discusses various regulations regarding insider trading violations. Insider trading in securities may occur when a person in possession of material nonpublic information about a company trades in the company's securities and makes a profit or avoids a loss.
The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS)
This report discusses the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) comprising nine members, two ex officio members, and other members as appointed by the President representing major departments and agencies within the federal executive branch. While the group generally has operated in relative obscurity, the proposed acquisition of commercial operations at six U.S. ports by Dubai Ports World in 2006 placed the group's operations under intense scrutiny by Members of Congress and the public.
China's Recent Stock Market Volatility: What Are the Implications?
This report briefly discusses the consequences of rapid price increases from about mid-2014 to mid-2015 in China's two main stock markets, the Shanghai Stock Exchange (SSE) and the Shenzhen Stock Exchange (SZSE).
Federal Securities Law: Insider Trading
This report discusses various regulations regarding insider trading violations. Insider trading in securities may occur when a person in possession of material nonpublic information about a company trades in the company's securities and makes a profit or avoids a loss.
"Regulatory Relief" for Banking: Selected Legislation in the 114th Congress
This report discusses regulatory relief legislation for banks in the 114th Congress that has seen floor action or has been ordered to be reported by a committee. Many, but not all, of the bills would make changes to the Dodd-Frank Act (P.L. 111-203), a wide-ranging financial reform enacted in response to the financial crisis.
Federal Reserve: Oversight and Disclosure Issues
This report provides an overview of existing Federal Reserve (Fed) oversight and disclosure practices. It also considers the potential impact of greater oversight and disclosure on the Fed's independence and its ability to achieve its macroeconomic and financial stability goals.
China's Recent Stock Market Volatility: What Are the Implications?
This report briefly discusses the background and implications of the rapid price increases experienced in China's two main stock markets, the Shanghai Stock Exchange (SSE) and the Shenzhen Stock Exchange (SZSE), from about mid-2014 to mid-2015.
Federal Reserve: Emergency Lending
This report provides a review of the history of Section 13(3) of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the Dodd-Frank Act; P.L. 111-203), including its use in 2008. It discusses the Federal Reserve's (Fed's) authority under Section 13(3) before and after the Dodd-Frank Act as well as policy issues and legislation to amend Section 13(3).
Federal Reserve Issues Final Rule on Emergency Lending
This report briefly discusses major provisions of the Federal Reserve's (Fed's) Final Rule, governing emergency lending under Section 13(3) of the Federal Reserve Act and implementing Section 1101 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 (Dodd-Frank).
Federal Reserve: Oversight and Disclosure Issues
This report provides an overview of existing Fed oversight and disclosure practices. It also considers the potential impact of greater oversight and disclosure on the Fed's independence and its ability to achieve its macroeconomic and financial stability goals.
The Federal Election Commission: Enforcement Process and Selected Issues for Congress
This report provides Congress with a resource for understanding the Federal Election Commission's (FEC) enforcement process and context for why enforcement is consequential.
The Federal Election Commission: Overview and Selected Issues for Congress
The report provides background information about key areas of controversy and context that might be relevant for Congress as the House and Senate approach their oversight duties, appropriate funds, consider nominations, and explore options for restructuring the FEC or maintaining the status quo.
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.
Federal Reserve: Oversight and Disclosure Issues
This report provides an overview of existing Fed oversight and disclosure practices. It also considers the potential impact of greater oversight and disclosure on the Fed's independence and its ability to achieve its macroeconomic and financial stability goals.
The EMV Chip Card Transition: Background, Status, and Issues for Congress
This report describes the financial harm caused by data breaches and explains how those breaches are carried out, and discusses resolved and remaining impediments to completing the EMV transition in the United States and identifies areas of potential congressional interest.
Federal Reserve: Emergency Lending
This report provides a review of the history of Section 13(3) of the Federal Reserve Act (12 U.S.C. 344), including its use in 2008. It discusses the Fed's authority under Section 13(3) before and after the Dodd-Frank Act. It then discusses policy issues and legislation to amend Section 13(3).
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.
Legislation Eliminating the Federal Reserve's Surplus
The Fed retains some of its profits in a surplus account, which currently has a balance of $29.3 billion. This report discusses H.Amdt. 824 to the highway bill (H.R. 22) and H.R. 3189, which would permanently eliminate the surplus.
Puerto Rico and Health Care Finance: Frequently Asked Questions
This report provides answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about Puerto Rico's health care system, including how federal health care programs (Medicare, Medicaid, and the State Children's Health Insurance Program [CHIP]) and private health insurance requirements apply to Puerto Rico.
Multilateral Development Banks: U.S. Contributions FY2000-FY2015
This report shows in tabular form how much the Administration requested and how much Congress 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.
Designation of Global 'Too Big To Fail' Firms
This report provides background on the the Financial Stability Board's (FSB) designation process for systemically significant financial institutions, but takes no position on any potential benefits or shortcomings of that process.
China's Recent Stock Market Volatility: What Are the Implications?
China's two main stock markets, the Shanghai Stock Exchange (SSE) and the Shenzhen Stock Exchange (SZSE), experienced rapid price increases from about mid-2014 to mid-2015. However, from June 12 to July 7, 2015, the Shanghai and Shenzhen Composite Indices fell by 32% and 40%, respectively. This report briefly examines this volatility and the Chinese government's response.
"Regulatory Relief" for Banking: Selected Legislation in the 114th Congress
This report discusses regulatory relief legislation for banks in the 114th Congress that, at the time this report was published, has seen floor action or has been ordered to be reported by a committee. Many, but not all, of the bills would make changes to the Dodd-Frank Act (P.L. 111-203), wide ranging financial reform enacted in response to the financial crisis.
How Treasury Issues Debt
This report examines Treasury's debt management practices, focusing on the auction process, how prices and interest rates of securities are determined, and the role of market participants in the process. It also addresses the role of debt plays in influencing present and future budget outcomes.
Puerto Rico's Current Fiscal Challenges
This report discusses multiple challenges the government of Puerto Rico faces in the fall of 2015. Concerns regarding the sustainability of Puerto Rico's public finances have intensified over the past year, despite several measures taken by the island's government to reduce spending, increase revenues, and restructure its obligations. The Puerto Rican government outlined a medium-term strategy to address those challenges in a fiscal plan put forth in mid-September 2015.
Current Debates over Exchange Rates: Overview and Issues for Congress
This report provides information on current debates over exchange rates in the global economy. It offers an overview of how exchange rates work; analyzes specific disagreements and debates; and examines existing frameworks for potentially addressing currency disputes. It also lays out some policy options available to Congress, should Members want to take action on exchange rate issues.
Election in Greece
This report discusses issues leading up to Greece's snap legislative election on September 20, only eight months after the country's last election. Greece continues to struggle with the negative repercussions of a sovereign debt and financial crisis that began in 2009.