Congressional Research Service Reports - Browse

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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, the likelihood that this would occur, and the potential implications such action could have for the U.S. economy.
Date: January 9, 2008
Creator: Morrison, Wayne M. & Labonte, Marc
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Why is the Household Saving Rate So Low?

Description: This report begins by showing how much the household saving rate has declined in recent years. Next, it explains how household saving is measured, and provides some detail on how saving varies across the income distribution. Finally, it discusses factors that may account for the decline in household saving, as well as how much of a policy concern the decline in household saving may be.
Date: January 9, 2008
Creator: Cashell, Brian W.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Financial Services and General Government (FSGG): FY2008 Appropriations

Description: This report is a guide to one of the regular appropriations bills that Congress considers each year. It is designed to supplement the information provided by the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees on Defense. For both defense authorization and appropriations, this report summarizes the status of the bills, their scope, major issues, funding levels, and related congressional activity.
Date: December 20, 2007
Creator: Hatch, Garrett L.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Understanding Mortgage Foreclosure: Recent Events, the Process, and Costs

Description: This report provides a general analysis and overview of current foreclosure issues addressed in the bills cited above. It begins with a description of the behavior of aggregate foreclosure rates. The behaviors of foreclosure rates are placed in the context of activity in the housing and mortgage market to illustrate any relationships. The foreclosure process is then explained, first from the point of view of a traditional financial lending institution, and then from the viewpoint of securitization when loans are sold in secondary markets. Finally, this report collects information from other studies to obtain an estimate of the average foreclosure costs. A brief discussion of the effect uniform foreclosure legislation may have on costs follows.
Date: November 5, 2007
Creator: Getter, Darryl E.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Housing Issues in the 110th Congress

Description: This report examines housing-related issues that have become prominent in the 110th Congress. Possibly the most visible issue is the prevalence of subprime loans and growing mortgage default and foreclosure rates. Congress has responded with numerous hearings and legislative proposals both to change the way in which the lending and home-buying industry is regulated and to assist borrowers who are facing default and foreclosure.
Date: November 1, 2007
Creator: Perl, Libby; McCarty, Maggie; Foote, Bruce E.; Boyd, Eugene; Getter, Darryl E.; Jackson, Pamela J. et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Student Loans, Student Aid, and FY2008 Budget Reconciliation

Description: This report reviews and briefly describes the major proposals contained in both the House-passed and Senate-passed versions of H.R. 2669 to achieve savings in mandatory spending through changes to federal student loan programs and to enhance student aid benefits or make other changes to existing federal student aid programs. It also reviews and describes the major changes enacted under P.L. 110-84 that are projected to achieve savings in mandatory spending and those that establish new or enhanced student aid benefits or that otherwise amend pre-existing federal student aid programs.
Date: October 23, 2007
Creator: Stoll, Adam; Smole, David P. & Mercer, Charmaine
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Financial Services and General Government (FSGG): FY2008 Appropriations

Description: This report is a guide to a new appropriations bill that Congress is considering for the first time this year. It is designed to supplement the information provided by the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees on Financial Services and General Government. It summarizes the status of the bill, its scope, major issues, funding levels, and related congressional activity.
Date: July 20, 2007
Creator: Hatch, Garrett L.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Student Loans, Student Aid, and FY2008 Budget Reconciliation

Description: This report reviews and briefly describes the major proposals that would change the federal student loan programs to achieve savings in mandatory spending and the proposals that would enhance student aid benefits or result in changes to existing federal student aid programs.
Date: July 18, 2007
Creator: Stoll, Adam; Smole, David P. & Mercer, Charmaine
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Risk Management and Critical Infrastructure Protection: Assessing, Integrating, and Managing Threats, Vulnerabilities and Consequences

Description: This report is meant to support congressional oversight by discussing, in more detail, what this task entails and issues that need to be addressed. In particular, the report defines terms (e.g., threat, vulnerability, and risk), discusses how they fit together in a systematic analysis, describes processes and techniques that have been used to assess them, and discusses how the results of that analysis can inform resource allocation and policy.
Date: July 17, 2007
Creator: Moteff, John
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 FY2006 was about $597 billion, 98% of which was mandatory spending on benefit payments. This report focuses on SSA’s spending for administrative expenses, which is discretionary and amounts to 2% of SSA’s total spending. This funding is provided in the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies appropriations bill.
Date: July 17, 2007
Creator: Romig, Kathleen
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Student Loans, Student Aid, and FY2008 Budget Reconciliation

Description: This report reviews and briefly describes the major changes proposed in H.R. 2669 to federal student loan and other federal student aid programs that would achieve savings in mandatory spending or that would result in changes to existing federal student aid programs.
Date: July 6, 2007
Creator: Stoll, Adam; Smole, David P. & Mercer, Charmaine
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Hedge Funds: Should They Be Regulated?

Description: In view of the growing impact of hedge funds on a variety of financial markets, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in October 2004 adopted a regulation that requires hedge funds to register as investment advisers, disclose basic information about their operations, and open their books for inspection. The regulation took effect in February 2006, but on June 23, 2006, a court challenge was upheld and the rule was vacated. S. 1402 and H.R. 2586 would reinstate the SEC's authority. H.R. 2683 would require defined benefit pension plans to disclose investments in hedge funds. In December 2006, the SEC proposed raising the "accredited investor" standard - to be permitted to invest in hedge funds, an investor would need $2.5 million in assets, instead of $1 million.
Date: July 2, 2007
Creator: Jickling, Mark
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

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

Description: The continued rise in China’s trade surplus with the United States and the world, and complaints from U.S. manufacturing firms and workers over the competitive challenges posed by Chinese imports have led several Members to call for a more aggressive U.S. stance against certain Chinese trade policies they deem to be unfair. This report examines China's currency policy its implications.
Date: June 28, 2007
Creator: Morrison, Wayne M. & Labonte, Marc
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Pension Funds Investing in Hedge Funds

Description: The proportion of U.S. corporate-defined benefit pension funds investing in hedge funds has increased to 24% in 2006, up from 19% in 2004 and 12% in 2000. Although statistics vary, total corporate pension fund assets allocated to hedge funds in 2006 was 2.1%. Because of hedge funds’ risky nature, rapid growth, lack of oversight, and recent losses, some wonder if they are appropriate investments for workers’ retirement funds. This report discusses concerns regarding hedge funds and examines possible policy options.
Date: June 15, 2007
Creator: Klunk, William
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 FY2006 was about $597 billion, 98% of which was mandatory spending on benefit payments. This report focuses on SSA’s spending for administrative expenses, which is discretionary and amounts to 2% of SSA’s total spending. This funding is provided in the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies appropriations bill.
Date: June 13, 2007
Creator: Romig, Kathleen
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Campus-Based Student Financial Aid Programs Under the Higher Education Act

Description: This report begins by providing a brief description of each of the campus-based programs, including the terms under which financial aid is awarded to students and the procedures under which federal funds are allocated to institutions for that purpose. It then provides historical information on federal funds appropriated for each of the programs, an analysis of the number and types of students served, and selected program statistics.
Date: May 14, 2007
Creator: Smole, David P.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Subprime Mortgages: Primer on Current Lending and Foreclosure Issues

Description: This report discusses the issue of subprime mortgages, which are loans extended to borrowers with weak credit profiles. Subprime mortgages entail higher risk of delinquency and default. Recent increases in subprime borrower foreclosures and lender bankruptcies have prompted concerns that some lenders’ underwriting guidelines are too loose and that some borrowers may not have fully understood the risks of the mortgage products they chose. Regulatory agencies are revisiting the guidance they provide lenders and are reevaluating required disclosures to consumers. In addition, Congress is holding hearings on the subject and may consider consumer protection legislation.
Date: March 19, 2007
Creator: Murphy, Edward Vincent
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Agricultural Credit: Institutions and Issues

Description: The federal government has a long history of providing credit assistance to farmers by issuing direct loans and guarantees, and creating rural lending institutions. These institutions include the Farm Service Agency (FSA) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which makes or guarantees loans to farmers who cannot qualify at other lenders, and the Farm Credit System (FCS), which is a network of borrower-owned lending institutions operating as a government-sponsored enterprise. This report discusses legislation regarding this credit assistance expected in the the 110th Congress. Appropriators will consider funding for FSA’s farm loan programs, and the agriculture committees may consider changes to FSA and FCS lending programs. The 2007 farm bill is expected to be the venue for many of the authorizing issues, although stand-alone legislation may be used for extensive reforms.
Date: March 8, 2007
Creator: Monke, Jim
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Selected International Depreciation Rates by Asset and Country

Description: The depreciation provisions in the U.S. tax system are of recurring interest to Congress. More than 100 bills were introduced in the 109th Congress that addressed some aspect of depreciation. Concerns about the U.S. depreciation system tend to begin with the criticism that updates to the system have not kept pace with technological advancements of the assets for which it is utilized to account. This report provides information on the depreciation systems of selected European Union countries (France, Germany, Ireland, Spain, and the United Kingdom) by presenting depreciation rates for buildings; computers; expensable assets; motor vehicles; patents; plant, equipment, machinery, and tools; and software.
Date: January 30, 2007
Creator: Mast, Brent W.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department