Congressional Research Service Reports - Browse

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War Bonds in the Second World War: A Model for a New Iraq/Afghanistan War Bond?
This report discusses the high costs of fighting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that have rekindled congressional interest in the concept of the sale of a Treasury security to help finance these war costs.
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.
Financial Market Supervision: European Perspectives
This report addresses the European perspectives on a number of proposals that are being advanced for financial oversight and regulation in Europe. The European experience may be instructive because financial markets in Europe are well developed, European firms often are competitors of U.S. firms, and European governments have faced severe problems of integration and consistency across the various financial structures that exist in Europe.
Financial Market Supervision: Canada's Perspective
This report presents an overview of Canada's financial system and its supervisory framework and draws some distinctions between that system and the current U.S. framework.
Financial Market Supervision: European Perspectives
This report addresses the European perspectives on a number of proposals that are being advanced for financial oversight and regulation in Europe. The European experience may be instructive because financial markets in Europe are well developed, European firms often are competitors of U.S. firms, and European governments have faced severe problems of integration and consistency across the various financial structures that exist in Europe.
Financial Market Supervision: European Perspectives
This report addresses the European perspectives on a number of proposals that are being advanced for financial oversight and regulation in Europe. The European experience may be instructive because financial markets in Europe are well developed, European firms often are competitors of U.S. firms, and European governments have faced severe problems of integration and consistency across the various financial structures that exist in Europe.
Army Corps Supplemental Appropriations: Recent History, Trends, and Policy Issues
This report provides analysis of Corps supplemental funding. Its focus is recent decades of supplemental funding provided directly to the Corps, and it does not include extensive analysis of regular Corps appropriations.
Financial Market Turmoil and U.S. Macroeconomic Performance
Lending in credit markets requires confidence in the borrowers' ability to repay the debt (principal and interest) in full and on schedule. The current turmoil in U.S. financial markets is the result of a breakdown in that necessary confidence. A number of indicators have pointed to a substantial rise in the cost of credit and a decrease in the flow of credit to the broader economy. Economic policy may be needed to get credit flowing smoothly again and to mitigate the damage incurred by households and non-financial businesses. Three types of policy response exist and are being applied in varying degrees. This report discusses each of these policy responses.
A Balanced Budget Constitutional Amendment: Background and Congressional Options
This report provides an overview of the issues and options that have been raised during prior consideration of proposals for an amendment to the constitution regarding the balancing of the U.S. government.
How Have Small Banks Been Affected by Financial Reform?
This report briefly summarizes a CRS analysis of major rules issued since 2010 by banking regulators pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Act.
DRIVE Act Would Increase Highway Funding Faster than Projected Inflation
This report briefly discusses the Developing a Reliable and Innovative Vision for the Economy Act (DRIVE Act; S. 1647). The DRIVE Act would authorize $278 billion for a six-year federal highway program.
Farm Credit System
This report discusses the Farm Credit System (FCS) is a nationwide financial cooperative that lends to agricultural producers, rural homeowners, certain agriculture-related businesses, and agricultural, aquatic, and public utility cooperatives. Established by the Federal Farm Loan Act in 1916 as a government-sponsored enterprise (GSE), it has a statutory mandate to serve agriculture and related enterprises.
A Securities Transactions Tax: Brief Analytic Overview with Revenue Estimates
This report briefly discusses recent STT (Securities Transactions Tax) proposals, summarizes the possible effects on financial market volatility and speculation, and provides estimates of the potential revenue effects.
Treasury Securities and the U.S. Sovereign Credit Default Swap Market
This report explains how the sovereign credit default swap (CDS) market works and how such CDS price trends may illuminate fiscal stresses facing sovereign governments. Although CDS prices may be imperfect measures of the federal government's fiscal condition, some investors may try to glean information from those price trends. CDS prices have been playing an important role in the European government debt markets and could potentially affect U.S debt markets in the future. European policymakers have debated certain restrictions on types of sovereign CDS trading, and such calls for reform may be of interest to U.S. lawmakers.
What Is Systemic Risk? Does It Apply to Recent JP Morgan Losses?
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.
Reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank: Issues and Policy Options for Congress
This report provides background information and potential issues and options for Congress relating to the reauthorization of Ex-Im Bank. The scope of this report is limited to Ex-Im Bank reauthorization issues.
Preserving Homeownership: Foreclosure Prevention Initiatives
This report describes the consequences of foreclosure on homeowners, outlines recent foreclosure prevention plans implemented by the government and private organizations, and discusses the challenges associated with foreclosure prevention.
Banking and Financial Infrastructure Continuity: Pandemic Flu, Terrorism, and Other Challenges
This report outlines the financial sector's recovery plans for two kinds of disasters: the inability to conduct transactions and large losses of asset value. The basic function of the payment system is carried out by banks, and monetary policy affects banks immediately. Because brokers, exchanges, secondary market facilities, and insurance companies carry out crucial financial functions, their regulators and trade associations are involved in continuity of operations planning for contingencies.
The African Development Bank Group
This report discusses the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group, which is a regional development bank (RDB) "dedicated to combating poverty and improving the lives of people of the continent." It comprises three lending facilities: the market rate facility, the AfDB; a concessional lending facility, the African Development Fund; and a trust fund established by Nigeria to lend to low-income African countries. The Bank has 53 African members, as well as 24 non-regional members, including the United States.
Small Business Provisions in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009
This report provides an overview of key provisions related to the Small Business Administration (SBA), based on appropriations in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA, P.L. 111-5).
High Interest Rates: Causes, Consequences, and Issues
This paper reviews the causes of the steep interest rate escalation since 1978 and the persistence of high rates during the recent recession and revival.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC): Summary of Actions in Support of Housing and Financial Markets
This report discusses recent actions taken by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) in support of housing and financial markets, including: a temporary increase in deposit insurance as required by the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-343), the resolution of bank failures, the development of the Temporary Liquidity Guarantee Program (TLGP), and efforts to reduce foreclosures.
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.
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.
Economic Analysis of a Mortgage Foreclosure Moratorium
This report discusses the legislation that creates a voluntary program to enable troubled mortgage borrowers and lenders to refinance their loans through the Federal Housing Administration (FHA)
The National Debt: Who Bears Its Burden?
This report discusses the burden of a national debt and who bears that burden, which is a matter of Congressional concern since the gross national debt of the United States stands at some $5.5 trillion dollars.
Financial Services and General Government (FSGG): FY2015 Appropriations
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.
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.
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.
Campaign Finance
This report discusses campaign finance practices and related issues. Concerns over financing federal elections have become a seemingly perennial aspect of our political system, centered on the enduring issues of high campaign costs and reliance on interest groups for needed campaign funds. The report talks about the today's paramount issues such as perceived loopholes in current law and the longstanding issues: overall costs, funding sources, and competition.
Risk Management and Critical Infrastructure Protection: Assessing, Integrating, and Managing Threats, Vulnerabilities and Consequences
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.
Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank
This report discusses a new development bank, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), launched by China that is posing a challenge to U.S. policymakers.
Multilateral Development Banks: U.S. Contributions FY1998-FY2009
This report shows in tabular form how much the Administration requested and how much Congress appropriated during the past 11 years for U.S. payments to the multilateral development banks (MDBs). It also provides a brief description of the MDBs and the ways they fund their operations.
Federal Securities Law: Insider Trading
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. This report discusses various regulations regarding insider trading violations.
Leverage Ratios in Bank Capital Requirements
This report provides a summary of leverage ratios used in bank capital requirements. It also explains the concept of leverage and the rationale behind a leverage ratio.
Loan Forgiveness for Public Service Employees Under the William D. Ford Direct Loan Program
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.
The Recovery Rebates and Economic Stimulus for the American People Act of 2008 and Jumbo Mortgages
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.
Financial Services and General Government (FSGG): FY2008 Appropriations
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.
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.
Treatment of Seller-Funded Downpayment Assistance in FHA-Insured Home Loans
This report discusses the seller-funded down-payment assistance that qualify for FHA-insured home loans.
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.
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.
Social Security: Summary of Program Solvency and Projections
No Description Available.
U.S. Taxation of Overseas Investment
No Description Available.
U.S. Taxation of Overseas Investment
No Description Available.
The Divestiture of American Telephone and Telegraph Company: The Impact on Shareholders
This report analyzes the impact which the divestiture of the American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T) will have on the 3.2 million holders of AT&T stock. The method of distribution and the listing and trading mechanics of the shares as well as dividend and tax information are discussed. A brief analysis of initial stock performance based on the first two weeks of trading concludes the analysis.
The International Monetary Fund's (IMF) Proposed Quota Increase: Issues for Congress
No Description Available.
ISTEA Reauthorization: Highway Related Legislative Proposals in the 105th Congress
No Description Available.
High Interest Rates: Causes and Effects
This report describes the major market and policy forces that determine the general level of interest rates. The discussion is related to the recent economic experience of high interest rates and inflation, but may be generally applied to any economic environment.
The Changing World of Financial Intermediaries and Related Institutions: Survey of Major Developments and Their Implications for Public Policy
Inflation, high and variable interest rates, and new electronic technology have had a profound impact on financial institutions throughout the world. This report surveys how the various kinds of financial institutions in the United States have been affected by these developments, how they have reacted, what major legislative action has been taken, and what policy issues remain.