Congressional Research Service Reports - 1,207 Matching Results

Search Results

Community Services Block Grants (CSBG): Background and Funding

Description: This report looks at the purpose and background of Community Services Block Grants (CSBG), which provide federal funds to states, territories, and tribes for distribution to local agencies to support a wide range of community-based activities to reduce poverty. CSBG was last reauthorized in 1998, although and related programs have been funded by Congressional approval since then.
Date: February 15, 2012
Creator: Spar, Karen
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Treasury Securities and the U.S. Sovereign Credit Default Swap Market

Description: 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.
Date: July 25, 2011
Creator: Austin, D. Andrew & Miller, Rena S.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

U.S. International Trade: Trends and Forecasts

Description: This report discusses the U.S. trade deficit in light of the 2008 global financial crisis, with emphasis on international trade and U.S. trade policy, most recent developments in trade of goods and service, trade forecasts for the future, and how issues such as the U.S. trade deficit and international trade, particularly with China, are commonly perceived.
Date: September 6, 2011
Creator: Nanto, Dick K. & Donnelly, J. Michael
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.
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
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

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.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Future of the Eurozone and U.S. Interests

Description: Seventeen of the European Union's 27 member states share an economic and monetary union (EMU) with the euro as a single currency. These countries are effectively referred to as the Eurozone. What has become known as the Eurozone crisis began in early 2010 when financial markets were shaken by heightened concerns that the fiscal positions of a number of Eurozone countries, beginning with Greece, were unsustainable. This report provides background information and analysis on the future of the Eurozone in six parts, including discussions on the origins and design challenges of the Eurozone, proposals to define the Eurozone crisis, possible scenarios for the future of the Eurozone, and the implications of the Eurozone crisis for U.S. economic and political interests.
Date: January 17, 2012
Creator: Ahearn, Raymond J.; Jackson, James K.; Mix, Derek E. & Nelson, Rebecca M.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Monetary Policy and the Federal Reserve: Current Policy and Conditions

Description: The Federal Reserve (Fed) defines monetary policy as the actions it undertakes to influence the availability and cost of money and credit. Since the expectations of market participants play an important role in determining prices and growth, monetary policy can also be defined to include the directives, policies, statements, and actions of the Fed that influence how the future is perceived. In addition, the Fed acts as a “lender of last resort” to the nation's financial system, meaning that it ensures continued smooth functioning of financial intermediation by providing financial markets with adequate liquidity. This role has become of great importance following the onset of the recent financial crisis. Congress has delegated responsibility for monetary policy to the Fed, but retains oversight responsibilities to ensure that the Fed is adhering to its statutory mandate “maximum employment, stable prices, and moderate long-term interest rates.” This report looks at the background and influences of current legislation that would affect the Fed's practices.
Date: January 30, 2012
Creator: Labonte, Marc
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.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative

Description: In June 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: June 11, 2012
Creator: Weiss, Martin A.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Multilateral Development Banks: General Capital Increases

Description: This report discusses issues related to each of the major Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) simultaneously seeking increases in their capital bases to fund the continued expansion of their development lending programs. U.S. authorization to participate in the GCIs was provided in the FY2011 and FY2012 budget measures. Key issues regarding U.S. participation in the GCIs include: comparative effectiveness of bilateral and multilateral aid, scope of MDB activity, role of emerging economic powers, U.S. bidding for MDB-funded projects, and anti-corruption policies.
Date: January 27, 2012
Creator: Weiss, Martin A.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Eurozone Crisis: Overview and Issues for Congress

Description: The Eurozone's economic crisis threatens economic stability in Europe and beyond. Four specific economic challenges faced are high debt levels and public deficits, weaknesses in the European banking system, recession and high unemployment in some Eurozone countries, and persistent trade imbalances. Three issues for Congress regarding these challenges are how this situation will impact the US economy, IMG involvement, and how the US and Europe will cooperate to solve these issues.
Date: February 29, 2012
Creator: Nelson, Rebecca M.; Belkin, Paul; Mix, Derek E. & Weiss, Martin A.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Globalization, Worker Insecurity, and Policy Approaches

Description: Today's global economy, or what many call globalization, has a growing impact on the economic futures of American companies, workers, and families. The current wave of globalization is supported by three broad trends: technology, increase in world supply of labor, and reduced government policies to international trade and investment.
Date: December 22, 2011
Creator: Ahearn, Raymond J.
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.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP): Implementation and Status

Description: The Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) was created by the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act1 (EESA) enacted on October 3, 2008, to address the ongoing financial crisis. This report provides a brief outline of the programs created under TARP, recent changes made by Congress, and a summary of the current status and estimated costs of the program. It also provides an Appendix that contains detailed discussions of the individual TARP programs. This report will be updated as warranted by market and legislative events.
Date: May 18, 2012
Creator: Webel, Baird
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Sovereign Debt in Advanced Economies: Overview and Issues for Congress

Description: Sovereign debt, also called public debt or government debt, refers to debt incurred by governments. Since the global financial crisis of 2008-2009, public debt in advanced economies has increased substantially. A number of factors related to the financial crisis have fueled the increase, including fiscal stimulus packages, the nationalization of private-sector debt, and lower tax revenue. Even if economic growth reverses some of these trends, such as by boosting tax receipts and reducing spending on government programs, aging populations in advanced economies are expected to strain government debt levels in coming years.
Date: February 29, 2012
Creator: Nelson, Rebecca M.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department