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Evaluating the Current Stance of Monetary Policy Using a Taylor Rule
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.
Iraq’s Debt Relief: Procedure and Potential Implications for International Debt Relief
This report discusses the Iraqi debt problem in three parts: [1] overview of the Iraq debt situation following the ouster of the Saddam regime; [2] subsequent debt relief negotiations and their resolution; [3] possible implications for future debt relief cases that arise from Iraq's experience. The implications are: a willingness by the international community to grant a stay on the enforcement of creditor rights; an increased flexibility in Paris Club debt relief decisions; and an unwillingness by successor regimes to claim that their debt is odious and repudiate it.
The U.S. Financial Crisis: The Global Dimension with Implications for U.S. Policy
This report examines the global impact of the financial crisis and resulting challenges, moving forward. The crisis exposed fundamental weaknesses in financial systems worldwide, and despite coordinated easing of monetary policy by governments and trillions of dollars in intervention by governments and the International Monetary Fund, the crisis continues.
Social Security Administration: Workloads, Resources, and Service Delivery
This report provides an overview of SSA's workloads, resources, and service delivery since FY1996, the first full fiscal year in which SSA became an independent agency. It also covers issues for Congress, focusing on recommendations made by the independent SSAB, Government Accountability Office, SSA's Office of the Inspector General, and the National Research Council.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Reporting Requirements in the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008
This report describes the various reporting requirements in the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (EESA) and is organized according to the entities required to prepare and submit the reports. It also provides some concluding observations regarding those requirements.
"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.
Troubled Asset Relief Program and Foreclosures
Increasing foreclosure rates and problems in financial markets are some of the issues addressed in the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (P.L. 110 343), which created the Troubled Asset Relief Plan (TARP). This report is concerned with Title II of the bill, which would require the Treasury to spend a minimum of $40 billion of the second $350 billion on foreclosure mitigation.
Multilateral Development Banks: U.S. Contributions FY2000-FY2011
This report shows in tabular form how much the Administration has requested and how much Congress has 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. It will be updated periodically as annual appropriation figures are known.
Foreign Direct Investment in the United States: An Economic Analysis
Foreign direct investment in the United States declined sharply after 2000, when a record $300 billion was invested in U.S. businesses and real estate. [Note: The United States defines foreign direct investment as the ownership or control, directly or indirectly, by one foreign person (individual, branch, partnership, association, government, etc.) of 10% or more of the voting securities of an incorporated U.S. business enterprise or an equivalent interest in an unincorporated U.S. business enterprise. 15 CFR § 806.15 (a)(1).]
Finance and the Economy: Occupy Wall Street in Historical Perspective
This report presents examples of political statements about the fundamental costs and benefits of finance and recent economic research that points to aspects of financial activity that may not be advantageous to the real economy. The report does not attempt a comprehensive survey of either literature, but provides a reminder of the breadth of the historical debates that have shaped congressional oversight of financial institutions and markets.
Community Services Block Grants (CSBG): Background and Funding
The Administration's FY2012 budget would zero-out certain national activities related to Community Service Block Grant (CSBG), including Rural Community Facilities and Job Opportunities for Low-Income Individuals (JOLI). The budget requests $20 million for Community Economic Development (down from the FY2010 level of $36 million but more than the final FY2011 level of $18 million), and would target these funds toward the multiagency Healthy Food Financing Initiative. The Administration would fund Individual Development Accounts (IDAs, also known as Assets for Independence) at $24 million in FY2012, which is the same level as in FY2010 and FY2011.
Globalization, Worker Insecurity, and Policy Approaches
This report discusses the trends driving global economic integration, sources of worker insecurity and policy approaches. There appears to be a range of views on the merits of each of these policy approaches and the extent to which they can be designed and implemented in a way that would reduce worker insecurity without undermining the benefits of globalization.
China's Holdings of U.S. Securities: Implications for the U.S. Economy
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.
The EMV Chip Card Transition: Background, Status, and Issues for Congress
This report describes the financial harm caused by data breaches and the impact of EMV (Europay, MasterCard, and Visa) chip cards on fraud. It provides information about the effect of the transition in selected foreign countries and discusses resolved and remaining impediments to completing the EMV transition in the United States. It also identifies areas of potential congressional interest.
Who Regulates Whom? An Overview of U.S. Financial Supervision
This report provides an overview of current U.S. financial regulation: which agencies are responsible for which institutions and markets, and what kinds of authority they have. Federal financial regulation in the United States has evolved through a series of piecemeal responses to developments and crises in the markets.
Multiemployer Defined Benefit (DB) Pension Plans: A Primer and Analysis of Policy Options
This report discusses the nature of multiemployer defined benefit (DB) pension plans, and issues regarding their financial solvency. DB pension plans are sponsored by more than one employer and maintained as part of a collective bargaining agreement.
Iraq's Debt Relief: Procedure and Potential Implications for International Debt Relief
This report discusses the Iraqi debt problem in three parts: (1) an overview of the Iraq debt situation following the ouster of the Saddam regime, (2) subsequent debt relief negotiations and their resolution, and (3) possible implications for future international debt relief cases.
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.
Puerto Rico's Current Fiscal Challenges: In Brief
This report discusses the current state of Puerto Rico's public finances. Puerto Rico faces several fiscal hurdles in 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.
Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC): Structure and Activities
This report provides an overview of the The Financial Stability Oversight Council's (FSOC's) structure and analyzes FSOC policy-related issues and legislation.
Tailoring Bank Regulations: Differences in Bank Size, Activities, and Capital Levels
This report discusses various types of banks and legislative proposals regarding how to tailor regulations to banks of different sizes.
"Extraordinary Measures" and the Debt Limit
This report briefly examines the statutory debt limit and the use of extraordinary measures by the Treasury Department when Congress does not modify the debt limit by the deadline.
The Global Financial Crisis: Analysis and Policy Implications
The world has entered a global recession that is causing widespread business contraction, increases in unemployment, and shrinking government revenues. The process for coping with the crisis by countries across the globe has been manifest in four basic phases. The first has been intervention to contain the contagion and restore confidence in the system. The second has been coping with the secondary effects of the crisis, particularly the global recession and flight of capital from countries in emerging markets and elsewhere that have been affected by the crisis. The third phase of this process is to make changes in the financial system to reduce risk and prevent future crises. The fourth phase of the process is dealing with political, social, and security effects of the financial turmoil. The role for Congress in this financial crisis is multifaceted. This report describes this role, as well as the financial crisis in general, in detail.
Hedge Funds: Should They Be Regulated?
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.
Multilateral Development Banks: U.S. Contributions FY1998-2009
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. It will be updated periodically. Three companion reports provide further information on the MDBs. See CRS Report RS20793, Multilateral Development Banks: Basic Background, CRS Report RS20791, Multilateral Development Banks: Procedures for U.S. Participation, and CRS Report RS22134 International Financial Institutions: Funding U.S. Participation.
U.S. Direct Investment Abroad: Trends and Current Issues
The United States is the largest investor abroad and the largest recipient of direct investment in the world. Some observers believe U.S. firms invest abroad to avoid U.S. labor unions or high U.S. wages, however, 70% of U.S. foreign direct investment is concentrated in high income developed countries. Even more striking is the fact that the share of investment going to developing countries has fallen in recent years. Most economists conclude that direct investment abroad does not lead to fewer jobs or lower incomes overall for Americans and that the majority of jobs lost among U.S. manufacturing firms over the past decade reflect a broad restructuring of U.S. manufacturing industries.
The Abandoned Mine Land Fund: Grants Distribution and Issues
The Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA, P.L. 95-87), enacted in 1977, established reclamation standards for all coal surface mining operations, and for the surface effects of underground mining. It also established the Abandoned Mine Land (AML) program to promote the reclamation of sites mined and abandoned prior to the enactment of SMCRA. To finance reclamation of abandoned mine sites, the legislation established fees on coal production. These collections are divided into federal and state shares; subject to annual appropriation, AML funds are distributed annually to states with approved reclamation programs. This report describes the distribution of these funds and the various issues that arise from said distribution.
Effects of Flat Taxes and Other Proposals on Housing: An Overview
Studies have estimated that some of these revisions would cause a decline in demand for houses and significant reduction in house prices--perhaps in excess of 15 percent. These studies, however, presumed a fixed supply of housing; even a limited supply response would greatly decrease predicted asset price effects. Supply response is likely to be large in the long run and not insignificant in the short run. Effects on housing demand might also be mitigated by increases in savings rates and lower interest rates. Thus, effects of the flat tax on housing prices are likely to be limited in the short run and very small in the long run. Rental housing demand, on the other hand, would be encouraged with a shift to a consumption tax base.
Iceland's Financial Crisis
On November 19, 2008, Iceland and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) finalized an agreement on a $6 billion economic stabilization program supported by a $2.1 billion loan from the IMF. Iceland's banking system had collapsed as a culmination of a series of decisions the banks made that left them highly exposed to disruptions in financial markets. The collapse of the banks also raises questions for U.S. leaders and others about supervising banks that operate across national borders, especially as it becomes increasingly difficult to distinguish the limits of domestic financial markets.
The Global Financial Crisis: The Role of the International Monetary Fund (IMF)
This report discusses two potential roles the International Monetary Fund (IMF) may have in helping to resolve the current global financial crisis: (1) immediate crisis control through balance of payments lending to emerging market and less-developed countries and (2) increased surveillance of the global economy through better coordination with the international financial regulatory agencies.
The Global Financial Crisis: The Role of the International Monetary Fund (IMF)
This report discusses two potential roles the International Monetary Fund (IMF) may have in helping to resolve the current global financial crisis: (1) immediate crisis control through balance of payments lending to emerging market and less-developed countries and (2) increased surveillance of the global economy through better coordination with the international financial regulatory agencies.
Glass-Steagall Act: Commercial vs. Investment Banking
This report discusses debate over reform of the Nation's financial structure in the 100th Congress includes re-examination of "the separation of banking and commerce." This separation was mandated by the Glass-Steagall Act (part of the Banking Act of 1933); and was carried forward into the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956, as amended in 1970 and thereafter. The resulting isolation of banking from securities was designed to (1) maintain the integrity of the banking system; (2) prevent self-dealing and other financial abuses; and (3) limit stock market speculation. By half a century later, the "wall" it created seemed to be crumbling, as bankers created new financial products resembling securities, and securities firms innovated new financial products resembling loans and deposits. The ongoing process of "financial deregulation" has evoked calls for Congress to give depository institutions new powers, especially in the securities field. Financial deregulation in the United Kingdom, Canada, and Japan has put additional pressure on Congress to re-examine this Act. Concerns over a seemingly fragile system of depository institutions persist, however, tending to place counter-pressure on Congress to maintain the Act.
The Stability of the International Banking System
No Description Available.
The Stability of the International Banking System
No Description Available.
Financing the U.S. Trade Deficit
The U.S. merchandise trade deficit is a part of the overall U.S. balance of payments, a summary statement of all economic transactions between the residents of the United States and the rest of the world, during a given period of time. Some Members of Congress and other observers have grown concerned over the magnitude of the growing U.S. merchandise trade deficit and the associated increase in U.S. dollar-denominated assets owned by foreigners. This report provides an overview of the U.S. balance of payments, an explanation of the broader role of capital flows in the U.S. economy, an explanation of how the country finances its trade deficit or a trade surplus, and the implications for Congress and the country of the large inflows of capital from abroad.
Foreign Investment in U.S. Securities
Foreign capital inflows are playing an important role in the U.S. economy by bridging the gap between domestic supplies of and demand for capital. Foreign investors now hold more than 55% of the publicly-held and -traded U.S. Treasury securities. This report relies on a comprehensive set of data on capital flows, represented by purchases and sales of U.S. government securities and U.S. and foreign corporate stocks, bonds, into and out of the United States, that is reported by the Treasury Department on a monthly basis.
Argentina's Defaulted Sovereign Debt: Dealing with the "Holdouts"
In December 2001, following an extended period of economic and political instability, Argentina suffered a severe financial crisis, leading to the largest default on sovereign debt in history. This report discusses efforts Argentina has made over the past decade, since that financial crisis, to restructure its debt. The report also includes discussion of the Argentine 2010 Bond Exchange and an outlook of Argentina's economic future.
Iceland's Financial Crisis
This report discusses the banking collapse in Iceland. Iceland's banking system had collapsed as a result of a culmination of a series of decisions the banks made that left them highly exposed to disruptions in financial markets. The collapse of the banks raised questions for U.S. leaders and others about supervising banks that operate across national borders, especially as it has become increasingly difficult to distinguish the limits of domestic financial markets.
The Global Financial Crisis: Increasing IMF Resources and the Role of Congress
This report provides information on the role the IMF has played in the financial crisis, international agreement to increase the financial resources of the IMF, and the role of Congress in increasing the Fund's resources. As will be discussed in detail at the end of the report, congressional authorization, and perhaps appropriation, would be required to increase U.S. contributions to the IMF.
The Status of the Basel III Capital Adequacy Accord
The new Basel Capital Adequacy Accord (Basel III) is an agreement among countries' central banks and bank supervisory authorities on the amount of capital banks must hold as a cushion against losses and insolvency. Basel III is of concern to Congress mainly because it could put U.S. financial institutions at a competitive disadvantage in world financial markets. This report follows the basic elements of the Basel III documents on the types of capital requirements and their phase-in schedule, which were approved by the Basel member central bank governors on September 12, 2010. The elements are the new definition of Tier 1 capital, the minimum common equity capital, the capital conservation buffer, countercyclical capital buffer, liquidity coverage ratio, global leverage ratio, and wind-down government capital injections. The report concludes with some implications drawn from its content.
The U.S. Financial Crisis: The Global Dimension with Implications for U.S. Policy
This report examines the global ramifications of the financial crisis, which exposed fundamental weaknesses in financial systems worldwide, and despite coordinated easing of monetary policy by governments and trillions of dollars in intervention by governments and the International Monetary Fund, the crisis continues.
U.S. Direct Investment Abroad: Trends and Current Issues
The United States is the largest investor abroad and the largest recipient of direct investment in the world. Some observers believe U.S. firms invest abroad to avoid U.S. labor unions or high U.S. wages, however, 70% of U.S. foreign direct investment is concentrated in high income developed countries. Even more striking is the fact that the share of investment going to developing countries has fallen in recent years. Most economists conclude that direct investment abroad does not lead to fewer jobs or lower incomes overall for Americans and that the majority of jobs lost among U.S. manufacturing firms over the past decade reflect a broad restructuring of U.S. manufacturing industries.
China's Currency Devaluation
This report discusses China's recent changes to its method for determining the value of its currency (the renminbi). On Tuesday, August 11, 2015, the People's Bank of China (PBC), China's central bank, surprised global financial markets by lowering the reference rate of the renminbi, effectively depreciating the currency.
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.
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).