Congressional Research Service Reports - 1,207 Matching Results

Search Results

The Depreciating Dollar: Economic Effects and Policy Response

Description: This report addresses the concern about the health of the U.S. economy regarding the depreciation of the dollar and examines the likely reasons for the dollar's fall, the effects the depreciating currency could have on the economy, and possible policy responses that could be considered to attempt to alter the dollar's path if needed.
Date: July 17, 2008
Creator: Elwell, Craig K.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Community Development Block Grants: Legislative Proposals to Assist Communities Affected by Home Foreclosures

Description: In response to the rising number of home mortgage foreclosures, several bills have been introduced during the 110th Congress that would provide additional federal assistance to state and local governments with high concentrations of foreclosed homes, subprime mortgage loans, and delinquent home mortgages. At least one of these proposals, H.R. 3221, as passed by the Senate, includes provisions that would use the framework of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program to channel an additional $4 billion in assistance to state and local governments. This provision faces an uncertain future; objections to it have been raised by the Bush Administration and others, contending that the assistance will result in the rescue of lenders and speculators.
Date: July 15, 2008
Creator: Boyd, Eugene & Gonzales, Oscar R.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Fannie Mae's and Freddie Mac's Financial Problems: Frequently Asked Questions

Description: Recent turmoil in the housing and financial markets have caused concern over the future of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which are chartered by Congress as government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) and are widely believed to have an implicit guarantee from the federal government. The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO) -- the GSEs safety and soundness regulator -- has repeated assurances that Fannie and Freddie have adequate capital, but as highly leveraged financial intermediaries, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have limited resources against losses. This report analyzes various aspects of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in relation to the financial turmoil that began in September 2008.
Date: July 15, 2008
Creator: Weiss, N. Eric
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Highway Bridges: Conditions and the Federal/State Role

Description: This report examines the federal and state roles in the maintenance, inspection, reconstruction, and replacement of the nation's highway bridge infrastructure, as well as the emergency response and reconstruction role of the Department of Transportation (DOT). The report first describes what is known about the condition of the nation's bridges and whether the problem of structural deficiency is improving or worsening. It then briefly describes the programmatic and budgetary context, including federal efforts to reduce the number of deficient bridges, and examines highway bridge spending. The report discusses issues Congress is facing face in light of the I-35W bridge collapse and the emergence of questions about the appropriateness and effectiveness of related federal infrastructure policies, programs, and spending. Finally, the report describes a number of legislative initiatives that have been proposed.
Date: July 15, 2008
Creator: Kirk, Robert S. & Mallett, William J.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Primer on Energy Derivatives and Their Regulation

Description: Prices of oil and other energy commodities are set in futures and derivatives markets, where producers, commercial users, and financial speculators buy and sell contracts whose value is linked to the price of the underlying commodity. Trading occurs on regulated futures exchanges and in a largely unregulated over-the-counter (OTC) market; both forms of trading are global in scope. This report presents basic information about these markets, the instruments traded, the regulatory framework, speculation, and current legislative proposals.
Date: July 15, 2008
Creator: Jickling, Mark
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Foreign Direct Investment: Current Issues

Description: This report presents an overview of current issues related to foreign direct investment in the economy and the development of U.S. policy toward inward and outward direct investment. This report also assesses the role of foreign direct investment in the economy and the costs and benefits of direct investment.
Date: July 14, 2008
Creator: Jackson, James K.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Foreign Investment in U.S. Securities

Description: This report analyzes the extent of foreign portfolio investment in the U.S. economy and assesses the economic conditions that are attracting such investment and the impact such investments are having on the economy.
Date: July 14, 2008
Creator: Jackson, James K.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Future Role of U.S. Trade Policy: An Overview

Description: The United States has become increasingly integrated with the rest of the world economy. This integration has offered benefits and presented challenges to U.S. business, agriculture, labor, and consumers. Those who can compete in the more integrated economy have enjoyed opportunities to broaden their success, while those who are challenged by increased foreign competition have been forced to adjust and some have exited the market or relocated overseas. Some observers contend that, in order to remain globally competitive, the United States must continue to support trade liberalization policies, while assisting those hurt by trade. Others have raised doubts over whether free trade policies benefit the U.S. economy. This report provides an overview and background on the debate over the future course of U.S. trade policy.
Date: July 14, 2008
Creator: Morrison, Wayne M. & Cooper, William M.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Public-Private Partnerships in Highway and Transit Infrastructure Provision

Description: This report begins with a brief discussion of the surface transportation system and its financing needs as background to the debate on public-private partnerships (PPPs). That is followed by sections describing the different types of PPPs, with details of a few prominent examples, and the development of federal legislation with respect to PPPs. The report then discusses the main issues of contention with the construction and longterm leasing of highways by the private sector, particularly as they relate to the funding, planning, and operation of the surface transportation system, before providing some policy options Congress may wish to consider.
Date: July 9, 2008
Creator: Mallett, William J.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Enron Loophole

Description: The Commodity Exchange Act exempts certain energy derivatives contracts from regulation by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). These exemptions are popularly known as the "Enron loophole." Soaring energy prices have raised concerns about whether the CFTC has enough information about these unregulated markets to monitor energy trading in a comprehensive manner. A number of other bills in the 110th Congress would impose new reporting or regulatory requirements on the bilateral energy swaps market, which was not addressed by the Farm Bill.
Date: July 7, 2008
Creator: Jickling, Mark
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Agricultural Disaster Assistance

Description: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) offers several permanently authorized programs to help farmers recover financially from a natural disaster, including federal crop insurance, the noninsured assistance program (NAP), and emergency disaster loans. This report outlines the various agricultural disaster assistance appropriations included in the FY2007 Iraq war supplemental appropriations act; the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008; the 2008 farm bill; and the FY2008 Supplemental Appropriations Act.
Date: July 3, 2008
Creator: Chite, Ralph M.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Foreign Investment and National Security: Economic Considerations

Description: This report assesses recent international developments as the leaders from a number of nations work to reach a consensus on an informal set of best practices regarding national restrictions on foreign investment for national security purposes. This report also provides one possible approach for assessing the costs and benefits involved in using national policies to direct, or to restrict, foreign direct investment for national security reasons.
Date: June 27, 2008
Creator: Jackson, James K.
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 FY2007 was about $624 billion, about 99% of which was mandatory spending on benefit payments. This report focuses on SSA’s spending for administrative expenses, which is discretionary and amounts to about 1% of SSA’s total spending. This funding is provided in the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies appropriations bill.
Date: May 27, 2008
Creator: Romig, Kathleen
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

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

Description: This paper reviews the various economic issues raised by China's present currency policy, including: the economic concerns raised by the United States over China's currency policy and China's concerns over changing that policy; how China's fixed exchange rate regime works and the various economic studies that have attempted to determine China's real, or market, exchange rate; trends and factors in the U.S.-China trade imbalance; economic consequences of China's currency policy for both China and the United States; China's massive accumulation of foreign exchange reserves and purchases of U.S. federal debt instruments; and policy options on how the United States might induce China to reform its present currency policy, including current legislation introduced in Congress.
Date: May 22, 2008
Creator: Morrison, Wayne M. & Labonte, Marc
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Overseas Private Investment Corporation: Background and Legislative Issues

Description: This report outlines challenges faced by Tajikistan since its five-year civil war ended in 1997. It discusses U.S. policy and assistance. Basic facts and biographical information are provided. This report may be updated. Related products include CRS Report RL33458, Central Asia: Regional Developments and Implications for U.S. Interests, updated regularly.
Date: May 22, 2008
Creator: Langton, Danielle
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

U.S. Taxation of Overseas Investment and Income: Background and Issues

Description: This report analyzes how the current U.S. tax system applies to foreign investment undertaken by U.S. firms abroad, and how that application was changed by recent legislation. It also assesses the impact of the tax system and legislation, and concludes by discussing a variety of issues in international taxation that Congress may face in 2008 and beyond. It begins with a brief examination of the data on international investment.
Date: May 21, 2008
Creator: Marples, Donald J.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Regulation of Energy Derivatives

Description: After the collapse of Enron Corp. in late 2001, that company's activities came under intense scrutiny. Much of its business consisted of trading financial contracts whose value was derived from changes in energy prices. Enron's derivatives trading was largely "over-the-counter" (OTC) and unregulated: little information about transactions was available. This incident has sparked interest in reform of energy derivatives regulation. This report summarizes energy derivatives regulation and proposed legislation.
Date: May 12, 2008
Creator: Jickling, Mark
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

China's Currency: A Summary of the Economic Issues

Description: Many Members of Congress charge that China's policy of accumulating foreign reserves (especially U.S. dollars) to influence the value of its currency constitutes a form of currency manipulation intended to make its exports cheaper and imports into China more expensive than they would be under free market conditions. Although China made modest reforms to its currency policy in 2005, Members contend the forms have not gone far enough and have warned of potential legislative action. This report summarizes the main findings CRS Report RL32165, China's Currency: Economic Issues and Options for U.S. Trade Policy.
Date: May 8, 2008
Creator: Morrison, Wayne M. & Labonte, Marc
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Currency Manipulation: The IMF and WTO

Description: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Trade Organization (WTO) approach the issue of "currency manipulation" differently. The IMF Articles of Agreement prohibit countries from manipulating their currency for the purpose of gaining unfair trade advantage, but the IMF cannot force a country to change its exchange rate policies. The WTO has rules against subsidies, but these are very narrow and specific and do not seem to encompass currency manipulation. Several options might be considered for addressing this matter in the future, if policymakers deem this a wise course of action.
Date: May 8, 2008
Creator: Sanford, Jonathan E.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Dollar Crisis: Prospect and Implications

Description: This report describes the anatomy of dollar crisis, and possible reasons why a dollar crisis won't occur. The report discusses the macroeconomics effects of a dollar crisis, and the response of economic policy.
Date: May 6, 2008
Creator: Elwell, Craig K.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

China's Sovereign Wealth Fund

Description: This report discusses China's ruling executive body, the State Council, which establishes the China Investment Corporation (CIC), a sovereign wealth fund, in September 2007 to invest $200 billion of China's then $1.4 trillion in foreign exchange reserves. Congress and financial analysts raised concerns about the CIC after its creation, partly because it was a comparatively large sovereign wealth fund, partly because it was government-owned, and partly because it reported directly to the State Council.
Date: May 5, 2008
Creator: Martin, Michael F.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department