Congressional Research Service Reports - 1,211 Matching Results

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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).
The Government's Long-Term Fiscal Shortfall: How Much Is Attributable to Social Security?
This report discusses social security in the context of the federal budget. One rationale given for Social Security reform is the large long-term fiscal shortfall that Social Security is projected to face.
Campaign Finance: Issues Before the U.S. Supreme Court in McConnell v. FEC
This report provides a summary of the issues presented by 12 groups of appellants in their jurisdictional statements in 2003. Shortly after the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA), P.L. 107-155 (H.R. 2356, 107th Cong.) was enacted in March 2002 (also known as the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform legislation), Senator Mitch McConnell and others filed suit in U.S. District Court for D.C. against the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) arguing that provisions of the law are unconstitutional. Ultimately, eleven suits challenging BCRA were brought by more than 80 plaintiffs and consolidated into one lead case, McConnell v. FEC. On May 2, 2003, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued its decision in McConnell v. FEC, No. 02-CV-0582 striking down some key provisions of the law as unconstitutional, but on May 19, it issued a stay of its ruling, which leaves BCRA, as enacted, in effect until the Supreme Court issues a decision. (For information about the decision, see CRS Report RS21511, Campaign Finance: Brief Overview of McConnell v. FEC.) Under the BCRA expedited review provision, the court's decision will be reviewed directly by the U.S. Supreme Court, which scheduled oral argument for September 8, 2003.
Federal Reserve: Oversight and Disclosure Issues
This report provides an overview of existing Federal Reserve (Fed) oversight and disclosure practices, highlighting recent legislative changes and proposals. 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.
Social Security Reform
This report provides background and analysis on social security reform. The report discusses the most recent development, the basis for the debate, specific areas of contention and reform initiatives.
Social Security Reform
This report examines the debate over the future of the Social Security system. It includes discussion of recent developments; background and analysis with information about the basic debate, specific area of contention, reform initiatives; and relevant legislation.
Federal Reserve: Legislation in the 114th Congress
This report analyzes provisions and the policy debate surrounding a number of bills that would affect the Federal Reserve's (Fed's) monetary policy, lender of last resort, and regulatory responsibilities. The Fed's responsibilities as the nation's central bank fall into four main categories: monetary policy, provision of emergency liquidity through the lender of last resort function, supervision of certain types of banks and other financial firms for safety and soundness, and provision of payment system services to financial firms and the government.
Social Security: Raising or Eliminating the Taxable Earnings Base
This report discusses the Social Security taxes that are levied on covered earnings up to a maximum level set each year. In 2010, this maximum—or what is referred to as the taxable earnings base—is $106,800.
Social Security Reform: The Issue of Individual Versus Collective Investment for Retirement
This report discusses a myriad of issues have been raised in the current Social Security debate, in particular the question of whether and how the nation’s financial markets might be used to reform the system.
Social Security: What Happens to Future Benefit Levels Under Various Reform Options
The report first examines several benefit-constraint options. Among them are raising the age at which full Social Security retirement benefits can be received, changing the way initial benefits are computed, and constraining cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs). It also illustrates the effects of creating new personal savings accounts and presents their projected impact as a supplement to, or partial replacement of, the existing system, or as a means to close the gap between the benefit levels promised by the existing system and what can be paid under its projected future income. Finally, because across-the-board cuts may be seen as too severe for several types of recipients, other options that would ameliorate their effects, including one that would raise revenue, are also illustrated.
Foreign Holdings of Federal Debt
This report presents current data on estimated ownership of U.S. Treasury securities and major holders of federal debt by country. Federal debt represents the accumulated balance of borrowing by the federal government.
Banking and Finance: Legislative Initiatives in the 105th Congress, Second Session
This report reviews major banking and finance issues that are receiving congressional attention in the 2nd session of the 105th Congress.
Highway Finance: RABA’s Double-edged Sword
This report discusses a possible reduction in federal highway program spending. Congress has chosen to overrule provisions of law that would have reduced the FY2003 spending level to $23.2 billion, and has instead settled on $31.8 billion, the same as the FY2002 level.
Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)
This report discusses China's proposal of creating a new multilateral development bank (MDB), the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) with the purpose to provide financing for infrastructure needs throughout Asia, as well as in neighboring regions.
Social Security Reform: Bills in the 106th Congress
The Social Security system is projected to have long-range funding problems. Although the system’s income currently exceeds its expenditures, its trust funds are projected to be depleted in 2037. Concern about the problem and a belief that the remedy lies partly in economic growth that could be bolstered by changes to the system have led to introduction of a number of bills incorporating varying degrees of reform. This report describes the funding problem in some detail, summarizes many of the reform bills introduced in the 106th Congress, and provides a list of other related CRS reports.
Campaign Finance Law: The Supreme Court Upholds Key Provisions of BCRA in McConnell v. FEC
This report discusses the Supreme Court's decision in McConnell v. FEC. The court upheld against facial constitutional challenges key portions of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA), (P.L. 107-155, commonly known as the McCain-Feingold or Shays-Meehan campaign finance reform law).
Student Loans, Student Aid, and FY2008 Budget Reconciliation
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.
Student Loans, Student Aid, and FY2008 Budget Reconciliation
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.
Student Loans, Student Aid, and FY2008 Budget Reconciliation
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.
Monetary Policy: Current Policy and Conditions
This report discusses monetary policy, which can also be defined in terms of the directives, policies, statements, and actions of the Federal Reserve, particularly those from its Board of Governors that have an effect on aggregate demand or national spending.
Monetary Policy and the Federal Reserve: Current Policy and Conditions
Monetary policy can be defined as any policy relating to the supply of money. Since the agency concerned with the supply of money is the nation’s central bank, the Federal Reserve, monetary policy can also be defined in terms of the directives, policies, statements, and actions of the Federal Reserve, particularly those from its Board of Governors that have an effect on national spending. This report discusses current issues regarding monetary policy.
Current Social Security Issues
Social Security is the focus of intense public interest. Projected long-range funding problems, public skepticism about its future, and a growing perception that Social Security will not be as good a value for future retirees as it is today are fueling calls for reform. This report discusses a number of the major Social Security issues currently drawing congressional attention.
Taxation of Hedge Fund and Private Equity Managers
This report provides background on hedge funds and private equity and summarizes the tax issues.
Proposals to Eliminate Public Financing of Presidential Campaigns
This report discusses Presidential campaign funding and provides a brief policy overview and raises potential issues for congressional consideration.
Monetary Policy and the Federal Reserve: Current Policy and Conditions
This report provides an overview of monetary policy and recent developments. It discusses issues for Congress, including transparency and proposals to change the Fed's mandate, and ends with a brief overview of the Fed's regulatory responsibilities.
Social Security: Calculation and History of Taxing Benefits
This report discusses the calculations that go into taxing Social Security benefits, which prior to 1984 were exempt from taxation but have since been taxed at gradually increasing levels.
Monetary Policy and the Federal Reserve: Current Policy and Conditions
This report provides an overview of monetary policy and recent developments. It discusses issues for Congress, including transparency and proposals to change the Federal Reserve's (Fed's) mandate, and ends with a brief overview of the Fed's regulatory responsibilities.
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 crisis has exposed fundamental weaknesses in financial systems worldwide, demonstrated how interconnected and interdependent economies are today, and has posed vexing policy dilemmas. This report describes the financial crisis in detail, including various countries' methods of coping with and adapting to the situation; the role of Congress in the solution and recovery process; and the Obama Administration proposal for financial regulatory reform.
Financial Regulatory Reform: Analysis of the Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) as Proposed by the Obama Administration and H.R. 3126
This report provides a brief summary of the President's Consumer Financial Protection Agency Act of 2009 (the CPFA Act or the Act) and delineates some of the substantive differences between it and H.R. 3126, as introduced. It then analyzes some of the policy implications of the proposal, focusing on the separation of safety and soundness regulation from consumer protection, financial innovation, and the scope of regulation. The report then raises some questions regarding state law preemption, sources of funding, and rule-making procedures that the Act does not fully answer.
Tax Credit Bonds: Overview and Analysis
Tax Credit Bonds (TCBs) are a type of bond that offers the holder a federal tax credit instead of interest. This report explains the tax credit mechanism and describes the market for the bonds. It also discusses related pieces of legislation and what the most common uses of the proceeds from TCBs are.
The Global Climate Change Initiative (GCCI): Budget Authority and Request, FY2010-FY2014
This report discusses the financial assistance for global climate change initiatives in developing countries. The Global Climate Change Initiative (GCCI) -- one of the three main pillars to the 2010 directive -- aims to integrate climate change considerations into relevant foreign assistance, from FY2008 enacted funding request for FY2010 through the FY2014.
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, including the history of the MDBs, their operations and organizational structure, and the effectiveness of MDB financial assistance. The second section discusses the role of Congress in the MDBs, including congressional legislation authorizing and appropriating U.S. contributions to the MDBs; congressional oversight; and U.S. commercial interests in the MDBs.
Sovereign Debt in Advanced Economies: Overview and Issues for Congress
This report discusses sovereign debt, which is also called public debt or government debt, and refers to debt incurred by governments. The first section provides background information on sovereign debt, including why governments borrow, how sovereign debt differs from private debt, why governments repay their debt (or not), and how sovereign debt is measured. The second section examines the shift of concerns over sovereign debt sustainability from emerging markets in the 1990s and 2000s to advanced economies following the global financial crisis of 2008-2009, and the challenges posed by high debt levels. The third section analyzes the different policy options governments have for lowering debt levels. It also discusses the current strategy being used by most advanced economies -- fiscal austerity -- and concerns that have been raised about its global impact. Finally, the fourth section analyzes issues of particular interest to Congress, including comparisons between U.S. and European debt levels, how efforts to reduce debt levels could impact the U.S. economy, and policy options available to Congress for engaging on this issue.
Social Security Reform: Current Issues and Legislation
Report that looks at the Social Security debate, Social Security future projections, and public opinion on Social Security reform. It also looks at past reform measures, from the 109th-112th Congress, none of which received congressional action.
The Labor Market during the Great Depression and the Current Recession
This report analyzes the labor market experiences of workers during the 1930s, which encompassed the almost five years of the Great Depression. Because it was a period very distant and different from today, considerable time is devoted to examining the employment and unemployment measures available at that time. The report ends by comparing the labor market conditions of the 1930s with those encountered by workers thus far during the recession that began in December 2007.
Financing the U.S. Trade Deficit: Role of Foreign Governments
The nation's trade deficit is equal to the imbalance between national investment and national saving. The financial turmoil and economic contraction during 2008 reduced the gap between national saving and investment. The result was a decline in the trade deficit and the net inflow of capital. If total net capital inflows decline, mainstream economics suggests, all else held constant, that the dollar and trade deficit would decline, U.S. interest rates would rise, and U.S. spending on capital goods and consumer durables would fall, all else equal.
Hedge Funds: Should They Be Regulated?
Hedge funds are essentially unregulated mutual funds. They are pools of invested money that buy and sell stocks and bonds and many other assets, including foreign currencies, precious metals, commodities, and derivatives. Hedge funds are structured to avoid Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulation. In view of the growing impact of hedge funds on a variety of financial markets, the SEC in October 2004 adopted a regulation that required hedge funds to register as investment advisers, disclose basic information about their operations, and open their books for inspection. This report discusses various legislation before the 111th Congress that would impose various types and amounts of SEC regulation upon hedge funds.
Social Security: Raising the Retirement Age Background and Issues
The Social Security "full retirement age" will gradually rise from 65 to 67 beginning with people who attain age 62 in 2000 (i.e., those born in 1938). Early retirement benefits will still be available beginning at age 62, but at lower levels. To help solve Social Security's long-range financing problems, it has been proposed that these ages be raised further.
Social Security: Cost-of-Living Adjustments
This report discusses the cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) for Social Security and the upcoming COLA set to begin in January 2018. Calculations used to determine COLA amounts and a brief history of their use is also included.
Two-Sided Credit Card Markets: The Supreme Court Takes Up Novel Antitrust Issue
This report discusses the case of "Ohio v. American Express" which the Supreme Court has accepted for hearing which poses the question of how federal antitrust law should treat two-sided markets which are platforms in which two distinct user groups operate in an interdependent way. The case challenges anti-steering clauses in American Express contract agreements with merchants that prevent the merchants from promoting the use of other credit cards. The case has the potential to change the way vendors accept card payments across the country--but the case also provides the Supreme Court with the opportunity to guide the lower courts that are increasingly confronting antitrust issues concerning two-sided markets. As a result, the American Express case raises several issues for Congress that could implicate its legislative and oversight roles with respect to the financial services industry and, more generally, the regulation of two-sided markets.
Agricultural Disaster Assistance
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 non-insured assistance program and emergency disaster loans. In recent years, Congress frequently has made supplemental financial assistance available to farmers and ranchers on an ad-hoc basis, most notably in the form of direct crop disaster payments and emergency livestock assistance. Congress provided an estimated $3.1 billion of such assistance in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2003 (P.L. 108-7) for 2001 and 2002 crop and livestock losses. Some farm groups would like to see similar assistance provided for 2003 losses, particularly in regions of the Midwest and West that have experienced prolonged drought conditions. To date, no ad-hoc assistance has been made available for 2003 losses.