Enacted in 1925, the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) seeks to ensure the validity and enforcement of arbitration agreements in any “maritime transaction or . . . contract evidencing a transaction involving commerce.” In general, the FAA evidences a national policy favoring arbitration. However, the application of the FAA to various types of arbitration agreements has been the subject of numerous lawsuits. This report provides a brief legislative history of the FAA, as well as a review of selected cases that have interpreted the FAA. The report also discusses bills introduced during the 108th Congress that would amend the FAA to address the use of arbitration to resolve employment and specific contract disputes.
This report illustrates the difference between the concepts of “monopoly” and “monopolization” by touching on the monopoly/monopolization thinking in the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice (DoJ) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), as illustrated in (1) statements on merger enforcement made by recent antitrust enforcement officials (generally indicative of the agencies’ concerns about competitive conditions and the effect of various market transactions), (2) the 1992 Horizontal Merger Guidelines 2 and (3) some observations on the Government actions against the Microsoft and Intel Corporations.
This report provides an overview of how federal lands and resources are managed, the agencies that manage the lands, the authorities under which these lands are managed, and some of the issues associated with federal land management. The report is divided into nine sections.
This report discusses the global trade in wine, which has increased rapidly during the past 25 years, steadily rising from under $1 billion in 1977 to over $7 billion in 2001. Reports of health benefits and rising global incomes have spurred increasing demand for wine, particularly in mid- to upper-income countries. In 2001, the United States was the world’s leading importer, just ahead of the European Union (EU). Together, they accounted for over 60% of global imports.
This report discusses global trade in wine, which has Several important issues have emerged in recent years with respect to international wine trade, particularly between the EU and non-EU countries, including oenological (wine-making) practices and the use of “semi-generic” names for wines. The latter issue is encompassed under the debate on “geographical indications” at the World Trade Organization. Ongoing bilateral negotiations between the United States and the EU seek to resolve both of these issues. .
As global economic competition heightens, many firms and workers face difficult adjustment problems. Congress has responded to these adjustment costs by authorizing four trade adjustment assistance (TAA) programs to assist trade-impacted workers, firms, farmers, and communities. This report discusses the TAA program for firms (TAAF). The TAAF program provides technical assistance to trade-affected firms to help them develop strategies and make other adjustments to remain competitive in the changing international economy.
This report looks at the background of Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) in the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, which was created by Congress. It then discusses how the 112th Congress is considering legislative action to extend the TAA - including two issues: how necessary or appropriate the extension is, and whether or not three proposed bills should be voted upon separately.
This report discusses how the total debt of the federal government can increase, an historical overview of debt limits, and how the current economic slowdown has led to higher deficits and thereby a series of debt limit increases, as well as legislation related to these increases.
This report discusses how the total debt of the federal government can increase, provides an historical overview of debt limits, and explains how the current economic slowdown has led to higher deficits and thereby a series of debt limit increases, also discusses the legislation related to these increases.
Report that gives an overview of 18 U.S.C. 1832 (theft of trade secrets) and 18 U.S.C. 1831 (economic espionage). It also describes what constitutes as a stolen trade secret, and how such crimes are prosecuted.
This report provides an overview of the time frames and procedures in a Government Accountability Office (GAO) bid protest, including (1) what issues can be protested with GAO; (2) who can file or be a party to a GAO protest; (3) the procedures for bringing and resolving GAO protests; (4) the time frames involved in GAO protests; (5) the automatic stay of contract award or performance triggered by a GAO protest, as well as the basis for agency overrides of automatic stays and judicial review of agency override determinations; (6) the basis and effects of GAO decisions; and (7) reconsideration and "appeal" of GAO decisions.
This report discusses the Trade Adjustment Assistance for Firms (TAAF) program and policy issues, as well as legislation to reauthorize the TAAF program. It provides technical assistance to help trade-impacted firms make strategic adjustments to improve their global competitiveness.
This report provides an overview of the various contract types (e.g., fixed-price, cost-reimbursement) used in federal procurement and the legal requirements and issues pertaining to each. Current congressional and public interest in contract types is, in part, an outgrowth of the reported increase in the use of cost-reimbursement contracts during the George W. Bush Administration and the Obama Administration's proposal to reduce by at least 10% the funds obligated by "high risk-contracting authorities," such as cost-reimbursement, time-and-materials, and labor-hour contracts, in FY2010.
This report discusses the standards and procedures that federal agencies use in making responsibility determinations under the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR). As a general rule, government agencies contract with the lowest qualified responsible bidder or offeror. Responsibility is an attribute of the contractor, while price and qualifications are attributes of the bid or offer. Under the FAR, "[n]o purchase or award shall be made unless the contracting officer makes an affirmative determination of responsibility."
This report discusses Bisphenol A (BPA). BPA is used to produce certain types of plastic that are used in thousands of formulations for myriad products. Containers made with these plastics may expose people to small amounts of BPA in food and water. Medical devices and other more ubiquitous products, such as thermal paper coatings, also may contribute significantly to human exposure. Some animal experiments have found that fetal and infant development may be harmed by small amounts of BPA, but scientists disagree about the value of the animal studies for predicting harmful effects in people.
As a general rule, government agencies contract with the lowest qualified responsible bidder or offeror. Debarment and suspension are among the techniques that government agencies use to ensure that they contract with only "responsible" bidders or offerors because they allow the government to exclude contractors from receiving government contracts. This report focuses upon exclusions on procurement grounds.2 It surveys the authorities requiring or allowing federal agencies to debar or suspend contractors, due process and other protections for contractors, and recently enacted and proposed amendments to the laws governing debarment and suspension.
This report provides an overview of the law and policy of trade secrets. It discusses the role of trade secrets in U.S. innovation policy. It then reviews the sources of trade secret law and the substantive rules that they provide. The report then provides a more detailed review of existing federal legislation that pertains to trade secrets. In its next section, the report then discusses the relationship between patent law and trade secret law. The report closes with an identification of congressional issues and options within this field.
This report develops three scenarios to approximate different dimensions of the relationship between the global economic downturn and protectionism. The scenarios are not predictions, but descriptions of how and why pressures for protection could be manifested and transmitted under different circumstances and assumptions.
This report analyzes Africa's vulnerability to the global crisis and potential implications for economic growth, poverty alleviation, fiscal balances, and political stability. The report describes channels through which the crisis is affecting Africa, and provides information on international efforts to address the impact, including U.S. policies and those of multilateral institutions in which the United States plays a major role.
This report describes the legal requirements pertaining to competition that presently apply to federal procurement contracts. Among other things, it discusses what contracts are subject to competition requirements; what constitutes full and open competition for government contracts; what is meant by "full and open competition after exclusion of sources"; and circumstances permitting agencies to award contracts on the basis of other than full and open competition.
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.
This report provides information about the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), which regulates futures, most options, and swaps markets. It includes background information, a description of the CFTC reauthorization process, and more extensive explanations of selected provisions in H.R. 2289 and S. 2917 that were recently reauthorized or changed.
This report discusses the theft of trade secrets, which is considered a federal crime when the information relates to a product in interstate or foreign commerce. Offenders face lengthy prison terms as well as heavy fines, and they must pay restitution.
This report opens with a discussion of the rationale provided for having a Microloan program, describes the program's eligibility standards and operating requirements for lenders and borrowers, and examines the arguments presented by the program's critics and advocates. It then discusses P.L. 111-240, the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, which increased the Microloan program's loan limit for borrowers from $35,000 to $50,000, and the aggregate loan limit for intermediaries after their first year of participation in the program from $3.5 million to $5 million. It also discusses H.R. 2056, the Microloan Modernization Act of 2017, and S. 526, its companion bill in the Senate. The bill, as amended, was favorably reported by the House Committee on Small Business on July 12, 2017, and agreed to by the House on July 24, 2017, by voice vote.
This report briefly summarizes and discusses the economic impact of selected business-related tax provisions that expired at the end of 2016. Types of business provisions covered are special business investment (cost recovery), economic development, and other miscellaneous business-related matters.
This report discusses the Historically Underutilized Business Zone Empowerment Contracting (HUBZone), program and examines arguments both for and against targeting assistance to geographic areas with specified characteristics as opposed to providing assistance to people or businesses with specified characteristics. It then assesses the arguments both for and against the continuation of the HUBZone program. The report also discusses the HUBZone program's structure and operation, focusing on the definition of HUBZone areas and HUBZone small businesses and the program's performance relative to federal contracting goals. It includes an analysis of the SBA's administration of the program and the SBA's performance measures.
This report discusses the rationale provided for the 7(a) program; the program's borrower and lender eligibility standards and program requirements; and program statistics, including loan volume, loss rates, use of proceeds, borrower satisfaction, and borrower demographics. It also examines issues raised concerning the SBA's administration of the 7(a) program, including the oversight of 7(a) lenders and the program's lack of outcome-based performance measures. The report also surveys congressional and presidential actions taken in recent years to enhance small businesses' access to capital. The Appendix to this report provides a brief description of the 7(a) program's SBAExpress, Export Express, and Community Advantage programs.
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