Congressional Research Service Reports - 773 Matching Results

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Systemically Important or "Too Big to Fail" Financial Institution.
This report discusses the "To Big To Fail" (TBTF) system of the government intervening and bailing out certain companies whose collapse is deemed too disruptive to the American financial market to let occur. This report discusses the economic issues raised by TBTF, broad policy options, and policy changes made by the relevant Dodd-Frank provisions.
U.S. Beef: It's What's for China
This report discusses the opening of the Chinese market to U.S. beef imports under certain restrictions. The negotiation process and conditions of the agreement and China's current largest beef import partners are also discussed.
U.S. Direct Investment Abroad: Trends and Current Issues
This report discusses the United States direct investment in other countries through many multinational corporations. Tables showing the rates of investment in various countries by U.S. companies and discussion of the economic effects of the practice on the U.S. job market are included.
The Federal Assets Sale and Transfer Act of 2016: Background and Key Provisions
This report discuses Federal real property holdings and the disposition process for unneeded space. A new law called the Federal Assets Sale and Transfer Act of 2016 (FASTA) now governs the process of disposal through a newly created Public Buildings Reform Board that reviews requests and provides funding for needed repairs before sale or lease of property. Various challenges addressed by the new system and those that remain are discussed.
Small Business Administration: A Primer on Programs and Funding
This report discusses the Small Business Administration (SBA) and their various programs along with various programmatic changes resulting from the enactment of P.L. 111-5, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, P.L. 111-240, the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, P.L. 112-239, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013, P.L. 114-38, the Veterans Entrepreneurship Act of 2015, P.L. 114-88, the Recovery Improvements for Small Entities After Disaster Act of 2015 (RISE After Disaster Act of 2015), P.L. 114-92, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016, and P.L. 114-328, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017. In addition, it provides an overview of the SBA's budget and references other CRS reports that examine these programs in greater detail.
The Small Business Lending Fund
This report discusses on the Small Business Lending Fund (SBLF). It begins with a discussion of the supply and demand for small business loans. The SBLF's advocates argued that the fund was an important part of a larger effort to enhance the supply of small business loans. After describing the program's structure, the report then examines other arguments that were presented both for and against the program's enactment. Advocates claimed the SBLF would increase lending to small businesses and, in turn, create jobs. Opponents contended that the SBLF could lose money, lacked sufficient oversight provisions, did not require lenders to increase their lending to small businesses, could serve as a vehicle for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) recipients to effectively refinance their TARP loans on more favorable terms with little or no resulting benefit for small businesses, and could encourage a failing lender to make even riskier loans to avoid higher dividend payments. The report concludes with an examination of the SBLF's implementation by the Department of the Treasury and a discussion of bills introduced during recent Congresses to amend the SBLF.
Minority Business Development Agency: An Overview of Its History and Current Issues
This report discusses the Department of Commerce's Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) which is the lead federal agency dedicated to supporting the development and expansion of the minority business community. Currently, the MBDA provides a number of services principally through a network of business centers located in areas with the largest concentration of minority populations and the largest number of minority businesses. The Trump Administration's budget request for FY2018 proposes to reduce the agency's appropriation from $34 million appropriated for FY2017 to $6 million for FY2018. The proposed funds would be used to cover the cost of terminating the agency and its activities. Contrary to the Administration's request, the House Committee on Appropriations approved a Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations bill (H.R. 3267), which was later incorporated into H.R. 3357 that the House passed on September 14, 2017, and would provide $34 million for MBDA. On July 27, 2017, the Senate Committee on Appropriations approved S. 1662, its version of the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Appropriations bill for FY2018. The bill also recommended an appropriation of $34 million for MBDA.
Small Business Administration Microloan Program
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.
Section 471 of H.R. 10, H.R. 1219, S. 444, and Section 914 of H.R. 3280: Supporting America's Innovators
This report discusses various current bills in Congress that are related to to increasing business innovation and easing regulation on securities and venture-capitol firms. Brief outlines of the goals of each bill and their current progress along with arguments for and against them are presented.
Business Tax Provisions That Expired in 2016 ("Tax Extenders")
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.
The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS)
This report discusses the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) which is a presidential advisory body consisting of nine cabinet members, two ex officio members, and other members appointed by the President to oversee direct investments by foreign countries in the United States. The President has the power to block a direct investment by another country if such an acquisition would pose a threat to U.S. national security. The basics of the committee's operations and laws governing their conduct and power, presidential blocks of investment, previous reforms to the original law governing the committee and its actions and current propositions in Congress to further amend the laws regarding the committee are discussed.
Small Business Administration HUBZone Program
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.
Who Earns Pass-Through Business Income? An Analysis of Individual Tax Return Data
This report analyzes individual tax return data to determine who earns pass-through business income which is from sole proprietorships, partnerships, and S corporations. The analysis finds that in 2011 over 82% of net pass-through income was earned by individuals with an adjusted gross income (AGI) over $100,000, although these taxpayers accounted for just 23% of individual returns with pass-through income. Who earns pass-through income may have important implications for tax reform.
Small Business Administration 7(a) Loan Guaranty Program
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.
Small Business Size Standards: A Historical Analysis of Contemporary Issues
This report provides a historical examination of the SBA's size standards and assesses competing views concerning how to define a small business. It also discusses P.L. 112-239, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013, which requires the SBA to make available a justification when establishing or approving a size standard that the size standard is appropriate for each individual industry classification. It addresses the SBA's recent practice of combining size standards within industrial groups as a means to reduce the complexity of its size standards and to provide greater consistency for industrial classifications that have similar economic characteristics; P.L. 114-328, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017, which authorizes the SBA to establish different size standards for agricultural enterprises using existing methods and appeal processes.
Reform of U.S. International Taxation: Alternatives
This report describes and assesses the principal prescriptions that have been offered for broad reform of the international system. It begins with an overview of current law and possible revisions. It then sets the framework for considering economic efficiency as well as tax shelter activities. Finally, it reviews alternative approaches to revision in light of those issues.
Digital Trade and U.S. Trade Policy
This report discusses the role of digital trade in the U.S. economy, barriers to digital trade, digital trade agreement provisions, and other selected policy issues.
The Internet Tax Freedom Act: In Brief
This report discusses the Internet Tax Freedom Act (ITFA; P.L. 105-277) enacted in 1998, which implemented a three-year moratorium preventing state and local governments from taxing Internet access, or imposing multiple or discriminatory taxes on electronic commerce.
Stealing Trade Secrets and Economic Espionage: An Overview of the Economic Espionage Act
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.
Privileged Business on the House Floor
This report discusses privileged business, which relates to the order or priority of business before the House and is defined in House rules and precedents as business that has precedence over the regular order of business.
The European Union's Small Business Act: A Different Approach
This report provides information and analysis useful to Congress as it crafts small business policy for the United States. The Small Business Act for Europe (2008) is not an act, per se, as understood in the United States.
Brazil in Crisis
This report briefly examines the political situation and discusses public opinion regarding the Rousseff Administration.
Corporate Inversions: Frequently Asked Legal Questions
This report answers frequently-asked legal questions about corporate inversions. It answers questions relating to the scope and operation of Section 7874, including how key statutory terms have been interpreted by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). It discusses important Department of Treasury regulations that were finalized in 2015 and 2016, and answers questions about the IRS's authority to issue these regulations. Other questions that are answered relate to legislation introduced in the 114th Congress, the interaction of Section 7874 with tax treaties, and the imposition of an excise tax on corporate insiders who benefit from an inversion.
Commodity Futures Trading Commission: Proposed Reauthorization in the 114th Congress
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.
Brazil in Crisis
This report examines the current political and economic climate in Brazil, which is in the midst of severe economic and political crises that are closely intertwined and unlikely to be resolved quickly.
Athletic Footwear for the Military: The Berry Amendment Controversy
This report briefly examines issues regarding the Berry Amendment, which is a 1941 federal law (10 U.S.C. §2533a) requiring the Department of Defense (DOD) to purchase only wholly American-made clothing, textiles, and other essential items for the military.
The Buy American Act--Preferences for "Domestic" Supplies: In Brief
This report discusses the Buy American Act of 1933, which is the earliest and arguably the best known of various statutes regarding federal procurement of domestic products. The act attempts to protect U.S. businesses and labor by restricting the acquisition and use of end products or construction materials that are not "domestic."
Slow Growth in the Current U.S. Economic Expansion
This report summarizes the U.S. economic growth record and reviews a number of explanations forwarded by economists for why this expansion has featured slow growth. Some explanations focus on short-term factors that would not be expected to persist, while others focus on long-term changes to the economy. The report does not discuss labor market conditions, except in the context of how they contribute to the pace of GDP growth.
Job Creation in the Manufacturing Revival
This report examines the current status of the manufacturing sector in the U.S., which is a subject of ongoing interest in Congress. After rebounding from the 2007-09 recession, U.S. manufacturing output has grown little since the second half of 2014. Over the same period, employment in the U.S. manufacturing sector has been flat. These trends defy expectations that forces such as higher labor costs in the emerging economies of Asia, heightened concern about the risk of disruptions to long, complex supply chains, and the development of inexpensive domestic supplies of natural gas would increase the relative attractiveness of the United States as a location for factory production.
Brazil in Crisis
Brazil is in the midst of deepening economic and political crises that are closely intertwined and unlikely to be resolved quickly. This report briefly examines the political situation and discusses public opinion regarding the Rousseff Administration.
Protection of Trade Secrets: Overview of Current Law and Legislation
This report provides an overview of existing federal, state, and international laws governing trade secret protection, describes the limitations of these legal regimes, and reviews pending legislation, the Defend Trade Secrets Act (S. 1890), that is intended to address such deficiencies.
Alaska Natural Gas Pipelines: Interaction of the Natural Gas and Steel Markets
In 1976, Congress approved legislation to establish the regulatory framework for building a pipeline to bring natural gas from the Alaska North Slope to the lower 48 states. This report focuses on two major issues or uncertainties that may serve as economic constraints on a capital investment undertaking of this major scale.
Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA): Congressional Interest and Executive Enforcement, In Brief
This report briefly discusses the Foreign Corrupt Practice Act of 1977 (FCPA), which was intended to prevent corporate bribery of foreign officials. Criticisms of the act's operation and scope began almost immediately after its passage and have continued. This report addresses these criticisms.
Methods of Estimating the Total Cost of Federal Regulations
This report analyzes these two approaches for estimating the total cost of federal regulations. In discussing each approach, the report provides an overview of the advantages, a brief case study, and an analysis of the potential issues or inherent problems using the case study to illustrate the concepts.
Energy Tax Policy
This report discusses the history, current posture, and outlook for federal energy tax policy. It also discusses recent energy tax proposals, focusing on the major energy tax provisions that were debated as part of omnibus energy legislation in the 108th Congress (e.g., H.R. 6), which may be reintroduced in the 109th Congress.
Postal Reform
This report examines the U.S. Postal Service's (USPS's) financial crisis and the resulting legislative action. Although its short-term financial performance has improved, the USPS faces severe long-term financial straits, largely due to digital alternatives. USPS has a negative net worth and mounting obligations for retiree health benefits.
Local Food Systems: Selected Farm Bill and Other Federal Programs
This report examines the federal support of local food systems, such as sales of locally-produced foods which comprise a small but growing part of U.S. agricultural sales.
Small Business Tax Relief: Proposals in the 108th Congress and Their Economic Justification
This report examines the economic arguments for and against small business tax subsidies in the context of current congressional proposals to expand them. It begins with a brief description of current federal tax subsidies for small firms, moves on to consider the principal economic arguments for and against these subsidies, and concludes with a discussion of proposals in the 108th Congress to expand small business tax subsidies and their likely economic effects.
GAO Bid Protests: An Overview of Time Frames and Procedures
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.
Dairy Policy Issues
This report discusses several dairy issues that have been or are being considered by the 109th Congress, some of which affect the three major federal dairy policy tools -- the Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) program, federal milk marketing orders, and the dairy price support program.
What Does the Gig Economy Mean for Workers?
This report provides an overview of the gig economy -- i.e., the collection of markets that match providers to consumers on a gig (or job) basis in support of on-demand commerce (e.g., Uber, TaskRabbit) -- and identifies legal and policy questions relevant to its workforce.
Bankruptcy for Marijuana Businesses?
This legal sidebar discusses recent bankruptcy court cases that suggest that one such risk may be the ultimate unavailability to both debtors and creditors of the protections, benefits, and predictability of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code when state-regulated marijuana businesses fail.
Manufacturing Extension Partnership Program: An Overview
This report provides a brief overview of The Hollings Manufacturing Partnership (MEP), which is a program of regional centers set up to assist small and medium-sized manufacturing companies use knowledge and technologies developed under the auspices of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
Small Business: Access to Capital and Job Creation
This report addresses a core issue facing Congress during the 112th Congress: what, if any, additional action should the federal government take to enhance small business access to capital? After briefly discussing the role of small business in job creation and retention, this report provides an assessment of the supply and demand for small business loans. It also examines selected laws enacted during the 110th and 111th Congresses that were designed to enhance small business access to capital by increasing the supply of small business loans and/or the demand for small business loans. This report also includes empirical evidence concerning small business lending and borrowing, including the number and amount of small business loans guaranteed by the SBA.
Small Business Administration Microloan Program
The Small Business Administration’s (SBA’s) Microloan program provides direct loans to qualified nonprofit intermediary lenders who, in turn, provide “microloans” of up to $50,000 to small businesses and nonprofit child care centers. It also provides marketing, management, and technical assistance to microloan borrowers and potential borrowers. 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.
Small Business: Access to Capital and Job Creation
The Small Business Administration’s (SBA) authorization is due to expire on September 30, 2010. The SBA administers several programs to support small businesses, including loan guarantees to help small businesses gain access to capital. This report addresses a core issue facing Congress during the SBA’s reauthorization process: what, if any, additional action should the federal government take to enhance small business access to capital?
Small Business Administration Microloan Program
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.
Small Business Legislation: Sources of Information
This report seeks to respond to inquiries from congressional staff who request information about major legislation affecting small business.
U.S. Motor Vehicle Industry: Federal Financial Assistance and Restructuring
This report focuses on the current situation faced by the Detroit 3, key aspects of their current crisis, including possible consequences of a failure of one or more companies, and some aspects of legislative actions that have been considered to bridge their financial conditions to a more stable situation.
Economic Recovery: Sustaining U.S. Economic Growth in a Post-Crisis Economy
The 2007-2009 recession was long and deep, and according to several indicators was the most severe economic contraction since the 1930s (but still much less severe than the Great Depression). This report examines the state of the economy in light of the recession.