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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.
Economic Downturns and Crime
This report examines the relationships between selected variables of economic strength and crime. It begins with an overview of crime rates during times of economic recession in the United States. It then reviews the existing literature in the field analyzing various data sets that examine whether the unemployment rate and foreclosures can be related to increases in the national crime rate.
Economic Slowdown: Issues and Policies
This report first discusses the current state of the economy, including measures that have already been taken by the monetary authorities, and assesses the need for and potential consequences of fiscal stimulus. The second part of the report reviews the proposals discussed during debate on the recently enacted fiscal stimulus, both those adopted and those considered but not adopted.
The Debt Limit: History and Recent Increases
This report discusses how the total debt of the federal government can increase, a 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.
Legal Authorities Governing Federal Contracting and Subcontracting with Small Businesses
This report provides an overview of the various legal authorities governing small business contracting and subcontracting, as well as the relationship between them. It also explains the roles of the Small Business Administration (SBA), procuring activities, Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA), Government Accountability Office (GAO), and other tribunals in implementing and construing the law governing federal contracting and subcontracting with small businesses.
Softwood Lumber Imports from Canada: Issues and Events
This report provides a concise historical account of the dispute over softwood lumber imports from Canada, summarizes the subsidy and injury evidence, and discusses current issues and events.
Cybersecurity and Information Sharing: Legal Challenges and Solutions
While considerable debate exists with regard to the best strategies for protecting America’s various cyber-systems and promoting cybersecurity, one point of general agreement amongst cyber-analysts is the perceived need for enhanced and timely exchange of cyber-threat intelligence both within the private sector and between the private sector and the government. This report examines the various legal issues that arise with respect to the sharing of cybersecurity intelligence, with a special focus on two distinct concepts: (1) sharing of cyberinformation within the government’s possession and (2) sharing of cyber-information within the possession of the private sector.
Small Business Administration and Job Creation
The Small Business Administration (SBA) administers several programs to support small businesses, including loan guaranty programs, disaster loan programs, management and technical assistance training programs, and federal contracting programs. Congressional interest in these programs has increased in recent years, primarily because they are viewed as a means to stimulate economic activity, create jobs, and assist in the national economic recovery. This report examines the economic research on net job creation to identify the types of businesses that appear to create the most jobs.
Small Business Administration and Job Creation
The Small Business Administration (SBA) administers several programs to support small businesses, including loan guaranty programs; disaster loan programs; management and technical assistance training programs; and federal contracting programs. Congressional interest in these programs has increased in recent years, primarily because they are viewed as a means to stimulate economic activity, create jobs, and assist in the national economic recovery. This report examines the economic research on net job creation to identify the types of businesses that appear to create the most jobs.
Selected Small Business Statistics
This report gathers selected statistics on the role of small businesses in the national economy that Congress has frequently asked the Congressional Research Service (CRS) to provide. Most of the statistics are calculated by CRS from Census data. The report uses the widely accepted research definition that a small business has fewer than 500 employees.
The American Steel Industry: A Changing Profile
The U.S. steel industry has faced increasing difficulties since the late 1990s. More than 30 U.S. steel producers have gone into bankruptcy. While different companies and parts of the industry have been affected to different degrees, the two types of domestic producers of raw steel, integrated mills and minimills, have both supported restrictions on imports, which they say have undermined the ability of the U.S. industry to produce steel economically. This report reviews industry developments and the economic situation of the steel industry, including legacy cost aspects of its problems.
Business and Labor Spending in U.S. Elections
Federal election law has long prohibited corporate and union spending in federal elections, but distinctions in statutes and judicial rulings have opened avenues by which these groups have been able to spend money in the electoral process. Business groups make particular use of political action committee (PAC) donations to candidates and soft money donations to parties. Unions made prominent use of issue advocacy in 1996, but labor’s political strength lies in exempt activity communications with members. This report explains these tools and their use in today’s elections.
Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, H.R. 1036 and S. 659, 108th Congress: Legal Analysis
This report examines H.R. 1036, 108th Congress, as ordered to be reported by the House Committee on the Judiciary on April 3, 2003, and passed by the House without amendment on April 9, 2003. H.R. 1036, titled the “Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act,” would prohibit lawsuits, except in specified circumstances, against a manufacturer or seller of a firearm or ammunition, or a trade association, for damages resulting from the criminal or unlawful misuse of a firearm or ammunition.
Foreign Corrupt Practices Act: A Legal Overview
This report examines the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977 was enacted principally to prevent corporate bribery of foreign officials. This act had three major parts: 1. It required the keeping by corporations of accurate books, records, and accounts; 2. It required issuers registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission to maintain a responsible internal accounting control system; and 3. It prohibited bribery by American corporations of foreign officials.
Codes of Conduct for Multinational Corporations: An Overview
This report discusses The U.S. economy is growing increasingly interconnected with other economies around the world, a phenomenon often referred to as globalization. As U.S. businesses expand globally, however, various groups across the social and economic spectrum are growing concerned over the economic, social, and political impact of this activity. Over the past 15 years, multinational corporations and nations have adopted voluntary, legally enforceable, and industry-specific codes of conduct to address many of these concerns. This report provides background on the issue and briefly examines options for Congress to address it.
The American Steel Industry: A Changing Profile
The U.S. steel industry has faced increasing difficulties since the late 1990s. About 40 U.S. steel producers have gone into bankruptcy. While different companies and parts of the industry have been affected to different degrees, the two types of domestic producers of raw steel, integrated mills and minimills, have both supported restrictions on imports, which they say have undermined the ability of the U.S. industry to produce steel economically. This report reviews industry developments and the economic situation of the steel industry, including legacy cost aspects of its problems.
Research Tax Credit: Current Law and Policy Issues for the 114th Congress
Technological innovation is a primary engine of long-term economic growth, and research and development (R&D) serves as the lifeblood of innovation. The federal government encourages businesses to invest more in R&D than they otherwise would in several ways, including a tax credit for increases in spending on qualified research above a base amount. This report describes the current status of the credit, summarizes its legislative history, discusses policy issues it raises, and describes legislation to modify and extend it.
Why Has the Economy Become Less Volatile?
The 2001 recession was unusually mild and brief by historical standards. At 120 months, the expansion that preceded it had been the longest in U.S. history. Is this a coincidence? A body of research concludes that it is not. This report discusses several theories for what caused this phenomenon.
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. The report also provides some concluding observations regarding those requirements.
Financial Market Intervention
This report provides answers to some frequently asked questions concerning ongoing financial disruptions and the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). It also summarizes legislation in the 111th Congress such as H.R. 384, the TARP Reform and Accountability Act of 2009 and H.R. 703, "Promoting Bank Liquidity and Lending Through Deposit Insurance, Hope for Homeowners, and other Enhancements."
Selected Legal Mechanisms Whereby the Government Can Hold Contractors Accountable for Failure to Perform or Other Misconduct
This report provides an overview of selected legal mechanisms that the federal government could rely upon in holding contractors accountable for deficiencies in their performance under the contract, or for other misconduct.
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.
Running Deficits: Positives and Pitfalls
This report discusses how deficit finance can help governments manage their economies and how large and persistent deficits can lead to severe economic problems.
Agriculture, Nutrition, and Rural Provisions in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009
This report analyzes the agriculture, nutrition, and rural provisions in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA, P.L. 111-5). The ARRA boosts government spending on various infrastructure programs and government benefits programs, and offers individual and business tax benefits.
Using Business Tax Cuts to Stimulate the Economy
This report discusses issues associated with the use of business tax subsidies. First, is fiscal policy appropriate? Second, how successful are subsidies likely to be and what form might they take to be most effective? Finally, what other consequences might flow from the use of business tax subsidies, especially if they are to be permanent?
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.
Federal Loans to the Auto Industry Under the Energy Independence and Security Act
This report examines various programs considered by Congress, including grants and loans, to help automakers with the increased cost of compliance with higher fuel economy standards.
The Internet Tax Freedom Act: In Brief
This report discusses the Internet Tax Freedom Act (ITFA; P.L. 105-277), which enacted in 1998, implemented a three-year moratorium preventing state and local governments from taxing Internet access, or imposing multiple or discriminatory taxes on electronic commerce.
The Debt Limit: History and Recent Increases
This report discusses congressional restrictions on federal debt. The statutory debt limit applies to almost all federal debt. The limit applies to federal debt held by the public (that is, debt held outside the federal government itself) and to federal debt held by the government's own accounts.
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.
Federal Government Corporations: An Overview
This report provides an overview of federal government corporations, a category currently consisting of some 17 corporate agencies performing functions assigned to them in law. A government corporation, as defined in this report, is a government agency that is established by Congress to provide a market-oriented public service and required to produce revenues that meet or approximate its expenditures.
SBA Veterans Assistance Programs: An Analysis of Contemporary Issues
This report opens with an examination of the current economic circumstances of veteran-owned businesses drawn from the Bureau of the Census 2007 Survey of Business Owners, which was administered in 2008 and 2009, and released on May 17, 2011. It also provides a brief overview of veteran employment experiences, describes the employment assistance programs offered by several federal agencies to assist veterans in their transition from the military to the civilian labor force, and examines related Small Business Administration (SBA) initiatives such as business development programs, efforts to assist veterans' access to capital, and veteran contracting programs.
The Foreign Tax Credit's Interest Allocation Rules
This report discusses the "worldwide" allocation of interest rule, which was a provision of the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004 (P.L. 108-357; the Jobs Act). The provision relates to the taxation of multi-national corporations and allows more generous rules for multinationals to use in allocating interest expense for purposes of the U.S. foreign tax credit.
GAO Bid Protests: Trends, Analysis, and Options for Congress
This report is one of two providing Congress with background on the Government Accountability Office (GAO) bid-protest process. It analyzes (1) trends in bid protests filed with GAO, (2) the impact bid protests have in delaying contracts, (3) the most common grounds for GAO to sustain a protest, and (4) trends in bid protests filed against the Department of Defense (DOD).
Small Business Provisions in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009
This report provides an overview of key provisions related to the Small Business Administration (SBA), based on appropriations in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA, P.L. 111-5).
GAO Bid Protests: Trends and Analysis
This report is one of two providing Congress with background on the GAO bid-protest process. It analyzes trends in bid protests filed with GAO, why companies protest, the impact bid protests have on acquisitions, the most common grounds for GAO to sustain a protest, and trends in bid protests filed against DOD.
Corporate Tax Reform: Issues for Congress
This report provides an overview of corporate tax issues and discusses potential reforms in the context of these issues, with particular attention to some of the recent research concerning large behavioral responses and their implications for revenue and distribution.
The Financial Crisis: Impact on and Response by The European Union
This report discusses the global financial crisis and resulting geopoligical situation in detail. It also discusses individual efforts by both the U.S. and European Union (EU) to combat the effects of the crisis by attempting to resolve the financial crisis while stimulating domestic demand to stem the economic downturn.
GAO Bid Protests: An Overview of Timeframes and Procedures
This report provides an overview of the timeframes and procedures in a Government Accountability Office (GAO) bid protest. A bid protest is a formal, written objection to an agency's solicitation for bids or offers, cancellation of a solicitation, or award or proposed award of a contract. Bid protests, especially those filed with the GAO, have recently received increased congressional scrutiny due to protests of high-profile awards and reports that the number of protests is increasing.
Government Access to Phone Calling Activity and Related Records: Legal Authorities
This report summarizes legal authorities regarding access by the government, for either foreign intelligence or law enforcement purposes, to information related to telephone calling patterns or practices. Where pertinent, it also discusses statutory prohibitions against accessing or disclosing such information, along with relevant exceptions to those prohibitions.
Globalized Supply Chains and U.S. Policy
This report discusses the challenges and opportunities raised by the globalized world of business, in which production becomes fragmented into discrete activities that can be spread geographically within and across national borders while remaining integrated organizationally within a multinational company or network of companies. Such globalized production networks are called supply chains or value-added networks.
SBA Veterans Assistance Programs: An Analysis of Contemporary Issues
This report opens with an examination of the current economic circumstances of veteran-owned businesses drawn from the Bureau of the Census 2007 Survey of Business Owners, which was administered in 2008 and 2009, and released on May 17, 2011. It also provides a brief overview of veteran employment experiences, describes the employment assistance programs offered by several federal agencies to assist veterans in their transition from the military to the civilian labor force, and examines related Small Business Administration (SBA) initiatives such as business development programs, efforts to assist veterans' access to capital, and veteran contracting programs.
Rothe Development Corporation v. Department of Defense: The Constitutionality of Federal Contracting Programs for Minority-Owned and Other Small Businesses
This report discusses Rothe Development Corporation v. Department of Defense, a case involving a constitutional challenge to a minority contracting program authorized under Section 1207 of the Department of Defense (DOD) Authorization Act of 1987. This program allowed DOD to take 10% off the price of bids or offers submitted by "small disadvantaged businesses" in determining which bid or offer had the lowest price or represented the best value for the government.
Trade Adjustment Assistance for Firms: Economic, Program, and Policy Issues
This report discusses the trade adjustment assistance (TAA) for Firms program, which provides technical assistance to trade-affected firms to help them develop strategies to remain competitive in the changing international economy.
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 Debt Limit: History and Recent Increases
This report discusses how the total debt of the federal government can increase, a 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.
Proposals for a Congressional Commission on the Financial Crisis: A Comparative Analysis
This report provides a comparative analysis of six proposed congressional advisory commissions that would investigate various aspects of the recent financial crisis and economic downturn. The report specifically discusses the membership structure, appointment structure, rules of procedure and operation, duties and reporting requirements, powers of the commission, staffing issues, and funding.