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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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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?
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
Business Tax Issues in 2009
This report discusses the tax climate for businesses, while economic stimulus proposals dominate the congressional debate. During 2009, it is anticipated that congressional deliberations will once again turn towards the extension of several expiring business tax provisions, energy taxation, tax shelters, and international taxation, while continuing to examine opportunities to stimulate the economy.
FDA Tobacco Regulation: The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act of 2009
This report focuses on the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. It includes a brief discussion of the contrasting views of FDA tobacco regulation held by the public health community and the industry, and provides some analysis of a number of key regulatory issues that the bill raises.
U.S. International Trade: Trends and Forecasts
This report provides an overview of the current status, trends, and forecasts for U.S. import and export flows as well as certain balances. The purpose of this report is to provide current data and brief explanations for the various types of trade flows along with a brief discussion of trends that may require attention or point to the need for policy changes.
Competition in Federal Contracting: An Overview of the Legal Requirements
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; and what is meant by "full and open competition after exclusion of sources."
Debarment and Suspension of Government Contractors: An Overview of the Law Including Recently Enacted and Proposed Amendments
This report examines the statues that permit the disbarring and suspension of government contractors, exclusions to those statutes, and the rights of the contractors.
The Global Financial Crisis: Lessons from Japan's Lost Decade of the 1990s
This report reviews the major actions by the Japanese government in dealing with its financial crisis and highlights some of the lessons learned from their experience in the 1990s.
The Global Economic Crisis: Impact on Sub-Saharan Africa and Global Policy Responses
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.
Competition in Federal Contracting: An Overview of the Legal Requirements
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.
Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies: FY2010 Appropriations
This report provides an overview of actions taken by Congress to provide FY2011 appropriations for Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS). It also provides an overview of FY2010 appropriations for agencies and bureaus funded under the CJS bill.
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 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 Global Economic Downturn and Protectionism
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.