Congressional Research Service Reports - 1,207 Matching Results

Search Results

Deficits and Debt: Economic Effects and Other Issues
This report explores distinctions in the concept and composition of deficits and debt and explains how those two measures interact with each other and the general economy.
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.
Treasury Proposes Rule that Could Deliver a 'Death Sentence" to Chinese Bank
This report discusses the Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) proposal to invoke the "Fifth Special Measure" on the Chinese Bank of Dandong for its alleged role in funding and and processing transactions for North Korea's weapons programs.
VA Housing: Guaranteed Loans, Direct Loans, and Specially Adapted Housing Grants
This report discusses the three types of housing assistance offered by the Veterans Administration (VA): the loan guaranty program, direct loan programs, and Specially Adapted Housing program. Each ones origins, operations, and funding methods are included. The report also has a section that discusses the default and foreclosure of VA-guaranteed loans.
Banking Policy Issues in the 115th Congress
This report provides a broad overview of selected banking-related issues, including prudential regulation, consumer protection, "too big to fail" (TBTF) banks, community banking, regulatory agency structures and independence, and recent market and economic trends. It is not an exhaustive look at all bank policy issues, nor is it a detailed examination of any one issue. Rather, it provides concise background and analyses of certain prominent issues that have been the subject of recent discussion and debate. In addition, this report provides a list of Congressional Research Service reports that examine specific bills, including the Financial CHOICE Act (H.R. 10) and bills proposing to provide regulatory relief for banks.
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.
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.
Shutdown of the Federal Government: Causes, Processes, and Effects
This report is intended to address questions that arise frequently related to the topic of government shutdowns. It discusses the causes of funding gaps and shutdowns of the federal government, processes that are associated with shutdowns, and how agency operations may be affected by shutdowns. The report concludes with a discussion of potential issues for Congress.
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.
Payments for Affordable Care Act (ACA) Cost-Sharing Reductions
This report discusses President Trump's announcement that the federal government would stop issuing cost-sharing reductions(CSRs) to insurers under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and potential implications for the insurance market and consumers.
When an Agency's Budget Request Does Not Match the President's Request: The Fiscal Year 2018 CFTC Request and "Budget Bypass"
This report discuses two competing 2018 fiscal year budget requests for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) from President Trump and from the CFTC themselves. The Presidential request is $250 million, which is the same amount the CFTC had the past year, while CFTC is requesting an additional $31.5 million in funding for a total request of $ 281.5 million. The process of submitting budgets to the President and Congress is discussed as well as ways to reconcile the two conflicting budget requests.
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act: History, Impact, and Issues
This report examines debates over what constitutes an unfunded federal mandate and the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act's (UMRA) implementation. It focuses on UMRA's requirement that CBO issue written cost estimate statements for federal mandates in legislation, its procedures for raising points of order in the House and Senate concerning unfunded federal mandates in legislation, and its requirement that federal agencies prepare written cost estimate statements for federal mandates in rules. It also assesses UMRA's impact on federal mandates and arguments concerning UMRA's future, focusing on UMRA's definitions, exclusions, and exceptions that currently exempt many federal actions with potentially significant financial impacts on nonfederal entities. An examination of the rise of unfunded federal mandates as a national issue and a summary of UMRA's legislative history are provided in Appendix A. Citations to UMRA points of order raised in the House and Senate are provided in Appendix B.
FATCA Reporting on U.S. Accounts: Recent Legal Developments
This report discusses the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FACTA) intended to curb tax evasion through the use of offshore accounts and its requirement to for foreign banks to report information on their U.S. citizen account holders to the IRS. It starts with an overview of the foreign financial instituition (FFI) reporting requirements and examines the role of the intergovernmental agreements (IGAs) in implementing them. The report then discusses the confidentiality protections provided to the information reported by FFIs and litigation in which plaintiffs have raised concerns about privacy and the use of IGAs. It ends with a summary of FATCA legislation introduced in the 114th Congress.
The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act: Background and Summary
This report reviews issues related to financial regulation and provides brief descriptions of major provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act, along with links to CRS products going in to greater depth on specific issues. It does not attempt to track the legislative debate in the 115th Congress.
The Financial CHOICE Act in the 115th Congress: Selected Policy Issues
This report highlights major proposals included in the Financial CHOICE Act (FCA) but is not a comprehensive summary. In general, the bill proposes changes that can be divided into two categories: (1) changes to financial policies and regulations and (2) changes to the regulatory structure and rulemaking process. Major policy-related changes proposed by the FCA include the following: Leverage Ratio, Regulatory Relief, To Big To Fail, Funding, Rulemaking, Judicial Review, Enforcement, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and the Federal Reserve.
Medicare Primer
This report provides a general overview of the Medicare program including descriptions of the program's history, eligibility criteria, covered services, provider payment systems, and program administration and financing. A list of commonly used acronyms, as well as information on beneficiary cost sharing, may be found in the appendixes.
The Loan Limits for Government-Backed Mortgages
This report contains brief program descriptions for each of the government-backed housing loan programs and discusses the maximum guarantee amounts for each. The government or quasi-government entities that insure or guarantee mortgages and are discussed in this report are the following: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, The Federal Housing Administration (FHA), The Department of Veteran Affairs (VA), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Housing Service (RHS).
For First Time, FinCEN Imposes Penalty on Foreign-Based Virtual Currency Exchange for Violations of Anti-Money Laundering Laws
This report discusses the first case of enforcement by the U.S. Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) against a foreign-based virtual currency exchange. The action was taken agains BTC-e for violations of anti-money laundering regulations in the U.S. and potential money laundering activities.
S. 488, H.R. 1343, and Section 406 of H.R. 10: Encouraging Employee Ownership
This report provides background and a policy discussion of similar legislation, S. 488, H.R. 1343 (which passed the House on April 4, 2017), and Section 406 in H.R. 10, the Financial CHOICE Act, which passed the House on June 8, 2017. According to H.R. 1343's sponsor, Representative Randy Hultgren, the legislation is aimed at "eas[ing] the ability of companies to offer ownership to their ... employees."
DOJ Brings Forfeiture Action to Seize and Return $1 Billion Embezzled Malaysian Government Assets
This report discuses the Department of Justice's (DOJ's) civil forfeiture action against $1 billion worth of assets bought with money embezzled from the government of Malaysia by high-level officials in Malaysia from 2009 to 2015.
Social Security: The Trust Funds
This report covers how the Social Security program is financed and how the Social Security trust funds work. It will be updated annually to reflect current projections of the financial status of the Social Security trust funds.
Commodity Futures Trading Commission: Proposed Reauthorization in the 115th Congress
This report examines selected major H.R. 238 provisions that would authorize appropriations for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) of $250 million for each of FY2017 through FY2021, expand the current 5 cost-benefit analysis provisions in the CEA to 12 considerations and add a requirement that the CFTC conduct quantitative as well as qualitative assessments, potentially broaden the bona fide hedging definition to allow anticipated, as well as current, risks to be hedged, which might increase the number of swaps that qualify as hedges, and mandate that, starting 18 months from enactment, the regulatory requirements of the eight largest foreign swaps markets be considered comparable to those of the United States--unless the CFTC issued a rule finding that any of those foreign jurisdictions' requirements were not comparable to U.S. requirements.
Social Security: What Would Happen if the Trust Funds Ran Out?
This report explains what the Social Security trust funds are and how they work. It describes the historical operations of the trust funds and the Social Security trustees' projections of future operations. It explains what could happen if Congress allowed the trust funds to run out. It also analyzes two scenarios that assume Congress waits until the moment of insolvency to act, showing the magnitude of benefit cuts or tax increases needed and how such changes would affect beneficiaries.
Medicare Financial Status: In Brief
This report discusses the funding sources of Medicare and its financial stability.
Normalization of the Federal Reserve's Balance Sheet
This report answers questions about the Federal Reserve's (Fed's) September 20 announcement that it would begin to normalize its balance sheet in October by gradually reducing its asset holdings.
Corporate Expatriation, Inversions, and Mergers: Tax Issues
This report discusses corporate inversions and mergers; these actions change the parent company to one based in another country with a low tax rate to avoid paying U.S. corporate taxes. It discusses past attempts and legislation outlawing varying forms of inversion, the most recent regulations issued by the Treasury Department to decrease inversions, and policy options that would remove the incentive for companies to invert.
The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS)
This report discusses the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) comprising nine members, two ex officio members, and other members as appointed by the President representing major departments and agencies within the federal executive branch. While the group generally has operated in relative obscurity, the proposed acquisition of commercial operations at six U.S. ports by Dubai Ports World in 2006 placed the group's operations under intense scrutiny by Members of Congress and the public.
Coordinated Party Expenditures in Federal Elections: An Overview
This report examines campaign finance law in the context of political party committee expenditures. It discusses relevant Supreme Court precedent and recent legislative activity.
Who Regulates Whom? An Overview of the U.S. Financial Regulatory Framework
This report attempts to set out the basic frameworks and principles underlying U.S. financial regulation and to give some historical context for the development of that system. The first section briefly discusses the various modes of financial regulation and the next section identifies the major federal regulators and the types of institutions they supervise (see Table 1). It then provides a brief overview of each federal financial regulatory agency. Finally, the report discusses other entities that play a role in financial regulation--interagency bodies, state regulators, and international standards.
The Financial CHOICE Act (H.R. 10) and the Dodd- Frank Act
This report discusses the Financial CHOICE Act of 2017 (H.R. 10), a bill that was passed by the House on June 8, 2017.
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 Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS)
This report discusses the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) comprising nine members, two ex officio members, and other members as appointed by the President representing major departments and agencies within the federal executive branch. While the group generally has operated in relative obscurity, the proposed acquisition of commercial operations at six U.S. ports by Dubai Ports World in 2006 placed the group's operations under intense scrutiny by Members of Congress and the public.
Export-Import Bank: Frequently Asked Questions
This report addresses frequently-asked questions about the Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank, grouped in the following categories: congressional interest and the Ex-Im Bank reauthorization debate; market context; international context; organizational structure and management; programs; statutory requirements and policies; risk management; budget and appropriations; implications of a sunset in authority; and historical and current approaches to reauthorization.
Puerto Rico's Current Fiscal Challenges
This report discusses multiple challenges the government of Puerto Rico faces in the fall of 2015. Concerns regarding the sustainability of Puerto Rico's public finances have intensified over the past year, despite several measures taken by the island's government to reduce spending, increase revenues, and restructure its obligations. The Puerto Rican government outlined a medium-term strategy to address those challenges in a fiscal plan put forth in mid-September 2015.
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.
Independence of Federal Financial Regulators: Structure, Funding, and Other Issues
This report discusses institutional features that make federal financial regulators (and other independent agencies) relatively independent from the President and Congress.
Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)
This report provides background information regarding the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). The Bank's stated purpose is to provide financing for infrastructure needs throughout Asia, as well as in neighboring regions. As of January 2017, the AIIB has approved nine projects, investing a total of $1.7 billion.
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.
How Treasury Issues Debt
This report examines Treasury's debt management practices, focusing on the auction process, how prices and interest rates of securities are determined, and the role of market participants in the process. It also addresses the role of debt plays in influencing present and future budget outcomes.
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.
The Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA; H.R. 5278, S. 2328)
The report presents a brief description of Puerto Rico, its relationship with the federal government, and its fiscal challenges. The body of the report provides a section-by-section description of H.R. 5278, including a short overview of the bill, along with a comparison with previous legislation involving control boards.
Ex-Im Bank: No Quorum, No Problem?
This report discusses the operation on a limited basis of the Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im Bank) despite a renewal of its general statutory charter through FY2019 (P.L. 114-94,
Federal Advisory Committees: An Introduction and Overview
This report offers a history of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), examines its current requirements, and provides data on federal advisory committees' operations and costs.
Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) FY2017 Appropriations: Overview
This report discusses the Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) appropriations bill, which includes funding for the Department of the Treasury (Title I), the Executive Office of the President (EOP, Title II), the judiciary (Title III), the District of Columbia (Title IV), and more than two dozen independent agencies (Title V). The bill typically funds mandatory retirement accounts in Title VI, which also contains additional general provisions applying to the funding provided agencies through the FSGG bill. Title VII contains general provisions applying government-wide. The FSGG bills have often also contained provisions relating to U.S. policy toward Cuba.
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.
Tolling U.S. Highways
This report provides a brief history of tolling on federal roads and relevant current law. It also discusses financial realities on toll roads and tolling policy issues.
Funding and Financing Highways and Public Transportation
This report begins with a discussion of the problems associated with the trust fund financing system (which supports both federal highway and public transportation programs) and then explores possible options for financing surface transportation infrastructure.
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.
Regulation of Debit Interchange Fees
This report provides a description of the debit payments process and network pricing, as well as an overview of the effects of the Durbin Amendement implemented by the Federal Reserve which includes a cap on the interchange fee for large issuers. In particular, the Durbin Amendment is discussed in light of comments by Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke.
The 2016 G-20 Summit
This report discusses the 2016 G-20 summit where the leaders of the Group of Twenty (G-20) countries met in Hangzhou, China.