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China’s Currency: U.S. Options

Description: In recent years, the United States and China have disagreed whether China’s national currency, the yuan or renminbi, is properly valued compared to the U.S. dollar and whether China is manipulating its currency.1 The United States has pushed China to raise the value of its currency. Chinese officials say they want to make their exchange rate system more flexible, but China also needs long-term stability in its currency value in order to avoid dislocations. Chinese officials also say they will not bow to foreign pressure. China announced a new exchange rate procedure on July 21, 2005. This report summarizes this controversy, it describes actions and positions taken by the United States, China and other countries, and it discusses various approaches the United States might use to address this concern.
Date: July 29, 2005
Creator: Sanford, Jonathan E.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Credit Union Regulatory Improvements Act of 2005 (CURIA)

Description: On May 12, 2005, regulatory modernization legislation for credit unions was introduced as H.R. 2317. The three titles of the Credit Union Regulatory Improvements Act (CURIA) would provide regulatory changes requested by credit union industry advocates. These changes would provide supervisory flexibility to the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), the federal regulator for the credit union industry, enhance the ability of credit unions to provide loans to their members, and ease credit union regulatory burdens.
Date: July 29, 2005
Creator: Smale, Pauline
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Credit Rating Agencies: Current Federal Oversight and Congressional Concerns

Description: Credit rating agencies rate the creditworthiness of public companies so that the public will have an objective opinion as to the risk of investment. These ratings have become an important component of the financial reputation of a rated company. However, especially since the bankruptcies of Enron and WorldCom, whose debt had been rated investment grade, there has been concern that perhaps credit rating agencies should be regulated.
Date: August 1, 2005
Creator: Seitzinger, Michael V
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Chapter 12 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code: Reorganization of a Family Farmer or Fisherman

Description: Chapter 12 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code dealing with “family farmer” reorganization, temporarily extended 11 times since its original enactment, is made permanent by enactment of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act, P.L. 109-8. It is amended to include “family fisherman” as well. This report surveys the highlights of this chapter
Date: August 2, 2005
Creator: Jeweler, Robin
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Agricultural Disaster Assistance

Description: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) offers several permanently authorized programs to help farmers recover financially from a natural disaster, including federal crop insurance, the non-insured assistance program and emergency disaster loans. In recent years, Congress frequently has made supplemental financial assistance available to farmers and ranchers on an ad-hoc basis, most notably in the form of direct crop disaster payments and emergency livestock assistance. Congress provided an estimated $3.1 billion of such assistance in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2003 (P.L. 108-7) for 2001 and 2002 crop and livestock losses. Some farm groups would like to see similar assistance provided for 2003 losses, particularly in regions of the Midwest and West that have experienced prolonged drought conditions. To date, no ad-hoc assistance has been made available for 2003 losses.
Date: August 29, 2005
Creator: Chite, Ralph M.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Trade in Services: The Doha Development Agenda Negotiations and U.S. Goals

Description: This report is designed to assist Congress to understand and monitor progress of the negotiations and the major issues that the negotiators are addressing. The report provides a brief background section on the significance of services to the U.S. economy. It then explains briefly the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) and the structure and agenda of the services negotiations in the DDA round, including U.S. objectives in the negotiations. The report concludes with a status report on the negotiations and an examination of potential results.
Date: September 12, 2005
Creator: Cooper, William H.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Bankruptcy Relief and Natural Disaster Victims

Description: In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, many have questioned whether implementing the new procedures of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act (BAPCPA), P.L. 109-8, scheduled to go into effect on October 17, 2005, should be delayed. This report considers whether bankruptcy law in general, and the BAPCPA in particular, may present unique challenges to financial recovery for those whose life, livelihood, and/or home have been damaged or destroyed.
Date: September 14, 2005
Creator: Jeweler, Robin
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

China and the CNOOC Bid for Unocal: Issues for Congress

Description: The bid by the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) to acquire the U.S. energy company Unocal for $18.5 billion raised many issues with U.S. policymakers. This report provides an overview and analysis of the CNOOC bid, U.S. interests, implications for U.S. energy security, U.S. investment in the PRC’s (People’s Republic of China’s) oil industry, the process for reviewing the security and other implications of foreign investment in the United States, Congressional activity, and a listing of unresolved issues.
Date: September 15, 2005
Creator: Nanto, Dick K.; Jackson, James K.; Morrison, Wayne M. & Kumins, Lawrence C.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Campaign Finance Reform: Regulating Political Communications on the Internet

Description: In October 2002, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) promulgated regulations exempting from the definition of “public communication” those communications that are made over the Internet. In response to the FEC’s final rules, the two primary House sponsors of BCRA filed suit in U.S. district court against the FEC seeking to invalidate the regulations as opening a new avenue for circumvention of federal campaign finance law. In September 2004, in Shays v. FEC, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia overturned some of the FEC’s new regulations. In response to the district court’s decision, in April 2005, the FEC published proposed new rules in order to conform to the Shays ruling. The proposed regulations reflect an attempt by the FEC to leave web logs, or “blogs,” created and wholly maintained by individuals, free of regulations under FECA, while extending limited regulation only to uses of the Internet involving substantial monetary transactions.
Date: September 20, 2005
Creator: Whitaker, L. Paige & Cantor, Joseph E.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Economic Effects of Raising National Saving

Description: Raising the share of income we save is a frequent aim of public policy. That may be particularly apparent in debates about the size of the federal budget deficit, but concerns about the low household saving rate have also prompted policymakers to consider ways to encourage individuals to save more. How much individuals save will directly affect their future economic well-being, but from a macroeconomic perspective, the source of saving — be it households, business, or government — makes no difference. This report presents standard economic analysis of the macroeconomic effects of raising saving.
Date: October 4, 2005
Creator: Cashell, Brian W.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department