Debates over Exchange Rates: Overview and Issues for Congress

Debates over Exchange Rates: Overview and Issues for Congress.  Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Rebecca M. Nelson. June 22, 2018

 Exchange rates are among the most important prices in the global economy. They affect the price of every country’s imports and exports, as well as the value of every overseas investment. Over the past decade, some Members of Congress have been concerned that foreign countries are using exchange rate policies to gain an unfair trade advantage against other countries, or “manipulating” their currencies. Congressional concerns have focused on China’s foreign exchange interventions over the past decade to weaken its currency against the U.S. dollar, although concerns have also been raised about a number of other countries pursuing similar policies.

 [PDF format, 29 pages].

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Connecting the Dots: Elements for a Joined-Up Implementation of the 2030 Agenda and Paris Agreement

Connecting the Dots: Elements for a Joined-Up Implementation of the 2030 Agenda and Paris Agreement. World Resources Institute.  Mathilde Bouyé, Sven Harmeling and Nils-Sjard Schulz.  July 2018.

 National-level implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on climate change proceed on different tracks, despite growing recognition of the ample opportunities they present for synergies. In most countries, climate actions under the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and national targets underpinning the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been defined and advanced separately. This siloed approach makes little sense given the short window of opportunity for tackling the interlinked challenges of climate change, ecosystem degradation, inequality rise, and political instability. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 89 pages].

A Matter of Design: English Learner Program Models in K-12 Education

A Matter of Design: English Learner Program Models in K-12 Education. Migration Policy Institute.  Julie Sugarman. June 2018.

 The programs U.S. schools use to support English Learners (EL) take many shapes and forms. At a time when parents and community members are encouraged to work with educators to close achievement gaps, this guide aims to help them understand the differences between EL program models, as well as why schools make different choices about which to use. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 20 pages].

 

Obama Tops Public’s List of Best President in Their Lifetime, Followed by Clinton, Reagan

Obama Tops Public’s List of Best President in Their Lifetime, Followed by Clinton, Reagan. Pew Research Center. July 11, 2018.

 When asked which president has done the best job in their lifetimes, more Americans name Barack Obama than any other president. More than four-in-ten (44%) say Obama is the best or second best president of their lifetimes, compared with about a third who mention Bill Clinton (33%) or Ronald Reagan (32%). [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 13 pages].

The Low Income Housing Tax Credit: How It Works and Who It Serves

The Low Income Housing Tax Credit: How It Works and Who It Serves. Urban Institute. Corianne Scally, Amanda Gold, Nicole DuBois. July 12, 2018

 The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) is a complex but crucial tool for the production and preservation of affordable rental housing. Despite its broad popularity and almost 3 million financed rental units, it is still not well understood. By enhancing national understanding of LIHTC—how it works, who it serves, and the challenges it faces—this report advances the discussion of how to maximize this vital program’s effects on the production and preservation of affordable rental housing across the country and how to improve its ability to serve low-income households as a key component of our federal safety net. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 28 pages].

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): Categorical Eligibility

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): Categorical Eligibility.  Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Randy Alison Aussenberg, Gene Falk. June 22, 2018

 The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides benefits to low-income, eligible households on an electronic benefit transfer card; benefits can then be exchanged for foods at authorized retailers. SNAP reaches a large share of low-income households. In FY2017, a monthly average of 42.2 million persons in 20.9 million households participated in SNAP. 

 [PDF format, 22 pages].

The U.S., NATO, and the Defense of Europe: Underlying Trends

The U.S., NATO, and the Defense of Europe: Underlying Trends. Center for Strategic & International Studies. Anthony H. Cordesman. June 27, 2018

 The Trump Administration has adopted an “America First” strategy, and taken aggressive stands on NATO burden sharing, trade, the JCPOA nuclear agreement with Iran, and the treatment of refugees that have led many in Europe to question its support for NATO and the Transatlantic Alliance. At least some European security experts talk about the U.S. as it was backing away from the NATO alliance, and a split between the United States and Europe that will force Europe to create its own approach to creating military and other security forces.

Many aspects of the Trump Administration’s approach to foreign policy are as controversial in the U.S. as in Europe, and President Trump has proved to be an exceptionally volatile and combative leader who can express himself in extreme terms and suddenly change his positions. However, it but it is important to note the underlying realities that shape the new U.S. strategy, the U.S. military role in the NATO alliance, and Europe’s own divisions and failures to create effective forces. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 60 pages].