The Corporation for Public Broadcasting: Federal Funding And Issues

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting: Federal Funding And Issues. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Glenn J. McLoughlin, Lena A. Gomez. April 4, 2017

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) receives its funding through federal appropriations; overall, about 15% of public television and 10% of radio broadcasting funding comes from the federal appropriations that CPB distributes. CPB’s appropriation is allocated through a distribution formula established in its authorizing legislation and has historically received two-year advanced appropriations. Congressional policymakers are increasingly interested in the federal role in supporting CPB due to concerns over the federal debt, the role of the federal government funding for public radio and television, and whether public broadcasting provides a balanced and nuanced approach to covering news of national interest.

It is also important to note that many congressional policymakers defend the federal role of funding public broadcasting. They contend that it provides news and information to large segments of the population that seek to understand complex policy issues in depth, and in particular for children’s television broadcasting, has a significant and positive impact on early learning and education for children.

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Independence of Federal Financial Regulators: Structure, Funding, and Other Issues

Independence of Federal Financial Regulators: Structure, Funding, and Other Issues. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Henry B. Hogue, Marc Labonte, Baird Webel. February 28, 2017

Conventional wisdom regarding regulators is that the structure and design of the organization matters for policy outcomes. Financial regulators conduct rulemaking and enforcement to implement law and supervise financial institutions. These agencies have been given certain characteristics that enhance their day-to-day independence from the President and Congress, which may make policymaking more technical and less “political” or “partisan,” for better or worse. Independence may also make regulators less accountable to elected officials and can reduce congressional influence, at least in the short term.

[PDF format, 32 pages, 811.45 MB].

Dark Web

Dark Web. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Kristin Finklea. March 10, 2017

The layers of the Internet go far beyond the surface content that many can easily access in their daily searches. The other content is that of the Deep Web, content that has not been indexed by traditional search engines such as Google. The furthest corners of the Deep Web, segments known as the Dark Web, contain content that has been intentionally concealed. The Dark Web may be used for legitimate purposes as well as to conceal criminal or otherwise malicious activities. It is the exploitation of the Dark Web for illegal practices that has garnered the interest of officials and policymakers.

[PDF format, 19 pages, 774.49 KB].

Monetary Policy and the Federal Reserve: Current Policy and Conditions

Monetary Policy and the Federal Reserve: Current Policy and Conditions. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Marc Labonte. February 7, 2017.

Congress has delegated responsibility for monetary policy to the nation’s central bank, the Federal Reserve (the Fed), but retains oversight responsibilities for ensuring that the Fed is adhering to its statutory mandate of “maximum employment, stable prices, and moderate long-term interest rates.” To meet its price stability mandate, the Fed has set a longer-run goal of 2% inflation.
The Fed’s control over monetary policy stems from its exclusive ability to alter the money supply and credit conditions more broadly. Normally, the Fed conducts monetary policy by setting a target for the federal funds rate, the rate at which banks borrow and lend reserves on an overnight basis. It meets its target through open market operations, financial transactions traditionally involving U.S. Treasury securities. Beginning in September 2007, the federal funds target was reduced from 5.25% to a range of 0% to 0.25% in December 2008, which economists call the zero lower bound. By historical standards, rates were kept unusually low for an unusually long time. In December 2015, the Fed began raising interest rates and expects to gradually raise rates further.

[PDF format, 22 pages, 729.95 KB].

Small Business Administration and Job Creation

Small Business Administration and Job Creation. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Robert Jay Dilger. February 8, 2017

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 and create jobs.

This report examines the economic research on net job creation to identify the types of businesses that appear to create the most jobs. That research suggests that business startups play an important role in job creation, but have a more limited effect on net job creation over time because fewer than half of all startups are still in business after five years. However, the influence of small business startups on net job creation varies by firm size. Startups with fewer than 20 employees tend to have a negligible effect on net job creation over time whereas startups with 20-499 employees tend to have a positive employment effect, as do surviving younger businesses of all sizes (in operation for one year to five years).

[PDF format, 22 pages, 714.74 KB].

Proposals to Eliminate Public Financing of Presidential Campaigns

Proposals to Eliminate Public Financing of Presidential Campaigns. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. R. Sam Garrett. February 7, 2017

Congress is faced with determining whether it wants public financing of presidential campaigns to continue and, if so, how. The 113th Congress and President Obama chose to eliminate part of the program—public funding for nominating conventions—in April 2014 via P.L. 113-94 (H.R. 2019).1 The 2016 conventions were the first to be entirely privately financed since 1972. Public matching funds and grants remain in place for candidates who choose to participate. There is, however, a consensus even among supporters that the presidential public financing program is antiquated and offers insufficient benefits to attract the most competitive candidates.

[PDF format, 9 pages, 532.57 KB].

The FCC’s Rules and Policies Regarding Media Ownership, Attribution, and Ownership Diversity

The FCC’s Rules and Policies Regarding Media Ownership, Attribution, and Ownership Diversity. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Dana A. Scherer. December 16, 2016

From the earliest days of commercial radio, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and its predecessor, the Federal Radio Commission, have encouraged diversity in broadcasting. This concern has repeatedly been supported by the U.S. Supreme Court, which has affirmed that “the widest possible dissemination of information from diverse and antagonistic sources is essential to the welfare of the public,” and that “assuring that the public has access to a multiplicity of information sources is a governmental purpose of the highest order, for it promotes values central to the First Amendment.”
The FCC’s policies seek to encourage four distinct types of diversity: (1) diversity of viewpoints, as reflected in the availability of media content reflecting a variety of perspectives; (2) diversity of programming, as indicated by a variety of formats and content; (3) outlet diversity, to ensure the presence of multiple independently owned media outlets within a geographic market; and (4) minority and female ownership of broadcast media outlets.

[PDF format, 29 pages, 845.78 KB].