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.

[PDF format, 12 pages, 791.41 KB].

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].

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].

Restrictions on Lobbying the Government: Current Policy and Proposed Changes

Restrictions on Lobbying the Government: Current Policy and Proposed Changes. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. CRS Insight. Jacob R. Straus. December 15, 2016

During the 2016 presidential campaign, President-elect Donald Trump proposed a series of ethics measures, including several lobbying-related provisions. They are:
• extending “cooling off” periods on lobbying the government for five years after government service;
• “instituting a five-year ban on lobbying by former Members of Congress and their staffs”;
• expanding the definition of a lobbyist to cover former government officials who engage in strategic consulting;
and
• issuing a “lifetime ban against senior executive branch officials lobbying on behalf of a foreign government.”
President-elect Trump’s ethics plan shares some features with past efforts to restrict Administration officials’ future lobbying activities (the “revolving door”) by adjusting “cooling off” periods—a period of time a former government official is restricted from contacting their former employer on particular matters they might have worked on in government. These previous efforts include a 1993 executive order issued by President Bill Clinton (E.O. 12834) and a 2009 executive order issued by President Barack Obama (E.O. 13490), and the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act (HLOGA) of 2007. The executive orders supplemented existing statutory revolving door and “cooling off” period requirements.

[PDF format, 3 pages, 96.68 KB].

U.S. International Corporate Taxation: Basic Concepts and Policy Issues

U.S. International Corporate Taxation: Basic Concepts and Policy Issues. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Mark P. Keightley. December 21, 2016

Recent deficit reduction and tax reform plans have included broad proposals to reform the U.S. international corporate tax system. These proposals have raised concerns over how changing the way American multi-national corporations are taxed could impact the deficit and debt, domestic job markets, competitiveness, and the use of corporate tax havens, among other things. An informed debate about how to reform the system governing the taxation of U.S. multi-national corporations requires careful consideration of these issues, as well as a basic understanding of several features of the current system.
This report provides a general introduction to the basic concepts and issues relevant to the U.S. international corporate tax system. The explanations provided in this report emphasize the underlying concepts of the international tax system and are intended to be as simplified as possible. There are of course important and complex technical details that would need to be considered carefully if reform of the current system were to be implemented effectively and efficiently. These important technical details, however, are beyond the scope of this report. Where appropriate, references to other CRS products are provided within the report. A list of related CRS products and other suggested readings on international corporate taxation may also be found at the end of the report.

[PDF format, 10 pages, 565.19 KB].

Special Minimum Wages for Workers with Disabilities: Frequently Asked Questions

Special Minimum Wages for Workers with Disabilities: Frequently Asked Questions. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Benjamin Collins. December 16, 2016

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), as amended, sets the minimum wage for covered workers at $7.25 per hour. Section 14(c) of the FLSA permits certified employers to pay a worker with a disability that impairs the worker’s productive capacity a special minimum wage (SMW). The SMW may be below the federal minimum wage but must be commensurate with the worker’s productivity and the job’s prevailing wage.
This short report answers common questions related to SMWs. It covers
• federal legislation that authorizes SMWs;
• how individuals qualify for SMWs;
• how employers are certified to pay SMWs and how wage levels are set;
• data on employers that pay SMWs; and
• services that must be provided in conjunction with the payment of SMWs

[PDF format, 8 pages, 588.09 KB].

Social Security Primer

Social Security Primer. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Dawn Nuschler. December 5, 2016

Social Security provides monthly cash benefits to retired or disabled workers and their family members, and to the family members of deceased workers. Among the beneficiary population, approximately 82% are retired or disabled workers, and 18% are the family members of retired, disabled, or deceased workers. In October 2016, nearly 61 million beneficiaries received a total of $75 billion in benefit payments for the month; the average monthly benefit was $1,241.
Workers become eligible for Social Security benefits for themselves and their family members by working in Social Security-covered employment. An estimated 94% of workers in paid employment or self-employment are covered, and their earnings are subject to the Social Security payroll tax. In 2017, employers and employees each pay 6.2% of covered earnings, up to the annual limit on taxable earnings ($127,200 in 2017).

[PDF format, 18 pages, 764.81 KB].