The Department of Energy (DoE) announced that it will begin to approve new loan guarantees for renewable energy (TheHill). The DoE issued almost $16 billion in loan guarantees until the 2009 stimulus program expired at the end of last September. Projects that were still in the application process will be considered for the new loan guarantees. DoE support will come with heightened scrutiny. The Wall Street Journal reports that the well-publicized failure of Solyndra led the DoE to tighten the review process; start-ups are reevaluating their financing as fund disbursements stall.
Infrastructure. Read more on how upgrading the nation’s aging network of roads, bridges, airports, railways, and water systems is essential to maintaining U.S. competitiveness.
Education and Human Capital
Alabama Mulls Revisions to Immigration Law
Alabama lawmakers have introduced a bill to revise the anti-illegal-immigration law (WSJ) that has been in effect since September. The bill modifies some provisions and also makes modifications in response to recent court rulings. The economic effects of the original law are emerging but are still unclear. The Montgomery Advertiser recently reported that tens of thousands of Alabama firms have missed the deadline to sign up for the federal E-Verify system, which enables employers to verify the immigration status of employees.
This CFR Backgrounder provides an overview of the immigration policies proposed by President Obama and his potential Republican competitors. CFR’s 2009 Independent Task Force on U.S. Immigration Policy, chaired by Jeb Bush and Thomas F. McLarty III, recommends policies with three goals: reform of legal immigration to improve efficiency and U.S. competitiveness; effective enforcement of immigration laws; and a fair, humane, and orderly way to deal with migrants illegally living in the United States.
Education and human capital. Read more from experts discussing ways to improve U.S. education and immigration policies.
International Trade and Investment
International Shippers Dock in U.S. for Bankruptcy
U.S. bankruptcy law is attracting filings from foreign-based shipping companies (Reuters). In the United States, Chapter 11 protection gives management the opportunity to avoid liquidation, re-negotiate with creditors, restructure distressed businesses and continue operations. Shippers with relatively minor financial and operational connections to the United States are stretching the traditional purview of U.S. bankruptcy law, but recent court rulings have kept these cases within the U.S. legal system.
International trade and investment. Read more from leading analysts on the debate over next steps in U.S. trade policy.
Steven J. Markovich holds an MBA from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.