CFR Presents

Renewing America

Ideas and initiatives for rebuilding American economic strength.

Immigration and the 2016 Campaign: The Sad Legacy of Speaker John Boehner

by Edward Alden Friday, March 11, 2016
Former U.S. House Speaker John Boehner (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters).

There has been a great deal of ink spilled on the question of who or what is to blame for the meteoric rise of Donald Trump in the Republican Party. The alleged culprits include everything from wage stagnation to cable news to talk radio to political correctness run amok. Read more »

China’s Volatile Growth

by Michael Spence Tuesday, March 1, 2016
An electronic board showing stock information at a brokerage house in Shanghai, China. (Aly Song/Reuters).

This article was co-authored with Fred Hu, Chairman and Founder of Primavera Capital Group, a China-based global investment firm.

MILAN – Uncertainty about China’s economic prospects is roiling global markets – not least because so many questions are so difficult to answer. In fact, China’s trajectory has become almost impossible to anticipate, owing to the confusing – if not conflicting – signals being sent by policymakers. Read more »

How America Stacks Up: Our New Book on Economic Competitiveness and U.S. Policy

by Edward Alden Monday, February 1, 2016
Cover Photo: The unmanned Falcon 9 rocket (Scott Audette/Reuters).

The Renewing America initiative is delighted to release our new ebook How America Stacks Up: Economic Competitiveness and U.S. Policy. The book is based on detailed evaluations of how the United States compares to other advanced economies in setting policies that help create success in a highly competitive global economy. And we have tried to present the material in an accessible way for busy readers, with the main conclusions highlighted in a series of visual infographics. Read more »

Visa Overstays: A Footnote on What Congress Can Do

by Edward Alden Thursday, January 21, 2016

Judging from the reaction to this week’s release of the first DHS report on the number of foreign travelers overstaying their visas, one would think this was fresh and damning evidence for critics who claim that America’s borders are wide open and that the administration is woefully failing to enforce the law. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) called a hearing on the issue Wednesday, to denounce the administration’s “refusal” to build a biometric system to track all departures. “If we do not track and enforce departures, then we have open borders,” he said. Read more »

Visa Overstays and Illegal Immigration: Finally, Some Real Numbers

by Edward Alden Wednesday, January 20, 2016
A traveler has his passport scanned as he passes through U.S. Customs and Immigration (Mike Blake/Reuters).

After several years of promising, the Department of Homeland Security this week finally delivered its first report documenting the number of “visa overstays” — travelers to the United States who come on a legal visa but then fail to leave when the lawful duration of their stay expires. The good news is that roughly 99 percent of all visitors comply and go home when they are supposed to; the bad news is that, with more than 40 million visitors last year, the one percent who didn’t go home still adds up to nearly 500,000 overstayers. Read more »

The Keystone Pipeline May be Dead, But Here’s How it Could Blow up the TPP

by Edward Alden Thursday, January 7, 2016
A depot used to store pipes for Transcanada Corp's planned Keystone XL oil pipeline is seen in Gascoyne, North Dakota November 14, 2014. (Reuters Photographer/Reuters).

So much for the U.S.-Canada honeymoon. With the election in October of the new Liberal prime minister Justin Trudeau, both Washington and Ottawa had hoped to put behind them several years of poor relations that had been soured largely by a single issue – President Obama’s dithering and then final rejection in November of the Keystone XL pipeline to bring Canadian tar sands oil to refineries in the U.S. Midwest and the Gulf Coast. Obama was so delighted to see the backside of Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper – an ardent supporter of the pipeline – that he quickly invited Trudeau for a state dinner in Washington in March. Read more »

Buried in the Omnibus, a Step Back for Immigration Reform

by Edward Alden Tuesday, December 22, 2015
Mexican workers, on the U.S. H2B visa program for seasonal guest workers, process crabs at the A.E. Phillips & Son Inc. crab picking house on Hooper's Island in Fishing Creek, Maryland August 26, 2015. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters).

Anti-immigration activists who helped to derail comprehensive immigration reform last year are seething over several provisions of the omnibus spending bill passed by Congress last week. Tucked away in the mammoth legislation were some of the most significant changes in years to U.S. immigration laws. One of the biggest would greatly expand the H-2B program for temporary seasonal non-agriculture workers such as landscapers, restaurant staff, and seafood processors. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL), who led the fight in the Senate against comprehensive reform, lamented that the new provisions would “line the pockets of special interests and big business.” Read more »

The New Education Bill May Not Improve Student Outcomes

by Rebecca Strauss Friday, December 11, 2015
Jaden Perez, 8, participates in a chess-geography lesson at Discovery Elementary School in Sunrise, Florida August 29, 2014. (Stringer/Reuters).

Congress is on a roll. First a budget deal, then a multi-year highway bill, and now a K-12 education bill, whose most previous authorization had dated from 2002—the infamous No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). The new version preserves the best parts of NCLB, sheds the most flawed parts, and also hands back more education power from the federal government to the states. It is unclear, however, whether this bill will actually do much to improve student outcomes. Read more »

Finally a Highway Bill, But Big Financing Problems Remain

by Rebecca Strauss Thursday, December 3, 2015

For the first time in a decade, Congress has cobbled together a highway bill that guarantees transportation infrastructure funding for several years. House and Senate negotiators announced a deal this week, and the final votes are expected shortly. Unfortunately, the bill does nothing to fix the terrible infrastructure financing system, nor does it increase current spending levels enough. Read more »

A Hard Look at a Soft Global Economy

by Michael Spence Monday, November 23, 2015
Cranes and workers are seen at a construction site at a main pier of the Hutong Yangtze River highway and railway bridge above the Yangtze River, in Nantong, Jiangsu province, China, April 25, 2015 (China Daily China Daily Information Corp - CDIC/Reuters).

MILAN – The global economy is settling into a slow-growth rut, steered there by policymakers’ inability or unwillingness to address major impediments at a global level. Indeed, even the current anemic pace of growth is probably unsustainable. The question is whether an honest assessment of the impediments to economic performance worldwide will spur policymakers into action. Read more »