Long Overdue: Obama to Raise Minimum Wage for Federal Contractor Employees

In advance of his State of the Union speech tonight, the White House announced President Barack Obama will sign an executive order – which does not require congressional approval – to raise the wage floor to $10.10 for the lowest paid workers at companies that work on new federal government contracts.

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Leading Senator Calls for End of Fiscal Brinksmanship

On Sept. 17, Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), chair of the Senate Budget Committee, spoke on the floor of the Senate and said congressional Republicans need to come to the negotiating table and end the looming fiscal standoffs that are less than two weeks away.

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Bill Would Open Access to Agency Reports to Congress

The Center for Effective Government joined more than 20 allies in endorsing the Access to Congressionally Mandated Reports Act (H.R. 1380). The legislation would require the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) to post any report issued to Congress or its committees on a public website. Introduced by Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL) and a group of 10 bipartisan co-sponsors, the bill would improve public access to the thousands of reports that federal agencies are required to submit to Congress each year by allowing people to search, sort, and download the documents.

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Ruling in Major Freedom of Information Act Case Requires Meaningful Responses to Requests

On Tuesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued an important ruling in a lawsuit that Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed against the Federal Election Commission (FEC). The court agreed with CREW’s position that in order to meet the Freedom of Information Act's (FOIA) deadline to reply to a request, an agency's response must be meaningful. The Center for Effective Government supported CREW’s position by joining an amicus brief in June 2012.

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Celebrating Sunshine Week 2013

Sunshine Week, a nationwide initiative highlighting the importance of open government and accountability, will be held this year from March 10-16. Created by journalists in 2002, Sunshine Week is designed to educate people on their right to access public information in understandable, user-friendly formats to participate more effectively in democracy and to use such information to protect and improve their communities.

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Celebrate Public Participation on Human Rights Day

Today is Human Rights Day. This year's theme, "inclusion and the right to participate in public life," is close to our hearts here at OMB Watch.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights affirms that "all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights," and goes on to define a life of dignity as one in which freedom of opinion and expression, the right to health, and the right to participate in government are guaranteed. All governments are obliged to respect and promote these rights, and national and international mechanisms exist to enforce them.

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Whistleblowers Saved the Government $3.3 Billion Last Year

Whistleblowers helped the federal government recover at least $3.3 billion in fiscal year 2012, a record high, according to a Dec. 4 announcement by the Justice Department.

The funds were recovered by whistleblower lawsuits under the False Claims Act. That law allows individuals to report fraud against the federal government – and, if their claims are proven, to receive a share of the money that is recovered.

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Senate Passes Amendments to Shed Light on Contractor Misbehavior

The Senate has approved several amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act (S. 3254), which will bring greater transparency and accountability to federal contracting. The amendments, which OMB Watch endorsed, would strengthen whistleblower protections for federal contractors and grantees, modeled after the protections pioneered in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. 

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Medical Mistake Reporting System Could Make Health Care Safer

Victims of mistakes at hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies could soon have a way to report their experiences to the federal government. This new effort could make health care safer for everyone. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), a division of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), is proposing to create a consumer reporting system for patient safety events

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State and Local Governments Can Enhance Campaign Finance Transparency

I testified last week at a hearing of the District of Columbia Council about ways to strengthen campaign finance transparency. My message was that transparency should be part of any reform approach that the District pursues. My message to the D.C. Council was that transparency should be part of any reform approach that the District pursues. As I pointed out, "Transparency deters corruption, exposes abuse if it does occur, and empowers voters to hold public officials accountable."

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