Rhyme Time: EPA to Take on BPA

On Monday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) unveiled an action plan for addressing bisphenol-A (BPA), a common chemical found in a variety of hard plastics and the lining of food can containers.

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Deficit Commission Gridlock Set to Begin April 27

Gridlock

According to a Bureau of National Affairs article (subscription required) from earlier today, Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, co-chairs of the 18-member panel created by President Obama to devise strategies for reducing the nation's debt and deficits, have sent a letter to members informing them that the panel's first meeting will commence April 27. Formally known as the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform (NCFRR?), the panel has a disastrously devised procedural process that is likely to produce either gridlock or, at best, water downed recommendations.

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Pettiness Creates Bad Tax Policy

My tax policies leave this much to be desired

Earlier this month, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) introduced legislation that would require the government to fire federal workers who fail to pay their taxes, and prevent the government from hiring those with "seriously delinquent tax debts." According to Chaffetz, his proposal is perfectly in keeping with President Obama's recent effort to prevent tax delinquent companies from winning government contracts. Chaffetz's reasoning, however, is grossly oversimplified, and his bill, which is resultantly flawed, looks like a knee-jerk attempt at retribution for the private sector.

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Recovery Act Website: $6.8 million. Moving Towards a Transparent Government? Priceless

Here's a little news tidbit from the Recovery Board: in his latest "Chairman's Corner" post, Recovery Board Chairman Earl Devaney disclosed that the website Recovery.gov has thus far cost $6.8 million. This is out of a $9.5 million contract with Smartronix, a Maryland IT company, meaning that the Board has about another $2.7 million left in its contract. After that, the Board has the option of extending the contract through 2014, for about another $9 million. Now, $6.8 million isn't exactly cheap, but for creating a website to show a brand new type of reporting in an extremely compressed time frame, it's not too bad.

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AU Asks IRS to Investigate Florida Church for Electioneering Against Gay Mayoral Candidate

Americans United for Separation of Church and State asked the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to investigate a Florida church for improper electioneering. Americans United filed the complaint against Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida, as a result of the church posting a sign on its property that read, "No Homo Mayor," in an apparent attempt to deter people from voting for Craig Lowe, an openly gay Gainesville mayoral candidate.

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USDA to Require Warnings for Meat and Poultry Contamination

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has proposed requiring companies to alert the government if contaminated or mislabeled meat or poultry products escape into the market. USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) published a notice of proposed rulemaking yesterday. The proposal is open for public comment until May 24.

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CAP's New Tool Will Break It Down for You

The Center for American Progress has put up a neat interactive federal budget chart.

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Disclosure Requirements Endure After SpeechNow.org Case Decided

In SpeechNow.org v. Federal Election Commission, a federal appeals court unanimously struck down limits on contributions to independent political groups that want to spend money in support or opposition to candidates. The court ruled as unconstitutional the $5,000 annual limit on donations from individuals to groups like SpeechNow.org.

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EPA Moves to Expand Greenhouse Gas Registry

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed several changes to its greenhouse gas (GHG) registry, a new mandatory program requiring thousands of facilities economy-wide to monitor and report their emissions of global warming gases. EPA is proposing to add oil and natural gas facilities and facilities that inject carbon dioxide (CO2) underground for storage, along with other facilities. EPA also wants to collect additional data from all covered businesses to get a better understanding of emissions at the corporate level and within whole industry sectors, not just by facility. Overall the changes would strengthen the registry and provide the agency and the public with crucial additional information needed to design policies to mitigate climate change and hold polluters accountable.

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Recovery Board to Amend Two-Time Loser List

Responding to a smart ProPublica article from a couple weeks ago, the Recovery Board will be removing 79 of 389 awards from the "two-time loser" list, which documents Recovery Act recipients who twice failed to report on their use of Recovery Act funds. Turns out these 79 reports were in fact filed for one or both of the two reporting quarters.

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