Lettuce Contamination Prompts Harder Look at Precut, Bagged Products

Bagged, precut lettuce may pose additional safety risks and challenges for regulators, the Washington Post reports. An ongoing E. coli outbreak connected to precut lettuce has sickened at least 23 people in four states.

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OMB Watch Partners with CREDO Action to Stop Reckless Outsourcing

CREDO Action & OMB Watch

Last month, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) proposed new "inherently governmental" guidelines, which determine how federal agencies outsource services to private contractors, and asked for feedback from the public on the proposed measures. OMB Watch has collaborated with CREDO Action to spur public participation in the comment process through a petition drive. In addition to advocating for a broader definition of inherently governmental, the comment we suggest for submission targets the outsourcing of certain functions to private security contractors.

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Recovery.gov Moves to Cloud Computing

In his latest Chairman's Corner, Recovery Board Chairman Earl Devaney announced that Recovery.gov is now the first "government-wide" cloud computing system. Sounds impressive, right? Well, sort of. Essentially, this means that Recovery.gov, which used to be housed on servers operated by the Board and used solely for that purpose, is now hosted on "cloud" servers run by Amazon.com.

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Committee Holds Second Hearing on DISCLOSE Act

The House Administration Committee held its second hearing on the DISCLOSE Act (H.R. 5175), a bill that would require increased reporting of political campaign spending. House Administration Committee Chairman Robert Brady (D-PA) said, "The bill does not play political favorites. It applies alike to corporations, labor unions, trade associations and nonprofit advocacy organizations."

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On Climate Change, Progress at EPA Makes Senate Look Ridiculous

Yesterday, the Senate unveiled its version of legislation intended to cap climate-altering greenhouse gas emissions. Sens. John Kerry and Joseph Lieberman introduced the bill to much fanfare, yet the prospects of passage appear dim.

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Interior Agency Split to Devote Attention to Safety and Environment

The Interior Department announced yesterday that it will split into two parts the Minerals Management Service (MMS), the troubled agency that has been blamed for not doing enough to prevent the explosion and ensuing oil spill at the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico.

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Obama to Ask for 'Enhanced Rescission Authority'

President Barack Obama

Over the weekend, rumors began trickling out of the administration that President Obama will soon send to Congress a proposal to grant the president greater authority to cut spending out of enacted appropriations bills, called enhanced recession authority. In a Congressional Quarterly article (subscription), which ran on Friday, and a Bureau of National Affairs piece (subscription), which appeared yesterday, an unnamed administration source states that the White House will send the proposal to Capitol Hill before Memorial Day.

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Second Coal Ash Proposal Added During White House Review

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s plans for a single, environmentally-protective proposal to regulate coal ash were changed during a six-month review at the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA). An internal administration document released Friday shows the significant edits made to EPA’s original draft.

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CBO Monthly Budget Review, April 2010

Congressional Budget Office

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO), which economist James Galbraith suggested in yesterday's Washington Post should be eliminated because its "projections are indefensible, internally inconsistent and economically impossible," released on Friday one of its more accurate pieces of work, the Monthly Budget Review (MBR) for April.

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Feingold Introduces Moderate Contracting Reform Bill

Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI)

Yesterday afternoon, Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) introduced bi-partisan contracting reform legislation, titled the "Federal Contracting Oversight and Reform Act of 2010," that seeks to bring more transparency to the government contracting process. Although several of the bill's provisions could have been stronger, one hopes the legislation, if enacted, will lay the foundation for future reforms.

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