Super Committee "Failure" Is Anything But

On Monday evening (Nov. 21), the Super Committee formally announced that it was unable to reach an agreement for reducing the federal deficit by $1.2 trillion. While others are decrying the lack of agreement by the Super Committee and calling it a failure, we at OMB Watch believe that each of us should, instead, be relieved.

read in full

Congress Passes Year's First Spending Bill With Plenty of Riders, Declares Pizza a Vegetable

Late last week, Congress passed the first spending bill for fiscal year (FY) 2012, 48 days after it began. The bill, known as a minibus, is a bundle of three smaller appropriations bills, and collectively, the three bills are about a billion dollars lower than their level last year. Because the remaining nine spending bills required to keep the government running have yet to be approved, the minibus includes another stopgap spending measure, designed to keep the government open until Dec. 16. However, tucked inside the minibus is a litany of restrictions on spending designed to change non-budgetary federal policy.  Even though congressional rules are supposed to prevent the practice of slipping policy initiatives into funding bills, the minibus includes 75 policy riders that affect everything from gun regulations to the weight of planes flying into New Jersey’s Teterboro Airport, and even declare that pizza is a vegetable.

read in full

Congressional Budget Office Says Deregulation Will Not Create Jobs

On Tuesday, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a report that concludes that deregulation will not create jobs. The report is the latest piece of evidence that the ongoing congressional attacks on public protections are misguided, at best.

read in full

Regulatory Accountability Act Would Undermine Crucial Protections for the American People

Eliminating lead in children's toys. Requiring seatbelts in automobiles. Reducing coal dust in mines. Preventing unsafe drugs and foods from entering the marketplace. Outlawing predatory loan rates and lending practices. If the bill deliberately mislabeled the Regulatory Accountability Act (RAA) had been put in place in 1960, none of these protections for the American people could have been developed.

read in full

Open Government Leaders Support Funding for Key Transparency Initiatives

OMB Watch and the Sunlight Foundation today released an open letter to the U.S. Senate supporting continued funding for the Electronic Government Fund's important transparency projects. The letter echoes the Obama administration's policy statement issued Nov. 10.

read in full

Latest Super Committee Proposals Steer Clear of Fiscal Responsibility

Members of the Super Committee appear as far apart as ever when it comes to agreeing to a deal that would reduce the deficit by $1.2 trillion over the next ten years and the latest offer from some Democrats on the committee indicates that if a deal does actually win approval, it will be deeply irresponsible. A deal of this sort would maintain current inequities in the tax code while slashing funding for public protections and health care programs that are vital to working families and retirees.

read in full

National Archives Launches Initial CUI Registry

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) today launched the initial registry of controlled unclassified information (CUI) categories that agencies can use to safeguard sensitive but unclassified information. President Obama called for the registry in his executive order on CUI, which he signed one year ago today.

read in full

Coal Ash Spill in Lake Michigan Heats Up the Debate over Public Protections

On Oct. 31, a landslide at the Wisconsin-based We Energies Oak Creek Power Plant sent piles of coal ash, along with dredging equipment and debris, into Lake Michigan. Thankfully, there were no injuries, but the incident is reminiscent of the disastrous 2008 coal ash spill in Kingston, TN – where a failed impoundment released 5.4 million cubic yards of coal ash that buried a community and severely contaminated a nearby river – and raises concerns about how to regulate the storage and disposal of coal ash.

read in full

Updated: Possible Senate Shenanigans on the REINS Act

There are rumblings that as soon as today, the Senate GOP may begin to offer up the Regulations from the Executive In Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act (S. 299) as an amendment to, or a substitute for, bills moving to the Senate floor for a vote. Such a move would limit the public's ability to have a say on this damaging legislation.

read in full