Stories of Americans Cut Off of Emergency Unemployment Compensation

It was a long and cold winter in Washington, DC, in more ways than one. At the end of 2013, Congress allowed Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) to expire, leaving 1.3 million Americans who had been without work for more than six months suddenly cut off from their lifeline benefits. Unemployment benefits don't provide a lot – about $269 a week on average – but it is enough to put some food on the table, pay the most urgent bills, and hang on by your fingernails until work can be found. Without this support, many families are forced to drain their retirement accounts and sell their belongings. Some face homelessness.

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A Tale of Two Corporate Tax Plans

Last month, House Ways and Means Chairman David Camp (R-MI) released his long awaited tax reform package. In it, he proposed overhauling the corporate tax code, eliminating many deductions and loopholes.

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Public Protections Budget Dashboard -- FY 2015

A critical function of our government is to protect us from known harm. We expect our national government to keep contaminated food off the grocery store shelves and out of restaurants; to prevent industrial facilities from poisoning the air and water in our communities, and to ensure we have safe workplaces. When our health and safety systems are working well, they tend to be invisible to us, and we take them for granted. It's when they fail that we pay attention. And we are likely to see more failures in coming years if we continue to reduce the resources available to public agencies when the scope and complexities of the challenges they face are increasing.

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Is the Federal Government Failing to Save $67 Billion? Congress Should Look in the Mirror

Many members of Congress have taken to social media this week pushing a stat that says the federal government is failing to implement some 17,000 recommendations from inspectors general that could - in total - save an estimated $67 billion a year. The stat is based on a report issued by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee last March.

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Q & A With Thomas Hungerford: Why a Corporate Tax Holiday Is a Bad Way to Fund Infrastructure

Legislation that would fund infrastructure projects through a controversial way of generating revenue is being considered in Congress and has picked up a substantial amount of bipartisan support. While expanding investments in infrastructure is popular with many as a way to meet pressing national needs and create jobs, why is the legislation so controversial?

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EPA Sustains Major Cuts to Developing and Enforcing Safeguards in FY 14 Appropriations

Despite an attempt by some to portray the $299 million increase in EPA's overall fiscal year 2014 budget as a positive compromise, those in Congress who oppose developing and enforcing public health and environmental safeguards have much to celebrate. Of particular concern, the budget includes major cuts to EPA's operations that develop and enforce public health and environmental protections.

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State of the Union: What the President Should Say about Inequality and Fiscal Policy

The Oxford English Dictionary defines a "bully pulpit" as "a public office or position of authority that provides its occupant with an outstanding opportunity to speak out on any issue." President Theodore Roosevelt was the first to call the White House a bully pulpit, and he and other heads of the executive branch have used it as a platform to raise the profile of various issues and push forward an agenda for change. The most regular, high-profile instance of highlighting priority issues is the annual "State of the Union" address (President Franklin Delano Roosevelt first called it that in 1934), where the president addresses a joint session of Congress huddled together in the House chamber.

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Key Transparency Fund Survives in Spending Bill

The House and Senate appropriations committees today released a new spending bill which contained good news for a key fund for government transparency programs. The Electronic Government Fund (E-Gov Fund) will receive a slight boost in funding from recent years, while still falling short of the administration’s funding request.

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Planning Ahead to Keep Government Information Online

During the October 2013 federal government shutdown, several important public information sources were shuttered, which weakened government transparency during that time. But – short of averting the shutdown itself – could anything have been done differently?

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Expiring Help for the Unemployed or Expiring Tax Breaks: What Will Congress Extend?

December was a tough month for those down on their luck. More than a million long-term unemployed workers, having already been out of work for at least six months, saw their unemployment insurance abruptly cut off. Just weeks before this happened, federal food assistance for children, seniors, and people with disabilities was reduced. Job growth was anemic, and the unemployment rate fell because many people simply stopped looking for work (and so moved from "unemployed" to "out of the labor market").

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