New Posts

Feb 8, 2016

Top 400 Taxpayers See Tax Rates Rise, But There’s More to the Story

As Americans were gathering party supplies to greet the New Year, the Internal Revenue Service released their annual report of cumulative tax data reported on the 400 tax r...

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Feb 4, 2016

Chlorine Bleach Plants Needlessly Endanger 63 Million Americans

Chlorine bleach plants across the U.S. put millions of Americans in danger of a chlorine gas release, a substance so toxic it has been used as a chemical weapon. Greenpeace’s new repo...

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Jan 25, 2016

U.S. Industrial Facilities Reported Fewer Toxic Releases in 2014

The Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) data for 2014 is now available. The good news: total toxic releases by reporting facilities decreased by nearly six percent from 2013 levels. Howe...

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Jan 22, 2016

Methane Causes Climate Change. Here's How the President Plans to Cut Emissions by 40-45 Percent.

  UPDATE (Jan. 22, 2016): Today, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released its proposed rule to reduce methane emissions...

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GAO Finds Grants to Nonprofits Insufficiently Cover Costs

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently released a report on federal grants and nonprofits. Federal policy permits nonprofits to keep a share of contract funds for indirect costs, costs not exclusively associated with particular programs or projects, such as overhead. Unfortunately, state and local governments often keep the money for themselves. "GAO found differences in the rate in which state and local governments reimburse nonprofits for indirect costs."

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Advisory Council Provides Recommendations on Faith-Based and Community Organizations

The Chronicle of Philanthropy ($$) details the President's Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships' new report offering suggestions for the government in its work with charities. The panel provided a 164-page document which included recommendations to ensure that religious charities use government money only for secular activities.

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Letter Sent to Congress in Support of Civil Access to Justice Act

Over 150 national, state and local groups, including OMB Watch signed on to a letter supporting passage of the Civil Access to Justice Act (S.718 / H.R. 3764). The legislation was introduced last year to reauthorize the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) and expand access to civil legal aid.

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Groups Call on Obama to Reform Faith-Based Office

OMB Watch, along with religious and public policy organizations, sent President Barack Obama a letter on the anniversary of the Executive Order establishing the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. The groups asked Obama to, "take additional actions to prevent government-funded religious discrimination and protect social service beneficiaries from unwelcome proselytizing."

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House Passes Bill to Improve

The House has passed its version of S. 303, the Federal Financial Assistance Management Improvement Act of 2009. The bill requires the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to standardize the federal grant application process and reauthorizes, an online resource to apply for federal awards. The measure would increase federal grant transparency.

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Appropriations for LSC Complete, Keeping in Place Advocacy Restrictions

Conferees completed their work on the FY2010 Commerce-Justice-Science ("CJS") appropriations bill. It will be included in an omnibus spending measure, along with the rest of the unfinished appropriations bills except Defense. The CJS measure appropriates funds for the Legal Services Corporation (LSC).

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Midnight Regulations Roundup

The Obama administration continues to chip away at the Bush administration’s midnight regulations campaign. Obama agencies took action on two more Bush-era midnight regulations this week and a third last week.

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Senate Passes Appropriations Bill, Including Removing LSC Restrictions

The Senate finally passed the Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS) Appropriations bill for FY2010, which includes funding for the Legal Services Corporation (LSC). Importantly, it removes some flawed speech restrictions on grant recipients' non federal funds.

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Census Amendment Stalls Appropriations Bill, LSC Funding

Civil rights groups are urging the Senate to reject a controversial amendment to the FY 2010 Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS) Appropriations bill (H.R. 2847) currently working its way through Congress. Sens. David Vitter (R-LA) and Robert Bennett (R-UT) have proposed the amendment, which is designed to cut off funding to the Census Bureau unless the 2010 Census survey includes a question regarding citizenship and immigration status. The amendment flap has delayed passage of the CJS legislation, which would, in part, increase funding and restore speech rights to Legal Services Corporation (LSC) grantees.

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Brennan Center Files Suit for the Release of Opinion on Pledge Requirement

Last week the Brennan Center for Justice filed a lawsuit to force the release of a legal opinion regarding the "pledge requirement," requiring organizations that receive federal grants for HIV/AIDS work to pledge opposition to prostitution. The opinion was drafted in 2004 by the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) and supposedly questions the constitutionality of the federal law.

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Resources & Research

Living in the Shadow of Danger: Poverty, Race, and Unequal Chemical Facility Hazards

People of color and people living in poverty, especially poor children of color, are significantly more likely...

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A Tale of Two Retirements: One for CEOs and One for the Rest of Us

The 100 largest CEO retirement funds are worth a combined $4.9 billion, equal to the entire retirement account savings of 41 percent of American fam...

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