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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Who Says We Need More C-17s...Oh Yeah, Congressional Missourians Do

A C-17 Globemaster III

As Congress gears up for its annual budget process, parochial-minded members are drawing their customary battle lines around administration-targeted programs. One of those is the C-17 transport plane, which the Pentagon has been trying to kill for several years because it deems the military to have ample airlift capacity. Last week, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch highlighted a press conference held by four congressional Missourians who, claiming to know better than the Pentagon, declared that they were going to fight the plane's proposed cancellation.

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Obama Requests Tool for the Wrong Job

President Obama has proposed to Congress "a new, expedited tool to reduce unnecessary or wasteful spending," lining up on the side of so-called fiscal conservatives to enhance the Executive's ability to force Congress to vote on measures that cut federal spending.

read in full Moves to Cloud Computing

In his latest Chairman's Corner, Recovery Board Chairman Earl Devaney announced that is now the first "government-wide" cloud computing system. Sounds impressive, right? Well, sort of. Essentially, this means that, 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

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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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New Recovery Act Memo Comes as Recipients Improve Reporting

On Tuesday, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued a new guidance on Recovery Act recipient reporting.  The memo expands on several earlier memos on the same topic, but it lays out more concrete steps for agencies to follow.

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Treasury Begins to Sell Citigroup Stock

As discussed in a recent Watcher article, Treasury is starting to divest itself of Citigroup assets. The news came out on Monday, with Citi's stock price at $4.86, but at the close on Tuesday, the price had plunged to below $4.40 a share.

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Commentary: The Rocky Path toward a Budget Resolution

Regardless of which party is in power, springtime in the nation's capital always means one thing: budget debates. After the president submits his budget proposal in February, Congress has until April 15 to pass a budget resolution, a non-binding plan for the spending and revenue levels that congressional appropriations committees are to follow when creating the spending bills for the coming fiscal year. However, in election years, members of Congress are reluctant to go on record as increasing the federal budget deficit, especially since budget resolutions are not absolutely necessary to fund the federal government.

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OMB Watch Releases Fourth Quarter Recovery Act Data

Over on, our government spending database, we just updated our Recovery Act tab to include the fourth quarter 2009 recipient reports. Users can now search through reports from February through December 2009, and can sort, sift and download it to their hearts' content. And be sure to check out some of our pre-cooked searches, including congressional districts ranked by Recovery Act spending and a list of the top 100 prime recipients.

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CEA: No, Seriously, the Recovery Act is Working

I feel sorry for the economists over at the White House's Council of Economic Advisors (CEA). Every quarter, they run the numbers and find that the Recovery Act is significantly helping the economy. Last quarter, the CEA found that the Act increased GDP between 1½ and 3 percentage points and created between 1½ to 2 million jobs. This time around they found that it created between 2.2 and 2.8 million jobs and raised first quarter GDP between 2.5 and 2.9 percent. In other words, the Recovery Act is pretty consistently helping the economy improve, and in fact its effects may be growing. But no one listens to them! It must be a frustrating job.

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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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