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...

read in full
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...

read in full
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...

read in full
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...

read in full
more news

OMB Releases New Last-Minute Recovery Act Jobs Guidance

While most of the nation's attention seems to have been focused on health care and budget issues as of late, the Office of Management and Budget has been hard at work on the Recovery Act recently. With the start of the second recipient reporting cycle rapidly approaching, on Friday OMB put out a new Recovery Act guidance, this one specifically addressing job creation estimates and data quality issues. These two areas have been huge problems for OMB and the Recovery Act in general, with many of the story lines from the last cycle focusing on terrible data quality and suspect job creation estimates. With the new guidance, OMB is hoping to head off some of these stories for the coming reporting cycle.

read in full

House Finishes Year in a Blaze of Controversial Legislation

Yesterday, in what most news organizations are calling a "flurry" of legislative action, the House passed a relatively large package of contentious bills, including the Defense appropriations bill, an increase to the debt limit, and a jobs bill. The Defense bill, originally thought to be the most difficult of the four bills, easily sailed through the House, 395 to 34, and the Senate immediately began its debate on the bill. The other two bills, however, proved to be much closer, and foreshadow legislative confrontations in the beginning of 2010.

read in full

Deconstructing the Deficit

When discussing the federal budget deficit, I should be clear that reducing it right now is absolutely the wrong policy to pursue. It will likely strangle the meager recovery that's underway, and attention should primarily be focused on reducing the growing cost of health care. Having said all that, if deficit reduction must be addressed right now, it's important to first understand its composition.

read in full

Final Defense Bill Includes Franken Anti-Rape Amendment

Sen. Al Franken (D-MN)

Back in October, I wrote about Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) and his praise-worthy amendment to the FY 2010 Defense appropriations bill that would bar the government from contracting with companies who prevent their employees from bringing workplace sexual assault cases to court. The amendment passed easily 68 to 30 – with the thirty senators who voted against the measure receiving a good amount of backlash – but shortly after the vote there were rumors that conferees would strip the amendment from the final bill during reconciliation with the House. Not to fear, though, because according to Sam Stein over at the Huffington Post, the Franken amendment survived, and the final language is "remarkably strong."

read in full

"Lack of Understanding"

Phil Mattera of Good Jobs First has a great post over at the Clawback blog, breaking down the reasons recipients gave for not reporting during the first round of Recovery Act recipient reporting (see my colleague Craig Jennings' earlier post on the non-reporting list released yesterday).

read in full

More Benefits for the TARP'd

Well, this is galling.

The Internal Revenue Service on Friday issued an exception to long-standing tax rules for the benefit of Citigroup and a few other companies partially owned by the government. As a result, Citigroup will be allowed to retain billions of dollars worth of tax breaks that otherwise would decline in value when the government sells its stake to private investors.

read in full

House to Finish up Appropriations, Push Other Fiscal Business to Next Year

U.S. Capitol

On Wednesday, the House is likely to finish appropriations for the fiscal year with a vote on the last spending measure, Defense. The lower chamber will also vote to extend the debt limit temporarily, a move that will put the thorny political issue off until 2010.

read in full

Appropriations Update: 11 down, 1 to go

Last night, in a 57-35 vote, the Senate passed the appropriations omnibus bill, coming one step closer to finishing the FY 2010 appropriations process. The Senate's vote means that all but one of the appropriation bills are done, which is good, since FY 2010 started a couple months ago. The one slight problem is that the last bill to go is the Defense bill, and it's shaping up to be a doozy.

read in full

Congress to Boost Consumer Product Safety Funding

In an omnibus appropriations bill quickly moving its way through Congress, the Consumer Product Safety Commission is set to receive a major funding increase for FY 2010 (which began Oct. 1). The bill sets the agency’s budget at $118 million, the highest level allowed under a separate bill that reauthorized the agency in 2008. CPSC’s FY 2009 budget was $105.4 million.

read in full

Warp Speed: An Appropriations Update

Oink Oink

Last night, as expected, Congress took a giant step toward finishing appropriations this year, as a House and Senate conference committee agreed to a $446.8 billion discretionary omnibus, which includes six of the seven remaining appropriations bills. In addition, the House this afternoon passed, by a vote of 241 to 181, the tax extenders package as a standalone measure rather than attaching it to an appropriations bill; and it's completely paid for!

read in full


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...

read in full

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...

read in full
more resources