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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COP Evaluates TARP, Gives it a Passing Grade

This being December, with school winding down and entering finals period, children everywhere are beginning the biannual tradition of dreading the arrival of their report card. Surprisingly, the Congressional Oversight Panel (COP), the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) oversight group chaired by Prof. Elizabeth Warren, decided to get in on the action themselves this year with their December report. Titled "Taking Stock," the latest installment of COP's monthly report looks back over the life of the program, and examines whether TARP has been effective or not. Reading the report, it looks like COP reluctantly gives the program a passing grade, but isn't entirely happy with TARP's progress so far.

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Appropriations Moving Quickly

Dollars and Sense

Today, Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Daniel Inouye (D-HI) told reporters that appropriators from both sides of the Capitol would meet later today to hammer out the FY 2010 Transportation-HUD appropriations bill (HR 3288). He also blatantly hinted that the appropriations process would then begin to move fast.

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Omnibus Appropriations Bill More and More Likely

Omnibus, get it?

A story in The Hill this morning relays an increasingly likely scenario in Congress: legislators will use an omnibus appropriations bill to finish spending work this year. The article cites the molasses-like speed at which the Senate has worked to pass its remaining appropriations bills. With the second stopgap funding measure set to expire on Dec. 18, and the Thanksgiving holiday intervening, the window of opportunity just to pass and conference an omnibus bill – let alone the four Senate appropriations bills that remain – is quickly closing.

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Congress Passes Second Continuing Resolution

I had a feeling when Congress passed a continuing resolution (CR) last month that funded the federal government for only 30 days that they'd be back to pass another one. And so they did.

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Poor Data Quality and Lack of Website Functionality Hobble Recovery Act Recipient Reports

The release of the first round of Recovery Act contracts spending data marks the first time that recipients of federal funding have been required to report to the federal government on their use of the funds in a timely and transparent manner. This represents an important milestone in government transparency and accountability. However, the poor data quality and's limited functionality hinder the promise of a new era of fiscal transparency – at least for this round of recipient reporting.

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Senate Continues to Struggle with Appropriations

Congress is preparing to pass a second continuing resolution (CR), as the first stopgap appropriations measure is set to expire on Oct. 31 and little progress has been made toward completing the remaining appropriations bills in the Senate. As the window of opportunity to pass all the appropriations bills individually continues to close, even the once-optimistic head of the Senate appropriations process has stated that Congress will likely have to use an omnibus spending bill to finish the work before the end of 2009.

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Congress Will Never Finish Appropriations

Appropriations Fail

Several stories this week from Capitol Hill are painting a bleak picture for the appropriations process this year. Just weeks ago, legislators thought that the process would only take until November, tops. Now it seems they'll be lucky to be done by the end of the year, and hopefully won't have to cram everything into an omnibus bill.

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First Round of Recovery Act Data Expected Oct. 15

On Oct. 15, the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board (Recovery Board) will begin releasing on the first round of Recovery Act recipient reporting to the public.

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Franken Amendment Addresses Contractors that Hide Sexual Assaults

Sen. Al Franken

On Tuesday, Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) introduced and successfully shepherded through debate a meaningful contracting reform amendment to the FY 2010 Defense Appropriations bill. The amendment will defund contractors that block their employees from bringing workplace sexual assault cases to court, forcing contractors to amend their policies or face losing tons of money.

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Congress Passes Continuing Resolution


With the end of the fiscal year upon it, Congress, as expected, passed a continuing resolution (CR) last Wednesday to provide short-term funds to government agencies and prevent a government shutdown. As reported by Congressional Quarterly (subscription required), the CR will keep most discretionary programs operating at fiscal 2009 levels through Oct. 31. Congress intends to use the extra time to pass its remaining FY 2010 appropriations bills.

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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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