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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'Constitution-Minded' Republicans to Introduce Budget Authoritarianism

This is not an ambiguous document!

When the new Republican-controlled House gavels in tomorrow, legislative business will begin with a reading of the Constitution, a stunt brought about by what the Washington Post dubbed "the tea party-ization of Congress." More importantly, the House will also adopt new rules to determine how the legislative body operates over the next two years. One of the rules changes, though, flies in the face of the GOP's championing of governmental transparency and fairness.

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Congress Once Again Punts on FY 2011 Budget

Surprising almost no one, on Tuesday Congress passed a short-term continuing resolution (CR), funding government for another few months and delaying passing a budget for the 2011 fiscal year. Over the past week or two, it became obvious that Democrats did not have enough votes to pass a year-long budget of some kind, either as a CR or as an omnibus.

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Federal Employees: Doing More with Less...Already

President Obama has proposed freezing salaries of most federal employees for the next two years as part of his effort to address the federal budget deficit. Projected to save some $5 billion over the next two years, the freeze would shave 0.22 percent off the $2.3 trillion in deficit spending over that time, making it a largely token measure.

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Congress Debates Multitude of Options for FY 2011 Budget and Food Safety

It’s been a while since we’ve checked in with the FY2011 budget, what with all the hullabaloo over deficit reports and the Bush tax cuts. But with the current continuing resolution (CR) set to expire on Saturday, Dec 18, and Congress planning to adjourn at the same time, we’re coming down to the wire. Almost three months after the start of the 2011 fiscal year, Congress is finally making some progress with passing a budget, but is faced with three options: an omnibus bill combining all twelve spending bills into one big bill, a full-year CR, or a short-term CR.

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International Comparison Ranks U.S. Well on Budget Transparency

A new international comparison of budget transparency ranks the U.S. among the world's leaders, but highlights some areas for improvement.

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Congress Votes Through Continuing Resolution, Stalls on OMB Nomination, and Leaves for the Election

It can't get much closer than this. In the early hours of the last day of fiscal year 2010, and the last legislative day before it adjourned for the midterm elections, Congress passed a basic continuing resolution, temporarily funding the government through December 3. That gives lawmakers from November 15, when they're scheduled to return, though December 3 to pass the entire FY 2011 budget. If they fail, which is entirely likely considering it only gives them three weeks to work, Congress will have to pass another continuing resolution.

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Biennial Budgeting on the Horizon?

If the Senate confirms Jack Lew, President Obama's nominee to lead the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Lew is likely to revisit the idea of biennial budgeting. The allure of biennial budgeting at the federal level is that it theoretically frees up more time for both Congress and federal agencies to work on issues outside of the budget. But would a move to biennial budgeting actually change the budget process for the better?

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Friday Appropriations Update: Continuing Resolution Vote Must Happen Next Week

It's been an exciting few weeks on the Hill, with President Obama's OMB director nominee sitting before two Senate hearings before being blocked by a Democrat, House Republicans released their Pledge to America, and an effort to extendthe Bush tax cuts failed to move in the Senate. With all this excitement, I guess congressional appropriators couldn't find much time to work on their appropriations bills. In fact, the House Appropriations Committee made exactly zero progress on the fiscal year 2011 budget, meaning we're still waiting on the full committee to vote on ten appropriations bills. The Senate hasn't been much better, with its appropriations committee only approving two bills, and no floor votes. Which, as recent congressional witness Stephen Colbert might say, brings us to today's word: continuing resolution.

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GOP 'Pledge' Is Simply a Way of Shutting Down a Large Part of Government

As Yogi Berra's redundant saying goes, "It's déjà vu all over again." Back in 1994, congressional Republicans unveiled what they called the "Contract with America." The Contract was chock-full of policy proposals intended to shrink the size of government, kneecap agencies' ability to protect the public, and decrease the burden on taxpayers, especially the rich.

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Putting a Better Face on Economic Stimulus

The latest economic data on the Recovery Act from the Congressional Budget Office indicate that, by at least two important metrics -- gross domestic product (GDP) and unemployment -- it is in fact working (see here, here, here, and here for more). Yet, only 33 percent of Americans think the Recovery Act "helped the jobs situation."

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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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