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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Congress' Spending Slump

The month of August is seen as an important time in every Congress because the weeks-long recess breaks up the legislative calendar. As the number of legislative days dwindles, Congress is faced with a slew of spending bills, including a war supplemental bill, a small business jobs bill, and a slow-starting appropriations process. The sheer amount of spending bills that remain on the docket, and the tardiness of these bills, nearly guarantee at least one continuing resolution in the fall.

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Budget Process Begins to Move Along in Congress

The U.S. Capitol Building

Yesterday, while passing a rule setting debate on a supplemental spending bill for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Democratic members of the House tacked on a "budget enforcement resolution" that lays out spending priorities for the next fiscal year. Additionally, with several Appropriations subcommittees recently passing FY 2011 spending bills, it seems Congress is beginning to move the ball on the budget process.

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Chances of FY '11 Budget Resolution Slipping Away

In case you hadn't noticed, it's getting late in the year. We're almost to the end of May, and Congress is starting to run out of legislative time. The week-long Memorial Day recess gets rid of next week, July 4th patriotism will consume another week, summer recess erases most of August and half of September, and Congressional leadership is aiming to adjourn in early October. And with Congress' already jammed legislative agenda, when is it going to get around to passing FY 2011's budget resolution? Answer: most likely never.

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You Can't Say Congress Isn't Listening to the American People...

'Merican Dollars Should Stay in Merica'

When an Economist/YouGov poll came out early last month, several economics and political bloggers re-highlighted the fact that Americans, by a large majority, favor lower government spending over increased taxes in order to balance the budget, but that when asked to make hard choices refuse to cut any specific programs except for low-hanging fruit like foreign aid. According to a recent Congressional Quarterly article (subscription), it seems that members of Congress may answer the average American's wish during this year's budget process.

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Amendments Bring Policy Debates to the Budget Resolution

On April 22, the Senate Budget Committee approved its Fiscal Year 2011 budget resolution, moving the chamber one step closer to setting spending limits for the coming appropriations process. The resolution provoked controversy, as it would cut spending levels below those in President Obama's budget request, which itself mandated a significant spending freeze on discretionary spending outside of defense and homeland security. The measure also frequently attracts contentious, policy-related amendments, and the current resolution is no exception.

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Senate Budget Committee Passes Budget Resolution With Larger Spending Cuts

On Thursday, the Senate Budget Committee passed the FY2011 budget resolution on a 12-10 vote. As predicted, the resolution calls for $4 billion in discretionary spending cuts, on top of President Obama's budget, which already proposed a non-security discretionary spending freeze for the next few fiscal years. The Committee's budget resolution would reduce the deficit to $575 billion in 2015, down from its current level of $1.4 trillion. Since OMB Watch already came out against the President's budget proposal as fiscally irresponsible, it's disappointing that the Budget Committee felt it necessary to outdo the President in spending cuts at a time when unemployment is still in the double-digits.

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Senate Budget Resolution to Call for Freezing All Non-Security Discretionary Spending

Come Git Yer Budget

Budget Committee Chairman Sen. Kent Conrad (D-SD), who released his mark for the Senate's budget resolution yesterday, is calling for $671 billion more in deficit reduction over the next five years compared to the president's budget proposal. Conrad achieves his reduction by jettisoning the president's selected discretionary caps and placing a freeze on all non-security discretionary spending over the next three fiscal years.

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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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Budget Resolution Looks like a 'Go,' but May be Less Than Desirable

The U.S. Capitol

A Congressional Quarterly article (subscription) published this afternoon puts to rest recent rumors that Congress won't enact a budget resolution this year, quoting Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND) that he has a "green light" from leadership to put something together. In his remarks, though, Conrad claimed he would produce an "aggressive budget" with deficit projections well below what the White House's budget proposal forecasts.

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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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