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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Senate Rejects Arbitrary Budget Caps

Thanks in no small part to the 1,146 emails you sent in the past 48 hours, the Senate just voted down the Sessions-McCaskill amendment, which would have instituted draconian discretionary budget caps for the next three fiscal years. The amendment lost on a 56-40 vote, failing to reach the 60-vote margin it needed by only four votes.

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Tell the Senate to Vote No on Disastrous Discretionary Spending Caps

In what looks like an attempt to out-fiscal-hawk President Obama, Sens. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) have introduced an amendment that would impose strict limits on discretionary spending for the next three years. The amendment sets limits far lower than Obama's already low budget proposal, and it even includes a cap on defense discretionary spending, something the President's proposal does not do. Such caps would result in drastic cuts to many vital economic safety net programs and public protection agencies, negatively impacting the lives of millions of Americans. And while the two senators claim that the amendment will reduce the deficit, in reality, because discretionary spending is so little of the federal budget, the amendment's deficit-reducing effects will be minimal.

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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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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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Busy, Busy, Busy: An Appropriations Update

An update on the appropriations process from the Hill today declares that, barring – in the words of one House Democratic aide – "a miracle," Congress will not pass all 12 spending bills before the end of the fiscal year, which is just a few short weeks away.

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Time for Recess: An August Appropriations Update

As the Senate finishes up a few important matters before the August recess, including a Cash-for-Clunkers vote, it's time to take a look at what else is going on in regular Senate business.  Unfortunately, the Senate is behind schedule, and it remains unlikely that all appropriations bills will be resolved prior to the start of the new fiscal year on Oct 1.

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The Veterans Affairs Budgeting Experiment

Earlier this week, the House passed an unusual bill that authorizes advance appropriations for Veterans Affairs (VA) funding.  HR 1016 means that Congress will create two budgets this year, one for the current 2010 appropriations cycle, and a future budget for 2011.  Subsequent years will produce budgets that are at least a year ahead.  For the VA department, which has been plagued in recent years by reports of patient neglect and poor management, this will hopefully be the first step towards better service delivery.

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Oh, Boy, Pay-Go Here We Come…Maybe

Dollar, dollar bills, ya'll

A report yesterday from Bureau of National Affairs (subscription required) cites several unnamed congressional sources saying the House plans to revive a statutory pay-as-you-go budget law in June. Statutory pay-go would require budgetary offsets for increases in permanent spending programs or tax cuts. Expect the measure to move through the lower house quickly, but resistance in the Senate, where lawmakers have questioned the effectiveness of the budget tool, is casting doubt on the measure's future.

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Congress Passes FY 2010 Budget Resolution

On April 29, exactly 100 days into the Obama administration, the House and Senate each passed a final version of the Fiscal Year 2010 budget resolution. The final resolution outlines $3.56 trillion in spending and tracks closely with President Obama's major proposals, including key investments in health care, education, and energy.

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House Passed Budget Resolution 233 - 193

Blue Dogs are the keyI'm pretty late getting this up today, but the House of Representatives passed the FY 2010 budget resolution earlier this afternoon by a vote of 233-193. 17 Democrats voted against the resolution and not one Republican supported it. The vote also saw only 6 Blue Dog Democrats oppose the resolution out of the 51 members of that group. The Senate is currently debating the conference report agreement on the budget resolution and is expected to approve it later today.

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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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