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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Why the Bush Plan is the Wrong Plan for US

This chart compares the Bush plan to the Democratic plans: the Baucus and Pelosi economic stimulus plans. To see what goes into a good economic stimulus plan, see this chart

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Economic Stimulus ? First, Do No Harm

An economic stimulus plan will be on the table early in the next Congress. Following is the tentative schedule. Given the sudden change in Senate leadership with Sen. Trent Lott’s (R-MS) resignation as Senate Majority Leader, there is a great deal of uncertainty about how the budget process will proceed next year, including issues of timing, number of reconciliation bills, and content. The next Watcher may contain a very different timetable.

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Budget Schedule

The incoming Director of Budget and Appropriations Issues for Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS), G. William Hoagland, recently gave a briefing to states about the upcoming budget. Included in this piece are some points from that briefing and other reports, as well as a tentative schedule for completing work on the FY 2003 budget and beginning the FY 2004 budget work.

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Tax Cut Fever: What the Budget Future May Hold

With the shake-up in the Administration’s economic team, the recent rise in the unemployment rate to 6% (the highest rate in eight years), and absolutely no evidence that the massive Bush tax cut has done anything but send the federal budget on a rapid spiral into deficit, a reasonable person might think that it was time for the Administration to reevaluate the idea that tax cuts are the solution to everything. The President’s economic stimulus plan, currently in the design phase, however, is expected to consist of tax cuts aimed at corporations and individuals in the higher tax brackets.

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Congress Says "No" to Extending Unemployment Benefits

The 107th Congress officially adjourned on Friday, November 22, and, in doing so, squashed the last chance unemployed workers had this year to secure a needed additional extension of their unemployment benefits. The extension of these benefits will expire on December 28.

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A Dismal Outlook for Domestic Spending

Congress officially adjourned last Friday, after passing its seventh Continuing Resolution (CR) of the year. This CR, H.J. 124, was necessary to provide the funding to keep government running because Congress was unable to pass 11 of the 13 appropriations bills for FY 2003, which began on October 1, 2002. This CR funds departments and programs at their FY 2002 levels through January 11. It appears there will be an effort to pass the FY 2003 appropriations before the President’s State of the Union address, so at least one more CR will be necessary.

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Republicans Seek to Make Bush Tax Cuts Permanent

While Republicans seem to have at least temporarily backed off efforts to pass new and costly tax cuts, including a reduction in the capital gains tax, there is renewed talk about making permanent the Bush tax cut, which is slated to expire at the end of 2010.

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Senate Passes Temporary Extension of 60-Vote Rules

By Unanimous Consent, the Senate passed a 6-month extension of its expiring "supermajority" 60-vote point of order rules late Wednesday, October 16.

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"Bi-Partisan" Economic Summit A Good Start, But We Need Much More

The Democratic Policy Committee (DPC) hosted an economic forum on October 11. Subtitled “Securing Our Economic Future,” it was billed as an attempt to offer a bi-partisan discussion of and debate about the issues underlying the nation’s economic woes. Though the point was clearly made that no Republican Members of Congress accepted the DPC’s invitation, the forum’s first panel was comprised not only of former members of Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisors, but also a former Associate Director for economics in President Reagan’s Office of Management and Budget and a former economic advisor to House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-TX).

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Budget Process Rules the Senate

As noted on these pages many times over the last few months, the Senate is unique in its traditions and rules. One feature that helped earn the Senate the title of the “world’s greatest deliberative body” is its rules that allow for, and even necessitate, policy debates, which are a vital part of the legislative process. These rules push the Senate to work out differences between conflicting legislative proposals and help ensure that the voice of the minority is protected. To extend this principle to tax and spending issues, the Senate has special rules.

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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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