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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Key Transparency Fund Threatened Again in House Budget

A key fund for government transparency programs is once again facing cuts. On July 10, the House Financial Services and General Government appropriations subcommittee approved a bill that provides no funding for the Electronic Government Fund (E-Gov Fund), the driving force behind many recent open government innovations. Instead, the bill merges the E-Gov Fund with another fund and cuts their combined funding level 15 percent from last year.

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Defense Savings Could Partially Offset Sequestration

Sequestration's blunt approach to spending reductions is bad policy, and legislators from both parties have recognized this and proposed targeted savings at the Department of Defense (DOD) as a partial alternative. The amount of money at stake is significant. DOD and other defense-related spending typically represents more than 50 percent of federal discretionary spending each year.

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Congress Says Special-Ops Budget Too Secret

While details on spending on specific national-security programs are sometimes kept from the public, such secrecy is not supposed to extend to Congress. Lawmakers are supposed to have detailed information on executive branch activities so they can knowledgeably exercise their constitutional power of the purse.

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The Impact on Public Investment from Drops in Non-Defense Discretionary Spending

While the damaging impacts of austerity have received increased attention in recent weeks, a new report from the Economic Policy Institute shows that most of the major budget plans being considered in Washington would make things worse.

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White House At Odds With House on Weapons Cancellations

It's an old battle: executive branch expertise on how it thinks taxpayer dollars should be spent versus the congressional power of the purse. This story plays out often in the yearly authorization and appropriations bills for the Department of Defense (DOD). This year is not any different as a White House statement from yesterday makes clear.

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Senate to Begin Appropriations Process Week of June 17

The Senate Appropriations Committee is expected to begin consideration of annual appropriations bills starting the week of June 17, according to The Hill.

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Boehner Charges Obama With Threatening Government Shutdown

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) accused President Obama of threatening a government shutdown on June 6. The charge came after the administration issued veto threats against two spending bills that are consistent with a broader House GOP effort to shift further budget cuts from defense spending to domestic programs.

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White House Threatens to Veto GOP Spending Bills

The White House has issued veto threats against two pending House spending bills, one funding the Department of Homeland Security (H.R. 2217) and another funding military construction and veterans affairs (H.R. 2216).

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Policy Riders: Bringing Transparency to a Shadowy Legislative Process

Schoolhouse Rock was only partly correct: getting a bill through Congress is just one way to turn proposals into law. Another way to write your policy demands into law is to hide them in the funding bills Congress passes every year to keep the government running. These “policy riders” in appropriations bills are temporary, but they establish new policies just like normal laws. Their use effectively shuts the public out of important policy discussions, and they undermine the openness of the legislative process. To remedy this practice, Congress can take some lessons learned from its reforms of the earmarking process.

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America Would Know Less Under House Census Policy

Since 1790, Americans have used the Census as a tool to understand who we are and where we stand as a nation. However, our ability to gather this crucial data would be crippled under a bill recently passed by the House.

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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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