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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Can the House GOP Live Within Its Own Budget?

Yesterday, the House of Representatives pulled the annual spending bill that funds the Transportation Department and Department of Housing and Urban Development (THUD Bill) from its calendar because the chance it would be passed by the Republican-controlled House was low.

 “The prospects for passing this bill in September are bleak at best, given the vote count on passage that was apparent this afternoon,” House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) said in a statement.

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Medicare Savings: Cut Benefits to the Elderly or to Big Pharma's Windfall Profits?

Potentially central to any fiscal deal later this year are savings in the government's popular Medicare program that currently helps about 52 million Americans obtain health care. However, the way those savings are achieved will have vastly different consequences for older Americans.

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White House Veto Threat: House Defense Bill Would Hurt Americans

The White House issued a veto threat on Monday evening, threatening to torpedo the House’s version of the annual Department of Defense (DoD) appropriations bill (H.R. 2397). House Republicans are proposing defense spending levels that are higher than this years and that break through spending caps established by the Budget Control Act of 2011.

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Agribusiness Subsidy Cuts Could Save Food Stamps in the Farm Bill

Last week, the House broke with four decades of congressional tradition and narrowly passed a federal Farm Bill, 216-208, without any Democratic support. The break in tradition came when the House stripped nutrition programs – notably food stamps, vital to nearly one in seven struggling Americans – out of the bill after many Republicans voted against an earlier version because they felt it did not cut enough out of the food stamp program.

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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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Key Senate Democrat Calls for 'Replacing' Sequestration, But With What?

On its face, a recent memo from Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray (D-WA), released June 28, seems to be calling for an end to unrealistic spending cuts and austerity. But in calling on Congress to "replace" across-the-board spending cuts, called sequestration, the memo says very little about how to do this – which begs the question: replace sequestration with what?

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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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GAO: Lower Contractor Compensation Caps Would Save Hundreds of Millions

Hundreds of millions of dollars per year could be saved if Congress lowers the maximum amount the government reimburses contractors for their employees’ compensation, according to a new report released yesterday by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), Congress’ investigative arm.

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Slashed Public Payrolls Make the Unemployment Problem Worse

Although the private sector has been adding jobs, the United States still has roughly 2.4 million fewer jobs as of May 2013 than it did at the beginning of the latest recession, which started in December 2007, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But the problem is even greater. Given a growing population and the number of discouraged and underemployed workers, to reach an unemployment rate closer to the historical norm, more than 8.5 million jobs need to be created.

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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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