Graham Pushes Regulatory Priorities in President's Budget

As administrator of the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) -- which has authority to review and possibly reject or amend agency regulatory proposals -- John Graham is pressing agencies to adopt particular analytical methods to assess regulatory costs and benefits that would rig the result and undoubtedly lead to less protective health, safety, and environmental standards.

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DOE Forced to Turn Over Energy Task Force Documents

In a ruling that upholds the public’s right to access government information, a D.C. federal district court ordered the Department of Energy (DOE) on February 21 to hand over documents to the Natural Resources Defense Council that relate to the workings of Vice President Dick Cheney’s energy task force.

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House Passes Shays-Meehan Bill 240-189

A substitute bill sponsored by Reps. Chris Shays (R-CT) and Marty Meehan (D-MA) passed the House of Representatives at 2:40 a.m. on February 14 by a vote of 240-189. 198 Democrats and 41 Republicans voted for the bill.

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Civil Rights Group Sets Long Term Campaign Finance Reform Goals

The California-based Greenlining Institute released recommendations for campaign finance reform from a civil rights perspective on February 12, the day the House of Representatives started debating the issue. Their recommendations are based on consultations with minority and low-income community leaders and a study of campaign contribution patterns in California. While some recommendations are addressed in pending campaign finance reform legislation, others are not, and will require a continued push for reform. The recommendations are:

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FEC To Hold Public Hearing on Proposed Internet Rules

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) has scheduled a public hearing on its proposed rules on three Internet-related political activities.

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Faith-Based Compromise Reached

After months of wrangling between the House, Senate and White House, a compromise on the Administration's Faith-Based Initiative has been reached. The CARE act of 2002 (S. 1924) was introduced on February 8, and contains several major provisions. These provisions include:
  1. Tax incentives for giving,
  2. Provisions for equal treatment of nongovernmental organizations that apply for federal grants,
  3. Fast-track processing by the IRS of applications for 501(c)(3) status by small organizations applying for federal funds, and
  4. Funding for six new programs.

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Proposed Non-Itemizer Deduction Raises Concerns

Instead of questioning the wisdom of the tax cut enacted last summer or proposing to delay its implementation until support for key domestic investments is provided -- which is what should be done -- we now have to weigh an acknowledged valuable tax break, the non-itemizer deduction, against vitally needed federal programs.

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