OMB Watch has urged Reps. Christopher Shays (R-CT) and Marty Meehan (D-MA) to strengthen the portion of their bill dealing with exceptions to the ban on broadcast "issue advocacy" during an election cycle.
On December 11 the FEC decided not to seek Supreme Court review of a Virginia case finding their regulation, 11 CFR 100.22, unconstitutional. The vote was a 3-3 tie, and a majority is needed to request the Solicitor General to take up the case.
The difficulty for state and local PACs arises because of the way soft money is often spent. Only "hard money" is subject to FEC regulation and soft money spent on federal elections is often mixed with soft money spent on state and local elections. The law's purpose is to force disclosure of soft money spent on federal elections.
Michigan House passes bill after dropping language that would have prohibited Michigan nonprofits from using any resources that are "from a public body or a person acting on behalf of a public body" for advocacy around a state ballot initiative.
Senate Majority Leader outlined the country's urgent domestic and military priorities and compared the pre-tax cut possibilities for domestic investment with the current post-tax cut reality's "unnecessary fiscal bind," but he did not directly call for a delay in the tax cut as a solution to this fiscal conservative's dilemma.
FY 2002 Appropriations Update
Congress completed its work on the last 3 FY 2002 appropriations bills (Defense, Foreign Operations, and Labor-HHS-Education) on December 21 and the President is expected to sign all three of them and bring the appropriations season to an official completion. According to usbudget.com, the bills are being readied for the President's signature and he is expected to sign them on January 10, when the Continuing Resolution - passed on December 20 - expires.
Though estimates by Democrats and Republicans of the size of the deficits differ, and will continue to grow substantially depending on the amount of additional homeland security and defense spending approved this year, both sides agree that the deficit will likely be at least $15 billion -- the Democrats are predicting it could be as large as $70 billion.
Existing federal programs emphasize collaboration among important community-based and community-focused actors and institutions. Though popular among grant recipients and vital to program beneficiaries, the supporter base has not been effective in sustaining widespread support and visibility on the Hill around broader community technology policy goals and objectives.