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Category Archives: Congress

Monthly Budget Review for August 2014

“The federal government ran a budget deficit of $589 billion for the first 11 months of fiscal year 2014, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates—$166 billion less than the shortfall recorded over the same period last year. Through the end of August, revenues were about 8 percent higher and outlays were about 1 percent higherContinue Reading

New GAO Reports – Crop Insurance, Defense Infrastructure, DOD Education Benefits, Medicaid, Contractor Controls, DoD Special Operations

CROP INSURANCE: Considerations in Reducing Federal Premium Subsidies, GAO-14-700: Published: Aug 8, 2014. Publicly Released: Sep 8, 2014. DEFENSE INFRASTRUCTURE: DOD Needs to Improve Its Efforts to Identify Unutilized and Underutilized Facilities, GAO-14-538: Published: Sep 8, 2014. Publicly Released: Sep 8, 2014. DOD EDUCATION BENEFITS: Action Is Needed to Ensure Evaluations of Postsecondary Schools Are Useful, GAO-14-855: Published: Sep 8, 2014. Publicly Released:Continue Reading

Minority Staff Dissenting Views: IRS Targeting Tea Party Groups

“The Majority staff on the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations has issued the foregoing report titled IRS and TIGTA Management Failures Related to 501(c)(4) Applicants Engaged in Campaign Activity. The primary conclusion of the Majority staff report is that, contrary to common understanding and widespread reporting, the IRS actually exhibited no bias in its review ofContinue Reading

Subcommittee Releases Report and Dissenting Views on IRS Handling of 501(c)(4) Applications

“Today, the Chairman and Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, Senator Carl Levin, D-Mich., and Senator John McCain, R-Ariz., released a 224-page Report [PDF] summarizing the Subcommittee’s bipartisan investigation into problems with how the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has processed applications for tax exempt status under Section 501(c)(4) of the tax code. TheContinue Reading

‘Competitiveness’ Has Nothing to Do With It

Kleinbard, Edward D., ‘Competitiveness’ Has Nothing to Do With It (August 5, 2014). Tax Notes, Forthcoming; USC CLASS Research Papers Series No. CLASS 14-26; USC Legal Studies Research Papers Series No. 14-34. Available for download at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2476453. “The recent wave of corporate tax inversions has triggered interest in what motivates these tax-driven transactions now. CorporateContinue Reading

18F launches alpha foia.gov

Via E Pluribus Unum, Alexander B. Howard: “18F, the federal government’s new IT development shop, has launched a new look at the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in the form of a open source application hosted on Github. Today’s announcement is the most substantive evidence yet that the Obama administration will indeed modernize the Freedom of Information Act, as the UnitedContinue Reading

Minimum Wage Legislation Database – NCSL

National Conference of State Legislatures: “Minimum wage bills from the current legislative session are available in a searchable database. You can search by state, bill number, author, status or keyword, or track all minimum wage-related bills by leaving the search boxes blank. You also can track specific issues, by selecting a topic, including proposed increases to theContinue Reading

Study: Government Blocks Specific Journalists From Accessing Information

David Sorota: “As states move to hide details of government deals with Wall Street and as politicians come up with new arguments to defend secrecy, it was revealed this week that many government information officers block specific journalists they don’t like from accessing information. The news comes as 47 federal inspectors general sent a letter to lawmakers criticizing “seriousContinue Reading

The executive order that led to mass spying, as told by NSA alumni

Cyrus Farivar - Ars Technica: [Executive Order] 12333 is used to target foreigners abroad, and collection happens outside the US,” whistleblower John Tye, a former State Department official, told Ars recently. “My complaint is not that they’re using it to target Americans, my complaint is that the volume of incidental collection on US persons is unconstitutional.” The document, known inContinue Reading

The 2014 Ebola Outbreak: International and U.S. Responses

CRS - The 2014 Ebola Outbreak: International and U.S. Responses, Tiaji Salaam-Blyther, Specialist in Global Health. August 26, 2014. “Ebola virus disease (Ebola or EVD) is a severe, often fatal disease that was first detected near the Ebola River in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in 1976. Originating in animals, EVD is spread to and among humansContinue Reading

Conventional Prompt Global Strike and Long-Range Ballistic Missiles: Background and Issues

CRS – Conventional Prompt Global Strike and Long-Range Ballistic Missiles: Background and Issues, Amy F. Woolf, Specialist in Nuclear Weapons Policy. May 5, 2014. “The George W. Bush Administration’s interest in the use of conventional weapons for precision, long-range strike missions became evident in the 2001 Nuclear Posture Review (NPR). This study called for the integration of precisionContinue Reading

CRS – China’s Economic Rise

China’s Economic Rise: History, Trends, Challenges, and Implications for the United States. Wayne M. Morrison, Specialist in Asian Trade and Finance, August 21, 2014. “The rapid rise of China as a major economic power within a time span of about three decades is often described by analysts as one of the greatest economic success stories in modern times.Continue Reading