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Tag Archive: Handy Tools

$4.5 billion-dollar tariff break back

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Among the tariff suspension bills considered by the 110th Congress, which went out of business before passing any of the them, one stood out: the Affordable Footwear Act. Most tariff suspension bills--which temporarily reduce taxes on imported goods--have only one sponsor. This one drew 157 co-sponsors. Most tariff bills benefit one firm, or at most a handful of firms; this one was accompanied by 111 pages of letters, all but three of which were from supporters. Most tariff bills cost the Treasury at most a couple of million while they're in effect; this one had at 2009 price tag ...

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Download TCS’s earmark request spreadsheet

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Our friends at Taxpayers for Common Sense announce that they have a downloadable spreadsheet with what looks to me to be the definitive list of links to earmark request disclosures from House members. The Hill gives some good examples of how hard it is to find the disclosures.

I'm looking at some of the actual requests today instead of playing find the earmark list. One of the things I've always wondered is what percentage of the earmarks that members request are brought to their attention by registered lobbyists.

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Making sense of online earmark disclosures

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As noted immediately below, House members started disclosing, on their official Web sites, their requests for earmarks (which members use to allocate federal funds for specific projects and recipients) last Friday. Over the weekend, I started looking at the disclosures, more to see what format the disclosures were in rather than whether they were online by a certain time. Since Roll Call first reported the changes, this has been a concern of mine.

If members used the same format for disclosure, it would be a simple matter for us or anyone else to download all the data and put them ...

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Links to House earmark disclosures in one database

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House members had to post their earmark requests for fiscal year 2010 online this weekend; the original deadline was Friday, but that was extended to Saturday at 5 p.m., according to CNN.

So how many members made the deadline? I can't be sure, but I tried to find out over the weekend. I went through 430-some Web sites (there are a few vacancies right now -- Rahm Emanuel's seat, Hilda Solis' seat, and Kirsten Gillibrand's seat) looking for those disclosures (sometimes it was really interesting, sometimes it was thankless drudgery). On 116 Web pages, I couldn't ...

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Visclosky shuts out former PMA Group clients

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Rep. Pete Visclosky was one of the top recipients of contributions from PMA Group. He endorsed some form of investigation of the lobbying firm that was raided by the FBI -- "What form that action takes, who offers it, how it will turn out, I don't know," he said last month. In his fiscal year 2010 earmark requests, just posted online, he requested no earmarks for former clients of PMA Group.

I noticed that he requested an earmark for Duneland School Corporation of Chesterton, Ind. for $500,000 that will "include the installation of solar panels to demonstrate photovoltaic technology ...

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K Street Boom: At least 1,699 new clients in 2009

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Lobbying firms and special interests have filed nearly 1,700 new registration forms so far in the first quarter of 2009, according to a review of lobbying disclosure forms available online at the Senate Office of Public Records. As the federal government pumps up spending and intervenes in the troubled financial markets, K Street firms appear to have had no shortage of new business.

Our first pass at a database of the registrations shows that some of the financial firms that have received funding under the Troubled Asset Relief Program including Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase & Co., Goldman Sachs and Fifth ...

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Ban on Mexican trucks leads to Mexican tariffs

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When I started looking at tariffs, I assumed I would be following measures to lower tariffs. Lately, all of the news has been running in the other direction.

Looking at OpenCongress.org, I found no tariff suspension bills. H.R. 1480, sponsored by Rep. Steve Kagen, would "require that certain laminated woven bags be marked with the country of origin," while this Senate resolution would express the sense that "United States and the People's Republic of China should work together to reduce or eliminate tariff and nontariff barriers to trade in clean energy and environmental goods and services."

Still ...

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