A rider attached to the omnibus spending bill passed in the House today will prevent two federal agencies from issuing rules that would make it easier to track political spending.Continue reading
Congress just found a way to put more money in politics — can we have more transparency too?
A provision stealthily added to the just-agreed-to congressional spending measure — also known as the omnibus — will allow political parties to raise 10 times more money from wealthy individuals.Continue reading
30 groups protest secret deal that strips surveillance reform from the CROmnibus
A quiet deal would strip a key funding measure of meaningful surveillance reform.Continue reading
A troubling anti-transparency provision has appeared in the omnibus budget bill
Tucked away within the more than 1,500 pages of the omnibus budget bill is a small paragraph with potentially big effects for transparency efforts.Continue reading
Earmark transparency unwound the omnibus
Slate’s Dave Weigel has a really interesting take on why the omnibus spending bill just stalled in the Senate: The... View ArticleContinue reading
Senate discloses earmarks…poorly
Senate Appropriations chairman Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, packed more than $130 million worth of defense earmarks into the $1.1. trillion Omnibus Act that the Senate released yesterday. Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., the committee's top Republican, larded the bill with more than $167 million defense earmarks. To find that out, one has to download the earmark table--in PDF--then convert the PDF to a tab delimited format, then plug them into a database (we've done so for Defense earmarks in a Socrata database below).
In January's State of the Union address, President Obama called for Congress to release ...Continue reading
72 Hours for Defense Appropriation Bill
Last week, Congress spent $1.1 trillion tax dollars by combining six pieces of appropriations (“spending”) legislation into one 1,000+ page... View ArticleContinue reading
This passage is from page 85 of the Labor, HHS, Education portion of the committee report for the big appropriations bill:
Buildings and Facilities
Within the amount provided for Buildings and Facilities, the bill includes $30,000,000 for nationwide repairs and improvements; $71,300,000 for the completion of Building 24 on the Roybal Campus in Atlanta, Georgia; $1,500,000 for facilities and equipment at the CDC laboratory in Ft. Collins, Colorado; and the remaining funds shall be used to begin planning and construction of Buildings 107 . and 108 on the Chamblee Campus in Atlanta, Georgia.
...don't ...Continue reading
Omnibus Bill Thwarts Transparency, Accountability
Regardless of what happens to the Omnibudgetbusterblusterbus bill -- sorry, my fingers slipped -- the Omnibus spending bill (made searchable by our friends at the Heritage Foundation), it's fair to say that citizen oversight of Congress (and congressional oversight of Congress, for whatever that's worth) took a shot to the chin today. The Hill's Alex Bolton reports that the bill's 3,565 pages contain somewhere between 8,983 earmarks (according to Taxpayers for Common Sense), 9,200 earmarks (according to a Senate staffer) and 11,402 earmarks (according to Heritage's excellent Ominibuster blog). There are hundreds of new earmarks previously undisclosed--115 worth $117 million in the previously "earmark free" Homeland Security bill--that have been "airdropped" in at the last minute. Rep. Marsha Blackburn just noted on C-Span (I'm watching as I type) that the bill weighs in at a hefty 35 pounds when printed. Members have only a few hours to digest all that paper before voting. The bill will appropriate something like hundreds of billions of dollars in funds. In what other arena of life do you make such momentous decisions with so little time to think? "Rush into that subprime mortgage," "buy that stock of a company you'd never heard of before," "a week is plenty of time to find out if someone is worth marrying," -- thus does our Congress decide how to spend our money. This is primarily a failure of the majority (regardless of which party is in the majority--the Republicans were equally opaque) and of leadership, which prefers to dump a monstrosity of a bill--stitched together behind closed doors--on their colleagues with no time for debate, and no time for their constituents to make their opinions known.Continue reading