House and Senate negotiators have reached a deal that could prevent the next government shutdown, but don't start celebrating just yet. Tuesday night, Senator Patty Murray and Congressman Paul Ryan announced an $85 billion dollar budget agreement.
Regulators want to start making banking boring again. Today, five different regulatory agencies are expected to adopt the Volcker Rule, which would redraw a line between regular banking and Wall Street gambling. The rule is one of the centerpieces of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act, and it is seen as a litmus test for the overall strength of the financial reform law.
Congress hasn't done much this year, but House and Senate negotiators are close to a deal on “fast-tracking” the Trans Pacific Partnership. The TPP is a massive trade agreement among the US and a dozen Pacific nations that poses a major threat to our jobs, our economy, and our national sovereignty.
Yesterday, the world lost a great man. Nobel Peace Prize winner Nelson Mandela passed away at the age of 95. In addition to being South Africa's first black president, Mandela was an anti-apartheid activist and human rights icon throughout much of his life. He even spent 27 years locked up as a political prisoner for trying to fight the apartheid in South Africa.
Yesterday, President Obama spoke to a crowd at The ARC arts schoolhouse about the real deficit in our nation – which has nothing to do with our national budget.
The American Legislative Exchange Council has one heck of an agenda for 2014, and it all centers around one idea – profit over people. ALEC will meet this week in Washington, DC, for its “States and Nation Policy Summit.” The event is a closed-door conference headlined by Ted Cruz, Paul Ryan, and Ron Johnson, where ALEC will push their “model legislation” for 2014.
The banksters could be forced to pay tens of billions of dollars more in settlements for crashing our economy. But, these fees are just a small fraction of the price that American taxpayers paid for the economic collapse.
On Black Friday, more than 1,500 protests took place at Walmart stores around our country. Organizers reported more than 100 arrests in civil disobedience actions. The events centered around Walmarts low wages, unethical treatment of workers, and their history of trying to prevent employees from forming unions.
Methane emissions in the South Central US are nearly five times higher than previously thought. According to a new study from Harvard University, there is way more methane being pumped into our atmosphere, and that means a much larger effect on climate change.
The American Legislative Exchange Council is pushing new legislation to prevent insurance companies from accepting subsidies under the healthcare law.
On Sunday, major world powers reached an agreement to scale back the Iranian nuclear program. In exchange, our nation and others will slightly lift some of the sanctions against Iran, but embargoes against Iranian banks and oil will remain in place. The interim deal was reached in Geneva, where the US, UK, France, Germany, China, and Russia crafted the diplomatic agreement.
Yesterday, majority rule finally returned to the U.S. Senate. After five years of Republican obstruction, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid invoked the so-called “nuclear option,” with 52 Democrats voting to reform the filibuster. Since President Obama took office, Republicans have used the filibuster more than any other time in our history.
On Tuesday, the Justice Department announced that JPMorgan has agreed to a $13 billion dollar settlement over the fraudulent sale of mortgage backed securities. But, that settlement is a fraud in and of itself. Four billion dollars of that figure was actually part of a settlement announced a month earlier, and the rest can hardly be considered a penalty against the big bank.
Yesterday, the Supreme Court issued their first ruling of the term, refusing to block a new abortion law in Texas. That law imposes strict building standards on abortion clinics, blocks abortions after 20 weeks, and requires doctors that perform the procedures to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their facilities.
Our nation has seen the dangers of coal mining and drilling for natural gas, but few of us have heard of coal gasification. That's because it's a highly dangerous process of creating synthetic natural gas, by setting coal on fire and injecting it with oxygen and water. And, if an Australian energy company has their way, Americans may become very familiar with this dangerous process.
Over the weekend, a deadly string of nearly 80 tornadoes ripped through the Midwest. Meteorologists called the storms “a rare and very dangerous late-season weather outbreak” that came on quickly and gave people little time to find shelter. As of Monday morning, at least six deaths had been reported from the storms that spanned seven states, and the worst of the damage occurred in the town of Washington, Illinois.
This week, Americans got a peak behind the curtain of the Trans Pacific Partnership, and what we found is frightening. On Thursday, Wikileaks published a complete draft of the “intellectual property rights” chapter of the TPP, and it poses a serious risk to free speech and information access.
The Southern District Court of New York says the IRS can go after people who stash fortunes overseas. Last week, U.S. District Judge Kimba M. Wood authorized the agency to issue summonses that require Citibank and New York Mellon to hand over information about U.S. taxpayers who've been evading federal taxes.
You wouldn't know it by looking at your bank account, but our GDP growth rate was 2.8% in the third quarter of 2013. That's much higher than the long-term rate of 2%, but average Americans won't see any benefit from better growth.
Many Americans oppose NAFTA and other trade deals, but they haven't even heard of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison describes the TPP as the “largest corporate power grab you've never heard of.” Despite 19 rounds of negotiations that started all the way back in 2005, many of the details of the TPP still remain secret, even to members of Congress.