Tag Archives: lobbyists

GOP House Puts Big Oil’s Revolving Door Into High Gear

These lobbyists are not getting hired to advocate for American energy consumers—they will push an agenda that benefits the new majority’s donors no matter what it costs taxpayers.”

By Brett Wilkins  Published 1-27-2023 by Common Dreams.

Nancy Peele, chief of staff to House Natural Resources Committee Chair Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.), is a former fossil fuel lobbyist for companies responsible for the 2010 Gulf oil spill. (Photo: Nancy Peele/LinkedIn)

An analysis published Friday by the nonpartisan watchdog Accountable.US revealed that numerous former fossil fuel lobbyists are being hired to work for the Republican-controlled 118th Congress, including in high-level positions on the House Natural Resources Committee.

“As the Republicans majority begins the new Congress, former oil industry lobbyists will have new and growing influence as top staffers for congressmen on key committees,” the analysis states. Continue reading

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House GOP Scraps Consumer Protection Panels in ‘First of Many Gifts’ to Wall Street

Republican Chair Patrick McHenry “wasted no time seeking payback on behalf of his biggest donors by scrapping key subcommittees dedicated to consumer protection and preventing industry discrimination,” said Accountable.US.

By Julia Conley  Published 113-2023 by Common Dreams

Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) speaks at the Brookings Institute in 2017. Photo: Brookings Institution/flickr/CC

The U.S. committee tasked with overseeing the financial sector on Thursday “dispelled any doubt of their intent to do the bidding of the financial industries over the interests of everyday families,” said a government watchdog group as the panel signaled it will significantly scale back its efforts to push for consumer protections on Wall Street.

House Financial Services Committee (HFSC) Chair Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) announced the new Republican subcommittee chairmanships, with new panels including the Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Monetary Policy—tasked with overseeing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)—and the Subcommittee on Digital Assets, Financial Technology, and Inclusion, headed by pro-cryptocurrency Rep. French Hill (R-Ark.). Continue reading

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‘Why Are These Conflicts Allowed?’ Corporate Giving to Group Tied to Supreme Court Sparks Concern

“You want to ‘preserve #SCOTUS history’?'” said one watchdog group. “Hire a curatorial staff. Don’t run a pay-for-play.”

By Jon Queally  Published 12-31-2022 by Common Dreams

Formal group photograph of the Supreme Court Credit: Fred Schilling, Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States

Both alarm and concern were expressed Saturday in response to new reporting about a charitable group with close ties to the U.S. Supreme Court that has been soliciting and accepting donations from corporate interests and far-right activists with cases before the court.

The New York Times exposé focused on the activities and fundraising of the Supreme Court Historical Society, a nonprofit that claims its mission is “dedicated to the collection and preservation” of the Court’s history. Continue reading

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War Industry ‘Celebrating Christmas Early’ as House Passes $858 Billion NDAA

“There is no justification to throw… $858 billion at the Pentagon when we’re told we can’t afford child tax credit expansion, universal paid leave, or other basic human necessities,” said the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen. “End of story.”

By Brett Wilkins.  Published 12-8-2022 by Common Dreams

Class of 2022 cadets participate in a live-fire exercise as part of their Cadet Field Training. Photo: Matthew Moeller (US Army)/flickr/CC

Peace advocates on Thursday slammed the House of Representatives’ passage of a mammoth $858 billion military spending bill as an early holiday gift for the Pentagon and the weapons corporations who benefit from the United States’ ongoing—but largely forgotten—War on Terror.

House lawmakers voted 350-80 in favor of the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), with 45 Democrats and 35 Republicans voting “no.”

The new NDAA authorizes an $80 billion military spending increase over the 2022 bill, and $118 billion more than when President Joe Biden took office in 2021. The 2023 allocation is more than the combined military budgets of China, India, the United Kingdom, Russia, France, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Japan, and South Korea, according to the National Priorities Project at the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS). It’s also more than the annual gross domestic product of countries including Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Switzerland, and Turkey, based on United Nations figures. Continue reading

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Report Reveals Corporate Capture of Global Biodiversity Efforts Ahead of Summit

“Their ‘solutions’ are carefully crafted in order to not undermine their business models; ultimately they do nothing for the environment,” said one Friends of the Earth campaigner.

By Jessica Corbett.  Published 12-5-2022 by Common Dreams

Nearly half of the endangered red panda’s habitat is in the Eastern Himalayas, where the loss of bamboo and nesting trees is impacting the population. Photo: Mathias Appel/flickr/CC

With the next United Nations Biodiversity Conference set to kick off in Canada this week, a report out Monday details how corporate interests have attempted to influence efforts to protect the variety of life on Earth amid rampant species loss.

After a long-delayed and mostly virtual meeting in Kunming, China last year to work on a post-2020 global biodiversity framework (GBF), nearly 20,000 delegates are headed to Montreal for the second part of COP15, which will bring together countries party to a multilateral treaty, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Continue reading

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Pentagon Fails Another Audit, Yet Congress Poised to Approve $847 Billion Budget

“This isn’t using our taxpayer dollars wisely,” said the National Priorities Project. “It’s robbing programs that we need, like the discontinued child tax credit that cut child poverty by half.”

By Kenny Stancil.  Published 12-1-2022 by Common Dreams

F-35A Lightning II drops a 2,000-pound GBU-31 bomb. Photo: Public Domain

Anti-war advocates blasted U.S. lawmakers on Thursday, one day after it was reported that Congress is expected to pass an $847 billion military budget for the coming fiscal year even though the Pentagon recently failed its fifth consecutive annual audit and nearly 40 million people nationwide are living in poverty.

Last month, “the Pentagon once again failed to pass a basic audit showing that it knows where its money goes,” the National Priorities Project at the Institute for Policy Studies said in a statement. “And instead of holding out for any kind of accountability, Congress stands ready to give a big raise to an agency that failed to account for more than 60% of its assets.” Continue reading

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GOP Threatens to Hold Economy Hostage to Slash Climate Investments

“If Republicans take over Congress, they plan to hold the government hostage and ransom our future,” said one climate advocate.

By Jake Johnson  Published 10-25-2022 by Common Dreams

Screenshot: CNN

In addition to threatening cuts to Social Security and Medicare, congressional Republicans are reportedly plotting to use the debt ceiling and an end-of-year clash over government funding to target popular climate investments approved in August as part of the Inflation Reduction Act.

The Washington Post reported Tuesday that “while some Republicans do favor brinkmanship over Medicare and Social Security… some aides and analysts think the GOP may be more likely to demand changes to other Democratic priorities.” Continue reading

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US Should Respond to OPEC by Reinstating Oil Export Ban, Says Green Group

“It is no surprise that the international oil cartel is seeking to maintain high prices,” said a campaigner with Food & Water Watch. “Political leaders here at home must understand that the solution is not to increase drilling.”

By Jake Johnson  Published 10-5-2022 by Common Dreams

Rafael Mariano Grossi, IAEA Director General met with HRH Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Minister of Energy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, during a bilateral meeting at the IAEA 65th General Conference held at the Agency headquarters in Vienna, Austria. 20 September 2021. Photo: IAEA Imagebank/flickr/CC

The Biden administration and Congress faced new pressure Wednesday to reinstate a ban on U.S. gasoline exports after the Saudi-led Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed to slash oil production by two million barrels a day to boost prices, a move that drew outrage from the White House and some congressional Democrats.

U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and National Economic Council Director Brian Deese said in a statement that President Joe Biden is “disappointed” by OPEC’s decision and will consider “tools and authorities to reduce OPEC’s control over energy prices.” Continue reading

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Direct democracy can force governments to better represent the people – but it doesn’t always work out

The Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade has led to a push for citizens initiatives to enshrine abortion rights.
Jeff Kowalsky/AFP via Getty Images

 

Susan Stokes, University of Chicago

In August 2022, a statewide referendum in Kansas saw citizens overwhelmingly reject a plan to insert anti-abortion language into the state’s constitution. It comes as a slew of similar votes on abortion rights are planned in the coming months – putting the issue directly to the people after the Supreme Court struck down the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling.

But are referendums and citizens initiatives good for democracy? It may seem like an odd question to pose on International Day for Democracy, especially at a time when many feel democracy is imperiled both in the U.S. and around the world. Continue reading

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‘A Watershed Moment’: CA Senate Passes Historic Bill to Empower Fast Food Workers

If Gov. Gavin Newsom signs it, one union leader said the measure “will be the most important piece of labor law to pass in decades.”

By Jake Johnson  Published 8-30-2022 by Common Dreams

Fast food workers rally outside California Capitol. Screenshot: KCRA

In the face of fierce corporate opposition, the California Senate on Monday passed a landmark bill aimed at giving the state’s roughly 550,000 fast food workers a say over their working conditions, hours, and wages in an industry rife with abuse.

If Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom signs it into law, the Fast Food Recovery Act (AB 257) would make California the first state in the U.S. to establish a council tasked with setting industrywide workplace standards for the fast food sector. The 10-member council would include workers and worker advocates as well as business representatives and state officials. Continue reading

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