CapitolWatch http://www.capitolwatch.org Defending American Taxpayers from Ineffective Government and Wasteful Spending en-us The Elections Are Over, Time for Congress to Legislate http://www.capitolwatch.org/frontStory.php?ID=248 This month’s election was a historic one for the GOP, which realized its largest majority in the House since 1928 and captured the Senate for the first time since 2006. When the 114th Congress convenes in January, Republicans in the House and Senate have an opportunity to show how they are able to govern. A significant majority in the House means Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and his leadership team have more leeway in finding support for legislative priorities. In the Senate, Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) will still have to contend with overcoming the 60 person cloture vote required to end debate on an issue. This means McConnell will have to approach legislation with an eye towards attracting Democratic support. Government Borrowing Continues, CBO Says Outlook Dire http://www.capitolwatch.org/frontStory.php?ID=247 The U.S. Treasury Department has announced it expects to borrow $192 billion in the third quarter of this year. This is an increase of $170 billion from the borrowing amount announced in April. Additionally, the Department estimated it will need to borrow $187 billion in the fourth quarter of 2014 to keep the Government running and to meet financial obligations such as servicing the existing $17.6 trillion federal debt. The federal budget deficit was $680 billion in FY 2013. This marked the first time the annual deficit did not exceed $1 trillion during Barack Obama’s presidency, which reached a record $1.4 trillion in 2009. IRS “Loses” Emails in the Midst of Congressional Investigation into Targeting of Conservatives http://www.capitolwatch.org/frontStory.php?ID=246 Last year, Congress opened an investigation into the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) approval process for tax-exempt organizations ahead of the 2012 election. Following several Congressional hearings across multiple committees, it came to light late last month that officials inside the IRS had been slow walking conservative organization’s applications in hopes of keeping them on the sidelines ahead of the pivotal presidential election. Throughout the hearings, senior IRS officials refused to testify, or admit any wrongdoing. This later led to a transition in many leadership positions at the tax collection agency. No one person has been held legally accountable for the discriminatory practices of the agency because we have yet to learn just how far the campaign to stifle conservative political organizations had spread. Was it directed by rogue officials, the IRS Commissioner’s office, or even out of the White House itself? IRS Employees Evade Tax Payments, Receive Bonuses Anyways http://www.capitolwatch.org/frontStory.php?ID=245 The Inspector General for Tax Administration at the U.S. Treasury Department has issued a report finding more than 2,800 workers received bonuses despite facing a disciplinary action in the previous year, including 1,150 who owed back taxes. Specifically, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has paid more than $2.8 million in bonuses to employees with recent disciplinary problems, including $1 million to workers who owed back taxes. The report issued by Inspector General J. Russell George found the bonuses were awarded from October 2010 through December 2012. U.S. Regulatory Costs Exploding http://www.capitolwatch.org/frontStory.php?ID=244 According to the latest annual report on the state of regulatory compliance issued by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), the cost of federal regulations is now bigger than the entire economies of all but nine countries in the world, including Canada. This is thanks to unchecked growth under the presidency of Barack Obama. The report is a compilation of compliance costs from government agencies and outside sources. CEI found that the "regulation tax" imposed on the economy is now greater than $1.86 trillion.