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Tracking Spending (and Revenue!) in the Heart of the Legislative Year

It’s already the heart of the legislative year in Congress. In about a month-and-a-half, Congress will take its summer break, and after that there’ll be nothing but politicking for November’s election. Any serious legislating is happening now. (There will still be legislating later, but it won’t be serious…) Nearly thirty bills got a cost estimate […]

Audacious! … and Ordinary

When a bill gets a cost estimate from the Congressional Budget Office, that’s a decent signal that it’s going places. (And that gets it included in our weekly email.) A moving bill might be about to become law. Or maybe it’s going to be an issue: Voted down by the party that doesn’t control the […]

Repeal the Phone Tax

S. 1012 would repeal the excise tax on telephone and other communications services. If I’m not mistaken, that was the tax that was established to fun the Spanish-American War. That war has concluded.

Will Broadband Be in the Stimulus Package?

“I want to see a stimulus package sooner rather than later. If it does not get done in the lame duck session, it will be the first thing I get done as President of the United States.” So said President-Elect Barack Obama at his first press conference this past week. Will subsidies for broadband be […]

DirecTV vs. Cable on Taxes

I was flipping through the channels on a DirecTV setup yesterday when I spied a most interesting campaign put together by the satellite TV provider itself. On the unused channels, there was an important message aimed at subscribers. Big Cable companies are encouraging states across the country to charge satellite subscribers, like you, higher state […]

Marchelos Debarred – Phone Subsidy Program Back on Track!

I wrote here six weeks ago about how the telecommunications subsidy programs run by the Federal Communications Commission were poorly run and subject to waste, fraud, and abuse. Well, evidently, the FCC got the message and has cleaned up its act! Or started to . . . . Or at least they did something. Today, […]

Telecom Immunity Reax

Yesterday the Senate passed H.R. 6304, The FISA Amendments Act of 2008, clearing it for the President’s signature. Among other things, it gave telecommunications companies immunity for allegedly participating in illegal wiretapping at the behest of the government. There are strong opinions on both sides of the issue. As you’ll see below, WashingtonWatch.com visitors were […]

Obama, Surveillance, and Telecom Immunity

This week the Senate is scheduled to take up H.R. 6304, The FISA Amendments Act of 2008, the latest iteration of controversial legislation to amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The bill passed the House on June 20th. One of the most interesting elements of the debate is the apparently contradictory positions presidential candidate Barack […]