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    Reporting and news analysis on policy issues from The Heritage Foundation.

    Farm Bill Fails to Cultivate Reform

    Congress had its first chance in six years to reform the economically incoherent farm program. Rather than fix the program, lawmakers irrationally increased subsidies. Below are price increases for the most heavily subsidized crops, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service. These five crops are responsible for approximately 90% of … More

    Labor Department Strengthens Transparency Rules for Unions

    Next week the Labor Department will propose changes to its union financial reporting and disclosure requirements in an effort to improve transparency and accountability. The proposed rule will give rank-and-file union members more information about union finances. It is the latest effort by the Bush administration to increase transparency for … More

    House Intelligence Committee Rejects FISA Fix in Close Vote

      House Democrats continued to block passage of a terrorist surveillance bill today, rejecting a measure by Rep. Heather Wilson (R-N.M.) to add the Senate-passed FISA bill to the fiscal 2009 Intelligence authorization bill. The amendment was defeated by one vote in the House Intelligence Committee, the latest proof that … More

    House Republicans Tie Earmark Moratorium to Gas Tax Relief

    Frustrated by inaction from Democrats on earmarks and gas prices, House Republicans are tying the two issues together in hopes of forcing Congress to act. Legislation introduced by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) would suspend the 18.4 cents per gallon federal gas tax for the summer. To avoid impacting the Highway … More

    Opposition to ANWR Drilling Is No Laughing Matter

    Echoing the sentiments of conservatives, Jay Leno last night on “The Tonight Show” chided Democrats for their repeated opposition to oil exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Leno’s punchline: Democrats say drilling in ANWR wouldn’t produce any oil for 10 years — the same point they’ve been making for … More

    Chairman of Joint Chiefs Supports Spending 4% of GDP on Defense

    The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, said yesterday he supports spending at least 4% of GDP on defense to secure America’s freedom. Mullen’s comments came during a wide-ranging speech at Heritage about the state of the U.S. military and its role in the world. In … More

    Reid Promises Votes on Three Circuit Court Nominees

    Three of President Bush’s circuit court nominees will finally get an up-or-down vote in the U.S. Senate after Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) promised to end the obstructionism that had stalled action on judicial confirmations. Just last week the Senate voted for the first time in 2008 on five of … More

    Mortgage Mess Varies by State

    Members of Congress, including three presidential candidates, are competing to “do something” to stabilize the housing market and show compassion after the wave of foreclosures on risky subprime mortgage loans. The crisis talk clouds the national picture, obscuring the varied state-by-state impact of the mortgage mess. The chart above uses … More

    The Senate's Glacial Pace of Judicial Confirmations

    For the first time this year the Senate acted on President Bush’s judicial nominees, confirming five yesterday, including one appellate court nominee, in what can best be described as a miracle given the glacial pace Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) are moving. Not since … More

    What Congress Can't Seem to Understand

    The White House isn’t buying the Senate housing bill. As Benton Ives reports in Congressional Quarterly, President Bush is not too thrilled with the bailout proposal. Why? “The bill will likely do more harm than good by bailing out lenders and speculators and passing on costs to other Americans who … More