White House Says Reconciliation Bill Will Spend More on Climate Than Entire Energy Department

The Democrats’ reconciliation package will likely include more than $500 billion worth of climate provisions, more than the entire Department of Energy budget, the White House said, according to The Hill.

The budget represents an opportunity for “historic investment in climate change,” White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain said during an event hosted by The Hill on Tuesday evening. The likely price tag for climate programs included in the bill is likely to fall somewhere between $500 billion and $555 billion, Axios previously reported.

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Commentary: Biden’s Desperate Race to the Lying Bottom

On Monday, Joe Biden uncorked the largest lie of a 50-year political career overstuffed with them.

“My Build Back Better Agenda costs zero dollars,” he tweeted. “Instead of wasting money on tax breaks, loopholes, and tax evasion for big corporations and the wealthy, we can make a once-in-a-generation investment in working America. And it adds zero dollars to the national debt.”

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Manchin Reportedly Calls on Democrats to Push Budget Back to 2022

Joe Manchin

Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin reportedly said in private that the “strategic pause” he has pushed for regarding his party’s budget should last through the end of the year.

Manchin’s remarks, first reported by Axios, would mean a sharp departure from Democrats’ long-stated goals, which include passing both the budget and the bipartisan infrastructure bills before the end of September.

His remarks align both with a Wall Street Journal op-ed he wrote earlier this month and recent comments he made calling for a “pause” on the budget as Congress addressed other priorities ranging from a messy Afghanistan withdrawal to multiple natural disasters.

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Democrats Plan to Hike Taxes to Pay for Their $3.5 Trillion Budget

House Democrats will consider nearly $3 trillion in tax hikes over the next decade in an attempt to pay for their $3.5 trillion budget that includes most of President Joe Biden’s domestic agenda and would overhaul the nation’s social safety net.

The hikes are predominantly focused on wealthy Americans and large corporations. Among the increases is a top income tax bracket of 39.6%, up from 37%, which Democrats say would raise $170 billion in revenue over the next decade.

A summary of the proposals leaked Sunday, and was first reported by The Washington Post.

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Democrats’ $3.5 Trillion Spending Package in Jeopardy, with Pelosi Appearing Short on Votes

Nancy Pelosi

Washington Democrats’ efforts to pass their signature, $3.5 trillion spending package is in jeopardy of falling apart, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, leader of the Democrat-controlled chamber, does not appear to have the votes this week to advance the measure awaiting in the Senate.

The votes are set to be cast Monday and Tuesday, with House members returning for two days during their August recess to try to move forward the pending package.

Pelosi can afford to lose only three votes in the narrowly divided chamber. However, nine moderate Democrats have vowed to oppose the two voting measures until the House passes a roughly $1 trillion, bipartisan infrastructure spend package passed in the Senate before the recess.

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Analysis: Republican Officials Leave Their Voters Behind over Not Supporting Monthly Child Tax Credits

As tens of millions of American families across the country began to see the second round of monthly cash payments appear in their bank accounts Friday, Republicans in Congress remained oddly quiet.

The checks were the result of an expansion of the Child Tax Credit (CTC), which was part of the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package President Joe Biden signed into law in March. While every Republican in Congress voted against the bill, the credit itself is overwhelmingly popular among registered Republicans and Americans overall, creating a rift between reliable conservative voters and the GOP lawmakers who represent them.

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Commentary: Inflation Hits 5.3 Percent in July as $1.2 Trillion Infrastructure Bill Easily Passes with $3.5 Trillion Stimulus Expected in September

The unadjusted consumer price index as measured by the Bureau of Labor Statistics was 5.28 percent for the month of July, slightly lower than June at 5.32 percent, but still measuring the highest inflation on record since July 2008, when it hit nearly 5.5 percent.

The latest numbers come as Congress has easily passed another gargantuan $1.2 trillion infrastructure spending plan that included $550 billion of new spending. Interest rates have already reacted as 10-year treasuries came off a near-term low of 1.17 percent on Aug. 2 to 1.36 percent as of Aug. 12, slightly increasing inflation expectations.

The $1.2 trillion spendathon was just the latest in a long line of spending that has added $5.25 trillion to the national debt since Jan. 2020 in response to the Covid pandemic all the way to the current $28.5 trillion: the $2.2 trillion CARES Act and the $900 billion phase four under former President Donald Trump, and then the $1.9 trillion stimulus under President Joe Biden. It’s been a bipartisan affair.

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Senate Democrats Publicly Release $3.5 Trillion Filibuster-Proof Budget Reconciliation Resolution

Senate Democrats have publicly released their $3.5 trillion, filibuster-proof budget reconciliation resolution.

The draft of the legislation released on Monday includes new spending programs that the White House has labeled “human infrastructure,” such as universal pre-K, childcare support and tuition free community college.

The spending total is estimated over a 10-year period. Using budget reconciliation allows the Democrats to pass the measure without votes from Republicans in the 50-50 Senate. Democrats used the same process in March to pass President Biden’s $1.9 trillion pandemic stimulus package called the American Rescue Plan Act.

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The Congressional Budget Office Says the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill Will Increase Deficits by $256 Billion over 10 Years

The Congressional Budget Office estimated Thursday that the bipartisan Senate infrastructure bill will add $256 billion to the deficit over the next decade, undercutting its backers’ claims the spending had been offset.

In FY2020, the deficit hit a record $3.1 trillion. So far in FY2021, the deficit is $2.2 trillion. The national debt is climbing to $29 trillion for the first time in U.S. history.

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Senate Democrats Attempt to Add Funding for Dreamers, Border Security to Budget Bill

Senate Democrats are attempting to add funding for “Dreamers” and border security to their budget bill, Axios reported Friday.

The Democrats are looking at adding $10 billion to their $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package towards border security infrastructure at legal points of entry, according to Axios. The Democrats previously planned to allocate around $120 billion for citizenship for undocumented essential workers, immigrants with Temporary Protected Status and Dreamers.

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Republicans Release Plan to Address Growing Inflation Under Biden Administration

High gas prices

Congressional Republicans grabbed headlines this week after releasing an aggressive budget they say would cut taxes and spending, but key measures in the plan also would address one of the country’s most serious economic problems.

The House’s Republican Study Committee released a budget that lays out several measures to deal with inflation, a growing concern among economists after the latest federal data showed a spike in consumer prices. Notably, the index for used cars and trucks rose 10%, the largest one-month increase since BLS began recording the data in 1953. Food and energy costs rose 0.9% in the month of April, prescription drugs rose 0.5%, and gasoline rose 1.4% during the same month. The energy cost index rose 25% in the previous 12 months.

Republicans on the committee say their plan would address concerns over inflation by balancing the budget within five years, thereby eliminating the need to monetize debt, a process where the federal government prints money to make payments on what it owes. The national debt has soared to more than $28 trillion and is expected to continue climbing under President Joe Biden’s new spending plans.

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Commentary: Price Stability, not Inflation, Will Get the U.S. Economy Back to Full Employment Sooner Rather than Later

2020 and 2021 are two sides of the same coin: Price instability brought about by the dollar being either relatively too strong or too weak, which can lead to or exacerbate economic slowdowns, creating higher unemployment and worse if the conditions persist for too long.

In 2020, at the height of the Covid pandemic, the problems included the global economy being shut down plus local lockdowns resulting in a massive recession and a flight to safety into U.S. treasuries as interest rates collapsed, making the dollar too strong. With the onset of deflation, consumer prices plummeted in March and April 2020, with oil even dropping briefly below zero dollars for the first time in history, and a concurrent rise of unemployment as 25 million Americans lost their jobs.

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DeWine Signs $8.3B, Two-Year Ohio Transportation Budget

Highway with cars

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine praised the $8.3 billion state transportation budget he signed into law despite it missing the increased vehicle fees and massive cuts for public transportation he proposed.

The two-year budget, House Bill 74, provides money for road and bridge construction and maintenance, as well as other transportation priorities established by the committees in the House and Senate, along with DeWine.

“The budget ensures that we can continue to maintain and invest in Ohio’s roadways,” DeWine said Wednesday. “Ohio’s transportation system continues to be a critical part of our economy, moving materials and people safely across our state. This budget advances our commitment to invest in state and locally-maintained roadways.”

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Ohio Legislature Passes Transportation Budget with Additional Allocations

The Ohio Senate approved more than $8 billion it hopes will spur both economic development and job growth while tackling the state’s transportation needs over the next two years.

The state’s proposed transportation budget passed the Senate unanimously Thursday with some adjustments made by the Senate, including additional money for public transportation, local road projects and emergency road repair. It also requires the Ohio Department of Transportation to reopen currently decommissioned weigh stations to serve as overnight parking areas for commercial truckers.

“This transportation budget makes critical investments in Ohio’s communities and local infrastructure,” said Senate President Matt Huffman, R-Lima. “I am confident House Bill 74 will improve roads and infrastructure that Ohioans use every day and will enhance Ohio’s economy and promote job growth.”

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Ohio Governor Orders Millions More in Cuts to State Agencies

Saying immediate actions are necessary to keep the state’s budget balanced, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine ordered hundreds of millions of dollars in cuts to state agencies.

“In the springtime, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global economy, and Ohio’s revenue, was dire. With this, reductions were made to the state biennial budget,” DeWine said. “With this executive order, we are finalizing current year budget reductions at $390 million across all agencies, which is less than the cuts implemented last year.”

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New House Rules Carve-Out for ‘Climate Change’ Bills Exempted from Requiring Projected Price Tag

House Democrats blocked a Republican attempt on Monday to require any proposed climate change legislation to also include its projected cost.

Under the Pay As You Go (PAYGO) rule, any additional government spending proposed must be accompanied by tax increases or separate cuts. After a push from several lawmakers in the Democratic Party’s progressive wing, however, the rules package for the 117th Congress states PAYGO will not apply to legislation relating to the necessary economic recovery or U.S. efforts to combat climate change.

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Ohio Ends 2020 Fiscal Year with General Tax Revenue Down $1.1 Billion

Ohio concluded the 2020 fiscal year with General Revenue Fund tax revenues of $1.1 billion, or 4.6 percent, below estimates, a clear indication of the impact the COVID-19 restrictions have had on the state.

Tax revenues in June were $50.5 million, or 2.2 percent, below estimate. However, state officials noted that revenues were better than a month earlier when they were 13 percent below expectations.

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Armstrong Williams Commentary: It’s Time to Talk About Recession

Is America in a recession? It’s an unpopular question to ask, but it has now been over 3 months since COVID-19 restrictions were initiated and it is time for us to get realistic about where we are economically so that we can take the proper steps to minimize further damage to our economy. At this point, the unfortunate reality is that regardless of what we do, it is likely that it will take at least several years to see a partial recovery of economic loss and the time that it will take for a complete recovery remains unknown at this point. 

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State Board of Education Gets Budget Update from Superintendent with No Mention of Planned Parenthood Being a ‘Community Partner’

Upon their return from break, State Board of Education Members received a report from Superintendent Paolo DeMaria about the changes made in Ohio’s budget. DeMaria said he was going to, “Put a ribbon around it and also dig into a couple of key areas.”

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Analysis: State Spending in Ohio Rises 6 Times Faster than Population Growth Over Past 30 Years

Among the U.S. states, Ohio is the sixth-most populated with more than 11.6 million people, many of them located in major population centers like Cleveland, Cincinnati and Columbus. But the rate of population growth in the Buckeye State has been largely stagnant for decades, lagging far behind that seen by the nation as a whole.

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Planned Parenthood Targets Crisis Pregnancy Centers After They Receive $7 Million Boost in Ohio Budget

  Crisis pregnancy centers in Ohio are set to receive $7.5 million in funding over the next two fiscal years under Ohio’s new state budget, and Planned Parenthood isn’t pleased. During Wednesday’s House floor debate on the budget, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio sent out a number of tweets attacking…

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While the Budget Remains Unfinished, DeWine and Some Legislators Go Fishing

  Gov. Mike DeWine and some legislators had fun celebrating the 40th Fish Ohio Day on Lake Erie last week. It was a grand celebration of fishing just before the Independence Day holiday, but there was business left unfinished in Columbus. Legislators walked out of the Statehouse on Sunday evening,…

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Governor Mike DeWine Signs Interim Spending Plan, Gives Ohio Lawmakers 17 Days to Agree on a Budget

by Todd DeFeo   Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signed an interim operating budget that funds the state government for 17 days, giving lawmakers additional time to debate a two-year spending plan. DeWine signed both Senate Bill 171, the interim state budget, and Senate Bill 172, a one-month funding extension for…

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Ohio’s Public Defender Recruitment Program Could Cost $3 Million Over Two Years

by Todd DeFeo   The House Finance Committee is expected to allocate $3 million over the next two years to fund a program aimed at attracting more public defenders throughout Ohio. With little discussion, the state Criminal Justice Committee passed House Bill 5 to create the Public Defender State Loan…

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Ohio’s Future Foundation Pushes Pro-Business Policies to Help All Residents Prosper

  YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Former Congressman Jim Renacci and Ohio’s Future Foundation (OHFF) were hosted by the Mahoning County Republican Party Tuesday evening.  The GOP group held a social for OHFF in their meeting room in Youngstown. Rick Barron, the Mahoning County Leader, announced that, ‘Tom (Weyand – OHFF’s Outreach…

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Anti-Smoking Groups Actually Testified Against DeWine’s Proposal to Raise Minimum Age to 21

  Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has called for raising the minimum age to purchase tobacco from 18 to 21, a proposal that’s included in Ohio’s biennial budget bill. But anti-smoking groups in the state have actually testified against the proposal. These groups believe that the proposal would mostly punish youth…

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Ohio House Passes Tax Increases on Small Businesses During Small Business Week

  The Ohio House passed House Bill 166 Thursday, its version of the state’s biennial budget. While the bill includes substantial income tax reductions, some groups aren’t pleased with the impact it will have on small businesses. Under the bill, Ohio’s Business Investment Income Deduction would be lowered to $100,000.…

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DeWine Proposed Budget Includes New Taxes for Ohio’s Tattoo Artists and Body Piercers

Governor Mike DeWine’s proposed budget for Ohio includes a provision that will raise taxes and regulations on all tattoo artists and body piercers throughout the state. The new provision would require that all current and future tattoo artists and body piercers register with the state for as long as they…

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Ohio Future Foundation’s Chairman Jim Renacci Hosts Facebook Live Budget Forum with State Rep. Powell and Buckeye State Fellow Greg Lawson

The Ohio Future Foundation hosted a wide-ranging Facebook live interview that reviewed the March 15 budget biennial 2020-2021 proposed by  Governor DeWine. Ohio Future Foundation Chairman Jim Renacci was joined by Republican State Representative Jena Powell of Ohio’s 80th district and Senior Fellow Greg Lawson of the Buckeye Institute, a…

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Lawmakers Eye a Huge Backdoor Spending Increase

US Capitol

by David Ditch   Members of Congress are promoting the concept of changing three programs from the discretionary category (requiring annual appropriations) into mandatory (auto-pilot) spending. Such changes would become a huge backdoor spending increase. Spending limits have come under relentless attack from both parties. In 2013, 2015, and 2018,…

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Smoking Age Will Jump to 21 Under DeWine Budget

In a move to improve health quality in the state, Ohio Republican Gov. Mike DeWine has included a provision in his proposed 2020-2021 Executive Budget that would increase the age for purchasing cigarettes from 18 to 21. The intent is to further discourage the use of cigarettes overall throughout the…

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Ohio Senate Breaks Even Further from Governor DeWine, Lowering Gas Tax to Six Cents

The Republican-held Ohio Senate joined Republicans in the House of Representatives in opposing Gov. Mike DeWine on his proposed gas-tax hike. House Bill 62 (HB 62), the 2020-21 Ohio transportation budget, first proposed by DeWine on Feb. 12, originally called for an 18 cent increase to the current gas tax. This was…

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Ohio Governor Mike DeWine Cites Bible in Budget Proposal That Increases Spending by Seven Percent

Gov. Mike DeWine (R-OH) released his first two-year budget proposal Friday morning in what he is describing as a $69 billion investment in “Ohio’s future.” “As I shared in my State of the State address, the Bible tells us that there is a time and a place for everything. Now…

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DeWine Budget Calls for Raising Minimum Age to Buy Cigarettes to 21

Gov. Mike DeWine’s (R-OH) first budget proposal calls for raising the minimum age to purchase cigarettes and other tobacco products from 18 to 21. “The first proposed change is a health policy initiative that would raise the legal age to purchase cigarettes from 18 years old to 21,” the 676-page…

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Governor DeWine Blasts Republican Controlled House for Lowering Gas Tax Proposal

Governor Mike DeWine aggressively condemned his fellow Republicans Monday for not supporting his gas tax increase in a candid interview with the Cleveland Plain Dealer Editorial Board. During the interview, he accused them of outright endangering the safety of Ohioans statewide by not supporting his plan. DeWine, in one of…

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DeWine Praised by Democrats for Giving ‘Democratic State-of-the-State’

Gov. Mike DeWine (R-OH) recently delivered his first State of the State address, and Democrats in attendance loved what they heard. Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley attended the occasion and was surprised at what she was hearing from the new Republican governor. “When a Republican governor gives a Democratic state-of-the-state speech,…

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Ohio Governor Mike DeWine Announces Plan for 30 New Drug Courts to Combat Opioid Epidemic

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine unveiled the latest aspect of his plan Tuesday to fight opioid addiction by creating more specialty courts statewide. The plan is the latest announced component of his upcoming budget proposal for the 2020-2021 fiscal year.  If approved, it would allocate $2.5 million in 2020 for the creation of “15 specialty…

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Report: Returning State Tax Surplus to Ohioans Could Create 2,100 New Jobs

The Buckeye Institute, an established think tank based in Ohio, has released its latest economic report, assessing the current state of economic affairs in Ohio and making recommendations to improve the overall financial health of the state. In the report, The Buckeye Institute discovered that the current state budget surplus could create…

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Ohio Governor DeWine to Announce Gas Tax Hike

At an annual forum sponsored by the Associated Press, Ohio Republican Gov. Mike DeWine announced Wednesday he intends to formally recommend raising the current gas tax. The recommendation will come as he introduces his first two-year transportation budget on Friday. Despite appointing an Advisory Committee on Transportation Infrastructure Issues specifically to explore…

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President Trump’s Executive Order Freezing Federal Pay Saves Taxpayers from Double-Digit Pay Increases

US Capitol

by Rachel Greszler   President Donald Trump issued an executive order effectively freezing federal pay for 2019 at current 2018 levels. Had the president not issued this executive order (and lacking congressional action on federal pay), federal workers would have received a 2.1 percent across-the-board pay increase, as well as a…

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Commentary: Only Two Weeks Left for Republicans to Get It

by Rachel Bovard   There’s only one area where bipartisanship still reigns in Washington: avoidance. Republican and Democrat leaders this week held hands and used the funeral events for President George H. W. Bush as an excuse to move their funding deadline—which previously expired on December 7—two weeks forward, to December…

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REPORT: EPA Paid $14.5 Million For Foreign Nationals, Not Americans, To Work In Government Labs

scientist

by Michael Bastach   The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) paid $14.5 million to foreign nationals to work at agency laboratories over the past 11 years that could have been awarded to U.S. citizens and permanent residents, according to federal investigators. EPA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) found the agency’s cooperative…

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With the End of the Fiscal Year September 30, Congress Is Running Out of Time to Fund ‘The Wall’

Donald Trump, The Wall

By Robert Romano   The 2018 fiscal year will end on Sept. 30 but Congress is no closer to achieving key Trump administration priorities including fully funding the southern border wall, something President Donald Trump has been demanding since 2017 and campaigned on extensively in 2016. So far, both the House…

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Three Budget ‘Reforms’ That Would Make Matters Worse, Not Better

by Dody Eid and Romina Boccia   A congressional select committee on reforming the budget process recently held another public hearing, supposedly with the ultimate aim of designing a more transparent, accountable, and responsible budgetary process. Any such changes should also re-establish and enhance Congress’ power of the purse. But if those are…

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‘Pig Book’ Spotlights 232 Earmarks Amid Pork That Wastes Taxpayers’ Money

Ted Cruz

by Katherine Rohloff   All but a relative few farmers and other rural residents have had electricity and telephone service for a generation, but the U.S. government devoted $10 million in the current budget to a duplicative Rural Utilities Service program designed to help pay for energy costs. Taxpayers continue to finance the…

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