Federal budget deal averts shutdown, but without some important measures

Last week, the chairs of the budget committees in the U.S. House and Senate announced a budget deal that provides for additional discretionary funding in federal fiscal years 2014 and 2015, which is offset with lower spending and higher fees over the decade. The House passed the deal last week with a bipartisan vote, and the Senate passed it this week.


Federal cuts squeeze housing assistance for low-income Minnesotans

Federal budget cuts to housing assistance for low-income renters “have left local Minnesota authorities scrambling to keep their programs solvent and administer needed housing assistance,” according to a new report.


Federal spending: From whence comes the deficit?

Congress has just passed a budget for Fiscal Year 2014. The amount authorized in the budget is $1.012 trillion. This amount covers only federal discretionary spending and does not reflect the reality of what our federal government spends in totality. So, where does all the money come from, and where does it go?


Counting the homeless is challenging, especially in Minnesota

The official homeless assessment prepared by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for Congress released late last month estimates there were 8,214 homeless Minnesotans on a particular night last January. (MinnPost photo by Bill Kelley)

Numbers of homeless veterans and chronically unsheltered people in Minnesota are down, though the numbers of homeless families has increased, according to a nationwide annual count by the federal government.


COMMUNITY VOICES | Immigration reform: Shared humanity matters more than differences

Although I have not suffered the agony of navigating my way through this country's broken immigration system, I have experienced the trauma that it causes by keeping people from the ones they love.


New rules – new game? Finally going into effect, "Volcker Rule" could drastically change banking

Tuesday is scheduled to be the day that everything changes. Not everything, really, but it’s the day that the “Volcker Rule” will finally go into effect. “Leave the capital markets to their own devices without any expectation of government protection and keep the existing safety net for the commercial banking system,” Volcker said in 2009. In practice, this means that commercial banking, with deposits backed by the FDIC, have to be separated from stock trading and similar activities.


Federal cuts hit home

Minnesotans will soon feel the full force of the across-the-board federal cuts to critical services known as the sequester, according to a new report from the Center on American Progress. Many measures used to soften the blow of sequestration have been exhausted as we enter the 2014 federal fiscal year.


The case against the filibuster: Why the Democrats got it only half right

The Senate was right to change the filibuster rule for presidential judicial nominees. Yet it was too little change, too late. What really needed to be done was to abolish the entire filibuster rule for all Senate business. Senate Democrats will soon find that unless they do that nothing will get done in the Senate and there will be more Ted Cruz's reading Dr. Seuss.


Public lands contributing to pollution

It’s no secret the energy fueling our nation comes at a heavy cost to the environment and human health. What we don't talk about is that a good portion of our domestic energy and other vital resource procurement occurs on publicly owned land.

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