Policy Papers

February 25, 2021

Democrats' Flawed 'Relief' Plan

KEY TAKEAWAYS Congress has provided unprecedented support in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The economy is bouncing back strongly, with GDP projected to return to its pre-pandemic level by the middle of this year. Instead of focusing on overcoming the virus and supporting people who have been harmed the most by it, the Democrats’ $1.9 trillion legislation spends hundreds of billions of dollars on untargeted ‘relief’ and advances policies that have nothing to do with COVID... Continue Reading

February 5, 2021

January 2021 Jobs Report

Unemployment Rate: 6.3 percent Jobs Created: 49,000 Employment and Unemployment The Department of Labor reported the unemployment rate decreased 0.4 percentage point to 6.3% in January. Nonfarm jobs increased by 49,000 in January after declining in December. In November and December, job creation was lower than first reported. The department revised the change in nonfarm jobs for those months down by a combined 159,000 jobs.      The U-6 unemployment rate, a broader... Continue Reading

February 3, 2021

COVID-19 Relief Funding

KEY TAKEAWAYS Since March, Congress has passed five COVID-19 relief bills; each passed the Senate with overwhelming bipartisan votes. Congress has already provided $4 trillion for COVID-19 relief. Before authorizing additional funding, we must ensure these existing resources are being used effectively to combat the pandemic.  Since March, Congress has taken unprecedented steps to help Americans respond to the coronavirus pandemic. congress has passed five bipartisan covid-19 relief... Continue Reading

February 2, 2021

2021 Budget Amendment Tracker

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January 29, 2021

The SolarWinds Cyberattack

KEY TAKEAWAYS The SolarWinds computer hack is one of the most sophisticated and large-scale cyber operations ever identified. The U.S. government has stated the operation is an intelligence gathering effort and has attributed it to an actor that is likely Russian in origin. The operation has affected federal agencies, courts, numerous private sector companies, and state and local governments across the country. It is an example of a digital supply chain attack, in which hackers insert malicious... Continue Reading

January 26, 2021

Biden Resurrects Failed Obama Energy Strategy

KEY TAKEAWAYS Revoking the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline will affect thousands of American jobs and strain relations with Canada. Reentering the Paris climate agreement is a bad deal for the United States because it puts America at a competitive disadvantage to other countries. The Biden administration is reviewing dozens of energy-related rules, setting the stage for future failures. On January 20, hours after swearing his oath of office, President Biden took unilateral action to... Continue Reading

January 22, 2021

The Importance of Vaccines

KEY TAKEAWAYS Vaccines assist the body’s immune system in defending against harmful diseases that can cause sickness and death. Vaccines help save millions of lives, controlling the spread of diseases worldwide. The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the importance of vaccines, and the United States has invested in the development, manufacture, and distribution of safe and effective vaccines against the disease.    Vaccines play an essential role in preventing the spread of... Continue Reading

January 20, 2021

COVID and Religion at SCOTUS

KEY TAKEAWAYS Over the past few months, the Supreme Court has issued several rulings relating to the applicability of coronavirus-related restrictions on religious services. In its most groundbreaking case, in late November, the court blocked New York Governor Andrew Cuomo from enforcing his executive order limiting the number of attendees at religious services. Since then, the court has ordered lower courts to reconsider cases involving restrictions on religious services in California,... Continue Reading

January 19, 2021

RPC Interview: U.S. Comptroller General Gene Dodaro on the Cybersecurity of the Nation

KEY TAKEAWAYS The Government Accountability Office, headed by the comptroller general, is responsible for helping Congress provide oversight of the federal government and has increasingly recommended steps to increase the country’s cybersecurity. GAO has identified four major cybersecurity challenges facing the nation: (1) establishing and implementing a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy and performing effective oversight, (2) securing federal systems and information, (3) protecting... Continue Reading

January 15, 2021

Republicans Deliver on Conservation

KEY TAKEAWAYS In the 116th Congress, Senate Republicans shepherded passage of three pieces of important conservation legislation: the Dingell Act, the Great American Outdoors Act, and the America’s Conservation Enhancement Act. The National Park Service hosted more than 327.5 million visits in 2019, which led to $21 billion in spending in nearby areas.  The legislation passed by Congress will help reduce the backlog of maintenance projects at national parks over the next few... Continue Reading

January 12, 2021

2021 Policy Calendar

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January 12, 2021

Additional Coronavirus Response and Relief

KEY TAKEAWAYS In December, Congress passed legislation to provide additional coronavirus response and relief. Congress has provided unprecedented support to American families, workers, and businesses affected by the coronavirus.  On March 13, President Trump declared the coronavirus to be a national emergency. Since then, Congress has taken unprecedented steps to help Americans respond to the coronavirus.  In early March, Congress provided $7.8 billion in discretionary supplemental... Continue Reading

January 8, 2021

December 2020 Jobs Report

Unemployment Rate: 6.7 percent Jobs Created: -140,000 Employment and Unemployment The Department of Labor reported the unemployment rate remained at 6.7% in December. Nonfarm jobs decreased by 140,000 in December, after seven months of job gains. Payroll declines were especially large in the leisure and hospitality industry, which includes restaurants. In October and November, job creation was much stronger than first reported. The department revised the change in nonfarm jobs for those... Continue Reading

December 16, 2020

A Judiciary Transformed

KEY TAKEAWAYS President Trump has appointed 54 circuit judges — nearly as many in four years as President Obama appointed in eight. President Trump has appointed more Supreme Court justices than any other president since Reagan. The Senate has confirmed Trump’s nominees at a faster pace than any president since Carter. President Trump has appointed nearly as many circuit court judges in four years as President Obama did in eight. He has filled slightly less than a third of... Continue Reading

December 11, 2020

COVID-19 Update

KEY TAKEAWAYS The Food and Drug Administration could authorize two vaccines in the next couple of weeks, and close to 100 million people could be vaccinated as soon as mid-March. FDA has authorized multiple treatment options for patients with varying severity of illness due to COVID-19. The RADx initiative led by the National Institutes of Health has supported 22 companies to produce more than 1.5 million diagnostic tests per day by the end of the year.  Operation Warp Speed is on target... Continue Reading

December 11, 2020

GDP and the Coronavirus

KEY TAKEAWAYS In the third quarter, the U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of 33.1%. This followed a sharp decrease in the prior quarter, amid widespread restrictions to control the spread of the coronavirus. The surge in GDP was due to rising consumer spending and to private investment, which includes business investment in assets, the change in business inventories, and residential investment. The economy has regained ground, and federal regulators are reviewing two vaccine candidates, but... Continue Reading

December 4, 2020

November 2020 Jobs Report

Unemployment Rate: 6.7 percent Jobs Created: 245,000 Employment and Unemployment           The Department of Labor reported the unemployment rate fell 0.2 percentage point to 6.7% in November. Nonfarm jobs increased by 245,000 in November, the seventh consecutive month of job gains. In September and October combined, net job creation was higher than initially reported. The department revised the change in nonfarm jobs for those months up by a... Continue Reading

December 3, 2020

The Threat of Ransomware

KEY TAKEAWAYS Ransomware is a type of malicious software that prevents users from accessing computer files, data, or networks until a ransom is paid. Hospitals, school districts, police departments, and city and state governments of all sizes have been targeted by cybercriminals using ransomware. There are a variety of things organizations can do to reduce the likelihood of a devastating ransomware attack, including backing up critical information and servers, testing their systems, and... Continue Reading

December 3, 2020

UAE Arms Sales

KEY TAKEAWAYS The Trump administration recently notified Congress of its intent to sell arms to the United Arab Emirates. These weapons would boost UAE’s ability to deter and defend against Iranian aggression and would enable greater interoperability between the militaries of the UAE, the U.S., and Israel. Joint resolutions of disapproval were recently introduced in both the House and Senate. Under special procedures delineated in the Arms Export Control Act, these resolutions are... Continue Reading

November 19, 2020

SCOTUS Update: California v. Texas

KEY TAKEAWAYS The Supreme Court heard oral arguments last week in the case California v. Texas, the latest case dealing with the Affordable Care Act. The case revolves around the constitutionality of the individual mandate to buy health insurance and whether the law as a whole must be struck down if that provision is held unconstitutional. Under the court’s current doctrine, whether the entire ACA will be struck down largely depends on whether Congress intended the ACA to function without... Continue Reading

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