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April 16, 2021

Sion Bell

Blog Post

Independent AgenciesIRS

Neglected IRS Oversight Board A Crucial Component of Tax Justice

It is relatively well known, for example, that the Internal Revenue Service has long suffered from under-investments in its budget. Less appreciated, however, are independent facets within the IRS which, rather than being primarily burdened by budget constraints, have simply been forgotten. One such facet is the IRS Oversight Board (IRSOB), which is supposed to provide guidance to the president on the IRS Commissioner and develop long-term strategic plans for the agency. The Board has lacked the five members necessary for a quorum since 2015.

April 14, 2021 | The American Prospect

Henry Burke Sion Bell

Op-Ed

Government Capacity

Biden’s Budget Should Build Back Even Better

President Biden’s inaugural annual budget request, which encompasses only discretionary spending (about a third of the federal budget), is a $1.52 trillion proposed investment in the federal government. The rest of the request, to be released later this spring, will include tax reforms and mandatory spending (which includes programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid) and provide a fuller picture of the administration’s priorities.

April 08, 2021

Sion Bell

Blog Post

CoronavirusDepartment of CommerceIntellectual Property

Secretary Raimondo Must Act Quickly to Support the TRIPS Waiver

As the Biden administration continues to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo holds one of the most critical but under-appreciated roles for ensuring vaccine distribution. Indeed, the Commerce Secretary is a key player determining more generally whether America and the planet prioritize Big Pharma’s wealth or public health.

February 17, 2021

Sion Bell

Blog Post

Department of JusticeIndependent Agencies

Neglected US Parole Commission a Crucial Component of Criminal Justice Reform

President Biden has committed his administration to countering economic and racial injustice. One area in which such injustices are notoriously and particularly prevalent is the criminal justice system, a reality all too clear for the millions of currently incarcerated Americans. Numerous studies have demonstrated the effects of systemic racism and classism on likelihood of arrest and imprisonment, but such discrimination also extends to the end of one’s sentence when an individual has the opportunity to begin their reintegration into society.

February 16, 2021

Dorothy Slater Sion Bell

Blog Post

2020 Election/TransitionClimateFinancial Regulation

How A Little-Known Treasury Position Could Move Mountains For Climate Action

President Biden has promised to take a “whole-of-government” approach to tackling the climate crisis, and so far his appointees appear to be following suit. The National Climate Task Force met for the first time in a crowded zoom room last week, and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and International Climate Envoy John Kerry met earlier this month to discuss their “climate finance plan” to shift capital towards investments in line with a low-carbon economy.

February 04, 2021

Sion Bell Miranda Litwak

Blog Post

2020 Election/TransitionFinancial Regulation

Biden's Newest Treasury Tax Appointees Delight and Disappoint

Some mixed news for progressive tax enthusiasts: Joe Biden’s administration has chosen both a committed progressive tax advocate and a Republican career expert in corporate tax avoidance for its first two appointees to the Treasury’s Office of Tax Policy. We’re now in a strange situation where experts who testified on opposite sides of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will now serve shoulder-to-shoulder.

January 21, 2021

Ella Fanger Sion Bell

Blog Post

2020 Election/TransitionEthics in GovernmentGovernment Capacity

To Build Back Better, Biden Must Fix Government

Yesterday, Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States. President Biden has promised to build back a better America, but he faces a steep climb to reach this lofty goal. The nation is still reeling from an ongoing pandemic and recession, and the government has had to cope with massive shocks to the civil service, morale, and its basic functions during the Trump administration. To make good on his promise, Biden will need to undo the damage from Trump and decades of right-wing actions to undermine governance.