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Treasury officials have challenged Arizona’s use of federal funds to support schools that reject mask mandates, but Gov. Doug Ducey defended the spending as 'well within' federal guidelines. In this September 2021 file photo, Justine Spitalny School acceleration specialist Sandra Cobos works with students.

Gov. Doug Ducey said Thursday that the state’s use of money to support schools that reject mask mandates is “well within” federal guidelines for the funds, despite a Treasury Department threat to take the money back - but Arizona educators said the governor needs to back down. Read more»

The Senate voted 64-36 to change rules for a vote to raise the debt ceiling on Nov. 9, 2021.

In a unique solution to avoid a default on the country’s debt, the Senate approved a bipartisan plan Thursday that would allow Democrats to raise the debt ceiling without any support from the GOP. Read more»

President Biden signs executive actions in the Oval Office on Jan. 28, 2021.

Reimbursements for at-home rapid COVID-19 tests, tougher testing requirements for international travelers and more emergency response teams to aid states combating infection spikes are the latest steps to fight COVID-19 that President Joe Biden will be announcing Thursday. Read more»

The Treasury Department believes the impact from spending $80 billion over 10 years on increased IRS enforcement on the wealthy would garner about twice that: $400 billion, which, if correct, would make the Build Back Better Act 'fully paid for.'

For weeks, President Joe Biden has been saying the Build Back Better plan would be “fully paid for” and would not increase the deficit - but the official congressional scorekeeper in its long-awaited final analysis contradicted the president’s claims. Read more»

Arizona was at the forefront of the mask mandate issue with one of the first major incidents occurring in the state in Vail.

A political action committee that aims to elect candidates with backgrounds in science and engineering is spending $10 million against Republican governors and gubernatorial candidates in six states who back “anti-science” COVID-19 policies, including Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey. Read more»

Providers leaving the child care field find better-paying jobs in food service, retail and banking.

While many see vaccines as protection for child care workers who put themselves at risk during a pandemic, little time or money has been spent on looking out for this workforce in the past, with low pay the main reason the country’s already shaky child care system is crumbling. Read more»

USDA Rural Development Deputy Under Secretary Justin Maxson with resident Shamar El-Shabazz and site manager Hassana 'Aliyah' Shareef at Hunters Ridge Apartments, a multifamily property development, in Farmville, N.C.

States with small populations say a federal plan to take back unspent emergency rental aid and redistribute it elsewhere is unfair, potentially depriving them and their residents of millions of dollars to address broad affordable housing challenges. Read more»

In 1990, Congress accidentally created GRATs when it closed another estate tax loophole that was popular at the time. The IRS challenged the maneuver but lost in court.

It’s well known among tax lawyers and accountants for the ultrawealthy: The estate tax can be easily avoided by exploiting a loophole unwittingly created by Congress three decades ago - and by using special trusts, a rarefied group of Americans has taken advantage of this loophole. Read more»

As Congress launched a bailout to keep businesses afloat at the outset of the pandemic, officials stressed that the loans were for businesses that didn’t have another easily available lifeline - instead, the government gave out generous loans to companies that may not have needed them. Read more»

Across the country, 65% of tenants who owe back rent have not applied for rental assistance. Of those who have applied, 4% have received assistance, 12% have been denied and 22% are still waiting.

A measure moving through the U.S. House of Representatives would allow landlords to apply without tenant approval for federal aid to cover back rent they are owed - more than 6 million households owed some $16.8 billion in rent debt, according to census data from early August. Read more»

Experts say signs like this one could become more common as state and national moratoriums on evictions in the face of COVID-19 are lifted.

The Supreme Court’s rejection of the Biden administration’s effort to extend a federal ban on evictions has put hundreds of thousands of American renters at risk of losing their housing — and increasing pressure on states and localities to get rental assistance dollars distributed. Read more»

State and local law enforcement officials partner with the U.S. Justice and Treasury departments. Police agencies transfer seized property, money or assets to the federal government and receive up to 80% of proceeds from the sale of the property - regardless of state law.

Thirty-six states and the District of Columbia have taken steps to scale back their civil asset forfeiture laws since 2014, but civil asset forfeiture continues because legislators have failed to close a giant loophole: the federal equitable sharing program. Read more»

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen urged Congress in a letter Monday to increase the debt limit through 'regular order,' and it was her second warning in as many weeks.

Senate Democrats issued their budget Monday for a $3.5 trillion package that pours funding into social programs, climate change initiatives and free education, queuing up a widely expected maneuver toward passage without GOP support. Read more»

The Senate voted to formally begin debate on a roughly $1 trillion infrastructure plan, a process that could take several days, at the Capitol in Washington, Friday, July 30, 2021.

Democrats racing to vote on the massive Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, after the Senate finally unveiled the 2,702-page bill late Sunday, strode into some quicksand from Republicans less worried about the timeline as the August recess looms. Read more»

Democrats scrambled last week to get federal legal protections extended until December, but were unsuccessful, and the House now is out for recess until Sept. 20.

President Joe Biden on Monday called on state and local governments to put their own pause on federal evictions for at least two months, and urged them to use $46.5 billion provided by the coronavirus relief package for tenants and landlords. Read more»

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