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News Release | WashPIRG | Tax

Ag Subsidies Pay for 20 Twinkies per Taxpayer, But Only Half of an Apple Apiece

Federal subsidies for commodity crops are subsidizing junk food additives like high-fructose corn syrup, at a rate that would buy 20 Twinkies for each taxpayer every year, according to WashPIRG’s new report, “Apples to Twinkies 2013.” Meanwhile, limited subsidies for fresh fruits and vegetables would buy one half of an apple per taxpayer.  These subsidies are part of the Farm Bill that expires in September. Both the Farm Bill approved by the U.S. Senate and the one that passed the House last Thursday would continue these subsidies. 

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Report | WashPIRG

Apples to Twinkies 2013

At a time when America faces high obesity rates and tough federal budget choices, taxpayer dollars are funding the production of junk food ingredients. Since 1995, the government has spent $292.5 billion on agricultural subsidies, $19.2 billion of which have subsidized corn- and soy-derived junk food ingredients.

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News Release | WashPIRG | Consumer Protection

Senate Confirms CFPB Director Cordray

Today’s confirmation of Richard Cordray to head the CFPB for a full term is good news for consumers, and for firms that want to play fair in the financial marketplace. The CFPB was created to rein in the reckless Wall Street practices that blew up our economy almost five years ago. Big banks that rely on consumer tricks and schemes to make money have wanted to kill the CFPB ever since, and for good reason: The CFPB has been enforcing critical consumer protection laws, and already forced Capital One to return $140 million in unfair credit card fees to consumers.

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News Release | WashPIRG | Health Care

House Poised to Approve Bill Continuing Giant Giveaways to Big Agribusiness

WashPIRG urges the House to vote NO on the Farm Bill scheduled to be voted on today. Like the Senate’s Farm Bill, this legislation would keep the gravy train flowing for big agribusiness, locking in their unjustified corporate handouts for the next five years. Members of the House should stand firm and reject this bill once again. With Congress focused on how to fix the budget, our elected leaders shouldn’t squander the opportunity to cut off these outrageous giveaways to Big Ag once and for all. 

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News Release | WashPIRG | Health Care

Twenty Top Generic Drug Delayed by Industry Payoffs

Washingtonians with cancer, heart disease, epilepsy and other conditions have been forced to pay an average of 10 times more than necessary for at least 20 blockbuster drugs, according to a report released today by Washington State Public Interest Research Group (Washington) and Community Catalyst. 

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Media Hit | Financial Reform

Senate needs to move forward on confirming new chief for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

The good news is that on July 21 the landmark Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) takes over as the nation’s chief consumer bank regulator. The bad news is that because no director has been confirmed, the Bureau will not be able to effectively protect consumers in the financial marketplace that includes payday lenders, mortgage companies, and credit bureaus.

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News Release | WashPIRG | Transportation

Report Examines Whether High-Speed Rail Should Be Public, Private or Both

The report comes at a time when Congress and state officials are debating future funding for high-speed rail, including upgrades to Amtrak’s 467-mile “Cascade Corridor” which connects Eugene, Portland, Seattle and Vancouver, BC. Meanwhile, the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure chair has proposed privatizing Amtrak with the hope of garnering private financing for new bullet trains along the Northeast. California is seeking private funds as part of a planned route connecting Los Angeles and San Francisco.

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Media Hit | Health Care

Health Insurers, Forced to Reveal Financial Data, Tamp Down Rate Increase Requests

Last year, a nasty fight erupted between state Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler and Premera Blue Cross. Kreidler was pushing a bill that would force health insurers into publicly disclosing financial data when they asked for rate increases. Premera was trying to water down the bill, prompting Kreidler to ask, "What don't they want the public to see?" For the most part, Kreidler got what he wanted--and yesterday a handful of companies' filings went public for the first time.

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News Release | Food

Representative Jeff Flake Introduces REAPS Act

Statement of U.S. PIRG Federal Legislative Office Director Gary Kalman on the introduction of the Reducing the Deficit through Eliminating Agriculture Direct Payment Subsidies Act.

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News Release | WashPIRG | Consumer Protection

Shareholders deserve to know how corporations spend their money in elections

Although millions of Americans contribute money every year to political campaigns and causes that they support, millions more contribute to political causes without even knowing it – as the shareholders of large corporations.

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The overuse of antibiotics on factory farms is threatening these lifesaving medicines. Call on big restaurants to do their part and stop buying meat raised with critical antibiotics.

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