BPC Blog

Apr. 23, 2014
International Atomic Energy Agency still lacks funds to carry out Iran nuclear inspections

Before the interim deal agreed to by Iran and six world powers in November 2013 and signed in January 2014, known as the Joint Plan of Action (JPA), the IAEA had more than 20 staff dedicated to inspections in Iran, with two to four staff in Iran every day. These inspectors visited the enrichment facilities at Natanz and Fordow about once a week and other sites less often. The JPA expanded access for inspectors, allowing for daily access to Natanz and Fordow, “managed access” to the Arak heavy water facility, which could be used to make weapons grade plutonium, as well as uranium mines, mills, and centrifuge facilities.

Data suggest that DHS’s border enforcement strategy, including its increased use of formal removals at the border, is achieving its intended goals

Recent weeks have seen a flurry of debate over the Obama Administration’s deportation numbers. As stakeholders on all sides of the debate put forward their take on the data, two key facts have been overlooked. First, the increase in formal border removals is part of a deliberate strategy to deter unauthorized immigrants at the border. Second, by at least one of the few sets of performance data available, the strategy appears to be working.

One study found that over half of Americans risk not being able to maintain their standard of living in retirement

On Wednesday morning, the Bipartisan Policy Center will launch the Personal Savings Initiative (register to join us here). The initiative will be led by former Senator Kent Conrad, who served as chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, and James Lockhart, who served as deputy commissioner of the Social Security Administration and other key roles in the executive branch. Their effort will be supported by a bipartisan commission of nationally recognized experts who will examine legislative and regulatory avenues to improve Americans’ personal savings and retirement security.

Until there is federal clarity in immigration law and policy, the tension will continue to grow

Last week, Mayor Michael Nutter of Philadelphia signed an executive order limiting the cooperation of the city’s law enforcement agency with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement on detainers—requests to hold individuals in custody for immigration enforcement. In doing so, Philadelphia joined many other jurisdictions across the country that have enacted such policies in the last several years

The willingness of the court to challenge the prime minister's party restores some optimism for the future of rule of law in Turkey

In recent months, Turkey’s embattled government, led by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has taken extreme measures to combat allegations of corruption. He has adopted several pieces of legislation to expand the power of the executive. These laws undermine the separation of powers and rule of law in Turkey. Although Turkey’s Constitutional Court ruled to overturn several articles of the law restructuring Turkey’s Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors, scoring a small victory for checks and balances, the government’s response suggests it is unlikely to abandon its attempts to tame the judiciary.

No more spats over MATS? The EPA regulation is one step closer and one year closer to reality

In an April ruling, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed all challenges to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) for Power Plants. This regulation is set to require pollution controls or fuel switching for some of the existing fleet of coal-fired and oil-fired generators by 2015 or 2016 to control a selection of hazardous air pollutants that currently flow out of their exhaust stacks. In addition, a number of announced coal plant retirements cite MATS as a factor.

Last September, BPC published the first in a series of annual reports, Jihadist Terrorism: A Threat Assessment

As we commemorate one year since the Boston Marathon bombings, and 19 years since the bombing of the Murray building in Oklahoma City, we note that the risk of homegrown radicalization continues to threaten our nation.

Modernizing Our Regulatory Structure
By Richard H. Neiman and Mark Olson, Co-Chairs of the Financial Regulatory Reform Initiative’s Regulatory Architecture Task Force, Bipartisan Policy Center

“Streamlining America’s financial regulatory architecture was a major missed opportunity in the Dodd-Frank Act. Our existing structure is a patchwork of reactions to past financial crises that date back more than 150 years. Modernizing this patchwork system would improve regulation, enhance financial stability and increase economic growth. Today, we propose a road map for how to achieve these goals.” Read the op-ed here and BPC’s report Dodd-Frank’s Missed Opportunity: A Road Map for a More Effective Regulatory Architecture here.

Dodd-Frank’s SIFI threshold sweeps in too many small banks that don't pose a systemic threat, diluting attention from the big banks that do

Last Thursday, the Financial Regulatory Reform Initiative’s Regulatory Architecture Task Force released a report entitled Dodd-Frank’s Missed Opportunity: A Road Map for a More Effective Regulatory Architecture. The report highlights a series of practical ways in which the U.S. regulatory structure could be streamlined and made more effective. One important way to do this is by refocusing prudential oversight more clearly on those institutions that pose the greatest systemic threat to the financial system.

Suboptimal design has led to destructive turf battles, myopic oversight, and unnecessary burden on regulators and the regulated

Complex systems are rarely designed from scratch. Governmental oversight structures often evolve through a series of reactions to crises, profit opportunities, and new technologies, not to mention scandals and other high-profile news events.

With every passing year, policy remedies to fiscal folly will exact a more acute and more widespread pain

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released the spring update of its baseline budget projections today. The news is mixed, but it tells more or less the same story as the past five CBO updates—things may be better in the short run, but real fiscal distress looms in the not-too-distant future.

U.S. public debt

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