FindLaw Opinion Summaries - Family Law
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What GAO Found As of October 31, 2016, the Department of the Treasury (Treasury) had disbursed $ 22.6 billion (60 percent) of the $ 37.51 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds obligated to the three housing programs (see fig.). The Making Home Affordable (MHA) program allowed homeowners to apply for loan modifications to avoid foreclosure. Under this program, which was closed to applicants on December 31, 2016, Treasury provides incentive payments for certain loan modifications. As of October 31, 2016, Treasury had disbursed or committed for future incentive payments $ 23.6 billion (about 85 percent) of about $ 27.8 billion MHA funds. The Housing Finance Agency Innovation Fund for the Hardest Hit Housing Markets (Hardest Hit Fund) provides funds to 18 states and the District of Columbia (collectively, “states,” which were chosen based on unemployment rates and house price declines) to help struggling homeowners through programs designed by states. Congress extended Treasury’s authority to commit TARP funds to the program to December 31, 2017. As of October 31, 2016, Treasury had disbursed $ 6.84 billion (about 71 percent) of the $ 9.6 billion program funds. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Short Refinance program allowed eligible homeowners to refinance into an FHA-insured loan. Under this program, Treasury made TARP funds available to provide coverage to lenders for a share of potential losses on these loans for borrowers who entered the program by December 31, 2016. As of October 31, 2016, Treasury had disbursed $ 0.02 billion (about 15 percent) of the $ 0.13 billion obligated to this program. Status of Troubled Asset Relief Program Housing Program Funds as of October 2016 aAccording to the Department of the Treasury (Treasury), these funds have been committed to future financial incentives for existing Making Home Affordable transactions. bThis is the amount of funds that states and the District of Columbia have drawn from Treasury. cThe amount of funds disbursed under the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Short Refinance program includes about $ 10.6 million in administrative expenses and approximately $ 10 million of reserve funds as of September 30, 2016. Treasury will be reimbursed for unused reserve amounts. Why GAO Did This Study Since 2009 Treasury has obligated $ 37.51 billion in TARP funds to help struggling homeowners avoid foreclosure. The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 included a provision for GAO to report at least every 60 days on TARP activities. This report provides an update on the status and condition of Treasury’s TARP-funded housing programs as of October 31, 2016. To do this work, GAO reviewed Treasury documentation and prior GAO reports on TARP. We also interviewed Treasury officials. This report contains the most recently available public data in Treasury’s reports at the time of our review, including obligations, disbursements, and program participation. What GAO Recommends GAO is making no new recommendations. Of the 29 recommendations that GAO has previously made related to the TARP-funded housing programs, 5 remain open or not fully implemented. More information on these recommendations and their status is included in this report. GAO will continue to monitor and assess the status of these recommendations considering the termination of MHA at the end of 2016, program activity, and any further actions taken by Treasury. For more information, contact Daniel Garcia-Diaz at (202) 512-8678 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
TARP and Problems in Financial Markets
No Description Given.
OSHA Federal Register
WASHINGTON – A new rule issued today by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration dramatically lowers workplace exposure to beryllium, a strategically important material that can cause devastating lung diseases. The new beryllium standards for general industry, construction and shipyards will require employers to take additional, practical measures to protect an estimated 62,000 workers from these serious risks.
Beryllium is a strong, lightweight metal used in the aerospace, electronics, energy, telecommunication, medical and defense industries. However, it is highly toxic when beryllium-containing materials are processed in a way that releases airborne beryllium dust, fume, or mist into the workplace air that can be then inhaled by workers, potentially damaging their lungs.
Recent scientific evidence shows that low-level exposures to beryllium can cause serious lung disease. The new rule revises previous beryllium permissible exposure limits, which were based on decades-old studies.
“Outdated exposure limits do not adequately protect workers from beryllium exposure,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. “OSHA’s new standard is based on a strong foundation of science and consensus on the need for action, including peer-reviewed scientific evidence, a model standard developed by industry and labor, current consensus standards and extensive public outreach. The new limits will reduce exposures and protect the lives and lungs of thousands of beryllium-exposed workers.”
The final rule will reduce the eight-hour permissible exposure limit from the previous level of 2.0 micrograms per cubic meter to 0.2 micrograms per cubic meter. Above that level, employers must take steps to reduce the airborne concentration of beryllium. The rule requires additional protections, including personal protective equipment, medical exams, other medical surveillance and training, as well. It also establishes a short-term exposure limit of 2.0 micrograms per cubic meter over a 15-minute sampling period.
OSHA estimates that – once in full effect – the rule will annually save the lives of 94 workers from beryllium-related diseases and prevent 46 new cases of beryllium-related disease. Workers in foundry and smelting operations, fabricating, machining, grinding beryllium metal and alloys, beryllium oxide ceramics manufacturing and dental lab work represent the majority of those at risk.
Beryllium exposure is also a concern in other industries. Employees handling fly ash residue from the coal-burning process in coal-fired power plants risk beryllium exposure. In the construction and shipyard industries, abrasive blasters and their helpers may be exposed to beryllium from the use of slag blasting abrasives. Work done in these operations may cause high dust levels and significant beryllium exposures despite the low beryllium content.
To give employers sufficient time to meet the requirements and put proper protections in place, the rule provides staggered compliance dates. Once the rule is effective, employers have one year to implement most of the standard’s provisions. Employers must provide the required change rooms and showers beginning two years after the effective date. Employers are also required to implement the engineering controls beginning three years after the effective date of the standards.
The final rule is available today at the Federal Register here.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to assure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.
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