Piling on. Three Democrats have joined a chorus of Republicans calling for the IRS to be held accountable for targeting conservative groups for heightened scrutiny during the 2012 presidential campaign. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, of Montana and Sens. Tim Kaine of Virginia and Joe Manchin of West Virginia all called for an investigation and corrective action. “These actions by the IRS are an outrageous abuse of power and a breach of the public’s trust,” Baucus said. “Targeting groups based on their political views is not only inappropriate but it is intolerable.” On Friday, an IRS official apologized for going after any group affiliated with the Tea Party, an initiative she said lower level agents were responsible for. But over the weekend, a memo revealed the extra scrutiny applied to other groups as well. Republicans have said they do not believe the scandal originated with a few agents, unbeknownst to the agency’s leaders. During a midday news conference, President Barack Obama echoed Baucus’ comments, calling the IRS scandal “outrageous.”
Garment industry reforms. Lawmakers in Bangladesh have agreed to raise the minimum wage for garment workers, a response the widespread criticism over working conditions in the region’s factories. The announcement came just hours after officials said recovery efforts would end today at the site of the eight-story factory that collapsed last month. The death toll now stands at 1,127, making it the worst accident in the garment industry. Workers currently make the equivalent of $38 per month, barely enough to live on. The low wages and lax regulations led to a boom in the country’s garment industry. Bangladesh is the world’s sixth largest producer of clothing for Western countries. Its factories send $20 billion in clothes to the United States each year.
Patent protection. A unanimous U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that farmers couldn’t use patented seeds without paying for them. The case revolved around a 76-year-old Indiana farmer who wanted to use Monsanto’s “Roundup Ready” soybeans without paying the annual “technology fee.” The court sided with the company, which had an agreement with farmers that the seeds could only be used for one growing season and not saved and replanted in subsequent years.
Dangerous driving. Almost half of all teens admitted to texting while driving, according to a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study released today. The study, which surveyed 8,500 teens, also showed young drivers who texted had a higher chance of engaging in other risky behaviors while driving, including not wearing a seatbelt and getting behind the wheel after drinking. Motor vehicle accidents remain the biggest contributors to death and injury among teens in the United States.