Peter Welch

Opinion: Trump’s Political Retribution Threatens Palestinian Lives and Israeli Security
We can’t allow bruised egos to endanger our nation’s interests

The Trump administration’s decision to withhold funding from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, or UNRWA, abandons millions of vulnerable refugees, jeopardizes Israel’s security and undermines the credibility and interests of the United States in the Middle East.

Since 1949, UNRWA has provided health care, education, stable housing and other vital services to Palestinians displaced by conflict who live in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the Palestinian territories. While the United Nations, the European Union and other governmental and private-sector partners also fund UNRWA, the United States has historically been the largest single contributor.

Telemedicine: a Modern-Day Cure for an Age-Old Problem | Commentary

Rural America and underserved communities struggle with inadequate access to health care. This is primarily due to provider shortages and a lack of resources in communities needing primary care and prevention education. Metropolitan areas face similar challenges in providing timely and adequate access to specialty and sub-specialty services — such as care for cancer patients and victims of acute strokes — due to urban isolation and cultural barriers.

Welch: One Year Later, Address Credit Card Swipe Fees

Just one year ago, Congress took long-overdue action to reform out-of-control debit card swipe fees charged to businesses every time a customer uses a debit card. The action was a step in the right direction and a big win for small businesses and consumers. But it was just a first step. We ought to look at credit card swipe fees, too.

I first got involved with this issue almost five years ago because I kept hearing from Vermont country stores and small businesses about excessive swipe fees they are forced to pay just to accept debit and credit cards. In many cases, they told me they were losing money on some transactions because of these fees. So I dug into the issue.

Welch: Don’t Let Delay Kill Swipe-Fee Protections

In Washington, “delay” is too often code for “derail.” Wink, wink. Consumers should not be fooled: The Senate bill is nothing short of a polite way of killing consumer-friendly swipe-fee reforms.

Last year, Congress passed a law that directs the Federal Reserve to set limits on debit card swipe fees that are reasonable and proportional to the cost of processing those transactions. Like most Americans, I had no idea that swipe fees charged to American businesses are the highest in the world. I was pleased to work with Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) to bring much-needed relief to small businesses and consumers in Vermont and across the country.

Welch: Debt Ceiling Debate Perilous for Both Sides

America pays its bills. It always has. It always will.

That Washington is now engaged in a debate over whether the nation will honor its debts and obligations, then, should come as a surprise. But playing political football with the occasionally necessary vote to raise the nation’s debt ceiling is as predictable as a Twitter rant from Charlie Sheen.

Merkley & Welch: Bill Creates Jobs and Helps the Environment

Almost two years after the bottom fell out of the American financial system, the economy has stabilized. Congress has done a lot to turn the recession around and prevent another financial crisis. But we cannot give in to complacency or fatigue.

[IMGCAP(1)]Millions of Americans are still out of work, and the unemployment rate is holding steady in double digits. The recession has touched every sector of the economy, and the construction industry has been hit especially hard. It took years of failed policies to create the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, and we cannot expect one small burst of legislation to turn it around. It will take a relentless focus on putting people back to work, because — and this sounds rudimentary — the only way to dig out of this recession is by creating new jobs.

Welch: Congress Should Pass Bill to Limit Wall Street Bonuses

On Wall Street, 15 months must feel like a lifetime. How else can one make sense of an industry that would reward itself with a bumper crop of bonuses barely a year after pushing the economy to the brink of collapse?

[IMGCAP(1)]Last week’s parade of excess down Wall Street, as the nation’s five biggest banks unveiled $114 billion in compensation for the year, would be lamentable were it simply a story of greed. But history teaches that, left to its own devices, the banking industry has a tendency to engage in conduct that is not just self-enriching, but self-destructive.