Opinion & Analysis

Opinion: Young Americans Need to Be Prepared to Lead Next Infrastructure Revolution
Infrastructure investments and apprenticeships go hand in hand

Millions of young Americans need to be prepared to fill the high-skilled, high-paying jobs that will power the nation’s next  infrastructure revolution, writes Rep. Donald Norcross, D-N.J. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images file photo)

As we recognize Infrastructure Week around the country, we must take the opportunity to encourage both the work and the workers who will rebuild America.

We must start robustly investing in our aging bridges, roads, rails, ports, airports, electric grid, water pipes, broadband network and more. Not only is it critical for our national security, it will create high-skilled, high-wage jobs and help power our entire economy for generations to come.

Opinion: Rethinking Social Security Numbers in the Modern Age
Traditional safeguards are no longer enough

Americans are at greater risk when it comes to having their Social Security number stolen — and traditional safeguards are not enough, writes Rep. Sam Johnson, R-Texas.  (iStock)

Did you know that last fall at least 145.5 million Americans’ Social Security numbers were stolen in a data breach at Equifax? Worse, this was just one in a series of recent breaches — don’t forget Anthem and the Office of Personnel Management, just to name others.

In this technological age, folks are at greater risk when it comes to having their Social Security number stolen — even if they do everything right. That’s because keeping your number a secret, leaving your Social Security card in a safe, and shredding all documents containing your number are now antiquated efforts for stopping the modern hacker.

Opinion: Is It Too Early for North Carolina Democrats to Get Their Hopes Up, Again?
After years of dashed dreams, progressives are back to seeing blue

The Rev. William Barber hosts a “Moral Monday” in Raleigh in 2016. With efforts like Barber’s Poor People’s Campaign gaining steam in North Carolina, progressives are once again seeing blue at the end of the tunnel, Mary C. Curtis writes. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In 2008, Barack Obama’s slim North Carolina victory in his first presidential run had Democrats in the state celebrating in the present and dreaming of a blue future in what had been considered a (relatively) progressive Southern state. Boy, were those dreams premature.

But 10 years later — after new redistricting and voting rules solidified GOP control in both the state and U.S. House delegations and a bill on LGBT rights made the state a poster child for conservative social policies — Democrats are again seeing light at the end of a deep-red tunnel.

Capitol Ink | Embassy Diplomacy

Opinion: It’s Too Soon to Bet the Ranch on the Midterms
With enthusiasm gap closing, blue wave is no longer a sure thing

Betting on how the vote will go in November is becoming less and less clear, Winston writes. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call file photo)

So, the Supreme Court this week OK’d sports betting by the states, giving plaintiffs Chris Christie and New Jersey a big win. Not being a gambler, I hesitate to give advice, but maybe the bookmakers can kick off their newly won legal status with the 2018 congressional elections. After all, these days, politics is somewhat akin to a professional sport, but knowing where to place a bet this fall — on the Dems or the GOP — is becoming less and less clear.

A few months ago, most political prognosticators would have characterized the Democrats’ chances of winning back the House as just shy of a sure thing. They predicted, with a modicum of certainty, an impending blue wave, destined to wipe the Republican House majority off the map. Many are still putting their chips on the Democrats to win, place and show.

Capitol Ink | The Fine Print

Opinion: I’m Sorry You’re Not Sorry
An apology is not a sign of weakness — even inside the Beltway

The fastest way to end a controversy over an insensitive comment by a White House staffer about Arizona Sen. John McCain would have been a simple apology, Patricia Murphy writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

We all know that the fastest way to diffuse tension or end a fight is to say “I’m sorry.” Not “I’m sorry if …” or “I’m sorry that you …” Just a simple, clean, “I’m sorry.”

It’s obvious to nearly everyone that an apology would have been the fastest way to end the controversy last week over a head-snapping leaked comment from White House staffer Kelly Sadler, who said ailing Sen. John McCain’s refusal to support President Donald Trump’s pick for CIA director won’t matter because “he’s dying anyway.”

Opinion: This Is Not a Drill. It’s Actually Infrastructure Week
Congress and Trump are spinning their wheels. But why should all our hopes hang on Washington?

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao delivers remarks during last year’s Infrastructure Week kickoff event at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Chao pointed to the repair of the I-85 Atlanta highway bridge, which collapsed after a fire, as an example of a successful public-private project. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images file photo)

Starting today, it’s officially Infrastructure Week — as in the annual bipartisan event, not a themed White House push. Remember last year, when optimism was high that Congress and President Donald Trump would soon begin work on a comprehensive infrastructure plan? This year, not so much. The lamentations have already begun: “There’s always next year.”

At forums from coast to coast this week, we’ll hear about the dismal state of our nation’s infrastructure. From the lives lost when bridges fail, to the mounting number of potholes and leaky pipes going unrepaired, the decline of our infrastructure harms Americans every single day.

Opinion: From the Vatican, a Challenge to Bring Promise to Patients
Conference urges support for innovations in science and medicine in a collaborative, safe and ethical manner

The Pontifical Council for Culture and the Cura Foundation hosted the “Unite to Cure” conference at the Vatican last month. (Courtesy the Cura Foundation/Unite To Cure: Fourth International Vatican Conference)

The power of medical research is rapidly moving from the lab to the patient.

Since the 21st Century Cures Act was passed in 2016, we’ve seen exponential progress in personalized, data-driven medicine and regenerative and gene therapies that will help prevent and treat disease, and even cure patients. Swift advances in science hold great promise for patients in need. At the same time, we must maintain our national standards for safety and ethical responsibility.

Opinion: The Special Counsel Probe Is Tainted
Rod Rosenstein must act to restrict an investigation gone rogue

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein should immediately restrict the actions of the special counsel to issues involving the 2016 election, as originally required, Smith writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It’s time for special counsel Robert S. Mueller III to be restrained. The process is tainted, which should limit, if not end, the investigation.

There is a legal term called “fruit of the poisonous tree.” If the evidence, or tree, is tainted, then anything gained from the evidence — the fruit — is tainted as well.

Capitol Ink | Follow The Money

Opinion: What Is the Cost When the Language of Politics Devolves?
Normalization of racially charged words is dangerous

A Trump supporter holds signs attacking Muslims and the Black Lives Matter movement behind a line of community relations police offers prior to the start of a rally by President Donald Trump on Aug. 22 in Phoenix. (David McNew/Getty Images file photo)

The words Americans now say, listen to and ignore in the world of politics once would have been publicly, if not privately, unacceptable — even in the world of sports.

Don’t believe me?

Opinion: John McCain’s Empty Seat at the Gina Haspel Hearing
Perspective as a POW and torture victim would have helped clarify the debate

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., would have helped clarify the debate over whether Gina Haspel should be the nation’s next CIA director, Shapiro writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The second Republican presidential debate of the 2008 campaign season was held in Columbia, South Carolina — the conservative state where John McCain’s dreams of upending the George W. Bush juggernaut died in 2000. So when Brit Hume from Fox News asked McCain a question about waterboarding and other forms of torture, the prudent political strategy would have been to pander to GOP fears of terrorism.

But for McCain, the only presidential candidate to have ever been a prisoner of war, this was not an abstract topic. In 1968, after he refused early release from a Hanoi prison camp, McCain was so brutally beaten by his North Vietnamese captors that he was driven to the brink of suicide.

Opinion: Cost of Living Is the Sleeper Issue of 2018
Voters less interested in Russia investigation and scandal

Customers shop at an Aldi grocery store on June 12, 2017, in Chicago. David Winston writes that the cost of living is a sleeper issue that’s likely to impact the outcome of the midterm elections. (Scott Olson/Getty Images file photo)

If there’s one question that I get asked by reporters these days, it’s “what’s the sleeper race to watch for this fall?”

The question I think they should be asking is “what’s the sleeper issue likely to impact the outcome of the elections this fall?” The answer is the cost of living, or COL, one of the most politically potent and underreported issues out there today.

Capitol Ink | Atomic Trump