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Opinion Archive

Congress Plays Politics With the Internet | Commentary

In a town where Democrats and Republicans can hardly agree on anything, Congress has the unique opportunity to pass legislation that is both bipartisan and popular: extending the ban on Internet access taxes. The Internet Tax Freedom Act, which prohibits politicians from slapping new taxes on Internet access, is currently scheduled to expire at the end of October. Despite its wide support, Congress is dragging its feet on renewal, meaning consumers could find themselves paying even more in taxes. Legislators need to get off the sidelines and protect unfettered online access for all Americans and by passing a permanent extension of the Internet Tax Freedom Act.

Elephants: Critical to America's National Security | Commentary

Though Ahmed Godane, the leader of the Somalian terrorist group al-Shabab, was killed in a U.S. airstrike earlier this month, Ugandan authorities uncovered a 19-person al-Shabab cell armed with explosives just last week. What action can the United States take against African terrorist groups that advances American security, protects U.S. service members, and fits within budgetary constraints? One approach suggested by Rep.Peter A. Defazio, D-Ore., might surprise you: Protect Africa’s elephants with the Targeted Use of Sanctions for Killing Elephants in their Range, or TUSKER, Act.

A Simple Strategy to Improve Constituent Dialogue | Commentary

I was giving a speech to a group of citizens visiting Washington for a fly-in, and was asked this question: “What’s the most frustrating obstacle to enhancing the democratic dialog between citizens and Congress?” I surprised myself by responding quickly: “Bad writing.”

Veterans' Needs Must Come First | Commentary

Oct. 1 marks an anniversary many of us prefer to forget — the start of the 16 day partial government shutdown of 2013. Among the disruptions caused by the shutdown, work stopped on more than 250,000 veterans’ disability claims awaiting appeals, burials at national cemeteries were scaled back and vital medical and prosthetic research projects were threatened. Had it continued a couple weeks longer, even veterans’ disability compensation checks might have stopped.

Time to Let the Sunshine In | Commentary

Starting September 30, AARP members and consumers of all ages will be able to get a better idea of what may be driving their health care provider’s decisions thanks to the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, or Sunshine Act. The Sunshine Act requires drug and medical device manufacturers to publicly report virtually all payments, gifts, and other services provided to health care providers and teaching hospitals every year.

Electronic Health Care Program Threatens More Efficient Setting of Care | Commentary

Recently at National Health IT Week, health care experts gathered to emphasize the importance of improving the quality of health care delivery and strengthening the interaction between patients and healthcare providers. For good reason, adoption of Electronic Health Records is largely lauded as a necessary, even overdue step to improve efficiency and ultimately the quality of patient care.

A Half-Baked Marketplace Fairness Act | Commentary

Many continue to call for Congress to pass legislation empowering States to require remote sellers to collect sales tax on their behalf. They say such legislation is necessary to provide fairness between brick and mortar retailers and online sellers. Let me be clear: Overstock.com supports a fair federal solution to prevent a patchwork of legal standards, not to mention computer systems, from making online retailing a virtual nightmare. Unfortunately, the Marketplace Fairness Act is not that solution.

How the West Was Won and How Congress Can Win America's Energy Future | Commentary

Congress is running out of time to drive new economic development this year, during a year when most Americans agree that new jobs and smarter economic choices are paramount. With just a few days left in session, while there are many important issues to address, it’s imperative that Congress focus on a subject all Americans agree on: economic development and jobs.

Will the FCC and Congress Stand Up for Women's Safety? | Commentary

Ray Rice is not the only reason that we, as a society, have far to go in stopping violence against women. People may argue the circumstances surrounding the Baltimore Ravens running back, and the video showing him knocking his fiancée out cold in an Atlantic City elevator, are exceptions to the common American experience. He’s a star, football is an inherently violent sport, the media is on a feeding frenzy, and money and reputations are at stake.

Growing Children, Shrinking Wages: How to Make Child Care Affordable for the Middle Class | Commentary

While 14 million American families have a child younger than school age, child care and preschool are quickly becoming a luxury only the rich can afford. Child care costs exceed nearly every other household expense, and for families with two or more children, child care costs exceed the median rent cost in every state. On average, families pay anywhere from $4,000 to $16,000 per year for a child care center, depending on the geographic location and the age of the child.

Shift in Landscape Makes Bigger GOP House Gains Possible

Only three times since the Civil War, as any political junkie knows, has the president’s party gained House seats in midterm elections — in 1934, 1998 and 2002. It now seems quite clear 2014 won’t be another exception to that rule.

E-Waste Export Policy Key to Stopping Electronics Counterfeits and Protecting Military Readiness | Commentary

As highlighted in a 2012 report by the Senate Armed Services Committee, a flood of counterfeit electronic parts from China threatens the reliability of sophisticated defense technologies from thermal weapon sights to advanced missile systems and from aircraft to submarines. Each of us shared our perspectives with the committee, which found more than 1,800 cases of counterfeit parts in defense systems. But like the proverbial tip of the iceberg, what we can see is only a small part of the problem.

Congress' Responsibility to Protect the Government is Paramount | Commentary

August is usually a quiet month in Washington, but this summer’s recess was interrupted by news of a data breach at the federal contractor United States Investigations Services. The breach may have exposed the personal information of up to 25,000 government employees, including undercover government investigators and border agents, and has raised alarm on Capitol Hill. The implications for our national security are serious and could get worse.

How the Government Is Funding Human Rights Violations | Commentary

With the new fiscal year less than a month away, Congress still hasn’t passed appropriations bills, leaving government agencies and departments reviewing orders they’ve already placed for goods and services. This trend is not new. Procurement officers are being asked to buy more with less time and less funding. This forces them to turn to countries and companies which can deliver goods in a quick turnaround time on a razor-thin margin, but have little to no respect for human rights.

No More Punts: Congress Must Act on Export-Import Bank | Commentary

Congress may have punted on deciding the fate of the Export-Import Bank, but the issue has not simply gone away. By placing the Ex-Im Bank on life support with a temporary extension of its charter until June of next year, Congress has managed to dodge the matter until after the midterm elections in November. Supporters of Ex-Im and its crony-capitalist agenda no doubt breathed a sigh of relief, but as it turns out, this may have been premature as the extension is little more than a reprieve.

Hot Fads and Boring Facts About Obesity | Commentary

Recently, Rick Tolman, outgoing CEO of the National Corn Growers Association, made news in a CQ Roll Call article by saying high fructose corn syrup, like other sugars, is one contributor to the obesity epidemic. Tolman is right. Excess calories from all types of foods cause obesity, including added sugars such as HFCS.

Veterans Benefit From Land and Water Conservation Fund | Commentary

A few months ago, a 14-year veteran of the U.S. Army hiked the entire length of the Appalachian Trail to bring attention to the needs of fellow veterans re-entering civilian life. Having served seven tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, Chris Davis told a reporter that getting outdoors resonates with veterans. “We walk a lot in the military and a veteran sitting at home can identify with someone throwing a backpack on and walking for 2,000 miles.”

Combat vs. Climate | Commentary

There’s plenty of uncertainty surrounding President Barack Obama’s plan to “degrade and ultimately destroy” the Islamic State: How limited or open-ended is it? How will Congress respond? What will it cost?

Congress Must Ensure FDA Does Not Undermine the Affordable Care Act | Commentary

Thirty years ago, Congress passed the Hatch-Waxman Act with bipartisan support. This legislation greatly expanded access to prescription drugs in America by accelerating the review process for generic drugs, thereby significantly lowering the cost to consumers, many of whom who are seniors and low- to moderate-income families. Since its passage, generic drugs now constitute approximately 84 percent of prescriptions in the United States.

Millennials to the FCC: 'Don't Break the Internet' | Commentary

Bureaucrats in Washington are trying to use a law passed in 1934 to take over the Internet. The Federal Communications Commission wants to unlawfully use a provision known as “Title II” to regulate the Internet as a public utility.

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