Aug. 22, 2014 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Guest Observer Archive

Want to Bring Together Congressional and College Leaders? Propose a College Rating System | Commentary

It was a just a year ago that a hurricane hit higher education. It was formed in the Office of the President and named “College Rating System.” It is on a path that means heavy rains in fall 2014 and even heavier rain and gale force winds in 2015. The aftermath will continue into 2018, when the results of the rating system are tied to federal student aid. Why create such a system? What data are to be used? How will it work?

U.S. Must Help Attack the Root Causes of Border Crisis | Commentary

Cristian Omar Reyes, an 11-year-old from Honduras, lost his father in March after he was robbed and murdered by gangs while working as a security guard protecting a pastry truck. Three others he knows were killed this year. “I’m going [to the U.S.] this year no matter what,” he told The New York Times in early July. If he follows through, Cristian would join the 57,000 children fleeing the “Northern Triangle” of Central America — Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras — making the perilous journey to the U.S. that sparked the crisis on our Southern border last month.

Why the VA Should Look Toward Proven Health Care Solutions | Commentary

While it is not a secret that the Veteran’s Affairs hospital system has had inefficiencies for many years, the recent spotlight on veterans’ long wait times for basic medical attention has made headlines for good reason.

Norwegian Air International: What's Past Is Prologue | Commentary

Will U.S. commercial aviation travel the same path as U.S. maritime where flags of convenience cripple an important part of our economy?

A Highway Funding Plan that Could Work: Let States and Localities Decide | Commentary

Now that Congress has “patched” the Highway Trust Fund to save it from insolvency, it is time to get some clarity on a notable element of the Obama administration’s GROW AMERICA ACT that would lift the decades-old ban on tolling the interstates. Removing this ban would give states much-needed flexibility to tackle their growing transportation challenges. Yet critics of both tolling and the administration’s proposal are incorrectly suggesting that tolling is being proposed as a means of paying for the federal highway program.

Puerto Rico Is Rebuilding Its Economy for a Brighter Future | Letter to the Editor

Ring the Alarm Bells Over Puerto Rico, published Aug. 13, mischaracterizes the island and the positive initiatives enacted by the García Padilla administration.

Groundhog Day for Bad Ideas in Medicare Part D | Commentary

Some bad ideas never seem to go away.

Government Should Aid Businesses Based on Impact, Not Identity | Commentary

Obscurely nestled between the 50th and 60th anniversaries of the Brown v. Board of Education decision and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is a much overlooked milestone. That is the 55th anniversary of the creation of the Office of Minority Business Enterprise, the predecessor of the Minority Business Development Agency as we know it today.

Confronting a Crisis: Child Refugees at our Southwest Border | Commentary

The U.S. faces an urgent and mounting humanitarian crisis — in the past nine months, 52,000 unaccompanied Central American children have crossed our border without authorization. The desperate parents of these children have sent them on a 1600-mile trek north to escape violence, poverty and disease, all the while unwittingly exposing them to rape, abuse, trafficking, and other dangers, including death from starvation and exposure to the elements. After arriving on U.S. soil, their harrowing journey continues as the federal government scrambles to provide adequate food, clothing, and shelter while they wait to be processed through a system that is over-burdened and under-funded.

The Dark Money Complex | Commentary

There’s a scandal that’s been brewing at the IRS for years — but not the one you’re thinking of. This one has nothing to do with conservative groups.

Labeling Laws Should Be Consistent Across all Venues | Commentary

The Food and Drug Administration will soon issue final regulations detailing a national standard for what is known as “menu labeling.” This new national standard will require restaurant and similar retail food establishments (think grocery and convenience stores) of 20 or more same-brand locations to display calories on the menu, menu board or drive-thru, as well as provide additional nutrition information to consumers upon request.

Ring the Alarm Bells Over Puerto Rico | Commentary

Puerto Rico’s government-owned electric power authority is facing a deadline Thursday to make $661 million in payments to Citibank and a consortium headed by Scotia Bank. The authority, Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, which goes by the acronym PREPA, had its rating cut by Standard & Poor’s on July 31 to CCC, or eight steps below investment grade and “vulnerable to nonpayment.”

First Step to Fix VA Can't Be the Last | Commentary

The Department of Veterans Affairs health care access crisis was a long time in the making. Many years of inadequate funding, creative accounting, budget gimmickry, and lengthy delays in passing appropriations bills stretched the VA’s capacity to the breaking point and made competent management of the agency next to impossible.

Save Medicare's Home Health Benefit | Commentary

The Affordable Care Act was sold to the American public with the promise of improved access to health care for all who previously could not afford it. In a September 2013 speech on the ACA, President Barack Obama recalled examples of Americans he had met during his campaign who, because of financial obstacles, had to unfairly choose between their home and their health care.

Protecting the Ryan White Program | Commentary

More than 25 years ago, a young boy named Ryan White stole the hearts and minds of Americans everywhere when he was diagnosed with a rare and mysterious disease called AIDS. A lot has changed since the disease claimed the lives of Ryan and countless others. There are now more than 1.1 million people living with HIV or AIDS in the U.S. today — the highest level of people ever in our country living with HIV. That’s largely due to both people living longer and the level of new infections, roughly around 50,000, each year.

Compassion Needed in Addressing Nation's Immigration Woes | Commentary

Each day, waves of children ranging from toddlers to teenagers flee terrible violence and economic desperation in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador and arrive in this country in search of safe haven. They are being sent alone, unaccompanied by their families. This fiscal year alone, Border Patrol agents have apprehended more than 50,000 unaccompanied children at our Southwest border, a sharp increase over previous fiscal years. The surge of unaccompanied minors is an acute humanitarian crisis.

Message to EPA: Don't Quit While We're Ahead | Commentary

When I was younger, I competed on a swim team and spent most of my free time training. I learned a lot from that experience, but what stuck with me is that winning or losing began with a good training plan — and sticking to it. Sure, our team had tough three-hour practices and occasional progress plateaus, but executing the plan resulted in more wins than losses.

Why Congress Should Dispense With the Export-Import Bank | Commentary

Myron Brilliant, head of International Affairs for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, recently graced these pages with a stirring defense of how the taxpayer-funded Export-Import Bank is “indispensable.” He provided several anecdotes to demonstrate how the Ex-Im’s taxpayer-subsidized loans help “small businesses” that just couldn’t survive without the government financing their exports.

Something to Celebrate: America's Lifesaving Work| Commentary

Dire headlines from around the globe and polls showing a record-breaking plunge in the public’s confidence in our Supreme Court, Congress and the office of the president may make the average American want to throw up their hands in despair. But in what many might consider the least expected place to look, I have found something truly worth celebrating. I wish more Americans knew about the unprecedented American effort that saves millions of children’s lives around the world every year providing a true beacon of hope.

How to Compete with China in Africa | Commentary

Extending the African Growth and Opportunity Act, set to lapse on Sept. 30, 2015, will enable the U.S. to maintain a competitive edge against China in the rapidly expanding African market.

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