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Guest Observer Archive

The Case for Protected Status for Central American Migrants | Commentary

In recent years, the United States has experienced a steady rise in unauthorized migration from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, the “northern triangle” countries of Central America. A crippling set of adverse conditions — including staggeringly high crime rates, weak government institutions and scarce employment opportunities — is fueling this trend. Transnational gangs are now a formidable political force in the region, generating protracted violence that has caused thousands to flee.

Civil Rights and Racial Justice Groups Support Real Net Neutrality, Reclassification | Commentary

Known Verizon hired gun Marty Chavez recently purported to speak not just for the Hispanic Technology and Telecom Partnership, but also the “vast majority” of civil rights organizations on the issue of net neutrality and reclassification (“Why Minorities Oppose Utility Regulations on the Internet,” Roll Call, Dec. 16).

A Simple Way to Boost Homeownership - End Conservatorship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac | Commentary

For generations, affordable homeownership has been a pillar of the American dream and the primary driver of wealth creation and social mobility. While Congress has not yet come to a consensus on how to proceed with housing reform, studies have shown the host of positive externalities that stem from homeownership — ranging from better health and education to safer streets and more vibrant communities.

It's Time for the Affordable Care Act to Make Care Affordable | Commentary

The Affordable Care Act has expanded coverage to millions. But a recent Gallup survey found that 1 in 3 Americans still put off needed health care this year because it cost too much.

FDR Would Have Supported the TPP; Congress Should, Too | Commentary

On Dec. 7, we remembered the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor 63 years ago, an event that fundamentally transformed America’s role in the world from isolationist to global superpower. That tragic day firmly entrenched America in an important and sustained engagement in East Asia that lasts to this day.

FCC and FTC Can Co-Exist on Net Neutrality | Commentary

Yet another esteemed group of academics waded into the net-neutrality debate this month. While their contribution will not attract the attention that followed President Barack Obama’s Nov. 10 call for the Federal Communications Commission to reclassify the regulatory framework for broadband Internet access, they identify a serious problem. Unfortunately, they fail to embrace the obvious solution to that problem.

Congressional Orientation on Bipartisan Legislation Could Stop Gridlock | Commentary

Members of Congress are so caught up in their parties that they are oblivious to recent history where politicians have been successful working together to pass some of the nation’s most cherished legislation. The just-passed appropriations bill, where everyone wanted to hurry home for the holidays, is an outlier. Orientation for new members teaches ethics and rules, gives a tour, takes pictures and restates the primer of “How a Law Is Made.” It lacks lessons showing how Congress has worked in passing bipartisan legislation. Members of the House and Senate are probably as rusty as classes of young people who know few leaders of the past.

Would You Like a Patent Lawsuit With Your Meal? | Commentary

As members of Congress prepare to re-open the debate on patent reform, they would do well to consider they have probably recently eaten food. They might have looked up recipes or pictures of that food online. They may even have counted the calories in that food, or used a website to help figure out how healthy their meal was.

Health Reform Without Deception | Commentary

Recently, MIT professor Jonathan Gruber apologized before Congress for the litany of controversial comments he made regarding the creation and implementation of Obamacare. But even after the apology, we still don’t know how much of the health care law was based on willful deception and how much was an honest effort at real reform.

Pompeo Bill Keeps Consumers in the Dark | Commentary

Poll after poll shows that consumers want the right to know what’s in their food and how it’s produced. Because our food choices have such a significant impact on our lives, this is a trend that should be welcomed, not frustrated.

Fear-Mongering About Foreign Patent Trolls | Commentary

As was highlighted at the recent nomination hearing for Michelle Lee as the next director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office it is important to take a look at the patent landscape and the talk of more legislative action on our patent system under discussion in Congress.

The 'Torture Works' Narrative Is Crumbling | Commentary

In painful detail, the declassified portions of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on the CIA’s former detention and interrogation program erase any doubt that the United States systematically tortured prisoners in its custody. Too many people who should have known better violated our nation’s most sacred laws and values. Why? Because doing so was necessary to save lives, we were told. For years, torture’s apologists sold that story without having to prove it. “Classified,” they would claim, “but if you only knew what we know  . . . ”

Energy Export Restrictions Keep Production in the Past | Commentary

Over the past several years the United States has achieved an energy turnaround that few experts could have anticipated. Led almost singlehandedly by improvements in shale production, the country has transitioned from a position of foreign dependence to a global energy leader — bolstering American consumers, businesses and manufacturers at every turn.

How Should We Fund the War Against the Islamic State? | Commentary

The decision to commit U.S. forces to the fight against the Islamic State raises a number of fundamental questions that have received inadequate attention. Several issues involve constitutional principles that need to be publicly debated and resolved. Directly at stake is the appropriation power of Congress, the degree to which U.S. taxpayers should cover the cost and the authority of all lawmakers — not merely members of designated committees — to decide funding decisions.

Boehner and Obama Have Something in Common: Both Contributed to the Failure of Transparency Reform | Commentary

The 113th Congress is winding to a close and however few things Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, and President Barack Obama agree on, both dropped the ball on making the government more accountable and transparent.

Moving Forward, Ideas Matter | Commentary

As the dust settles after the midterm elections, it is clear that voters across the country sent a strong message that they have had enough of partisan gridlock and inaction in Washington. And now the hard work begins – turning to the future and to the ideas that will move our nation forward.

Why Minorities Oppose Utility Regulations on the Internet | Commentary

Congress, the Federal Communications Commission, and even the executive branch, continue to grapple with net neutrality and whether or not the government should reclassify the Internet as a public utility.

Service Members, Spouses and Veterans Often Need a New Kind of College Education | Commentary

When the newly elected Congress convenes, it will consider two seemingly unrelated issues: funding a new military involvement in the Middle East and reauthorizing the Higher Education Act, which governs student aid.

Washington Needs to Embrace the Now Generation | Commentary

Over the past few years, the United States has witnessed an erosion of trust in our public institutions by our citizens. This mistrust is most readily apparent in my generation, the millennials. As the Harvard Institute of Politics pointed out after their March poll of young Americans, “18- to 29- year-olds’ trust in public institutions is at a five-year low — and their cynicism toward the political process has never been higher.”

Republicans Must Seize Filibuster Reform Opportunity | Commentary

Republicans won the Senate by promising to reform a dysfunctional Congress. Yet with their new majority secure, Republicans are considering rolling back recent filibuster changes that reduced the number of votes required to invoke cloture on executive and most judicial nominees to a simple majority.

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