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Guest Observer Archive

In Debate Over Compensation, Songwriter Equity Act Is Off-Key | Commentary

Thereís ample reason to view the recently introduced Songwriter Equity Act with a healthy dose of cynicism.

Telecommunications Reforms For Today's Digital Economy | Commentary

We live in a time when we can access information pretty much anywhere, at any time, whenever we want. The rapid deployment of broadband networks have made available a plethora of consumer services and applications in the digital age. In two short decades consumer choice has expanded from limited offerings of voice and video from wired telephone and cable companies to one stop shopping for our voice, video and data needs from wireless, cable and traditional telephone companies.

Apple Behaving Poorly Amid Patent Reform Debate | Commentary

One of the unique characteristics of our country is the pace at which innovation can generate positive societal developments, consumer benefits and economic opportunity. The protection of intellectual property is essential to ensuring oneís hard-wrought inventions are not exploited. However, the patent system of today has gone awry and Congress is right to address it.

Small Streams Matter to All Who Live Downstream | Commentary

Trout season ó the harbinger of spring and warmer weather ó is upon us, and Iím looking forward to taking my kids fishing and swimming in our favorite stream along our land in West Virginia.

Landmark U.S.-Taiwan Legislation Led to Long-Lasting Benefits | Commentary

Thursday marks the 35th anniversary of the Taiwan Relations Act, one of the most important pieces of legislation with which I have been associated. This landmark law has contributed vitally to the security and stability of the Republic of China and continues to guide our countriesí relations.

Natural Gas: An Opportunity for All Americans | Commentary

Changing energy dynamics are reshaping Americaís energy future and creating a new era of possibility for U.S. consumers and businesses. This new energy future is reinvigorating American manufacturing, creating new jobs and driving economic growth, and it is saving Americans billions in heating and cooling bills ó $1,200 per year on average according to IHS.

Congress: For the Sake of Your Staff, Find a Way to Unplug | Commentary

Spring is here! Blossoms are forming on trees, winter coats are being stored in closets and for congressional staff that means ... more hard work. The changing of the seasons means little to Congress. Appropriations season is upon us, thousands of constituents are parachuting into Washington with group fly-ins and the boss rarely leaves town.

It's Time to Restore Fairness in Our Federal Health Programs | Commentary

The ability to take care of your family goes beyond income and immigration status. In New Mexico and at Planned Parenthood health centers nationwide, we see that a womanís ability to access health care is critical to the stability of her family and community.

Enough Is Enough: It's Time for a $10.10 Minimum Wage | Commentary

In an era of intense partisanship and frequent political gridlock, achieving social change sometimes requires finding a middle ground position that marks meaningful progress in advancing an important end.

Charter Schools: We Want to Break Through the Partisan Gridlock | Commentary

As strong advocates for parental school choice, we were pleased that New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was open to learning about the tremendous opportunities that charter schools can offer students and families. His decision to allow continued access to high-quality charter school options will ensure that the best curriculum, programs and school performance guide where parents enroll their children in school, not their ZIP code.

How Strategic Planning Is Paying Off and Strengthening North Texas | Commentary

While the country as a whole has been paralyzed from years of slow economic growth, Fort Worth and Dallas havenít let that blur their visions for their own futures.

Congress Should Extend the Production Tax Credit, Develop a Long-Term Alternative | Commentary

Last week, the Senate Finance Committee addressed several expiring tax provisions, including the production tax credit for wind energy. Although this provision has been extended multiple times with broad bipartisan support since 1992, it is one of several energy policies that have become unnecessarily politicized.

Why Congress Should Care About the Beepocalypse | Commentary

This year, food security is set to suffer another big setback, and the culprit could not be cuter: honeybees. Last winter, Americaís beekeeping industry lost nearly half of all its bee colonies. And the numbers keep falling. Last summer, in the largest bee kill on record, more than 50,000 bumblebees were killed in Oregon as a direct result of exposure to an insecticide applied to trees for cosmetic purposes.

An Up(Hill) Climb for Women on Congressional Staffs | Commentary

As political pundits and campaigns ramp up for the 2014 midterm elections, the media is focusing again on the female vote and female candidates. There is good reason for the attention on women. The 2012 elections brought more women than ever before into the halls of Congress. Even at a relatively paltry 18 percent, female participation is now at record-breaking levels for Congress. In 2012, exit poll results showed that women accounted for 53 percent of voters, showing that the female vote is a key determinant for winning an election in America today.

Exploiting Our Daughters: Fighting Sex Trafficking | Commentary

The stories sound too horrible to be true. One woman tells of the boyfriend she loved forcing her to perform sex acts on strangers to pay for the rent. Another young girl says she was kept in abandoned warehouses and was shipped with dozens of other women in the back of trucks like cattle. News reports detail the story of a teenage girl who had her pimpís initials forcibly tattooed on her eyelids to show that she was his property. Sadly, the personal accounts of sex trafficking are as common as they are horrific.

A Warning to Congress: Renewal of Wind Energy Subsidies Will Lead to a Big Boost in Carbon Emissions | Commentary

The wind industry may be feeling butterflies as the sectorís Production Tax Credit (PTC) is up for renewal again. But Washingtonís usual handout to keep the turbines spinning may be harder to win this time round because of a new twist: experts are warning a renewal will lead to increased carbon emissions.

All Aboard the Music Bus | Commentary

Harmony. Unity. Parity.

Why Budget Politics Matter | Commentary

Early this month, President Barack Obama released his fiscal 2015 budget blueprint ó a document that would look familiar to anyone who has reviewed the budgets of preceding years. The document ó and the administration ó takes the position that we need to address and resolve the challenges of our tax code. What are needed now are substantive steps to make tax reform a reality. Political talking points need to be transformed into meaningful reforms.

Japan and the Trans-Pacific Partnership: All In, or Out?

U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman will give congressional lawmakers an update on the Obama administrationís trade agenda Thursday, including its efforts to close out Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations. While that agreement is expected to be concluded in the coming months, U.S. agricultural groups are concerned that it may fall short of the comprehensive deal they had hoped for.

Full Employment Requires Job Growth in Manufacturing, Reduction in Trade Deficit | Commentary

Though job growth over the past six months has averaged about 175,000 new jobs per month, economists agree that number isnít where it should be. Full employment, in which nearly everyone willing and able to work has the chance to do so, remains elusive.

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