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Guest Observer Archive

Not All Climate Pollutants Are Created Equal | Commentary

Not all climate pollutants are created equal. While carbon dioxide shoulders a lot of the blame, it’s not the only bad actor when it comes to the climate. Short-lived climate pollutants, or the soot, methane and refrigerants that we call “super pollutants,” can warm the climate at a rate thousands of times greater than carbon dioxide. To tackle this important and far-reaching problem, we’ve introduced bipartisan legislation called the Super Pollutants Act of 2014.

It's Time to Rethink Education Policy and Consider Pre-K Plus | Commentary

Democrats support universal pre-K because we recognize the value of early childhood education and want every child to have the benefit of it — not just the wealthy ones whose parents can afford to send them to private preschools. But a new report released earlier this month shows that “universal” policies aren’t actually doing a good job of helping the low-income children who need pre-K the most and get the greatest benefits from it. Instead, New York City’s recently-enacted universal policy is disproportionately benefiting middle- and upper-income children. University of California researchers found that the rate of expansion of universal pre-K slots is more than twice as large in zip codes where families earn more than the city’s average income than in zip codes home to families in the lowest income quartile. So while universal pre-K is a laudable goal, it may not be the best policy for the kids who really need it.

It's Time for Congress to Make Integrated Care Central to the Nation's Patient Experience | Commentary

The primary objective of our health care system is to ensure that quality health care is readily accessible for patients. However, as health care becomes increasingly entangled in a web of networks, insurers, and providers, the patient’s best interest can get lost.

It's Time to Export American Energy | Commentary

Try, for a moment, to imagine the world today without the United States oil boom. If the picture seems dire, you’ll know you’re on the right track.

Turning Up the Volume on Music Issues | Commentary

When you think of the great music cities of America, what comes to mind? Los Angeles? Nashville? New York City? Brookside, Rhode Island?

Medicare Needs to Step Up, Ensure Patient Access to Home Dialysis Treatment | Commentary

As people whose lives have been touched by kidney disease, we are committed to making sure kidney patients have the chance to live a normal life on dialysis, something we believe wholeheartedly is made possible through home hemodialysis. With the support of members of Congress from both sides of the aisle, we have made some good progress — but there is more work to be done.

Banning Inverted Companies From Government Contracts Could Backfire | Commentary

Recent announcements of planned mergers of U.S. companies with non-U.S. companies in Europe and other offshore locations with more favorable tax regimes has prompted frustration within Congress, as well as within the Obama administration. Such transactions, called inversions, have raised concerns over the erosion of the U.S. tax base and what President Barack Obama called a lack of “economic patriotism” on the part of U.S. companies that make use of these transactions to lower their tax bills.

What Congress Should Know About EPA's Control Over Electric Power | Commentary

As the national debt looms over our anemic national economy and the geopolitical order teeters, the Environmental Protection Agency has proposed to dismember the country’s finely-tuned system of electric power.

Congress Needs to Act Now to Save Lives | Commentary

As war again rages in the Middle East and the public’s attention pivots to the U.S.-led battle against the Islamic State terrorist group, it is critical this nation remembers to keep faith with those who risked their lives alongside us in the war on terror: our Afghan and Iraqi allies.

Time for Congress to Level the Playing Field | Commentary

As business owners in Washington, D.C., we believe in something that most brick-and-mortar retailers do — free and fair market competition. That’s why we ask that e-fairness legislation be passed without further delay. Unfortunately, online-only sellers continue to enjoy an unfair, government-sanctioned advantage over local community shops through a loophole that allows them to avoid collecting and remitting sales tax. This tax disparity puts our local businesses at a significant economic disadvantage and stifles the overall economy.

Congress: Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement | Commentary

In the past month, Reps. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., and Raúl R. Labrador, R-Idaho, introduced the Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act in the House, accompanied by Sen. Tom Coburn’s, R-Okla., version in the Senate. This swift, bipartisan action is just in time, because the American police officer appears to have transformed into a soldier.

What the McDonnell Verdict May Mean Going Forward | Commentary

The successful prosecution of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell last month was a huge win for the Department of Justice in general, and the Public Integrity Section in particular.

The Replacements: Talent for the End of the Second Term | Commentary

As the Obama administration enters its lame duck phase, a number of high-level executive branch officials inevitably will leave for the private sector, to return to academia, or for well-earned retirement. The resignation of Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. is the most recent example of such departures and a harbinger of the struggles over Senate confirmation to come. Even before a replacement for Holder is officially announced or even trial-ballooned, fights will begin over the steps for considering the nomination, and whether confirmation should wait until after the new Senate convenes.

Tastes Great? Less Filling? Title II 'Lite' Is Anything But | Commentary

In the Miller Lite ads of the 1980s, famous shortstops and linebackers argued whether the pilsner’s chief virtue was its surprising flavor or its low calorie count. “Tastes great,” insisted some. “Less filling,” the others replied.

Balancing Scales of Justice for Whistleblowers | Commentary

Pressure to go along to get along starts early in life. A student who tells the teacher about playground misbehaviors may face taunts as a tattletale. Teens feel social pressure not to report mischief by their peers. Later in life, employees fear reprisals or retaliation for raising questions about workplace wrongdoing. Unfortunately, there’s a pervasive institutional mindset to muzzle whistleblowers from reporting what they know.

There Is Bipartisan Opposition to CMS Proposed Cuts to Radiation Therapy | Commentary

For those of us who have never personally been affected by cancer, it can seem a surreal and distant concept; something that happens only to someone else’s family. Until it reaches into your own life, cancer is just a word — though one seemingly laden with emotion. It is a struggle we watch from afar, a battle we don’t quite grasp. As we grow older, we start to understand the disease. As loved ones are diagnosed — young and old and without discrimination — we are forced to learn. Even among fear and sadness, we become deliverers of optimism because it is the only thing we can give to those in need.

Obama Presidency Transformed a Nation -- But Not Silicon Valley | Commentary

As one of the most historically significant events for African-Americans, the presidency of Barack Obama, winds down, our community has a chance to reflect on the progress we have made — and the work we still have to do. The achievement of our first black president, remarkable though it was, should not blind us to the difficult obstacles we must still overcome. In too many areas of society, from the economy to culture, African-Americans are still on the outside looking in.

Congress Is Endangering Missile Defense | Commentary

News media are jammed with reports of epidemics, terrorists, and armed conflicts that threaten our warfighters and allies abroad. Just as alarming, our homeland has never been more vulnerable to attack by advanced weaponry now in the hands of potential enemies.

New Insurance Exchanges Fail to Protect Colon Cancer Patients | Commentary

Colon cancer will claim more than 50,000 American lives this year. Affecting men and women almost equally, 1 in 20 people will be diagnosed at some point in their lives.

Ebola Crisis Creates Sense of Urgency to Restore NIH Funding Now | Commentary

The first case of Ebola has been diagnosed in the U.S. While this was anticipated and experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, assure us it will not lead to an outbreak here, it is concerning. The Ebola virus has taken the lives of more than 3,000 people in West Africa and the death toll continues to mount, breaking apart families and raising fears throughout the world of a devastating epidemic. Despite attempts to contain the outbreak, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now predicting between 550,000 and 1.4 million cases by early 2015. And that’s just in Sierra Leone and Liberia.

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