Aug. 28, 2014 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Guest Observer Archive

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.

7 Themes Emerge for Hillary Rodham Clinton and 2016

Republican operatives are as lost as last year’s Easter eggs when it comes to stopping Hillary Rodham Clinton. It’s two years from the presidential election, important 2014 elections are in front of us, and Clinton hasn’t even decided whether she will run. But the well-oiled Republican attack industry has thrown everything at her but the kitchen sink.

Reforming the VA Requires Standing Up for Science | Commentary

Robert McDonald’s nomination to head the troubled Department of Veterans Affairs was unanimously approved by the Senate recently.

Paul Ryan Anti-Poverty Plan Targets Regressive Regulation| Commentary

Rep. Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin recently unveiled a plan to address poverty and increase opportunity and upward mobility for low-income Americans. While many commentators may focus on the congressman’s proposals to reform education and the social safety net, Ryan’s plan also suggests important reforms in another area that significantly affects low-income households: regulation.

Industry an Effective Partner in Preparing for Biological Threats | Commentary

Recently, news emerged that six vials of smallpox were discovered in an old storage room at the National Institutes of Health campus in Bethesda, Maryland. Fortunately, the vials were quickly isolated and secured, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that onsite personnel have not identified any infectious exposure risk to lab workers or the public. The week prior, workers at a CDC lab were exposed to anthrax, though thankfully none became ill.

Bipartisan Legislation Built With Quality Patient Care in Mind | Commentary

Although Americans might struggle to find consensus on many policy issues related to health care, when faced with a serious health issue we unite behind the common goal of helping those living with it. Policymakers, health officials and the public have thrown their muscle behind putting a stop to once-deadly childhood illnesses, harmful toxins, and other threats to our health and safety.

The Open Road: Keeping Interstates Toll-Free Protects the Economy and Preserves Americans' Freedom | Commentary

Americans love the open road — it symbolizes the freedoms our country provides and a sense of exploration that has helped build our nation. The vast interstate network of asphalt and pavement for decades has facilitated people’s travel to places near and far for commerce or recreation. Now, that free system is under attack by some policymakers who want to roll back longstanding restrictions on tolling interstates. Doing that, as Massachusetts Transportation Department chief Richard A. Davey suggested in a July 25 Roll Call guest opinion column, would enable states to slap economically punitive fees on roads that traditionally have been toll-free. Such a policy reversal would be financially devastating for families and businesses, and the mere notion of it should alarm everyone who uses the interstates.

The McDonald's Case: Matching Labor Law to Workplace Reality | Commentary

McDonald’s is now responsible for labor law violations committed in its restaurants — even if the store is owned by a franchisee.

"Hand-Me-Down" Menu Regulations Just Don't Fit Convenience Stores | Commentary

Anyone with older siblings or cousins remembers the joys of “hand-me-down” clothes. They were a common-sense approach for Mom, of course. But somehow those outfits never fit right, felt right, or looked right — they sagged here and bunched up there, and certainly weren’t your favorite color or style.

A Veteran's Perspective: Congress Must Not Threaten Climate Leadership | Commentary

I joined the military so I could serve my country and defend the values that define the American way of life. Active leadership of the United States on the world stage has proven essential to solving the great global challenges of the past.

If Prevention Is Good for People -- Why Not Medicare? | Commentary

Over the last decade, the discussion about reforming our health care system has focused on changing from a “sick” care to a “well” care system — or in other words being less reactive and more preventive in our approach to medicine. If we can prevent illnesses, such as diabetes, heart disease, or even cancer, we have the potential to make millions of people healthier and reduce the cost of treating these diseases. However, making this change requires an up-front investment that may not yield a return for some time. This does not make the idea unacceptable, but in order to gain support, it must be fully understood.

Raising the Bar for Student Success | Commentary

For the first time in our history, American students have crossed the 80 percent high-school graduation rate threshold, remaining on pace to reach a 90 percent graduation rate by 2020. To succeed in today’s economy, earning a high school diploma is a necessary first step, not the end goal. Yet too often, the path to a diploma is not rigorous enough to prepare our graduates for their next steps. America cannot compete globally if 20 percent of our team isn’t at the starting line, and still others are not prepared for success in college or their careers.

The US-Africa Summit: Footnote or Defining Moment? | Commentary

Much hangs in the balance this week with over 40 African heads of state gathered in Washington for the historic U.S.-Africa Leadership Summit. Congress needs to pay attention because the outcome will determine whether this marks the defining moment when the United States asserts its global leadership to become the key economic and strategic partner to a globalized and vigorous Africa, or whether it allows Africa to slip back into America’s blind spot, effectively ceding the continent’s markets and political allegiance to Asia, in particular China.

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