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Guest Observer Archive

Barra Can't Blame 'Old GM' for Today's Problems | Commentary

Why did General Motors wait a full decade to recall more than 1.6 million vehicles that have been connected to 31 deaths and dozens of injuries?

Crafting the Taiwan Relations Act | Commentary

For 35 years, the Taiwan Relations Act has provided a vehicle for peace in the Pacific and a means of maintaining a direct relationship with the more than 23 million Taiwanese people who are one of our most important allies and trading partners.

It's Time to Address the Public Health Threat of Chronic Kidney Disease | Commentary

Chronic kidney disease came as a surprise to Nancy Vice of Warminster, Pa. Severe, unexplained back pain at age 27 sent her to the hospital, where she received her diagnosis and learned she would immediately have to begin dialysis or receive a kidney transplant. Her mother donated a kidney, and Nancy had five years of good health until the transplant failed. For the past 17 years, she has relied on dialysis to survive.

Filling Gaps in the Fight Against Nuclear Terror | Commentary

A little past midnight at a gas station in Mexico a man approached a car, forced the driver and passenger out at gunpoint and bound them in an empty parking lot before driving off. In the carjacked vehicle was Cobalt-60, a highly radioactive material that could be used to make a dirty bomb. The radioactive cargo disappeared for two days before eventually being recovered.

Free the Brews! | Commentary

There are 1.2 million home brewers across the county producing more than 2 million barrels of beer each year. Young Americans love craft beer, and brewing new options to satisfy our sophisticated palates has become an exciting business for young entrepreneurs.

When We Sideline Science, Our Democracy Suffers | Commentary

Is the House Science Committee sidelining science? Based on a new, comprehensive look at the witnesses who have appeared before the committee in the past 12 years, it seems so.

Is There Anything Bipartisan in the Attempts to Improve Obamacare? | Commentary

Republicans, at long last, are coalescing around a broad Obamacare replacement plan, set to be released by House leadership later this month. While Republicans will undoubtedly use it to pummel vulnerable Democrats in November, the $1.4 trillion question is really what happens after November.

Natural Gas Exports Can Help America and Our Allies

I recently visited Ukraine to speak directly with leaders in the region. We talked about ways the United States could support Ukraine in its conflict with Russia. They stressed the role energy policy plays in this crisis.

We Must Ensure the Reliability, Affordability of the Electric Grid

No other electricity network on Earth provides as much power to as many people as reliably and affordably as the American grid does. But keeping the lights on is a highly complex undertaking.

Keystone XL Is a Pipeline for Imbalanced Energy Policy Decisions

The debate over the Keystone XL pipeline is about more than clean energy. The scientific documents being used to support it are riddled with corporate conflicts of interest. The business case has never been strong. Officers at the State Department — on the job since before Secretary John Kerry’s tenure — greased the skids for the pipeline despite being paid to render impartial judgment. Every aspect of the project, from business to science to politics, truly stinks.

On Yucca Mountain, Obama Again Treats Law as Merely a Suggestion

Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., delivered a rousing speech on the House floor earlier this month reminding the American people that, in Congress, “We don’t pass suggestions ... we don’t pass ideas — we pass laws. And we expect them to be faithfully executed.”

A Clean Energy Economy and Jobs

Ocean energy provides an exciting opportunity for the United States to help advance the goal of developing clean, renewable energy, lessening our reliance on foreign oil, and creating new industries and thousands of rewarding jobs. In my home state of Maine, tidal energy and deepwater, offshore wind are just two examples of ocean energy demonstration projects where inspiring vision and effort are helping to lead the way.

American Innovation + Smart Policy = Big Savings

Climate change is happening. The American people are experiencing the hottest years on record and the most severe floods, wildfires and droughts in modern history. My home state of California is currently facing an unprecedented drought that is threatening the prosperity of everyone from urban and rural communities, to farmers, fishermen and sportsmen, to large and small businesses.

Give the American People a Voice in the National Monument Process | Commentary

The Antiquities Act was established in 1906 as a way for the president to single-handedly create new national monuments. The law provides the president with the express authority to proclaim “historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest” as national monuments, “the limits of which in all cases shall be confined to the smallest area compatible with the proper care and management of the objects to be protected.”

Scientists Are Becoming a Rarer Congressional Breed, and That's Not a Good Thing | Commentary

Unless a new scientist emerges victorious in the 2014 November elections, the nerd factor on Capitol Hill will have taken a nose dive in the last six years.

Break the Gridlock: Unbundle Startup Visa from Immigration Reform

The American economy needs a shot in the arm: The Congressional Budget Office’s bleak forecast emphasized as much last month.

U.S. Should Open Parallel Negotiations with Iran on Israeli-Palestinian Issue | Commentary

Israel’s interdiction on March 5 of an alleged Iranian weapons shipment bound for Gaza has no doubt increased Congress’s skepticism of the Obama administration’s diplomatic engagement with Iran.

The Next Healthcare.gov Fiasco? | Commentary

Will the federal government create another healthcare.gov fiasco in the selection of the next Local Number Portability Administrator? Or has it learned that complex, critical IT projects require very careful deliberation and strong technical leadership over many years? The current evidence says “no” and reminds me of the words of a song from my youth: “When will they ever learn?”

Meeting the Food Challenges of Tomorrow Through the Legacy of Borlaug | Commentary

When leaders of the House and Senate gather in the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday to dedicate a statue of Dr. Norman E. Borlaug, they will honor an American whose innovative agricultural research is credited with saving more than a billion people from starvation. Through his development of high-yield, disease-resistant wheat varieties, along with the advancement of irrigation, fertilization and pest control prevention techniques, Borlaug’s breakthroughs rapidly bolstered food supplies in undeveloped parts of the world in what’s known as the Green Revolution.

Rural America Needs 340B Drug Discount Program | Commentary

Rural hospitals are the front line of care for millions of Americans who can’t travel to big cities for medical treatment. Most are small, less than 25 beds, and many struggle to keep their doors open in the face of rising costs. A little-known prescription drug program called 340B helps these providers stay in business — and extend vital services to needy patients.

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