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Guest Observer Archive

The Low Bar | Commentary

Imagine you are in a cab, screaming at the driver to stop speeding toward the edge of a cliff. The driver ignores you. You plead with him to slow down, to steer away from calamity. He ignores you. At the last possible minute, the driver slams on the brakes and stops the car just short of a fatal plunge. To your shock, the driver turns around, smiling, and asks you to thank him with a big tip. That’s exactly how Speaker John A. Boehner is driving this congress.

Confronting the Kochs | Commentary

We’re fewer than 60 days away from a critical Election Day. Control of the Senate hangs in the balance. And two billionaire brothers are spending big to make sure the election goes their way.

Keep the Internet Free of Taxes | Commentary

Congress has fewer than 50 days to permanently extend the Internet Tax Freedom Act and prevent an unnecessary and detrimental tax from being inflicted on the American people.

A Repair Plan for the Social Security Disability Insurance Program | Commentary

If our combined 40 years in Congress has taught us anything, it is that policymakers rarely deal with problems until the last possible minute.

Congress Should Call for Seafood Traceability | Commentary

Tilapia disguised as red snapper. Escolar sold as white tuna. Farmed salmon labeled as wild, caught from Alaska. These are all real cases of seafood mislabeling that have been found in the United States, and this type of fraud may be more common than you think.

Keeping the Internet Open and Free | Commentary

From Eastern Europe to the South China Sea, to Northern Iraq and Syria, the West’s post-war world order faces challenges today that were unimaginable two decades ago.

Why We Need FOIA Reform Now | Commentary

Congress has returned from a month-long recess with a full plate and few legislative days left. Although it faces many competing priorities, Congress must pass the FOIA Improvement Act of 2014, a bill that enjoys bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate. If enacted, this legislation truly will be a game changer, restoring the Freedom of Information Act to its original intended purpose of offering a “check against corruption” and “hold[ing] the governors accountable to the governed,” in the words of the Supreme Court.

Keeping the Internet Bountiful | Commentary

Three months after the Federal Communications Commission issued a notice of proposed rule making” for new rules to regulate the Internet, more commonly known as “net neutrality,” a decade-old debate is reaching a fever pitch. This week alone, the FCC will hold multiple roundtable discussions and Congress will discuss the matter in three separate hearings — including a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Wednesday where I will testify.

To Improve Decision-Making, Lighten Up on Lobbyists | Commentary

As Congress prepares to leave town and disillusioned voters get ready to trudge toward the midterm elections, party leaders on both sides of the aisle are making the usual promises that if elected, they will do things better. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., has promised to re-empower committees, noting that a “sense of mutual respect is necessary for constructive dialogue.” Following President Barack Obama’s election in 2008, then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi promised a return to a bottom-up, subcommittee- and committee-driven process. But no matter who triumphs in November, our leaders will once again get a chance to establish the rules and tenor that will guide the next two years.

Congress Should Revitalize the Export-Import Bank | Commentary

I recently met with a firm in Omaha, Neb., that operates factories throughout the world and needed guidance on expanding into Latin America.

Deja Vu In Syria? | Commentary

This week, Congress is scheduled to vote on the administration’s three-month-old request for $500 million to train and equip a reported 6,000 fighters for Syria’s so-called “moderate” opposition.

Wanted: Lawmakers to Invest in the Future | Commentary

This sign should be plastered all over Washington, D.C., as lawmakers return from summer break. Congress has had the past five weeks to visit their homes and travel on America’s crumbling highway system.

Policies of the Future Should Not Be Tied to Science of the Past | Commentary

Fighting the last war over again is a bad strategy for future military planning. Using science of the past in crafting technology policies for the future is just as foolish. Yet that’s what’s happening in the debate over refilling the Highway Trust Fund’s depleted financial tank.

A Congress in Chaos Throws Off the Balance of Power | Commentary

The past several years have marked a significant shift in the balance of power in Washington, and Congress has no one but itself to blame.

Stepping Up for Children's Health Care | Commentary

Electoral politics will soon take over in Washington. Before the midterm elections completely dominate news cycles and lawmakers’ time, Congress should ensure full funding of the Children’s Health Insurance Program, without which millions of children risk losing vital health coverage.

Reid's Attacks on Koch Brothers Show Democrats' Desperation | Commentary

It’s no secret Democrats are nervous about November’s midterm elections. Obamacare, though out of the headlines this summer, remains unpopular with voters. Twice as many Americans are claiming the law has hurt them more than helped. In foreign affairs, the nation was aghast at the president’s decision in May to swap five captured Taliban commanders for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, a deserter from the Army. President Barack Obama’s speech last week on ISIL, or the Islamic State, was calculated to try to overcome his previous admission that, “We don’t have a strategy yet” to combat the biggest national security challenge the United States has faced since the 9/11 attacks on our soil.

Conventional Wisdom Wrongly Underestimates the Latino Vote -- Again | Commentary

We are still here. No matter how hard our opponents try to push us down, no matter how much the media tries to send us back into political slumber as election time comes around, the Latino community is alive and well and continuing to fight for our issues, such as immigration reform.

Collaboration with Iran's Regime is Self-Defeating | Commentary

As Iraq teeters on disintegration, some on Capitol Hill are floating the idea of collaborating with Iran in order to defeat the threat posed by the terror group Islamic State (ISIS). But, would this really serve American interests?

In Diagnostic Innovation, Something Incredible Is Waiting to Be Known | Commentary

Astronomer, scientist and writer Carl Sagan is thought to have said, “Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.” I know what that statement means because I live and breathe the reality of discovery every day, as do my colleagues practicing at nonprofit clinical laboratories in academic medical centers across the nation. We are engaged in scientific innovation that has improved the lives of countless patients. Congress has shown admirable leadership in this area by launching the 21st Century Cures Initiative with the objective of ensuring regulation does not stand in the way of scientific achievements that are changing how we practice medicine.

Contrary to Rhetoric, Westerners Want to Keep Public Lands in Public Hands | Commentary

There is nothing more American than enjoying our public lands. All summer long, Americans packed picnics and campers, grabbed their fishing gear and headed to the woods, the mountains, the shores and the grasslands of America’s public lands — America’s big backyard.

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