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Guest Observer Archive

Risk in Egypt: A Fixed Price on Uncertainty | Commentary

As African leaders gather for the US-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, it is hard to ignore Egypt. If countries can be too-big-to-fail, Egypt is that country for the North Africa region.

Survival of the Fittest From Paid Sick Days | Commentary

New York City workers as of the end of last month are now able to start using their earned sick leave. Since April, New York City workers in all but the smallest firms have able to earn up to five paid sick days a year to care for themselves or an ill family member. It is estimated that about 1.2 million workers will be able to take sick leave for the first time beginning July 30. Nonetheless, a staggering 41 million Americans remain without access to basic paid sick leave protections.

New Markets: A Tax Credit That Works for America's Communities | Commentary

As Congress gears up for its five-week summer recess, we suggest our colleagues visit a business or community development project in their area that was financed by the New Markets Tax Credit. You will be impressed.

Corporate Tax: Bring It Up to Code | Commentary

Last week, U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew called on Congress to eliminate corporate “inversions,” the practice whereby U.S. companies relocate their headquarters to countries with more desirable tax structures. Concern over the erosion of our corporate tax base is important and shouldn’t be taken lightly. That said, what is of greater concern is our inability as a country to address the global competitiveness of our corporate tax rate. U.S. corporate tax rates are not yet competitive enough, in part due to the fact that Congress has yet to pass a fully-comprehensive tax code that addresses competitiveness.

Problematic Disabilities Treaty Up for Consideration Again | Commentary

Since the birth of our special needs daughter Bella more than six years ago, my wife Karen and I have become vocal advocates for the rights of the disabled. That is why we have been so opposed to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities since it first came up in 2012.

NLRB Stacking the Deck Against Small Businesses and Employees | Commentary

Behind every small business is a story of entrepreneurial vision and risk taking. All startups are a daunting endeavor. That’s why the franchising model was created — to help launch new businesses, leveraging resources from successful nationally recognized companies to individual operations.It’s a model that has worked well for decades — franchisors grow and expand their brand-reach while franchisees realize the dream of starting their own business.

Congress Vs. GM: 'Why Not Jail' Squares Off Against K Street | Commentary

GM CEO Mary Barra has appeared before congressional committees no fewer than four times in the past few months to testify about her company’s deadly ignition switch problem, emerging gradually from her initial persona as a mournful penitent to a posture of straight-backed, jaw-locked defiance during questioning by Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., in mid-July.

Hepatitis is Still the Silent Killer | Commentary

Although the price of a revolutionary new hepatitis C treatment has made headlines recently, the real hepatitis crisis continues largely unreported. A more immediate problem for many Americans is not how much one hepatitis C treatment might cost; it is how many Americans are infected with viral hepatitis and do not even know it.

The Congressional Earmark Ban: the Real Bridge to Nowhere | Commentary

In 2005, a $223 million earmark to fund the construction of a bridge from Ketchikan, Alaska, to the tiny island of Gravina, Alaska, captured national attention. The earmark, which was included in a bill to provide funding for reconstruction efforts after Hurricane Katrina, rightfully drew scorn and ridicule from across the country. In 2007, Congress stripped the earmark.

Restore the Senate | Commentary

Something has gone terribly wrong when the American people have a less favorable impression of Congress than Brussels sprouts, root canals, and used car salesmen. Most people today believe the Senate in particular has become completely dysfunctional. And in many ways it has. I’ve served in the Senate for nearly 38 years, and I have never seen it this bad.

Boxing Champ: My Gun Didn't Protect Me | Commentary

For 20 years, my ex-husband Jim said he would kill me if I ever tried to leave him. On November 23, 2010 — the day I told him that I wanted a divorce — he tried his best to stay true to his word. That night, Jim came into my room and said he had to show me something. I could see the knife sticking out of his shorts. I couldn’t see the gun in his pocket.

Caging the Captive Tiger Problem | Commentary

If your neighbor has a tiger in his backyard, he might not have to tell you.

What You Don't Know About Migrant Children May Kill Them | Commentary

A family in Guatemala City received a knock on the door. Standing there were several gang members with one demand. “We’ve come to take your daughter,” they said, according to one of our local Church World Service partners. “Our boss wants her.” It was an emergency and the family had to act quickly.

Time is Right for Real Housing Reform that Protects Property Rights | Commentary

A monumental opportunity has presented itself as Julian Castro, former mayor of San Antonio, takes over as the new secretary of Housing and Urban Development and Congress looks ahead on the critical issue of housing finance reform.

Congress Should Explore Greater Flexibility in the Workplace | Commentary

Capitol Hill is often described as one of the most difficult work environments in the U.S. The workforce is made up of extremely dedicated young people working very long hours, and participating in a public policy process that impacts the lives of millions of people. Because of those demands congressional managers often find it difficult to explore office policies that might enhance how employees align their professional and personal lives.

Get Patriot Modernization Back on Target | Commentary

The public, after the recent Malaysian Airlines tragedy in Eastern Ukraine and the Iron Dome systems’ protection of Israel, is now keenly aware of the lethality of missiles and the necessity of properly integrating and operating air defense systems. This air and missile defense mission is one of the U.S. Army’s top priorities, so it’s been on target ensuring the Patriot missile system continues to evolve to outpace the threat. Unfortunately, the Senate Appropriations Committee is not yet on board.

Pension Predators Continue to Prey on Seniors | Commentary

The Government Accountability Office recently released the details of its monthslong undercover investigation into companies targeting and preying on retirees with so-called pension advance schemes. Run by scammers a rung below payday lenders, these companies market to financially distressed retirees and trade their future pension payments in exchange for a lump-sum cash transfer.

Beyond Dollars: There's More Washington Can Do to Promote Transportation Investment | Commentary

Our nation’s transportation infrastructure is the backbone of a strong U.S. economy. But with a trillion-dollar backlog, America is simply not spending enough to keep its infrastructure in good repair. Investing in transportation is about more than filling potholes and paving roads; investment creates jobs and stimulates economic activity. Across the political spectrum, from the Simpson-Bowles Commission to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to the AFL-CIO, there is broad, bipartisan consensus to invest more in transportation.

Lessons Congress Can Learn From Australia's Carbon Tax Debacle | Commentary

For the past few years, Australia has been lauded by environmentalists as an example other countries should emulate. The adulation began in 2012, when the country enacted its “carbon tax” — a $21.50 charge (in U.S. dollars), increasing annually, on each ton of carbon dioxide emitted by the country’s power plants. Australia’s list of admirers extended all the way to the White House, where President Barack Obama described the country’s actions as “good for the world.”

'Fair Workweek' Is Latest Ploy to Organize Retail, Restaurant Employers | Commentary

On Tuesday, top Democrats and a who’s who of labor activists unveiled the latest attack on American businesses. Joined by Reps. George Miller, D-Calif., and Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., a confederation of labor groups and their activist allies known as the Center for Popular Democracy launched the benevolent-sounding “Fair Workweek Initiative.” The effort is being led by Carrie Gleason — a longtime activist organizer with deep ties to the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union — and purports to ostensibly win “predictable, stable, transparent schedules” for workers. The real goal of this campaign, however, is to support full-fledged union organizing drives within the restaurant and retail industries.

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