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Guest Observer Archive

New Congress Needs to Save Startups from Patent Trolls | Commentary

Now that the midterms are over and Republicans have seized control of the Senate, there is hopeful talk of bipartisan cooperation in the few areas where agreement is possible in the next Congress. Patent reform, which has always had broad bipartisan support, is at the top of the list of legislation that can and should get done. Startups, in particular, are desperate for relief from patent troll abuse, and need the Senate to revive and pass the patent reform bill that was abruptly scuttled by Democratic leadership in May.

Expanded Exports of Liquefied Natural Gas would Lift the US Economy | Commentary

Sen. John Hoeven and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz’s recent discussion about liquefied natural gas exports legislation is about further expanding opportunity, investment, and jobs in an industry that has undergone and continues to undergo a dramatic transformation. And make no mistake, lawmakers’ hammering out a smooth LNG export approval process is about growth and benefits our nation’s small businesses.

After a Rainstorm of Voter Disenfranchisement in 2014, Congress Must Restore the Voting Rights Act | Commentary

While pundits continue chattering about the meaning of this month’s election, one debate should finally be put to rest: We need a fully restored Voting Rights Act. When a 5-4 Supreme Court majority gutted key provisions of the Voting Rights Act last year, civil rights leaders warned it would lead to widespread disenfranchisement and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg famously derided her colleagues’ decision as, “throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet.”

The Lesson From Europe's Broadband Breakdown | Commentary

Today a debate is being waged in Washington. Various approaches to preserving the open Internet are being weighed, and reclassification of broadband services under Title II of the Communications Act is still at the heart of the debate.

Fighting Ebola Requires Better Planning | Commentary

The number of Ebola cases in the United States may have subsided, but the epidemic in Africa is far from over. And while it is clear the U.S. health care system ultimately rose to the challenge of caring for multiple Ebola patients, the grave mistakes made in Texas should serve as a wake-up call. We must ensure our health care system is better prepared to diagnose, treat and prevent the spread of Ebola and other diseases, which is why we are proposing specific legislation to advance this vital goal.

The Grinch Who Taxed the Internet | Commentary

Outgoing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., seems poised to take one last shot at changing how online purchases are taxed. Reid has signaled he’ll bring the unpopular Marketplace Fairness Act up for a vote by tacking it onto the Internet Tax Freedom Act, which is headed for certain renewal.

Supreme Court Pits People v. Politics Again | Commentary

Political games are de rigueur in Washington and the Supreme Court is no exception. With its grant of review in King v. Burwell, the nation’s highest court has set the stage for yet another Affordable Care Act showdown.

Caribbean Medical Schools Can Help Reduce Doctor Shortages in Hispanic Communities | Commentary

Among some Washington policymakers and the media, there is an unfair bias against Caribbean medical schools. Caribbean schools specialize in training primary care physicians, who often return home to serve communities all across our nation. Many of these physicians are first turned away from medical schools in the United States because there are not sufficient openings to meet the high demand.

On Ebola Funding, Don't Forget Lessons from the AIDS Epidemic | Commentary

A well-founded sense of urgency gripped the recent Senate Appropriations Committee hearing about the proposed $6.2 billion emergency funding bill to combat the Ebola epidemic. Lives are being lost as Congress deliberates.

Republicans Have the Senate, Now What Happens to the Filibuster? | Commentary

Now that the GOP has swept into control of the Congress, it is immediately confronted with familiar realities. Because of the Senate rules, under most circumstances it is necessary to get 60 votes to get anything major done.

Congress Must Block These Attacks on Independent Science | Commentary

House leaders have decided that one of the most important things they can do during the lame duck session is to vote on two bills that would cripple good, science-based policy.

The Midterm Elections: What Do They Mean for Accreditation? | Commentary

The midterm elections are over and the question for higher education and accreditation is: What will the change to Republican leadership in the U.S. Senate mean going forward? Will we have a reauthorization of the Higher Education Act any time in the next few years? If so, what will it look like? If not, what will this mean for the academic community?

Keeping Our Kids Safe From Predators: A Challenge With a Bipartisan Solution | Commentary

Families all over America rely on after-school programs, summer camps and other youth-serving institutions to get their children involved in activities that enrich their lives and help them grow up to be healthy, productive adults. Sadly, these programs can also be a vulnerable target for child predators who hope to gain access to their next victims under the guise of seeking employment or volunteer opportunities. To keep our kids safe from predators, child-serving organizations must be equipped with access to the most robust criminal background checks available — the FBI’s Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System.

Congress Must Rein in the NLRB | Commentary

Since the 2010 midterm elections, a split Congress effectively froze the most controversial elements of the president’s political agenda. As a result, implementation of Barack Obama’s labor agenda, like other priorities, quietly moved from Capitol Hill to federal agencies unleashing an avalanche of administrative law. On the labor policy front, the president can also rely on the quasi-judicial body the National Labor Relations Board to implement his agenda, and after a period of prolonged battles over appointments to the board, for the first time in a decade, a fully seated NLRB is frantically making up for lost time.

Our Election Mandate: Bring No-Nonsense Governing, Regularity to the Federal Funding Process | Commentary

“Elections have consequences” is an oft-used phrase following a watershed election, and given the large Republican gains in the Senate, House and in states across the country, this year has clearly been no exception. I believe a major “consequence” of this election is a loud and clear mandate from the American people for Washington to stop the gridlock, work together across ideological lines and start producing real accomplishments on their behalf.

Credit Card Security Must be Strengthened | Commentary

Congress is back in session and we’re entering what will hopefully be a booming period for America’s small businesses during the holiday shopping season. However, a subtle but persistent threat remains to our long-term economic security posed by cyber-criminals and lax credit card security measures that allow financial and identity fraud to occur. While these cyber-crimes are certainly menacing, they more pose serious implications for business growth by diminishing consumer confidence. And while there are plenty of issues for Congress to debate in the lame-duck session, the importance of preserving consumer trust in financial transactions and protecting consumer information are issues everyone can agree on.

White House Renewable Fuels Policy Raises Questions | Commentary

Last May, Reuters ran two articles about the White House’s pending decision on the renewable-fuel standard, which federally mandates how much biofuel must be blended into the transportation fuel supply in the United States.

Keeping Our Kids Safe From Predators -- A Challenge With a Bipartisan Solution

Families all over America rely on after-school programs, summer camps and other youth-serving institutions to get their children involved in activities that enrich their lives and help them grow up to be healthy, productive adults. Sadly, these programs can also be a vulnerable target for child predators who hope to gain access to their next victims under the guise of seeking employment or volunteer opportunities. To keep our kids safe from predators, child-serving organizations must be equipped with access to the most robust criminal background checks available — the FBI’s Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System.

For the 114th Congress, It's Economic Growth or Nothing | Commentary

Tuesday marked another historic change election. Now comes the hard part: The Republican Party’s new majority must make 2015 the year in which Congress gets serious about economic growth and putting America back to work. If it doesn’t, the 114th Congress will be seen as a squandered opportunity for the GOP to rebrand itself as the party of prosperity for every American.

Congressional Action on Food Labeling Needed | Commentary

Voters in Colorado and Oregon have spoken with a firm voice in opposition to mandatory labeling of foods that contain ingredients produced via agricultural biotechnology. After closely examining the facts, voters decided they wanted no part of a system that would have provided them incomplete, inaccurate information and led to higher grocery prices for families. They join voters in Washington and California who rejected similar proposals in recent years.

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