Feb. 1, 2015 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Guest Observer Archive

Hammerin' Harmon Marches On | Commentary

Natitude was a potent force last fall, and with every new season, Washington becomes more of a baseball town. Again. Once upon a time, the District was a madhouse for everything that happened between the foul lines. The Washington Senators, the town’s first franchise, became a team in 1901, one of the American League’s Original Eight, and captivated the mid-Atlantic with six decades of baseball magic. The team moved to Minneapolis for the 1961 season, and brought with it a young slugger named Harmon Killebrew.

Congress Should Pass the President's 'Kill List' | Commentary

President Barack Obama’s penultimate budget will be delivered to Congress Monday. Per the Budget and Accounting Act of 1921, the president’s budget will enumerate recommended spending levels for nearly every federal program, project and activity.

How New Orleans Ended Veteran Homelessness | Commentary

In New Orleans, we are all too familiar with the feeling of homelessness. After Hurricane Katrina, literally all of us were without a home.

The Case for Year-Round Pell Grants | Commentary

As Congress takes up reauthorization of the Higher Education Act this year, it will have to address several policy concerns, including the rising cost of college and the need to increase degree attainment rates in the U.S. Notwithstanding those concerns, college access will continue to be a major issue. How can our nation expand college opportunities to those who have long been underrepresented, including lower-income students, minorities, and those who are the first in their families to attend college, ramping up the number of degree earners?

It's Time to Pass the Lee Balanced Budget Amendment | Commentary

With the president’s recent lawlessness on executive amnesty and GOP efforts to beat it back, it’s easy to forget that just three and a half years ago, we were on the cusp of a grand bargain. President Barack Obama and Speaker John A. Boehner would tackle a range of ever-present fiscal crises, everyone would make tough concessions, and the nation would be on sound fiscal footing for a generation.

5 Years after the Spill: What BP Owes the Gulf Coast | Commentary

It’s been nearly five years since BP slimed the Gulf Coast, taking the lives of 11 men, wrecking livelihoods and killing tens of thousands of helpless coastal birds. Finally, federal Judge Carl Barbier is heading into the final stretch, deciding how much the third largest oil company in the world will have to pay in pollution fines for the worst oil spill in U.S. history.

Doctors Know: Abortion Is Safe and Must Remain Legal | Commentary

Having grown up in Washington, D.C., I know all too well what it means when quality health care options are too few and far between. Communities such as the one I grew up in experience higher rates of chronic medical problems and decreased access to health care. These racial and ethnic disparities include disproportionately increased unintended pregnancy rates and higher rates of maternal and infant mortality. These experiences shaped me as an individual and led me toward a career in women’s health.

Corporations Won't Wait for Tax Reform, So Why Should Congress? | Commentary

President Barack Obama last week called on Congress to close tax loopholes that allow some corporations to avoid paying their fair share of taxes at the expense of hardworking Americans.

How Congress Can Protect Americans' Email Privacy | Commentary

Did you lock your front door when you left for work this morning? Rest easy, then, knowing your papers are secure. But what about your emails? Not so much. Because right now, an outdated law threatens the Fourth Amendment protections of every American who uses the Internet. Whether you are a committee chairman or an unpaid intern, your digital privacy is currently at risk.

Congress Needs To Free U.S. Energy Resources | Commentary

For Americans, the steep increase in U.S. supply of oil and gas has brought with it a bounty of benefits. The energy sector has increased employment in states that otherwise saw economic decline, and the growth in direct jobs has indirectly benefited communities throughout the country. At the same time, the taxes paid by the energy industry have helped bolster our national economy.

Border Surveillance Follies | Commentary

For more than a decade, the Department of Homeland Security has employed some of the same kinds of drones used by our military. The ostensible purpose of having unarmed Predator drones was to give U.S. Customs and Border Protection additional aerial surveillance capabilities along the Southern border. Homeland Security officials argued the drones were cost-effective and needed. As a cost-savings measure, the Obama administration proposed major cuts to the DHS drone program in 2010, but House Appropriations Committee leaders, who supported the program and felt the expansion should continue, shot that proposal down. They should’ve thought through that decision far more carefully.

Why Is the United States Last in Valuing Families? | Commentary

The most economically advanced nation on Earth is in some ways one of the most primitive.

Releasing the Promise of American Natural Gas | Commentary

American natural gas represents one of the greatest and most unexpected success stories of the past century. Only a decade ago, experts feared America was running out of this critical energy resource, and we were growing increasingly reliant on foreign imports. But innovation and technology have turned upside down this once-pessimistic outlook, putting our nation in the driver’s seat. Thanks to the shale revolution, today we have more than enough natural gas to meet our energy needs and production continues to thrive. In fact, America is now the world’s No. 1 natural gas producer.

Investing in America's Urban Cores Through the Land and Water Conservation Fund | Commentary

Our nation’s cities are experiencing a renaissance.

Protecting Medical Innovation Strengthens Economy, Improves Lives | Commentary

Just after the November elections, Gallup polled the American people and asked them what they need Congress to do. Here are the top priorities they shared: Listen to the people; represent the people; and work together to get things done, create jobs/employment and bring jobs home and improve health care.

Federal Debt: The Value Obama Didn't Address | Commentary

Under Article 2, Section 3 of the Constitution, the Founding Fathers indicated the president must brief Congress with information about and recommendations for the union. To me, this tradition represents an act of transparency, yet the president was not transparent about the federal government’s true debt in his State of the Union Address.

Supporting the Democratic Opposition in Iran Is Essential | Commentary

In Paris recently, the comfort of everyday routine was shattered as terrorists slaughtered 12 innocent French people under the banner of Islamic extremism. Armed only with pens, pencils and ideas, the victims were considered combatants whose criminal actions merited a death sentence. This attack on Charlie Hebdo wasn’t just an attack on cartoonists and the police, it was an assault on democratic values, freedom and human decency.

How to Make Our Democracy Work for Everyone | Commentary

This week marks the fifth anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United vs. Federal Elections Commission. Rather than lamenting the verdict by cataloguing its considerable damage to American elections, we prefer to focus on two things: The erosion of democracy that happens in between elections, and feasible solutions to restore, as the Declaration of Independence asserts, “the consent of the governed.”

How To Cure Kidney Disease? Let's Start by Restoring NIH Funding | Commentary

More than 20 million Americans have kidney disease — many of whom are undiagnosed — and more than 600,000 Americans with kidney failure rely on dialysis or a transplant to remain alive.

Settling $1.8 Billion in Claims with Cuba Likely Needs Congressional Approval | Commentary

Last week, news broke that Cuba had released more than 50 political prisoners a few days before it was set to hold historic talks with the United States that are designed to help end more than a half century of hostility. While that move is another tangible step toward the full normalization of relations, it also highlights a bigger question: How much can President Barack Obama do without congressional approval?

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