Jan. 25, 2015

Guest Observer Archive

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.

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.”

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?

Paris Attacks Show the War on Terror Isn't Working | Commentary

The recent attacks that took place in Paris were tragedies that deserve a thoughtful, reasoned response. Instead, many have used this opportunity to advocate for enhanced militarization and ramped-up reactionary tactics, from House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, to Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. Certainly it is tempting to react with fear when such horrific events happen. But the real lesson to be learned from the Paris attacks is that endless, global war is not the solution to violent extremism. Here’s why.

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.

We Must Reinvest in Our Crumbling Infrastructure | Commentary

Last year, America’s deteriorating roads cost drivers more than $67 billion in repairs and operating costs, or about $324 per driver. Subpar and sometimes dangerous road conditions are quickly becoming a widespread problem throughout the country. Unless action is taken to reinvest in our failing infrastructure, the long-term cost to our economy and taxpayers will be devastating.

10 Rules for Success on Capitol Hill | Commentary

Here’s some nonpartisan advice for newly elected members of the House and Senate about how to be a successful legislator.

New Government Report on Women and Obamacare: Propaganda and Fallacies | Commentary

The Department of Health and Human Services recently released a report called “The Affordable Care Act: Advancing the Health of Women and Children.” In summary, the report touted that the majority (56 percent) of enrollees in exchange plans are women, that women are enjoying new coverage for no-copay preventive care, and that the uninsured rate among women has declined since 2013.

Defunding Not the Answer for Sage Grouse | Commentary

A large and growing group of Western landowners care deeply about land health and the wildlife that dwell on our properties. Healthy wildlife populations enrich our lives and our lands. We work hard to manage our rangelands for sage grouse and other species while maintaining profitable ranching operations. We are concerned, however, that recent congressional actions have put both conservation-minded landowners and sage grouse at risk.

All Americans Deserve Access to Fair Housing | Commentary

Every January, our nation comes together to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day. This important federal holiday marks the birth date of the most iconic leader of the civil rights movement. King dedicated his life to nonviolent activism against discrimination and to this day, the American people continue to benefit from his life and legacy.

The FDA's Threat to the Practice of Medicine | Commentary

The two of us are not always on the same side of contentious legal questions, but a recent move by the Food and Drug Administration to expand its jurisdiction to regulate laboratory-developed testing services as if they were medical “devices” has brought us together. The FDA’s assertion of this massive new authority without going to Congress for new legislation bears a family resemblance to other examples of administrative overreach, but there is one key difference. This overreach poses a threat not just to the separation of powers, but to the practice of medicine, and ultimately to the health of every American. For this reason, the American Medical Association and leading health care providers have urged FDA to withdraw its proposal.

Chip Kennett: A Silent Patriot Under the Dome | Commentary

I did not know Chip Kennett, but I knew him. Chip’s story was beautifully told in a Roll Call article last week (“Capitol Hill Helps One of It’s Own: Chip Kennett Finds Help in Unexpected Places;” Roll Call, Jan. 14). It was the story of a dedicated staffer who found love in the halls of Congress and married his wife, Sheila. To staffers, it was a perfectly normal story — many have found their life-mates down the hall in a Senate or House office building. It was normal, until three years ago, when Chip was diagnosed with lung cancer. His battle ended on Jan. 17, when his wife posted on Facebook, “Chip received a brand new body up in heaven that is free of cancer and simply full of everlasting life.”

New Senior Care Pharmacy Coalition: Stop Use of Prorated or Daily Dispensing Fees | Commentary

Every day, seniors and rehab patients in skilled nursing centers and assisted living facilities across America benefit from the specialized guidance and clinical oversight that only long-term care (LTC) pharmacies, and the consulting pharmacists they employ, can provide. Among other essential responsibilities, LTC pharmacies ensure that complex prescription drug regimens are properly filled and professionally reviewed for safety, accuracy, compliance and prevention of dangerous adverse drug interactions.

Five Lessons as the 114th Congress Gets Started | Commentary

As the 114th Congress settles in and President Barack Obama finalizes his State of the Union address, the consequences of the midterm elections are becoming real in Washington. New leaders have taken control of every Senate committee and subcommittee and the chamber itself, and the dynamic is changing.

An Interstate Highway for Our Nation's Electricity | Commentary

When President Dwight D. Eisenhower took office in 1953, our nation’s roads were a patchwork of local byways and turnpikes that often didn’t connect to one another. Some were well-maintained, while others were impassible at many times of the year. It was difficult to drive between certain cities without adding many hours to the trip — costing the nation billions in fuel costs and productivity. Eisenhower led the effort to modernize our roads and by the time he left office in 1961, construction had begun. This project eventually became our Interstate Highway System, and led to increased mobility and prosperity nationwide.

Telecom & Technology Offer Hopes for Positive Congressional Reform in 2015 | Commentary

On Tuesday night, President Barack Obama will give his sixth State of the Union Address and there is no doubt that the speech will contain familiar themes on policy initiatives his administration has long championed. Perhaps chief among them though is telecommunications policy, an area that Congress and the president must address if the country is to remain competitive around the world.

One Ukraine | Commentary

Months after European diplomats first leaked and then recanted stories about an alleged plan by Russia to split my country between itself and Poland, the future integrity of Ukraine remains in doubt. For months, we have been frozen in time: between war and truce, between default and salvation, between behaving as a single nation or merely as cabals of rivaling elites. If Ukrainians cannot find some common ground soon, the idea of One Ukraine may become lost for a generation. Now, more than ever, we need our friends to help us help ourselves.

True Tax Reform Must Be a Full Overhaul of the Code | Commentary

The 114th Congress is just days old, and the acrimony between the parties seems to be as intense as ever, with one major exception — tax reform. This is one of just a few policy areas capable of attracting support from both parties on both ends of Pennsylvania. Expect to hear about it in President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address and expect the issue to be a hot topic at each party’s upcoming congressional retreat. After this era of globalized economies, policymakers have precious few tools for growing the economy and boosting wages for American workers. But tax reform is one of them.