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Georgina Gustin’s article, “Congress Examines Threat to Water from Toxic Runoff,” (Roll Call, Nov. 30) about toxic algae outbreaks shutting down public water supplies in Ohio hits home for us here in Florida. We’ve had toxic algae outbreaks shut down water plants in South Florida, where agricultural corporations are polluting our water supplies.
Until Iran stops dragging its feet on the P5+1 negotiations, the debate over Congress’s role in suspending the current sanctions is a moot point (Congressional Hawks Weaken an Iran Nuclear Deal, Roll Call, Oct. 23). So far, Iran’s strategy of hiding behind diplomatic niceties while using the delay to enrich uranium at a breakneck pace to get ahead of any potential “deal” has been obvious. Independent experts estimate Iran already has 10 times the enriched uranium it would need to build a nuclear warhead, and has the centrifuge capacity to fuel a new bomb every 2 months.
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Baku bureau on Aug. 27 reported that “Yeni Azerbaijan,” the mouthpiece of the country’s ruling party, referred to the Aug. 26 column by Maayan Jaffe, “Congress Should Stop Using Taxpayer Money to Fund Radio Free Europe’s Attacks on Our Allies” in an article declaring “it is time to stop” Khadija Ismayilova and “people like her” who are “pro-Armenian.” Ms. Ismayilova, an independent journalist who has been a target of Azeri authorities for years as a result of her investigative reports on high-level corruption for RFE/RL, is currently under investigation for “espionage” after meeting with Senate staffers in Baku in February 2014. Allegations that she has Armenian roots also figure prominently in the vilification campaign against her. Ms. Jaffe’s call for more “pressure” and less journalism seems to have emboldened the editors of “Yeni Azerbaijan” to escalate attacks against those it deems disloyal.
In the commentary “Congress’ Obligation on Structured-Settlement Fraud” (Roll Call, Sept. 2, 2014), the author makes inaccurate statements about the protections provided by the state life and health insurance guaranty associations (GAs) to payees under structured settlement annuities issued by Executive Life Insurance Company of New York (ELNY). Those misstatements need to be corrected.
The National Cotton Council of America (NCC) appreciates the Rep. John Conyers Jr.’s concern for the relationship between honeybee colony health and U.S. economic and food security (Why Congress Should Care About the Beepocalypse, Roll Call, April 7, 2014). While cotton is one of many crops that does not require the assistance of bees for pollination, the NCC, along with many other agricultural organizations, industries and non-government organizations, continue to seek scientific causes of the decline in honeybee health. Leading scientists, including Dr. Jeff Pettis to whom the congressman referred, have conducted many studies seeking the cause of the honey bee decline and have reported in many open forums that pesticides are only one of many possible factors contributing to the decline in honeybee health. In USDA’s Report on the National Stakeholders Conference on Honeybee Health (October 15–17, 2012), Pettis reported, “No single silver bullet will solve the problems affecting honeybees and other pollinators.” Similar information was provided in an earlier Congressional Report identifying the multiple factors contributing to the decline in honeybee health.
A recent Roll Call commentary (Congress, FDA Need to Act to Protect College Students, Roll Call, March 20th) indicated that the FDA has inappropriately delayed access to a meningococcal serogroup B (or MenB) vaccine in the United States. This assertion is false. In fact, the FDA is committed to responding rapidly to public health threats.
The veterans programs in President Barack Obama’s budget (Obama’s $3.9 Trillion Budget Takes More Realistic Approach, Roll Call, March 4, 2014) offer some of the best opportunities for bipartisan cooperation. Both parties say that we need to fix our services for veterans. Too many young veterans have no jobs. Veterans make up a disproportionate percentage of the homeless. And despite their efforts to process claims for disability benefits faster, the VA is still struggling to eliminate a backlog of nearly 400,000 claims.
In a recent opinion piece appearing in these pages, (“It’s Time to Bury Frank Gehry’s Eisenhower Memorial,” Feb. 3) the Eisenhower Memorial project was attacked with the same old false criticisms, by the same old “nattering nabobs of negativism.” The debate over the memorial to a great American has descended into a highly orchestrated partisan and ideological sideshow — embarrassing to our country and the legacy of a great American hero.
In the Feb. 12 “Heard on the Hill” piece titled “Did the RNC Steal Its Beats for Anti-Senate Dems Ad From B.o.B and 2Chainz?” (Roll Call, Feb. 12, 2014) your publication insinuated that the Republican National Committee stole intellectual property for a series of ads.
Mary Berner, CEO of the Association of Magazine Media, recently asserted in Roll Call (“Don’t Give the USPS a Blank Check to Exploit Its Monopoly Powers: Return This Bill to Sender,” Jan. 29) that legislation pending in the Senate would provide the Postal Service with “unchecked, unprecedented power to charge Americans whatever it wants for its services.” Leaving aside the hyperbole, the underlying sentiment is simply untrue. Indeed, from even the most modest understanding of our public policy challenges, the idea that the Postal Service would emerge “unchecked” from any legislative outcome is laughable.
We take issue with retired Maj . Gen. Francis Mahon’s view that Patriot should remain the foundational element of Army air and missile defense capability (“Envisioning the Army’s Air and Missile Defense,” Roll Call, Jan. 6, 2014). As it nears the end of its development program, Medium Extended Air Defense System has already demonstrated new capabilities Army leaders have sought since Operation Iraqi Freedom, and several basic fire units have been built. It’s appropriate to examine what has been gained, and what could be lost.
In the Oct. 9 opinion piece “Drug Safety Bill Puts Urgent Treatment in Jeopardy,” Craig H. Kliger argues that the Drug Quality and Security Act (DQSA, H.R. 3204) would limit eye doctors’ access to drugs compounded in pharmacies. To the contrary, this legislation would improve the safety of these medicines.
Rep. Rosa DeLauro and Sen. Tom Harkin’s Sept. 16 piece, “Menu Labeling Will Empower Americans to Make Healthy Choices,” inadvertently proves just how menu labeling regulations, currently under review at the Food and Drug Administration, need to be rewritten so they are applied as intended.
Alex Formuzis’ opinion piece on the Senate Chemical Safety Improvement Act is little more than a character assassination of one of the legislation’s sponsors rather than an examination on the merits of the bill.
In Jim Greenwood’s July 1 commentary, “Nationwide Track and Trace System Urgently Needed,” he emphasized the importance of establishing a federal pharmaceutical traceability system to protect patients and create greater efficiencies in health care. The Healthcare Distribution Management Association and the nation’s 32 primary pharmaceutical distributors could not agree more.