| July 2, 2014, 9:55 a.m.
On June 24, Sens. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and John Cornyn, R-Texas, unveiled the FOIA Improvement Act of 2014, a bill that would deal with some of the long-standing issues the public faces when trying to use the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to obtain government records. The common-sense reforms included in the bill are changes that President Obama can, and should, embrace in order to meet his goal of unprecedented levels of openness in government.
| June 26, 2014, 5 a.m.
Music access has changed dramatically in the last decade and business models are clearly trending toward streaming platforms and away from individual purchases. However, our nation’s laws remain severely behind the curve.
| June 25, 2014, 2:09 p.m.
A loose alliance of banks, state officials and business groups is pushing for a permanent extension of a low-income housing tax credit enacted during the financial crisis.
| June 25, 2014, 1:59 p.m.
A housing recovery moving in fits and starts is fueling new efforts on Capitol Hill to protect tax incentives for home ownership and oppose any reductions in the tax breaks that might be part of a broad tax overhaul.
| June 24, 2014, 3:57 p.m.
Thirteen years after the terrorist attacks on America, many of the lessons seem to be fading.
| June 24, 2014, 3:55 p.m.
It wasn’t too many years ago that the Environmental Protection Agency came under fire for promulgating regulations that critics claimed had insufficient scientific validity. The pendulum now seems to have swung the other way, if a policy provision in the “Department of Energy Research and Development Act of 2014” is any indicator.
| June 24, 2014, 5 a.m.
A lesson for centrist candidates: stay positive.
| June 24, 2014, 5 a.m.
In the spring of 1970, the Rev. Robert F. Drinan was organizing his campaign to run against the incumbent Congressman, Philip Philbin, in the primary for the 3rd Congressional District of Massachusetts. This campaign would give raise to the modern usage of “data” in political campaigns to ensure effective and targeted messaging to the base voters or particular constituencies.
| June 23, 2014, 2:51 p.m.
Congress has immersed itself in a nettlesome debate over the advertised cost of air travel — whether ticket sellers should be forced to display the full cost of a ticket with all taxes and fees, or, as airlines desire, they should be able to separate add-ons and only show the base price. Competing bills in the House and the Senate embrace these two very different approaches. Prickly rhetoric has flown back and forth across the Capitol. Each side claims the mantle of “transparency,” and asserts that the best interest of the consumer is their principal motivation.
| June 23, 2014, 11:59 a.m.
Hundreds of thousands of conservatives receive National Republican Senatorial Committee fundraising letters that would be considered “bait-and-switch” or even money laundering in the commercial world.
| June 23, 2014, 5 a.m.
For those of us working on behalf of the millions of Americans with kidney disease and kidney failure, it’s a proud fact that we’ve come such a long way in a relatively short period of time.
| June 20, 2014, 10 a.m.
In the immediate aftermath of the nation’s 2008 foreclosure crisis, Congress played a constructive role in keeping Americans in their homes. Lawmakers supported loan modification programs and sweeping financial reforms, and — while many rightfully demanded more action — these efforts eased the effects of the crisis.
| June 20, 2014, 5 a.m.
As President Obama’s nominee for secretary of Housing and Urban Development begins his confirmation process in the Senate this week, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro has the opportunity to bring a fresh perspective and embrace policies that save money, improve services and set a positive example for the entire federal government.
| June 19, 2014, 8 a.m.
To the next Majority Leader,
| June 18, 2014, 5:08 p.m.
In 2014, the World Wide Web hit its 25th anniversary. For the past 25 years, communications have been moving, changing and evolving at warp speed. Congress has struggled to find footholds, and many offices have found themselves in over their heads. In the rush to take advantage of new communication tools, many members of Congress (and staff) merely adapted the old rules to the new century. Websites were simply the new billboards. Facebook became the new delivery system for press releases. And Twitter was just an updated version of bumper stickers. Rather than change their styles and practices for the new media, they merely wrapped old media methods in new technology.
| June 17, 2014, 4:07 p.m.
There have been a lot of questions and finger pointing in the aftermath of Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s historic loss to the little-known Dave Brat. People have been asking: How did it happen? How did so many people not see this coming? As the polling firm that conducted the lone independent survey during the final weeks of the election, Vox Populi Polling has become part of that story.
| June 16, 2014, 5 a.m.
There is a shell game currently underway on Capitol Hill. The House Republican Leadership are trying to use the elimination of essential postal services as a means to pay for temporarily extending the exhausted Highway Trust Fund. Unfortunately for taxpayers and postal customers, the game is rigged. The reality is that all the shells are empty.
| June 13, 2014, 5 a.m.
The U.S. Constitution invests the power to spend money in the legislative branch. Per the Constitution: “No money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law . . . ” Endowing Congress with the “power of the purse” has a two-fold purpose. It allows members of Congress to respond to the needs of their constituents; to direct spending to relieve the concerns of the people. In Federalist Paper No. 58, James Madison described the power of the purse as “the most complete and effectual weapon with which any constitution can arm the immediate representatives of the people, for obtaining a redress of every grievance, and for carrying into effect every just and salutary measure.” The power to spend money provides Congress a check the power of the executive. Combining the power of the purse with the power to make war, the founders reasoned, was dangerous, creating the conditions for executive tyranny.
| June 13, 2014, 5 a.m.
It was good to see that a bipartisan group of members of Congress came together to introduce a bill to ensure that artists are fairly compensated for their recordings made before February 1972. As one who has worked with some of America’s iconic stars, as well as today’s promising talents, and as a member of a music community coalition trying to fix a glaring inequity, I hope Congress acts promptly to help our legacy artists.
| June 12, 2014, 5 a.m.
A debate is raging in the halls of Congress about the future of TV. And an unholy trinity of the pay-TV industry, the Consumers Electronic Association, and companies obsessed with broadband are fighting to disadvantage broadcast television providers and consumers in the reauthorization of the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act, all for their own financial gain.