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Here we go again. The insatiable Highway Trust Fund needs replenishing and, as CQ Roll Call’s David Harrison reported June 13, “House Republicans now are looking at another round of ‘pension smoothing’ combined with another increase in premiums to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, which guarantees the pensions of workers with defined benefit retirement plans.”
In the lexicon of acronyms, there is one that stands apart as not only wise, but politically savvy. KISS, which stands for “Keep it simple, Simon,” is credited as a U.S. Navy design principle in the 1960s. KISS is based on the principle that most systems work best if they are kept simple — common sense, but critical.
In the late 1800s, when wagon trains were traveling westward in America, they had a saying: “You don’t move ahead by leaving some behind.”
Last December, House and Senate Republicans uniformly said they would not consider an unemployment insurance extension unless there was a bipartisan compromise that was fully paid for, contained some unspecified reforms to the program and created jobs. In early April, after three months of negotiations and numerous false starts, they got just that: The Senate finally approved a bipartisan bill that met every one of those demands, while paying benefits through the end of May.
As the nation strives to meet the growing need for talent to drive today’s knowledge economy and democratic society, more and more Americans agree that increasing postsecondary attainment is critical. Business, union leaders, governors from both parties and President Barack Obama, agree that higher rates of college-level learning are needed — both to ensure the nation’s progress and to enhance the lives of millions of individual Americans. The political will for postsecondary attainment is there and growing, but it’s up to Congress to capitalize on it, creating federal policies that make student success in higher education a national priority.
Our children are too precious, and education funding too scarce, to risk turning either over to unscrupulous or incompetent organizations. That’s why charter schools were originally supposed to be something akin to a small, controlled experiment: public school laboratories intended to encourage new ways to educate students. That way, if something turned out not to work, the risk to students, educators and communities could be contained.
When I consider issues in Washington, I regularly call on the wisdom and advice my mother gave Carl, my sister and me over the years. She taught us of hard work and persistence, she taught us of the sacrifices that mothers make for children and for our country, and she taught us of fairness.
Last week, members of Congress had the opportunity to show their commitment to the millions of Americans struggling to make ends meet and to create a prosperous future for all America. Congress had the chance to raise the incomes of 28 million Americans and help millions of families lift themselves out of poverty by voting to pass the Minimum Wage Fairness Act. They chose instead to kill the legislation.
As the global demand for postsecondary skills continues to rise, America finds itself in a challenging position. Postsecondary attainment is increasing nicely here at home, but our improvements are anemic compared to the pace of attainment around the world. New data tells the story, and it points to a much needed wake-up call for Congress and the White House,state policymakers, higher education officials, employers, civic leaders and more.
Health care spending surged 9.9 percent during the first quarter of 2014 as people who gained insurance coverage under the health care law apparently began using more medical services, the government said today.
(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
President Barack Obama and the Democratic leadership in Congress have begun rallying this month to a long-suffering legislative solution to gender pay inequities, cocksure that Republican opposition to the measure will weaken the ascendant rabble-rousers ahead of the November midterms.
Perez is Labor secretary. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Heller (Bill Clark/Roll Call File Photo)
(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Too many Americans are still struggling to find work in dismal job markets across this country. The unemployment rate remains unacceptably high at 6.7 percent and the number of Americans participating in the labor force has now dropped to levels not seen since the Carter Administration.
A potential agreement on a long-stalled House GOP proposal to streamline federal job training programs is emerging as a possible linchpin for a deal on a five-month extension of expired unemployment benefits.
In pursuing its lofty international trade agenda, the Obama administration has been courting labor unions, long the strongest supporters of the president but also perhaps the strongest skeptics of expanded free trade.
House Rules Chairman Pete Sessions of Texas and other senior Republicans are pushing proposals to tie the extension of emergency unemployment insurance to jobs measures and the extension of some tax breaks in an attempt to bring the plan to the House floor.